UPDATE: Weird. I was just informed that Cristian Adomnitei has been replaced, but the article linked below didn't mention it. If you have updated information, please leave a comment!
To most Americans, Romania may seem like some far-distant land that has nothing in common with us. However, sadly, that's not true; they have taken a step a lot of antiscientists in America are actively trying to make happen: schools in Romania no longer teach evolution. Sounding much like the antiscience embarrassments that are the creationists on the Texas Board of Education, Cristian Adomnitei, the Romanian Minister of Education, said this incredibly Orwellian thing:
This subject can be found implicitly from middle school to high-school... Do you think that the studies about the world where we live, its evolution or genetics can ignore the evolution theory? This is impossible."
If you don't actually teach the topic, then your definition of the word "ignore" must be different than mine. Happily, not everyone in Romania is satisfied with either this policy of the Education Minister:
But Remus Cernea, president of Solidarity for Freedom of Conscience, is unimpressed by the Ministry's position on implicit learning. "How can the evolution theory be implicit?" Cernea says. "The evolution theory is either present in the curriculum and in the text books and is studied by everybody, or not present in the curriculum and nobody studies it."
The Education Minister's position is so artfully dumb that I suspect that it will be eagerly incorporated by creationists here in the States. I can imagine the reasoning: "By not teaching science, we are implicitly teaching science. We teach the students everything except science, and they can figure out what science is by looking at the gaps!" Tell me that's no more crazy than what we have heard coming out of Kansas, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Dover... I know America doesn't have a strangle hold on antiscientific nonsense that could eventually destroy the next generation of scientists we produce. But this is one particular export that simply carries too high a tariff. Romania, you need to wise up, literally. Nicolae Ceauşescu may be gone, but that doesn't mean everything will be milk and honey after that. And that's an analogous object lesson to us in the States as well: just because we are getting rid of the worst antiscience President we have ever had does not mean that we can let our vigilance slip. So until they see toward what a disaster they are headed:
Tip o' the pălărie to Michael Lonergan.