WARSAW: Poland's deputy education minister called for the influential evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin not to be taught in the country's schools, branding them as lies in comments published on Saturday.
"The theory of evolution is a lie, an error that we have legalised as a common truth," Miroslaw Orzechowski, the deputy minister in the country's right-wing coalition government, was quoted as saying.
Orzechowski said that the theory was a feeble idea of an aged non-believer, who had come up with it perhaps because he was a vegetarian and lacked fire inside him.
The evolution theory of the 19th-century British naturalist holds that existing animals and plants are the result of natural selection which eliminated inferior species gradually over time. This conflicts with the creationist theory that God created all life on the planet in a finite number.
Orzechowski called for a debate on whether Darwin's theory should be taught in schools. "We should not teach lies, just as we should not teach bad instead of good, or ugliness instead of beauty," he said.
"We are not going to withdraw Darwin's theory from the school books, but we should start to discuss it," he added.
The deputy minister is a member of a Catholic far-right political group, the League of Polish Families. The league's head, Roman Giertych, is education minister in the conservative coalition government of Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski.
Giertych's father Maciej, who represents the league in the European Parliament, organised a discussion there last week on Darwinism. He described the theory as not supported by proof and called for it to be removed from school books.
The far-right joined the government in May when Kaczynski's ruling conservative Law and Justice party, after months of ineffective minority government, formed a coalition including LPR and the populist Sambroon party.
Roman Giertych has not spoken out on Darwinism, but the far-right politician's stance on other issues has stirred protest in Poland since he joined the government.
A school pupils' association was expected to demonstrate in front of the education ministry on Saturday to call for his resignation.