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“What Is The Danger of Teaching Creationism?” Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Posted by henry000 in anti-creationism, anti-evolution, anti-ID, creationism, education, evolution, God, intelligent design, science.
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This is a question asked by a fellow blogger Steve at Bits of Brain. Specifically, he would like to know what the impacts and consequences are for teaching creationism alongside of evolution in our schools:

So I remain curious as to what you see are the impacts, the consequences, the ramifications. What will HAPPEN to our children if one day our courts fail us and permit this craziness to enter the classrooms?

Naturally I was appalled by this question and so I left a couple of comments to his post, which I thought I will promote and repeat them up to a post here.

First of all here is the background. Brian at his nice blog Laelaps posted an entry titled “Combating Creationism with History“. Steve then replied with lots of questions, basically sympathesizing with the creationists and questioning why creationism must be fought against. Brian has done a lengthy reply which is worth a read, while I took a different angle in saying that it is important to combat the religious ideology because creationism and its various flavours have been a pest and great waste of resource to our educational systems.

Why is creationism dangerous? As Steve states:

… What is the danger?” What is the “threat” that creationism presents to our society, to our culture, and to our school-children?

Well, in a nutshell it is the same as teaching astrology, numerology or alchemy in our classes.

Education is established as a system to impart knowledge, values and attitudes to the children, while allowing them to learn and develop critical skills and habits.

There are several critical skills that our educational system teaches which arms the kids to become self sufficient and get more out of life. These skills include sports, using computer and learning foreign languages to other more abstract basic skill set such as critical thinking, problem solving and respecting others.

Creationism teaches none of the above – at its core it says an intelligent-designer-did-it and nothing more. Evolution, on the other hand, is a product of scientific disciplines, which is based upon several fundamental skills such problem solving and critical thinking. Now let us look at it n terms of bodies of knowledge, which for example include philosophy, arts, literature and history. Again, how does creationism fit in? What sort of knowledge does it provide?

The best category where creationism can fit in is science. But the problem is that it is not science and does not value any of the scientific fundamentals. It has nothing scientific. Granted, there are areas of uncertainty in it but this is quite normal in all scientific disciplines – just think about the fascinating unsolved mysteries in astrophysics and quantum physics. The ever-dwindling sets of unsolved problems and yet-to-be-explained phenomena are best left for science to deal with, not a religious doctrine that says god-did-it.

So we have established that creationism has absolutely no values. Therefore, the impact of teaching it in our classes is a great waste of resources. The ramification of teaching it is to dumb down or kids, and a direct insult to our educational systems.

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Comments»

1. Matt - Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Oddly enough, I just touched on this very subject at my own blog – all based in very recent personal experience as a professional educator.
Creationism simply does not belong in the classroom, it does not belong in any sort of educational centre – it belongs in a church and a church only.

2. Steve B - Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A strange dichotomy. You insist that creationism is by definition unscientific, and as such should remain only in church. In effect, ensuring that it remains unscientific.

By completely divorcing creationism and science a priori, you make it impossible to substantiate creationist concepts using scientific methods by ensuring that they cannot be considered in a scientific concept.

Because they are unscientific. Perhaps I have a non-standard view or approach to things that prevents me from being a “mainstream” creationist, but I believe you can follow the same steps, analyze the same date, investigate using the same methods, and come to a different conclusion.

To me, being a creationist doesn’t mean that you come up against a gnarly problem in physics or biology and simply say, “Hmm, I guess that’s just one of those God things. Moving along…

And I submit that it is disengenuous to broadly characterize all creationist as such.

Education is established as a system to impart knowledge, values and attitudes to the children

My question is, whose values and attitudes? You’ve established that it can’t be Christian values. So what, then? Atheistic values? Humanist values? Socialist? Eastern mysticism? Shaminism? New Age Gaia values? Who gets to be the arbiter of what “values” are “taught” to our children?

So we have established that creationism has absolutely no values

Where did we establish that? You proposed that creationism has no VALUE. It’s creationism’s values with which you seem to have such an issue.

3. h3nry - Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Hi Steve,

Basically your argument is that you don’t hold the mainstream Bible-thumping creationism view, but rather you see “creationism” as an alternative scientific theory to explain the fact of evolution.

In that case, we are not debating about evolution vs. creationism then. We are talking about the specific mechanism of evolution i.e. how evolution happens. The generally accepted theory is the Darwinian one – natural selection, variation at genetic levels, descent by modification, common ancestors etc, and you propose that other alternative and plausible theories to be taught at schools.

Let me know if this is what you are about. If so, you have misunderstood what we meant by “creationism”.

Values and attitudes are not about a particular religion or creed. No no, they are far more fundamental and important. The values and attitudes here mean the moral ones – e.g. don’t steal, respect for the elders, help the vulnerable, think rational, etc etc – you get the point.

It is in this regard that the Bible-thumping creationism has absolutely no values.

4. ollie - Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Why creationism doesn’t belong in the science classroom: it is not a part of mainstream science.

Surf to any university science department (of schools that have a research program and that don’t require some sort of religious creed of its faculty). You won’t find creationism researched and taught there. Period.

Teaching creationism in the science classroom would be giving it credibility that it doesn’t have in the scientific community.

5. Peti - Wednesday, August 8, 2007

And if we’re going to teach creationism, are we going to also provide detailed explanations of the origins of creation according to other cultures and religions?

Ditch the whole thing and teach the kids science. If creationism is scientifically proven later, teach it later. The idea doesn’t die because we don’t teach it in schools. At the same time, there is no reason to use kids as guinea pigs when we don’t have scientific proof that “creation” is the way it all happened. And there is a powerful amount of evidence for evolution.

6. chiefjack - Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Ah, the continuing debate of separation of church and state. As a non-believer in a single “creator”, I think that perhaps we should allow creationalism to be “featured” alongside the proper scientific explanation for what we’ve come to know as “life”. It would probably reveal to our young people much sooner how impossible the story really is that an all-powerful “cosmic magician” woke up and day and tealized he was lonely so he created a universe at the snap of his finger. Oops! Make that six snaps–on the seventh day he took some time off for football and a beer.

7. oldskychaos - Wednesday, August 8, 2007

I think it depends on what you mean by creationism. If you mean that a personal intelligent being created the universe, that perhaps that does belong in only the church. However, we can look at creationism in a much broader sense – I don’t think that it can be ‘either/or’ in science but to get children to think deeper about their world and their universe. The art of science is having a questioning. When you look deeper into the world and the mechanics of how things work, the more we understand, but at the same time we realise we don’t know enough. It is not unscientific to think that their may be a type of intelligence behind the universe we exist in, logically, their should be as there are an infinite amount of complexities in our existance that it is incomprehensable to think that this all exists due to chance unless ‘chance’ is a universal law we have yet to understand. There are so many things we still do not know, yet teaching anything as an absolute fact is irresponsible – there is no reason why we cannot introduce ideas to children – why not? Children are encouraged not to think – to regurgitate what they have been taught in exams rather than be allowed creative thoughts, creative experiments.

8. Steve B - Wednesday, August 8, 2007

“Values and attitudes are not about a particular religion or creed. No no, they are far more fundamental and important. The values and attitudes here mean the moral ones – e.g. don’t steal, respect for the elders, help the vulnerable, think rational, etc etc – you get the point.

It is in this regard that the Bible-thumping creationism has absolutely no values.”

Thou shall not kill.
Thou shall not steal.
Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife.
Thou shall not worship things made of rock or wood or plastic, or cinnamon rolls or grilled cheese sandwiches.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
The parable of the good samaritan.

Yeah, can’t see where that would come into play in teaching our children values.

Honestly, your problem doesn’t seem so much to be with creationism, as with the creationists. Not so much the concepts of creationism, but with the theology of it’s adherents.

Whatever.

9. h3nry - Thursday, August 9, 2007

Steve, I will have the same problems if astrology, flat-earth etc are being taught at schools. The recent Islamic creationism movement is making great noises and I have problem with it too. As other readers suggested would you have other types of creationism from various cultures and religions being taught at schools?

My problem is with why teach quakery at schools when the fact of evolution is firmly established, it is that simple.

Don’t take the “bible thumping” part out of context. Teaching creationism is not the same as teaching good moral values of the Bible or any other religion.

10. Marsha J. O'Brien - Thursday, August 9, 2007

“Critical skills – sports, computers, foreign languages, critical thinking, problem solving and RESPECTING OTHERS>First of all, dissolving someone else’s THEORY on our beginning is disrespect for the right of each of us to CHOOSE. Secondly, do you really think that human beings, as flawed as we are, through our “scientific study”, theory, and obviously YOUR PERSONAL philosophy, PROVE any of this theory…….How?

It’s all theory. Scientific proof is simply what is the consensus of scientific study. No one was here.

Where does our educational system teach us to love each other, to live on this earth without war, to respect each other and not try to
PUSH our beliefs on others?

Evolution was firmly established in one man’s theory! Accepted by many. Because you don’t believe what I believe that does not prove anything. All it does is show you are firm in what you believe. Even
Stephen Hawking admits a possibility of an infinite source.

Einstein said “I want to know God’s thoughts. The rest are details.”
Are you in the intellectual realm they share? I certainly am not.

11. cragar - Thursday, August 9, 2007

Evolution was firmly established in one man’s theory! Accepted by many. Because you don’t believe what I believe that does not prove anything. All it does is show you are firm in what you believe. Even
Stephen Hawking admits a possibility of an infinite source.

Marsha, the problem many would have is that you cannot teach the creation story of the Bible. It is a fact that the earth is not 10,000 years old. It is a fact that homo sapiens have been around for 200,000 years. Now if there is some great designer out there, so be it. But I can tell you it is not the one portrayed in the Bible, and if it is, do you really want to align with a god with the record of genocide he has?

Where does our educational system teach us to love each other, to live on this earth without war, to respect each other and not try to
PUSH our beliefs on others?

Yeah, when you consider that 95% of this earth believes in a supreme being (albeit not the same one), and all of their books say to love one another, yet all there is is war century after century. It’s been working pretty good so far.

It is the parents job to teach children to love and respect each other. Not a book, church, or school.

12. anonymous - Thursday, May 15, 2008

i personally think that teaching about creatisim poses no threat to society or what ever the hell you guys are trying to get at. what your saying is a bunch of bul. all you guys are proving is that sadly evolution has missed you. your being as ignorant and as incompetent as the ancestors we came from. if you have a problem with your kids learning about creatisim then take them out of the non-religious schools you have oh-so- graciously enrolled them in!

13. Matt - Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ah, lots of personal attacks and insults but no actual evidence. Typical.

14. arthuriandaily - Friday, September 9, 2011

The Virgin Birth taught as scientific fact in public schools:

http://arthuriandaily.wordpress.com/2011/09/04/scientific-proof-of-the-virgin-birth/

15. JesusIsComingBackSoon - Monday, February 17, 2014

The teaching of evolution is nothing more than a big fat LIE from SATAN in order to send MILLONS into Hell. Before the teaching of evolution you didn’t hear too much stories about violence and school shootings now that evolution is being taught, our world has become increasingly violent and depraved. That’s because when you teach our kids that “there is no God” then its going to greatly affect their behavior in a negative way. Alot of evolutionists are arrogent, mean and have terrible attitudes and foam at the mouth to anyone who “dares” bring up “God” or “creation” This is the rotton fruit that evolution has produced and has a result will get thrown into the fire and BURNED.

davem - Thursday, February 27, 2014

Fun fact evolution is not a new topic, it has been taught in schools since the mid 1920s. so unless you live under a fucking rock this shouldn’t be a surprise to you either, so if you’re seriously trying to blame school shootings and violence today over a scientific principle that has been taught for almost a century you sir are every flavor of stupid.


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