BBC Bitesize has retracted the claim that the Church banned dissection in the Middle Ages after a complaint from an academic.

The popular revision website had told GCSE students that “the Church played a big part in medical stagnation” partly by “forbidding the dissection of corpses”.

Professor David Paton, who wrote a blogpost for catholicherald.co.uk noting that historians had dismissed this as a myth, also wrote to the BBC complaints department.

The BBC agreed to remove the claim about dissection and said senior management would be informed about the change.

Prof Paton said he hoped exam boards and GCSE textbooks that still promote the myth would “take the lead of the BBC and stop claiming that the Church banned dissection”. But he argued that the page was still inaccurate, since it claimed that Catholicism was responsible for “stagnation” by promoting “prayer and superstition”, and made no note of the Church’s contributions to medical progress.

Prof Paton said: “Although it is good to see some progress being made, the BBC Bitesize page still gives a very biased and misleading view of the Church’s role in the development of medicine. It is laughable when the only positive thing the BBC can find to say about the Church is that it encouraged people to go on the Crusades. Children learning GCSE history deserve better.”

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