Evolution vs. Creationism:
Evolution is a gradual process in which something changes into a
different and usually more complex or better form. Charles Darwin
proposed a theory, now called the Theory of Evolution, stating that
animals differentiated into species when the survivors of a changing
environment were able to pass their genetic traits to their offspring.
IN OTHER WORDS, theory of evolution regards the similarity of
primates (monkeys) to humans as an indication of a common ancestry. The theory of evolution is a scientific theory
that can be tested by observations and application of the scientific method. Support for the theory of evolution is
based on fossil evidence that has accumulated throughout the geologic history of the Earth.
Creationism, or Intelligent Design, is the religious belief that a higher power created the animals and everything
that exists today through divine intervention. Religious beliefs, such as creationism, have to be accepted on faith
and cannot be tested or investigated. Creationism beliefs are usually based
on a strict interpretation of the Bible or other religious holy books. The
book of Genesis starts with the statement "In the beginning God created
the heaven and the earth", and goes on to describe how in six days God
created the plants, the animals, the sun, the moon, and the stars. Biblical
interpretation infers that the world was created about 6000 years ago. The
modern creationism movement received support from the 1961 publication
of The Genesis Flood by John C. Whitcomb and Henry Morris. Neither
author had any formal training in geology, but they argued that Noah's
flood had laid down all the sedimentary rock before erosion carved the
Earth's current topography (mountains, valleys and physical landscape).
Controversy
Conflicts
between
Evolution
and
Creationism occur when evolutionists argue
that creationism is not a scientific theory
because it cannot be tested by the scientific method, whereas creationists argue
that evolutionists do not take God into account and that evolution is just a theory
rather than a fact. Scientific methodology which is based on physical evidence can
never agree with the creationists’ faith-based belief that the Old Testament of
the Bible, which was written by Israelites around 1400 BC, is the only true account
of creation. Creationists
continue
to
disbelieve
Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theory even though his
theories have been supported through many scientific
studies.
Science requires that a hypothesis or theory should be
testable and supported by physical evidence, whereas religion
requires acceptance of a doctrine or belief based on faith.
For this reason, conflicts between evolution and creationism
can never be resolved. DNA testing has shown that humans
and chimpanzees have a 98-percent genetic similarity,
providing evidence that apes and humans have a common
ancestry. Scientists are willing to accept these results as
evidence that man is a specific type of ape. Creationists find this conclusion unacceptable, since they believe that
"God created man in his own image", as stated in Genesis 1:27.
1. Explain what the theory of evolution is.
a. What traditionally held belief did it contradict?
2. What evidence do supporters of evolution cite for their beliefs?
3. What evidence do supporters of creationism cite for their beliefs?
4. The article makes the argument that evolutionists and creationists will never be able to reconcile
[agree with each other]. Why not?
5. What is the message of the “After Eden” cartoon?
a. Which side of the debate does it support? What evidence from the cartoon supports your
decision?
6. What is the message of the second cartoon?
a. Which side of the debate does it support? What evidence from the cartoon supports your
decision?
7. Galileo once challenged the church much like Darwin. How is this a modern day example of the
‘continuing’ Scientific Revolution?
8. How do you feel about this issue? Do you think evolution in a viable theory? Do you think Darwin
was right to question the Bible and the church? Are there some things that should not be
questioned? Explain your answer.
Scope trial – first 10 minutes - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2m0e00NNy5I
or
Scopes trial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhE26ooD_Vo
News story on creation vs. evolution https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zhEj_Sgnuo
or
Anderson cooper debate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40Q8p3GqPqQ
Goofy rap: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Opch6LqcjHY
Reasons for teaching creationism in school
Reason: People want it
Regardless of your personal feelings on the matter, the wants and needs of the many out weigh the wants and needs of
the few and according to a poll of several thousand Americans, twenty percent believed that only evolution should be
taught in schools, and sixteen percent believed that only creationism should be taught. The remainder supported the
notion of teaching both: evolution in the science class, and creation in a philosophy class. Either way you look at it, that’s
a decent chunk of people asking for the same thing. You don’t even need that many people to agree on something to
elect the president.
Reason: It’s a legitimate belief system
Though evolution is almost universally accepted by scientists, a great deal of non-scientists still believe in some of the
teaching of creationism. For example, a Gallup poll in 2010 revealed that four in ten Americans believed in strict
Creationism, whereas in the UK that number sits at closer to two in ten. Whether or not you believe it isn’t the point, the
point is that this is a belief held by a significant number of people—people who, like you and me—pay taxes for their
children’s education.
Reason: Religious studies are painfully lacking
Religious studies are almost non-existent in the Western world in the public school system. Some would say this is a
good thing, as it separates the church and the state, but is it really a bad thing to teach children how to better
understand their fellow man? According to statistics, there are well over a dozen separate belief systems in the US
alone. It isn’t a bad thing to teach children about the various aspects of these difference faiths in a non-biased way. Even
Darwin himself expressed the notion that ignorance is more dangerous than knowing nothing.
Reason: It’s important for children to know all ways of thinking
It’s easy to sit back and say that we should only teach children evolution because we perceive that as the right way,
however, school isn’t just about maths, science, English and history. There’s a side of education usually referred to as
the hidden curriculum. This is the side effect of regular school life and is how most children pick up social norms, beliefs
and basically the things that will mold them as a person. Creationism and other such belief systems inspire debate and
encourage children to articulate thoughts that help them develop skills that simply cannot be gained through a strictly
academic education.
Reason: Freedom of speech and expression works both ways
Arguing that creationism is forcing religion on children is akin to saying a history class on World War II is forcing fascism
on children. Living in a society that allows people to express their views openly without fear of hostility as long as they
do it nicely means that we will often have to hear things we disagree with. It’s important for children to know and
understand these views. Painting every issue as black and white, right and wrong gives them an unrealistic view of a
world. The same thing that gives you the right to not believe in religion gives other people the same right to practice it.
Reason: It’s an important part of history
Like it or not, creationism dominated human belief for centuries: even if you don’t believe it now, our ancestors did.
Why should we skip over an integral part of human history simply because many don’t agree with it today? If that were
true for all things we’d never teach children about World War II or slavery. If you don’t believe in creationism as a belief
system, you have to agree that it was one of the fundamental factors of human civilization for hundreds of years. As
such, it’s important that children are at least aware of it.
Reason to not teach Creationism in Schools
It's religious discrimination.
Teaching creationism privileges a single religious viewpoint. Most mainstream Christians, Jews and Muslims, along with
Hindus, Buddhists, deists, and those of other faiths, reject many or all of the doctrines held by self-styled creationists.
So you are encouraging the study of the bible and showing favoritism to one specific religion over another.
Covering the entire spectrum of religious beliefs about origins might be appropriate for a comparative religion class,
but it is not appropriate for science classes.
Teachers are encouraged to teach both sides of the arguments but this is taking Christianity’s side
Furthermore, seemingly neutral policies such as "teach the controversy" or "teach both sides" actually single out
particular religious viewpoints and place them in opposition to mainstream science. Students could come away from
their science classes with the understanding that, for instance, fundamentalist Christianity is particularly hostile to
modern biology. Thus, policies requiring or allowing the teaching of creationism could lead to discrimination against
the very religions they are intended to defend.
It's illegal.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution forbids the government from establishing religion. This mean that public
schools can not give special privileges to any religion. Since creationism is a sectarian religious view, it cannot be given
preferential treatment. The school board should be prohibited from writing this into the school curriculum because of
separation of church and state.
It’s bad science.
Standard creationist claims — about the age of the Earth, the pattern of descent of living creatures, and human
history— are contradicted by scientific evidence, and were rejected by mainstream science over a century ago.
Teaching such claims in science class misinforms and mis-educates students. There is no evidence to back up
creationists views.
It would damage our students' understanding of evolution, one of the most significant theories in science, critical to
unifying biology, to integrating biology with geology and astronomy, and to establishing the scientific foundations of
modern medicine and agriculture.
The Scientific Method is essential to understanding how science works. Creationist claims create confusion about the
nature of the scientific research, the way scientists actually obtain and evaluate evidence, make and test hypotheses,
and continue to deepen our scientific understanding of natural processes. Thus, the damage of teaching creationism
goes deeper that the specific subject matter, and makes it harder for students to understand new scientific ideas
throughout their lives.