Earlier in the year, a number of scientists in Hong Kong complained to the territory's Education Bureau about the new biology syllabus for schools, which included a clause stating that "in addition to Darwin's theory, students are encouraged to explore other explanations for evolution and the origins of life, to help illustrate the dynamic nature of scientific knowledge" (the latest version of the document on the bureau's website lacks this statement). Such wording has been used by advocates of creationism and Intelligent Design (ID) in the United States to legitimate the teaching of these so-called 'alternatives' to evolutionary theory in classrooms.
In May, a group of 62 people including education professionals replied to this criticism saying that there was no problem with the above wording and continued to impute that ID was a valid alternative to evolution. As a result, a group called the Concern Group for Hong Kong Science Education has set up an online petition calling on the Education Bureau to clarify its position on the teaching of evolution and to refute the claims of ID supporters in Hong Kong.
It's interesting how these hot-ticket issues have somehow become transplanted wholesale into a society which until lately has not seen such a polarized opposition between the secular and religious. Lacking the social and historical context (or baggage) of the ID debate in the US, the position of the pro-ID supporters in Hong Kong would seem very mild and entirely reasonable to an unsuspecting public. After all, what's wrong with teaching 'both sides' of the issue? To those who are aware of former creationist arguments against evolution, however, the sort of evidence and explanation used by the pro-ID camp seem uncannily familiar. They are not so much in favor of scientific even-handedness (suppose one wanted to teach 'both sides' of the Newtonian theory of gravitation...) but specifically wish to discredit evolution. As such it is quite disingenuous for the issue to be framed as merely giving voice to 'alternatives'.
As a social phenomenon, I'm quite curious to see how this plays out. Why is it that the ID or creationist movement has only started gaining prominence beyond the US around this decade? Reports have surfaced in the news about similar problems plaguing science educators in the UK and other European countries. In Turkey, the creationist movement is largely driven by one man, who goes by the pen name Harun Yahya, who although framing his opposition to evolution from an Islamic perspective, simply reuses the arguments of the Christian anti-evolutionists. So, future intellectual historians of our times: why is this happening now? And why simultaneously in societies so different from each other and from the US, where all this started?