No evolution in Junior Cert? Say it ain’t so!

Okay, let’s get one thing straight.
The greatest single idea that mankind has ever – and I mean ever – come up with is The Theory of Evolution.
It is the greatest idea in the history of the universe, and even comes ahead of the idea of the origin of the universe itself. And I say this as a physics graduate.
It’s not on the Junior Cert Science syllabus.
see for yourself

Now I do believe there is a general outcry that not enough students are taking science subjects at Leaving Cert level, and indeed this revised syllabus was designed partly to address this.
Indeed the ‘Introduction and Rationale’ section of the syllabus states:
“Arising out of their experiences in the junior cycle, it is hoped that many students will be encouraged to study one of the subjects in the senior cycle, thus preparing themselves for further study or work in this area”.

So why would you leave out the most incredible, stupendous, unbelievable (almost!), bizarre, wonderful, horrible, exciting, humbling, uplifting, emotional and awe-inspiring idea that the students could ever possible come across in thier lives, never mind in their school experience?

And here’s the kick.
Every so often the media here grab hold of the fact that the U.S. education system is having difficultity keeping evolution in their syllabus, and we think to ourselves “oh those silly yanks”.
Meanwhile we remain in ignorant bliss that we never had it on our syllabus in the first place.
Of course, the percentage of the school-going public that take Biology at leaving cert level do come across this, but for the rest of us there is nothing.
At least not in their science education.

Interestingly, while I don’t see a mention of it in the Junior Cert Religion syllabus (now there’s another missed opportunity! Imagine being able to make religion interesting?), it does make an appearance in the Leaving Cert Religion syllabus (check it out here – it’s first mentioned on page 103 of 110 in the pdf document).
Here’s part of what it says:
“Outline Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and highlight the major areas of conflict with religion”
Now there’s one to get your teeth into.

This section also delves into the origins of the universe, along with concepts like Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. I reckon there’ll be some serious nervous religion teachers going in to class that day.

The fact that there’s nothing about The Big Bang or Origin of the Universe in the Junior Cert or Leaving Cert physics syllabus is for another day . . .



  1. Thanks a million for this information.They scarcely pay lip service to evolution in school.Do you have any information on evolution in the leaving cert biology syllabus .I think theres about 8 pages , 5 of which are given over to the evolution of the horses leg.Also is it even mandatory to study it or is it at the teachers discretion?I’ve been trawling through the system as i am writing an article on it.If you could get in touch with me i’d greatly appreciate it.

  2. It gets better.
    I checked the Leaving Cert Biology syllabus here:

    Click to access lc_biology_sy.pdf

    I entered “evolution” in the search box at the top of the page and it came up with two ‘hits’, so naturally I assumed the search function wasn’t working properly. So I checked the entire document.
    And there it was: page 24
    Evolution: Definition of “evolution”. Theory of Natural Selection. Evidence from any one source.

    And that’s it.

    I presume the horses leg acts as evidence from one source.

    Strange. Very strange.

  3. I’m not surprised,after all, 95% of primary schools are owned and controlled by the the Catholic Church, which is most definitely endowed by the State, contrary to the Constitution. I recently attended a sex education evening in our local school, as my son,aged 12, is in 6th class. The counsellor giving the talk,whilst a pleasant fellow, avoided any mention of contraception, declined to talk about masturbation when one of the parents objected, and referred to humans being made in “the image of God”. So much for evolution! Anyway, thanks for bringing my attention to the glaring ommision of evolution from the Junior Cert from the curriculum, as my daughter is in 3rd year, and , as you say , evolution is the most important idea in biology bar none, and has wide ranging implications for all other aspects of life.

  4. Hello Peter,
    the Catholic Church angle is interesting in that at Secondary level they don’t have nearly the same hold over us, yet Evolution is still little more than a footnote. It may be that the original syllabus was indeed influenced in this way, I don’t know.

    What interests me is why so few teachers (particulary Biology teachers) seem concerned.

  5. I am also a physics and maths graduate and i do not accepted the theory of evolution as true. there is simply a lack of evidence. By the way the catholic church has no problem accepting evolution and it does not believe in a six day creation either. The theory of evolution is bad science. There is also alot of bad side effects from the belief in Darwinianism.

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