Iraq reportedly deleting evolution from the biology curriculum

After Turkey just removed evolution from the secondary-school science curriculum, we get a report (as of yet unconfirmed) that the same is happening in Iraq. On his website Primate’s Progress, Paul Braterman gives a link to a rather scattered page on The Medium in which Abdulrahman Al Makhzomy reports that Iraq is dropping evolution from its high-school curriculum.  Al Makhzomy gives an August 16 photo of the sixth-grade biology text (apparently in Arabic) and notes that evolution is now missing, and it used to be there. (Translations welcome.)

Well, I don’t understand Arabic, and I’ll take Al Makhzhomy’s word for it, as he links to a Facebook page which is said to confirm his report.


Islamic countries have proven resistant to teaching evolution since the Qur’an explicitly gives a creation story in which humans are initially created from dirt, and the Qur’an is read literally far more often than is the Bible. Sometimes Islamic countries are okay with accepting evolution of other species, but human exceptionalism often reigns. Once again we see a conflict between faith and fact. If they’re putting it this way, and we know evolution is true, then Islam—or at least its claim of creation, which is often taken literally—is false.



  1. Randy schenck
    Posted August 27, 2017 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    I don’t suppose there is a Sunni Text book and Shia Text book?

  2. Nell Whiteside
    Posted August 27, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    The story of evolution is endlessly fascinating and I keep learning more, particularly from your interesting articles. Religious books are simply and incredibly boring. Why would anyone actually choose to be bored?

    • rickflick
      Posted August 27, 2017 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      I’ve concluded that some people(many) are hardwired for an extra measure of fear and insecurity. Religions take advantage of that as a foothold in culture. To have a text which is sacred and lets us know what to think and do is comforting to these people and many others in extremis. Evolution, obviously, threatens the framework of a culture based on thought stability.

  3. Mark R.
    Posted August 27, 2017 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Science givith and religion taketh away.

  4. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted August 27, 2017 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    According to Wikipedia’s article on “Islamic Views of Evolution” there has been a marked increase in hostility to Darwin just since 2004. See the sections “Contemporary Developments” and “Muslim Society”.

    “As per a 2008 report, Evolutionary biology was included in the high-school curricula of most Muslim countries. Science foundations of 14 Muslim countries, including Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Indonesia, and Egypt, recently signed a statement by the Interacademy Panel (IAP, a global network of science academies), in support of the teaching of evolution, including human evolution”

    but later….

    “According to a more recent Pew study these numbers appear to increase slowly but steadily. For instance, a relatively large fraction of people accept human evolution in Kazakhstan (79%) and Lebanon (78%), but relatively few in Afghanistan (26%) and Iraq (27%), with most of the other Islamic countries somewhere in between”

  5. Posted August 27, 2017 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  6. Posted August 27, 2017 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe this. Without science, we will get nowhere.

  7. Eric
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    This article seems incredibly ironic when read in combination with your more recent one on the Onion’s coverage of CRISPR. Turning your back on science may never be a good idea, but turning your back on evolutionary biology at this specific time in human history seems to me almost guaranteed to result in state loss of power a few decades down the road. Equivalent to ‘forget those foreigners and their guns, it’s not traditional’ sort of mistake.

  8. friendlypig
    Posted August 29, 2017 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    I remember watching a You tube video some time ago (can’t find it now) where a young Muslim, who had obviously read On the Origin of Species is asking an Imam, who had also apparently read the book, if Darwin was correct. The reply from the Imam was: You must believe in what the Koran teaches, because if Darwin is correct then Islam has no basis on fact.

  9. Posted August 29, 2017 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    I wonder how long the textbooks had included evolution there.

    • Posted September 19, 2017 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

      I asked an old Iraqi teacher about this question and he answered “the textbooks had included evolution theory chapter about 25 year or 30”

      • Posted September 20, 2017 at 4:21 am | Permalink

        You used two different names in two comments, please stick with one.

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