The government has announced that it will publish guidance for schools on how creationism and intelligent design relate to science teaching, and has reiterated that it sees no place for either on the science curriculum.
It has also defined "Intelligent Design", the idea that life is too complex to have arisen without the guiding hand of a greater intelligence, as a religion, along with "creationism".
Responding to a petition on the Number 10 ePetitions site, the government said: "The Government is aware that a number of concerns have been raised in the media and elsewhere as to whether creationism and intelligent design have a place in science lessons. The Government is clear that creationism and intelligent design are not part of the science National Curriculum programmes of study and should not be taught as science. "
It added that it would expect teachers to be able to answer pupil's questions about "creationism, intelligent design, and other religious beliefs" within a scientific framework.
The petition was posted by James Rocks of the Science, Just Science campaign, a group that formed to counter a nascent anti-evolution lobby in the UK.
He wrote: "Creationism & Intelligent design are...being used disingenuously to portray science & the theory or evolution as being in crisis when they are not... These ideas therefore do not constitute science, cannot be considered scientific education and therefore do not belong in the nation's science classrooms."
The petition was signed by 1,505 people. ®