HYNDBURN schoolchildren are being short-changed about the facts of life and our origins, an Accrington vicar claims in his latest, and ninth, book.
The Rev Kevin Logan suggests in the book, Responding to the Challenge of Evolution, that evolution is a theory in crisis.
He said: "The scientists had to considerably change Charles Darwin's original ideas a generation ago. Now new thinking is forcing even bigger changes to a theory that still has thousands of missing links.''
It is the second time former journalist Mr Logan, vicar of Christ Church, Accrington, has queried evolution, the first being in the novel Survival of the Fittest, published in 2000.
He explained: "I'm not asking people to ditch evolution. I simply want the debate to be re-opened in our classrooms, laboratories and society, as it has been across the world.
"In the States, Canada, the Netherlands and even Russia, evolution and six-day creation are taught or discussed side by side, as well as the idea that evolution could have been the Creator's way of making everything.
"The way evolution is taught, devoid of God and values, is totally inadequate to explain where we came from and how we got here'', insists Mr Logan, who also leads the chaplaincy team at St Christopher's High School, Accrington.
He added: "Pure evolution teaches that survival of the fittest and a bit of mutation is all that's needed but scientists are now saying this idea is too simple to explain our beautiful and highly complex world.''
Mr Logan believes that this blunt survival-of-the-fittest idea is crippling our society by implicitly teaching students that jungle law is what counts in relationships, economics and other areas of life.
He said: "They do not only get this in the classroom. Survival-of-the-fittest television reinforces it. We ditch the weakest blind date, vote off unfit pop idols and cheer celebrities fighting against each other for survival in Big Brother houses, boxing rings and survival islands.''
Mr Logan, who worked on the Accrington Observer and Lancashire Evening Telegraph before becoming a vicar, says he has taken a journalist's eye view of the subject in his book. He explained: "I give each side a fair hearing. I present the evidence for and against evolution, for an old earth and a young earth, and then invite the reader to be judge and jury.
"In this way we can again open up debate on this crucial topic. The end result is that today's children will get the whole truth and be able to make up their own minds. It might also instil the missing social behaviour that is so lacking today. It is wrong to give one side of the story all the way up to A-levels, ignoring all the huge questions that surround evolution. We are not giving our kids, or our society, a fair chance.''
Responding to the Challenge of Evolution is published by Kingsway, priced £8.99, and is available through all bookshops.