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Thursday, January 13, 2005

Scopes Monkey See, Scopes Monkey Do

For non-Christians, like myself, the idea that creationism should be taught on equal footing is absurd. The philosophical teachings in The Bible, which are based on stories that almost by rule cannot be proven, are no match for the massive body of evidence supporting evolution.

The only reason to believe in creation is if you have "faith" that it is true. There are no facts, and almost all of the suppositions behind creationism are contradicted by science.

Of course, Christian faith is a helluva drug. It blinds most creationists to rational debate about the issue, because they can answer any evidence of evolution with some variation of this argument: God is testing our faith by planting false clues. When you have faith, you can believe anything. As the evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould once wrote:
"The rise of creationism is politics, pure and simple; it represents one issue (and by no means the major concern) of the resurgent evangelical right. Arguments that seemed kooky just a decade ago have reentered the mainstream."
For example, a federal judge ruled this week that that school officials in Cobb County, Georgia (one of the reddest of red states), must remove stickers placed in textbooks two years ago that said this:
"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."
The judge said that the stickers were added at the behest of Christian groups who want children to think of evolution as a hunch. The groups were troubled that evolution was taught as a fact and not countered with rival theories, namely creationism.

If Christians want to believe that, that is fine with me, but keep that at home or in church where it belongs.

Gould has an excellent essay on the fundamentalists effort to undermine evolution education here. I suggest you read it.

UPDATE: Teachers at a Pennsylvania school are refusing "the instructions of local officials to read a statement in class today questioning the theory of evolution". In this case, Christian dogma is being disguised as science, which is exactly what Gould addressed in the abovementioned essay. They anti-evolutionists call their theory "intelligent design," which argues that life is too complicated to have evolved into its present state. Gould, as you can see in the essay, shows how this tactic is used to "disprove" evolution without really disproving anything, while advancing a theory that is "proven" because the other theory has been "disproven." Confused? You should be.


Blogger warriorjason said...

I agree that creationism should not be taught "on an equal footing" as evolution but I have not heard of any school that is going to give it "equal footing". The various schools just wanted to mention it as a foot note that both are just "theories".

12:39 PM


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