CALLS for an official ban on the teaching of young earth creationism in science lessons in Scottish schools have been kicked out by MSPs.

Politicians from across the political spectrum agreed it was unnecessary for the Scottish Government to introduce new guidance on the issue.

Instead, MSPs from the Scottish Parliament's education committee said schools should rely on the professionalism of teachers and the existing inspection regime to ensure such theories were not taught as scientific fact.

Last year, the Scottish Secularist Society (SSS) urged ministers to bar the "presentation" of young earth doctrines as viable alternatives to the established science of evolution in the classroom.

The SSS lodged the petition after claiming schools were being subjected to an "attack" on established scientific theories from imported US doctrines known as creation science and intelligent design.

However, Dr Alasdair Allan, Minister for Learning and Science, wrote to MSPs saying it was preferable to leave the curriculum to teachers and "enable them to exercise their professional judgement.... rather than legislate to ban issues like creationism in specific areas".

Mr Allan also said no concerns had been raised with national inspection body Education Scotland and stressed existing guidance on the science curriculum made no reference to young earth creationism as a "legitimate scientific theory".

Closing the SSS petition, SNP MSP Stewart Maxwell, the convener of the education committee, said: "It should therefore not be taught as part of science lessons."

Rev David Robertson, the next Free Church of Scotland Moderator, welcomed the decision, but went on to accuse the SSS of scaremongering.

He said: "The clear position of the Scottish Government and the teaching unions is that we don't need politicians telling teachers what they should teach and this is a position we completely agree with.

"The secularists failed to produce any concrete evidence that creationism was being taught as science in any classroom in Scotland, so in reality this petition was an extraordinary waste of parliamentary time. I am quite convinced that our politicians have better things to do."