header
4thought.tv: Should creationism be taught in schools?
  • AnthonySmithAnthonySmith November 2011
    It seems that Channel 4 has a very short moral/ethical clip every day at 7.55pm. This week the theme is "Should creationism be taught in schools?" You can see all the clips here:

    http://www.4thought.tv/themes/should-creationism-be-taught-in-schools/michael-reiss

    I've linked to the Michael Reiss clip, because I think it is very clear and reasonable. His view is that creationism should not be presented in school as though it had wide acceptance within mainstream scientific circles, but that discussion of the topic should be welcomed, in the interests of promoting respectful understanding of those who understand things differently. This would help the creationist students to learn about evolution in a non-threatening way, and as this would help the atheist students to understand what it is like to have a religious faith.
  • exchemist June 2012
    Anthony, nice to find something we agree on!  

    I'm all in favour of explaining this sort of thing, so long as it is done as Michael Reiss suggests, under RE or cultural studies, rather than as part of the science curriculum. What I would also like to see, at the same time, is an explanation that creationism is by no means a requirement of Christianity and indeed how mainstream Christianity has been able to adapt its interpretations of its faith in the light of scientific discovery - i.e. to show there have been various responses by religion to the apparent "challenge" from science. 

    But overall this must be a good way to help avoid US style polarisation into absurd Science v. Religion stereotypes occurring in the UK.
  • croc June 2012
    Karl Popper, famous philosopher of science, said
    “Darwinism is not a testable scientific theory, but a
    metaphysical [religious] research programme ....” Michael
    Ruse, evolutionist science philosopher admitted, “Evolution
    is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning,
    and it is true of evolution still today.” If “you can’t teach
    religion in science classes”, why is evolution taught?
  • GavinM June 2012
    Because there is a major difference between 'evolution' as science i.e. an evidence based story to account for the diversity of organic life on Earth and/or discussions on the physical mechanism that bought that about and with 'evolution' as a philosophy of existence (i.e. the so called Darwinism you mention above) that attempts to borrow the well established authority and credentials of the first definition to validate itself.

    The first is perfectly fine to teach in a science class, the second is not. And unfortunately it is the second one that tends to rankle a lot of Christians and leads them to reject the first as they don't grasp the difference and so throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    The conflation of the two is something put out by those with an axe to grind against Christianity (for a variety of reasons) and unfortunately many Christians fall for it. This leads to a false dichotomy of evolution or Christianity, battle lines are drawn and sides taken, etc etc.

    Your question about teaching religion/evolution in a science class is unfortunately symptomatic of this. My own pastor also raised this point with me recently and as I said to him if anybody is teaching the second definition of evolution in a science class they are over stepping the line as much as they would be by teaching Young Earth Creationism or indeed theistic evolution. The presentation of all those views should have a place in the curriculum but not in a science classroom.

    Fortunately my experience with interacting with teachers over the years suggests that they do indeed teach what is appropriate on the whole.

    Perhaps the best forum for considering these issues is in our churches, but in a way that isn't simply 'us or them'. We have long neglected the challenge of teaching a theology that is able to fully cast scientific advances (such as evolution) as part of God's creation, not to fear them and not to rush to judgement on new ideas.
  • exchemist June 2012
    Croc, what you don't say is that Popper later retracted his remark, once he understood natural selection better.

    “I have changed my mind about the testability and logical status of the theory of natural selection; and I am glad to have an opportunity to make a recantation” (Dialectica 32:344-346).


    Perhaps you unaware of this.

    Regarding Ruse, my understanding of what he was actually saying (i.e. in context) is that he was referring to the influence of the idea of evolution on thought in society, in ways far beyond the science itself.

    Perhaps you were unaware of this too. 

    I would observe that selective quote-mining seems to be a popular technique among creationists. I do not myself find it a very persuasive form of argument. See Wiki article attached :- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_quoting_out_of_context

      

  • croc June 2012

    Exchemist

    What I was trying to show is that there is so much diversity of opinion on the whole subject that I find it very difficult to accept that there is only 1 right answer.

    My own view is that all views of origins should be taught, as in strictly scientific terms (as defined by what I was taught years ago, observable and experiential) no position can be proven i.e I cannot demonstrate in a lab 6 day creation, an evolutionist cannot show life being formed in a test tube.

    Only by discussing/showing all options can a reasoned decision be reached

     

  • exchemist June 2012
    Well Croc, you've a thick skin, I'll give you that. 

    Reproducing a couple of misleading, mined quotes does not begin to show there is "diversity of opinion" on the subject. What it does do, though, is give the readers of this thread a vivid illustration of what I've been saying about the creationist movement being riddled with intellectual dishonesty. Yet, oblivious to this, in the next breath you claim, apparently with a straight face, that creationism deserves equal treatment with proper science!  

    As for "an evolutionist cannot show life being formed in a test tube", words almost fail. It is awfully hard to see this statement as anything other than a wilful misunderstanding of science, at several levels, in order to try to ridicule it. It's barely above the level of "show me the monkey you are descended from, hahaha". It is hard to resist the suspicion that someone who gets into this degree of muddle over the origins of life vs. the predictions of evolution, and yet can quote obscure bits of Popper and Ruse, is not making even an honest attempt to understand the science.   


  • GavinM June 2012
    Croc,

    There is only a "diversity of opinion" on evolution as a philosophical opinion i.e. what we make of the evidence (the science) that biological evolution has occurred. The scientific community is overwhelmingly behind the evidence for and mechanisms that have been shown to generate evolution.

    It only appears that there is the range of opinions you are confused by because we Christians have become very good at allowing the very few handful of fringe voices and personalities equal (actually greater) weighting than the other 99.9% of voices that disagree with them.

    I can completely sympathise with your opinion as I used to share it myself, but no longer do. The evidence for evolution convinced me otherwise. But to so I had to look into it myself from genuine sources and not from the cherry picked, misunderstanding views of those who seek to attack the science to support particular theological views.

    The evidence for biological evolution is overwhelming as the means by which God created the diversity of life around us. Our personal theology should be able to cope with that and if not then that is what needs working on instead of simply denying the evidence.

    Biological evolution threatens in no way the lavish grace, love and interest to humanity that God has for us. Christians need to accept that and enjoy creation for what it is rather than what their particular church tradition might demand.
  • croc June 2012

    Exchemist/Gavin

    Exchemist - I'm disappointed as I was trying to get a dialogue going not to receive a harangue. Typical evolutionist reaction 'Science has proved' but no evidence provided.

    I state you cannot prove something and your answer is to say 'Science has proven it'

    HOW

    Your answers are standard evolutionist condescension with no attempt to show me where I am wrong.

    How did life begin and what demonstrable proof do you have.  Convince me with facts.

    Give me a provable example of evolution (Not Adaptation or Speciation)

                        Science involves experimenting to figure out how things work; how they operate. Why is evolution, a theory about history, taught as if it is the same as this operational science? You cannot do experiments, or even observe what happened, in the past. Asked if evolution has been observed, Richard Dawkins said, “Evolution has been observed. It’s just that it hasn’t been observed while it’s happening.”

    How did life originate? Evolutionist Professor Paul Davies admitted, “Nobody knows how a mixture of lifeless chemicals spontaneously organized themselves into the first living cell.”1 Andrew Knoll, professor of biology, Harvard, said, “we don’t really know how life originated on this planet”.2 A minimal cell needs several hundred proteins. Even if every atom in the universe were an experiment with all the correct amino acids present for every possible molecular vibration in the supposed evolutionary age of the universe, not even one average-sized functional protein would form. So how did life with hundreds of proteins originate just by chemistry without intelligent design?

    Gavin, it's another discussion, but actually evolution attacks the basis of faith we have in God. Ironically Richard Dawkins responds very well to your position

    http://creation.com/dawkins-on-compromising-churchians

  • exchemist June 2012
    Can anyone tell me what a "churchian" is? This term is new to me. It sounds, rather counterintuitively, as if it may be a PEJORATIVE expression for Christians who, er, go to church. Can this be true - seems like something out of Monty Python? 
  • exchemist June 2012
    Croc, I would certainly agree any further discussion between us is pointless. I'm content for any other present or future readers to draw their own conclusions from our exchanges, as I think in the course of them I have been able to get most of my main arguments across.  
  • SimonSimon June 2012
    croc - the reason why "evolutionists" (or indeed "evilutionist" as someone once called me!) are not keen to go through all the evidence online is because we do not have time to teach the entirety of a science curriculum. To correct/argue with some of your comments we need to pretty much start with GCSE science and then move right up to at least degree level - and to be fair if that was something you'd be interested in doing you would have done so by now without our/my efforts!

    Although I enjoy internet forums and find them helpful to advance my own learning and understanding, they can never be a substitute for actually knuckling down and studying a subject. So how can the layman decide - either trust those of us with PhD's in the subject or go off and get your own!!
  • croc June 2012

    As said previously you will not answer any questions but respond with your 'superior understanding'.

    I asked a question to get answers which I would then check out to see for myself. That opportunty to explore is taken away because you do not like challenges to your thinking. I have to assume that you cannot demonstrate I am in error so you don't even try

    And in Simon's case libel other people and then not give evidence to support it. ( They actually say on their website people will accuse them of lying and dishonesty, but they never offer evidence when challenged. Nice to see them being proven right)

    exchemist  You have stated your position I agree, but I do not recall any actual evidence being provided to justify it.

    What's he point of having a PhD if you cannot teach/explain your subject.

    And of course I can leave it to all the PhD's and professors who do not subscribe to your view.   Oooops, Sorry Simon, I forgot, since they don't agree with you they are not very good scientists are they. - BUT, they ALWAYS say why they believe as they do and provide evidence to support it. Makes a nice contrast

     

     

  • SimonSimon June 2012
    That opportunty to explore is taken away because you do not like challenges to your thinking.

    No one likes challenges to their thinking, however as I spend most of my waking hours challenging my own thinking (which is why I've switched from creationist to ID to theistic evolutionist on this subject and then did degrees in philosophy and ethics to work out why!) I submit that my track record on being challenged and then changing my mind on this issue is somewhat better than most other peoples!