Galen Wolffit (wolffit) wrote,
Galen Wolffit
wolffit

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rehash time - creationism in schools

There seems to exist a major breech in knowledge when it comes to religion vs. science. It's manifesting itself right now from this whole creationism vs. darwinism debate going on as to what should be taught in schools. I've done my research. Here is what I have found.

The battle over the teaching of creation science in the public schools will not be resolved soon. The concept of separation of church and state that is contained within the First Amendment of the Constitution requires that public schools do not teach that:

one religion as superior to any other religion, or that religion is superior to a secular lifestyle.

Thus, creation science COULD be taught in the public schools as part of the regular science curriculum. It can be argued that it is important that it be taught in order that the students become fully aware of the range of beliefs about origins. But, in order to be constitutional in the U.S.:

Creation science can ONLY be taught as a concept that some people believe in; it cannot be taught as actual truth.

Creation science based on the biblical book of Genesis cannot constitutionally be discussed in isolation. The beliefs of other religions, and of secular movements would have to be taught along with the Judeo-Christian belief. Otherwise, Judaism and Christianity would seen as being promoted by the school as superior to other religions and to a secular lifestyle.

The theory of evolution is much more than just a "theory." The word "theory" in normal usage means a guess or a hunch. But in science, a "theory" is a belief that has been verified by actual experimentation and/or observation.

Most biologists believe that evolution is more than a theory; it is an established fact. The earth's life forms have evolved over billions of years. Species of animals have been recently observed as continuing to evolve, both in the lab and field.

Here is what keeps happening every time someone gets the bright idea to allow creationism in the classrooms of public schools:

1987: National: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public schools cannot teach creationism in science classes.

Late 1990's: State school boards in Arizona, Alabama, Illinois, New Mexico, Texas and Nebraska have tried to either no longer mandate the teaching of evolution, or de-emphasize the teaching of evolution

1999: Kansas: The Kansas Board of Education abandoned the recommendations of their own science panel and established new state science standards. They announced that students would not be tested on their knowledge of evolution. "Studies of data regarding fossils, geologic tables, cosmological information are encouraged. But standards regarding origins are not mandated."
This policy was overturned in 2001 after the election of a new board.

2000: Louisiana: The U.S. Supreme Court declared the Tangipahoa Parish school board's disclaimer to be unconstitutional. The board had required its teachers to announce that evolution was just "presented to inform students of the scientific concept and [was] not intended to influence or dissuade the biblical version of creation or any other concept..."

2001: Hawaii: Denise Matsumoto, chair of the Regular Education Committee, of the Hawaii State Board of Education proposed that evolution and creation science be taught as competing theories in science class. It was unanimously rejected by the board.

2005: Georgia: A federal judge ordered that the Cobb County school board remove stickers that they had ordered placed on science text books. The stickers state: "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered."

Creationism vs. Darwinism. They are NOT both theories. They are NOT equal!

The theory of evolution could theoretically be falsified at any time. Finding absolute evidence of a screwdriver, or the remains of a camp fire, or a human burial site imbedded in a rock layer with trilobite fossils would suggest that major revisions to biological evolutionary beliefs might necessary. Such a discovery would show that some intelligent life forms existed at the same time as trilobites did. Finding a verified human footprint in the middle of a fossilized dinosaur footprint would also throw the theory of evolution into question, unless an alternate explanation could be found. (Many such footprints have been found, but all have been shown to be non-human: either pious hoaxes manually carved into rocks to support the faith of believers, or weathered footprints of other animals.)

Creation scientists have developed many indicators that have convinced them that evolution never happened. Some are based on misunderstandings of physics. All can be easily rebutted.

To most conservative Christians, creation science is a valid form of science. It is mainly derived from the biblical book of Genesis, whose authors were inspired by God to write material that is free of error. In fact, it is the only error-free explanation of the origins of the earth's life forms, the earth's geological features, the earth itself, and the rest of the universe. It is also the only complete account of origins; it has no missing information or gaps in knowledge.

To scientists who are not religious conservatives, creation science is not actually a part of science for a number of reasons: Its conclusions cannot be falsified. The essence of the scientific method is that any hypothesis, conclusion, belief, or theory can only be considered tentative truth. It may be falsified at any time in the future as new evidence surfaces.

Creation science, in North America, is generally based on a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis in the Bible as inerrant truth. Thus it cannot be falsified. As courts have agreed, this deficiency alone is sufficient to classify creation science as a non-science or pseudo-science. Its core beliefs are not based on observations of nature. Rather, they are based on a pre-scientific religious text, the Bible.

Essentially all geological and biological scientists view the the conclusions of creation science to be false.

Still want to teach it in school?

- Keman
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