August 31, 2005

Why do so many Americans favor teaching creationism?

A new poll shows that almost two-thirds of Americans think public schools ought to teach children about creationism when they teach evolution:
The poll found that 42 percent of respondents held strict creationist views, agreeing that "living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time."

In contrast, 48 percent said they believed that humans had evolved over time. But of those, 18 percent said that evolution was "guided by a supreme being," and 26 percent said that evolution occurred through natural selection. In all, 64 percent said they were open to the idea of teaching creationism in addition to evolution, while 38 percent favored replacing evolution with creationism.
I don't think it's so much that Americans are anti-science as that they are much less committed to scientific values than to the values of free speech and open dialogue. This is not not as antithetical to science as it may seem at first to people who strongly believe (as I do) that science classes should contain only bona fide science. There ought to be better social studies classes to teach students about the relationship between religion and science.

51 comments:

Sloanasaurus said...

This whole debate over creationism is ridiculous. The NY Times reported yesterday that 1 in 5 americans believes that the sun revolves around the earth? There are a lot of science dummies out there...maybe we should drop the issue of evolution altogether and make sure people understand the basics first.

The scientific moranification of America will lead to the same ignorance as the middle ages. Today, people have substitute religions, i.e., "environmentalism." The rsult of these beliefs, however is the same - irrational decision making. Today I read that Muslim Clerics were saying that the disaster in new Orleans is because Allah is punishing America for being America. The Environmentalists are essentially saying the same thing. Both groups have lost their grasp of science and replaced it with irrational faith.

I have a solution to the creationism issue. Make evolution a college course.

Dirty Harry said...

A lot of science and archeology backs up the Bible, especially the New Testament. More science backs up the Bible than global warming. We teach that.

And science doesn't explain and can't begin to explain creation. I believe in evolution and that it should be taught but it doesn't explain creation either.

What created the Big Bang? What created what created the Big Bang?

Science has never come close to creating from inanimate matter even a single cell capable of reproduction.

As a Christian I'm secure enough in my beliefs not to be threatened by others. As a matter of fact if it weren't for science and archeology I couldn't believe in Christ.

There's no reason not to present all sides especially where science lacks an explanation. Why do people feel threatened by this?

Dale B said...

Sloanasaurus said...
This whole debate over creationism is ridiculous. The NY Times reported yesterday that 1 in 5 americans believes that the sun revolves around the earth?

Yeah, along with several equally ignorant ideas about the way the world works. People in general seem to be just intellectually lazy when it comes to understanding science and the scientific method. This isn't the hardest stuff in the world to understand, at least at the highest level, but it takes more effort than watching a Nova on PBS.

Creationism and intelligent design are not science and, in their present form, will never be science. Science requires that any idea be validated using the scientific method. This requires, among other things, that any hypothesis be able to be tested with an experiment that can disprove the hypothesis. The hypothesis becomes a theory when enough experiments are performed that fail to disprove the hypothesis. Scientific theories are not proven. They are ideas that have not been disproven.

I have not seen any experiments that could be conducted that could disprove creationism or intelligent design. Therefore, they are not science. This does not mean that they are not true, just that they are not science.

Creationism and intelligent design seem to be more appropriately categorized as philosophy.

Charles said...

Why would strict non-creationists object to having a competing line of thought taught? Isn't it all about academic freedom and diversity of thought and inquiry? Once you start restricting this, why stop there - we could decide right now which versions or methods to use to teach and burn the rest - simplifying school a lot.

I guess is this about religion vs science, or about education of the young mind vs training a single method of inquiry and thought not including religion? Should we never teach about communism in a capitalist-democratic nation?

I suppose there is some items about manner of teaching to be looked into. But then, the science with no religion possible side brought this about anyway.

Tristram said...

Hmm...I am a creationist, that is, I believe the Bibilical Creation account.

At the same time, I am perpetually bemused that the enlightened class has forgotten such basic truths that prohibiting something (i.e., Teaching ID) instantly makes it more desirable. Just ask the majority of teenagers...

By inhibiting the debate, by restricting accesss, it promotes ignorance, and does a disservice to the public.

Henry said...

Ann, you have a typically charitable view, though I'm inclined in a similarly non-alarmist direction.

What makes intelligent design look threatening is the idea that it is gathering momentum; that it is a harbinger of worse, anti-science attitudes to come.

But such idiocy is always present. Consider how many newspapers run astrology columns, not to mention the daily numbers.

Or consider Murray Gell-Mann's book The Quark and the Jaguar, in which he describes, with great forebearance, the animist new age philosophies of people he worked with in the conservation movement.

But don't just stop with what the "stupid" people think. Look at John Allen Paulos invaluable book Innumeracy in which he describes quite idiotic mathematical thinking from otherwise highly educated people.

Soon, legal scholars will get to see U.S. Senators express wildly misinformed comments about constitutional law.

People just don't know much about a lot of things, yet that doesn't stop them from having opinions.

* * *

Sorry dirty harry. While I see no problem with intelligent design or and other variant of creationism as a religious belief, it is meaningless as science.

HaloJonesFan said...

Teach something about religion in social studies? Why, you'd be as much as admitting that religion was worth discussing! We certainly can't have that!

Linc said...

I think we need to distinguish between "teaching" intelligent design and "discussing" it. "Teaching" implies that there is a legitimate scientific basis, which most scientist agree there isn't. "Discussing" intelligent design, in my mind, implies looking at any scientific basis there is in intelligent design, but also looks at its "belief" basis.

Intelligent design probably needs to be discussed because it is pretending to be a science. Ideally in the classroom it would be accorded the same critical analysis as would the science of the earth at the center of the universe.

StrangerInTheseParts said...

Science always has the burden of proving its rightness and worth, either against older scientific theory or non-scientific thinking. The essence of science is doubt, experiment, proofs and outcomes. Science classes ought to be teachable in a way that persuades students of the value of evolution theory, and in a way that doesn't degrade religion.

Believing in creationism may be good for your spiritual well-being, but it ain't gonna help you cure disease, for example. Evolution, and the idea of scientific proof, can be shown concretely in a classroom to be extremely and practically USEFUL. Understanding that evolution not only happened long ago but is happening NOW is a 'belief' that grants its followers tremendous power to improve lives. If that can be shown to students, without exclusively or over-emphatically extending the theory to be a theory of Everything, much of this controversy is averted.

Goesh said...

Somehow I am reminded of the story my father told of his father regarding the first tractor they had on the farm. Grandpa had always used horses. He climbed on the tractor for the first time and it headed towards the barn. As it neared the barn, he began to pull back on the steering wheel yelling "whoa!whoa!" but of course the tractor ran into the barn. He never again attempted to drive a tractor. Entrenchment = comfort. I knew another person, successful in life, well adjusted, a hard worker and fairly well spoken with a year of technical college under his belt who simply refused to believe that man had walked on the moon. It was propoganda he said but he never offered an explanation as to what purpose such propoganda was being put forth. It appears at present that neither science or religion wants to open much of a dialogue.

Smilin' Jack said...

If they're going to teach Intelligent Design, I demand equal time for my own theory, Stupid
Design...the thesis that God is a Moron. Evidence (appendixes, toenails, etc.) is everywhere.

Diane said...

I don’t believe in Evolution.

I am an atheist too.

I believe that evolution is the “best fit” for the current information we have. When I was Christian I had no problem with the teaching of evolution. Why? Well it was simply what the evidence we had now pointed to. Eventually it would point to God creating the universe in seven days. We simply didn’t have all of the information yet. Who was I to rush God? It seems kind of childish to demand proof now. It always struck me as a sign of the lack of faith of the Creationists who got offended by it.

The theory of Evolution has “evolved” from its first incarnation as a set of observations by Doctor Charles Darwin. It will continue to change as we add more and more to it every day.

As for why I have problems with teaching “intelligent design,” Well there isn’t enough freekin’ TIME to teach all of the different religious theories about how the world was created. If we teach Creationism, we have to teach every single non-Christian creation theory, including Greek mythology, Norse mythology, Muslim belief in the three worlds, etc.

We should simply teach: “This is what the evidence points to now, but it’s always changing. In a hundred years we will have more information and the theory may be refined or even completely different. Like the Newtonian theory of gravity, this is the best explanation we have for how the world appears to us. Isn’t science fun?”

How hard is that? It’s the truth so Scientists are satisfied, and it doesn’t claim to be the end-all, Be-all method. There.

Geoff said...

I find it interesting that people use resoning such this:

"Science requires that any idea be validated using the scientific method. This requires, among other things, that any hypothesis be able to be tested with an experiment that can disprove the hypothesis." To prove that the universe came into being out of nothing.

Has science ever shown something coming from nothing? I was always taught the law of conservation of matter which states: Under normal circumstances, matter can neither be created or destroyed only changed.

If you say that the universe has always existed in one form or the other then you have an infinite past. If there is an infinite past how did we get to this moment?

If you then decide to make an appeal to Kant's antimones, I would reply that Kant didn't favor any scientific proof or nonproof of the existence of God.

So where does that leave us? It leaves us all as religous fanatics. I have faith in God. Some people have faith in science. It takes less faith for me to believe that "In the beging God..." than it does for me to belive that it all came out of nothing.

Tom said...

Carl Sagan would tell a story about being in a cab when the driver recognized him as a scientist from TV. After a few minutes, the cabbie started asking Sagan about Nostradomus. Then about astrology. When Sagan expressed his ignorance on the topics, the cabbie was shocked. He was a scientist, shouldn't he know about these things? After awhile, Sagan realized that the cabbie thought things like Nostradomus and astrology were science. While the cab driver is no doubt on the low end of science literacy, I think more Americans than we realize are closer to his level of understanding.

Wave Maker said...

Well said, Geoff...

I don't care if I.D. is taught in science class or social studies or philosophy or wherever -- but its examination is as valuable an endeavor as many other quasi-educational subjects being taught in schools. Perhaps elementary school is a little early to be introducing such concepts, but certainly high school kids will not be irreversibly scarred by being exposed to what SCIENTISTS (yes, there are SCIENTISTS studying ID)are doing.

And I really wonder if the study of the ID theory is really so far from the study of quantum physics -- which is still, at this point, just theory but is accepted as scientific pursuit, is it not?

Pat said...

The reason ID shouldn't be taught in schools all lies in the word "theory" and it's competing meanings. When scientists refer to the theory of evolution, they refer to theory as (from dictionary.com) "A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena." When people argue that intelligent design should be taught, they argue that evolution is just a theory, "An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture," (also dictionary.com). Arguing that intelligent design should be taught as a supplement to the theory of evolution is like arguing that alternatives to the theory of relativity, quantum theory, etc. also be taught.

Coco said...

There are also scientists, all pedigreed and legitimate educationally, that study phrenology, ESP, etc. They have as "legitimate" a claim to education instruction as intelligent design. What's the harm in exposing students to such "competing" thoughts? For that matter, there are historians, yes HISTORIANS, that study holocaust denial - what's the harm in exposing students to that "competing" belief/theory? Under the logic espoused by many of the comments above, all of this should be open for standard educational instruction even though its all, well, to be blunt, garbage.

Henry said...

"And I really wonder if the study of the ID theory is really so far from the study of quantum physics -- which is still, at this point, just theory but is accepted as scientific pursuit, is it not?"

So wave maker -- what does intelligent design theory have to say about the intrinsic angular momentum of atomic particles?

Sound esoteric? As esoteric as an MRI machine.

Kathy Herrmann said...

There are classes in science, humanities, social studies, philosophy, etc.

I think if you polled evolutionists, you'd find a number of us have no objection to humanities classes teaching creation myths. I for one, am all for it. However, let's not focus soley on ID but also on myths of a variety of cultures because of the insight we'll gain into those historical cultures and their impact on present ones.

Evolutionists like myself do not, however, want humanities classes taught in science class. The reason goes back to what several folks like Dale B mention. Science is falsifiable. Faith is not.

For interested folks, I've written several recent articles on these topics.

One directly on point with today's discussion is entitled Now let's talk about faith-based versus science teachings with this link...
http://bigcatchronicles.blogharbor.com/blog/Science/_archives/2005/8/3/1105403.html

Another related article is entitled What if we taught Intelligent Healing as the science of medicine? with this link...
http://bigcatchronicles.blogharbor.com/blog/Science/_archives/2005/8/25/1167451.html

And for a historical perspective, check out Stealing God's Thunder -- Religion versus science in Ben Franklin's time with this link...
http://bigcatchronicles.blogharbor.com/blog/_archives/2005/8/16/1144435.html

Tristram said...

"The reason ID shouldn't be taught in schools all lies in the word "theory" and it's competing meanings. When scientists refer to the theory of evolution, they refer to theory as (from dictionary.com) "A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena."
OTOH, it can be argued that evolution and ID are both belief systems, that is, neither can be falsified.

leeontheroad said...

I am an academic and beleive in a creator God. It is obvious that a) ID is not a natural science (it is philosophy-- the via negativa, if you will); and b) what biology courses in middle and high school *should* teach is in fact evolutionary biology-- including what of the theory is observed fact and what of it is deduction. Within that, there is always a basic organic chem unit.

In contrast, the biochem of nucleotide sequences is beyond basic chemistry. And is the main area that the few scientists interested in ID are looking at.

The typical high school sequence is

Natural Science
Evol. (plant and animal) Biology
Chemistry
Physics and/or AP Biology

Students' in dpeth questions about the proofs unobserved, if you will, of evolutionary theory belong in other disciplines, with different pedagogy. (The high catch all of social studies, as Ann suggests, a fine place). And at home. And/or in religious eduction settings.

I would have no objection to a well designed multi-disciplinary option course that dicussed the role of "science in society" which could review what we do and don't know about human origins, move into a unit on ID and also include units on bioethics, which I would argue flows naturally into a unit on ecosystems (climatology, hydrology, species diversification). I could easily see economics introduced because the cost factors of various choices are a constraint on the best ideas of scientists and engineers.

But I am realy tired of it being that every soci-political axe to grind works its way into the school curriculum and yet folks complain that so many students can't do math to grade level (which means that they'll never be able to fully comprehend biochem or economic modeling, anyway!)

heldmyw said...

Needing an elective, I (having no other option) ended up in a Philosophy of Religion class one year in college. The professor was very courteous and respectful of the various philosophies, and it was startlingly obvious when the explanation of a particular argument 'fit' a particular persons belief system.

(i.e.:God is omnipotent and omnipresent. You could hear/feel the Southern Baptists begin to vibrate sympathetically.)

Sadly, when each argument was pursued, each ran afoul of a logical argument (can he make a rock so big that he cannot lift it), that made crashes of long-held and unquestioned faith all but audible in the classroom.

While most survived and were better for the experience, a number of students took pointed questions home and infuriated their parents, ministers, peers, etc., some of whom turned up and demanded at least the flogging, if not the outright execution of the scalawag who broke their childs unquestioning grip on an admittedly childlike belief system. Curses for the Godless ivory-tower purveyors of higher education were the order of the day.

I wonder if it is such a good idea to put faith and other philosophical holdings into the same arena as science for the simple reason that faith doesn't necessarily look for proof. Why? Because it doesn't need proof. That is, after all the nature of faith.

Science requires proof. Each supposition is brutally examined, reexamined, refuted, attacked, throttled, beaten, cajoled, ridiculed and THEN only grudgingly accepted... in part and only until someone can think up another possible reason to begin the assault anew.

You can't even begin to apply the same standards to the two, and God only knows what the fallout might be if you did.

Sloanasaurus said...

I.D. along with the theory of global warming belong in religion and social studies classes.

Neither one has anything to do with learning the scientific method and how to apply the scientific method to go from Step A to Step B.

Troy said...

How can anyone call themselves "scientific" when he/she absolutely refuses to consider one of the proferred explanations of the origins of life?

What if God did create the universe? How in the hell can one expect to even come close to answer when that topic is verboten? Foolish.

Yes, ID and creationism are more theology/philosophy than hard science. Is not ethics part of science too? Aren't these fundamental questions a part of any honest scientific inquiry?

That's why many Christinas are "against" evolution. The absolute exclusion of God from the equation takes just as much faith as the inclusion of God into the matter.

BrianOfAtlanta said...

"When scientists refer to the theory of evolution, they refer to theory as (from dictionary.com) "A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena."

IMO, this last part "and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena" presents one of the reasons evolution gets beat up on so much more than the relativity and quantum theory. Both relativity and quantum theory have made some serious predictions which have turned out dead on the money. Contrast this with evolution, which at this stage just says something like "when stressed, and organism may change to adapt to its new environment". Yeah, color me unimpressed. When (if) evolutionary theory reaches the point where it can predict rates of change and what changes will express themselves in a given organism under given stresses, it will get a lot more respect.

That's not saying that ID should be taught as science (it's not), but evolution certainly enjoys an undeservedly (religiously?) high status among many in the scientific community. Sure, it's the best we've got, but that doesn't mean it's really that good in the absolute sense.

Sloanasaurus said...

"....Why? Because it doesn't need proof. That is, after all the nature of faith...."

Although I agree with your argument, there are many others who do not. For example, it is a common occurence in history to use events to prove a religious faith. For example, you can offer proof of a disaster to strenthen your argument that God was angry with the current state of morality. The reason why one can remain skeptical of the proof is that the test cannot be run again in a laboratory. Its hard to act immoral and then directly relate it to some natural disaster. (In this sense global warming theories are no different than religion). Thus, it will only remain a theory.

Evolution and ID are similar in that they cannot be prove in a Lab. Further we have examples of both in nature (i.e., humans manipulating the DNA of grain, and humans naturally selecting DNA).

I don't support teaching ID, but evolution has similar problems.

Freeman Hunt said...

"when stressed, and organism may change to adapt to its new environment"

This is not what the theory of evolution espouses.

Kathy Herrmann said...

Brianofatlanta wrote, "When (if) evolutionary theory reaches the point where it can predict rates of change and what changes will express themselves in a given organism under given stresses, it will get a lot more respect."

Whew boy. Remember germs? Remember when society thought infections spread because of humors and such? Also due to the Will of God. Bet when the first theories came out about germs and what they cause, lots of folks were equally unimpressed because they couldn't see germs with their own naked eyes. Sure am glad some scientist stayed tenacious in studing the little boogers to enlighten us.

Geoff said...

There is some kind of fallacy going around here that seems to say that philosophy and "real" science have nothing to do with each other.

All science starts from a philosophical base. Every scientific postulation has philosophical/theological implications.

I am not a prescriptionist. I don't give a shit what the public schools teach or how they teach it. I am mostly concerned with priciples. Many of the evolutionists have a big problem with coming to terms with the philosophy that holds up their science. Many try to say that there is no philosophy involved...and in a different way I completly agree!

Robert said...

It's not about the science or the theology.

It's about who decides what goes into the schools - and that, in turn, goes to some pretty fundamental questions about democracy.

A broad subset of the population wants to have it both ways. They want universal public schools teaching a common curriculum - and they want that curriculum to be determined by a relatively small elite, with no democratic participation and no ability for elements of the system to opt out.

I have no doubt that if the shoe were on the other foot, that the pro-creationism adherents would be similarly trying for the whole enchilada, because historically they tried to do the same thing.

Neither faction deserves that kind of unexamined decision power.

Far better for our schools to be fragmented and chaotic - let a thousand flowers bloom. Let parents choose the kind of school and the kind of education they want. Vouchers, charters, independents, public, private - there should be a diverse patchwork of options, and free choice of curriculum within the options.

Sure, there will be people who abuse their freedom. There always are. Just because baby can't handle steak, why should I have to drink milk?

Geoff said...

I completely agree withyou Robert. But that is not my concern.

Smilin' Jack said...

FWIW, evolution is both a fact and a theory. The fact of evolution is the temporal sequence of biological forms in the fossil record, which I don't think even IDers dispute. The theory of evolution is Darwin's explanation of how this sequence occurs: natural selection. ID is a bogus theory because it has no explanatory power...it just replaces the question of how the sequence of fossil forms arose with the question of how the Designer works...until the IDers come up with a scientific desrciption of the Divine Ectoplasm or whatever, ID is worthless.

HaloJonesFan said...

You can't "prove" the existence of God, because God isn't something that can be described in human terms.

"Could God make a rock so big that even he couldn't lift it?" The answer is "yes, of course, and then he lifts it anyway." The fact that you would even ask that question shows that you aren't at a point where you can understand what God is. And indeed, no human is capable of understanding what God is. All attempts to describe God are doomed to inaccuracy and failure, because human language is inherently imperfect and incapable of describing God."

On the other hand, it's not as though God is some invisible force that's, e.g., holding the bolts together on our cars. The idea that God is physically verifiable on a human scale, in human terms, is just as wrong for the positive as it is for the negative.

What does this all mean? Christ, I dunno. Basically, it just ticks me off when some guy points out a logical fallacy in the concept of religion and then sits there with a smug expression on his face. God isn't about "two plus two", you idiot.

leeontheroad said...

Geoff,

I didn't see anyone say that philosophy and natural science have nothing to do with each other.

But scientific and philosphical methods are different. Science relies on observation-- as Darwin and Mendell demosntrated. Philosophy is largely specualtive.

ID proposes that the complexity of organisms is evidence of a cosmic designer. The observed fact is that organisms are complex on microbial levels.

Since no other theory explains this complexity to complete human satisfaction, ID proposes there must have been a "designer" of the system. This is an obvious reversion to belief systems or occultism-- take your pick. Hence my use of the phrase via negativa: ID propoents often use two tacks: how do we know this is not true and/or evolution doesn't explain everything, either. Nah, nah.

Natural science, specifically the theory of evolution, by contrast-- proposes that changes in organisms are the result of random mutations and selective pressures, over time. This theory (deriving from the famous finches) cannot be tested to determine primate origins, for example. But it very well correlates with experiments to test the function of other biological processes, including the function(s) of gene receptors and the like.

The differences in method here make clear that ID is a speculative method whereas modern science is based in empirical methods.

The differtent methods may be used by the same people, and the more advanced the disciple, the less its principles are distinct, in my experience (using various machines in a lab isn't so different from programming my washign machine, for example). Still, ID and high school Bio or College Biology 101 are only as related as Cultural Anthrpology and Chemistry. Those are different enough that no one trundles aroudn the country tying to convince school boards that academic freedom demands we cease to about teach the mass of moles in favor of a high mass for furry little creatures worhsipped as gods in an unknown island off New Guinea.

Don Singleton said...

As I indicated in my blog ID has a lot of science behind it, since it accepts the part of Darwinism that can be proven (has fossil evidence), and just offers another answer for the part that cannot be scientifically proven.

Don Singleton said...

Sorry, I see that in my previous post, I got the wrong link for my blog, i.e. http://donsingleton.blogspot.com/2005/08/teaching-of-creationism-is-endorsed-in.html

Wade_Garrett said...

While there may be a debate among politicians and pundits about teaching evolution in the classroom, there is no debate among scientists. Grade school and high school students shouldn't be taught 'competing views' on the issue, if the competing views are unscientific, and merely the will of whichever evangelical Christians happen to have been elected to the school board.

Pointing out that there are some questions that the theory of evolution does not answer does not legitimize creationism, or apologies for creationism, such as intelligent design, at all. Then again as those people are not versed in the scientific method they shouldn't be expected to know that, so we have to remind them.

Our public school students are not taught competing views on anything else, for instance American history. There are many legitimate ways to tell the story of America's history, but our students are only taught one way. That is a topic that people really can DISCUSS. And yet science, which is about black-and-white facts, is according to some people the place where teachers should be 'fostering discussion' by pushing religion on young, impressionable students.

Wade_Garrett said...

Much has been made about the way in which our president sees the world -- in terms of black and white, right and wrong.

I find it amusing that, according to our President, the jury is still out on evolution; the jury is still out on global warming, the jury is still out on whether stem cell research can improve people's lives . . . that sounds pretty wishy-washy to me. But there is no question that sports supplements and steroids are sufficiently bad that they need to be mentioned in the state of the union! Steroids are bad in all cases, except when the president's friend Rafael Palmeiro takes them, in which case the president believes Rafael's story and thinks he should be let off the hook. Is that a flip-flop?

Henry said...

Don -- So if not for science, would Intelligent Design have any science behind it?

Geoff said...

Leeontheroad,

You have just proven my point. Have you ever even heard of David Hume? You act as if no philosophy ever existed before him. You seem to think your worldview is only formed from your observasions but you fail to aknowledge how your worldview colors your observations. Everyone starts with a world view and then makes observations. No exceptions.

Geoff said...

"Can God make a rock to big for him to lift?"


That is logic. If what the Bible says about God is true, then why should the creator of human logic be required to fit inside of it?

Jack said...

The folks who, here and elsewhere, claim that ID is religious have clearly never read a single publication coming out of the movement. They go out of their way to emphasize that the conclusions they make are based on observation, not theology. The one premise that they have that the evolutionists do not is that we can recognize "design" when we see it. If this is false, the scientists in the SETI program are wasting their time and NASA's money.

Ann's speculation that people that advocate teaching Creationism (presumably including ID) are more concerned about free-speech issues is probably right. I know I would be much happier if we didn't have government-run schools at all (any more than we should have government-run newspapers) but since we will have them for the forseeable future, I would rather have students aware of the scientific challenges to Darwinism so that they can intelligently discuss the matter. As it stands, everyone knows that ID and Creationism are religious, mainly because they heard it from some authority figure or other and haven't taken the time to investigate on their own.

leeontheroad said...

Geoff, in your last post, you ask a question and then say "that is logic." A question alone is not logic.

You then make a conditional statement that is in fact tautological-- speaking of fallacies.

I would happily discuss Christian theology, David Hume, the stoics, Aristotle or Heidegger with you. More to the point might be that the statement you make about God's unknowability is very like Martin Buber's.

But my agreement with a theological world view does not make it any less the case that teaching ID in high school biology would be a distraction. Sensibly, most ordained teachers recognie that.

wayne said...

Happy Eigth Day!!

This is a carry forward of an old post and I am reposting it as I feel moved by my own spirit to keep spreading the word...

A lot of my brothers think I am a blasphemer, but I know that the Lord speaks to each of us (even foul, enraged, sleazy a__holes like me!) with every passing second.

So much of the world would be at peace and with love if each of us could listen and and try to converse with to the constant loving peaceful voice of God in our soul and ignore the prideful angry voice of Satan in our ears.

The Lord knows that I'm probably one of the worst of people but He still loves me. Why He does passes beyond my understanding!

There is a question that has stood in the face of all of us, one that stands in this world in such a way as to be a barrier to faith. The fact is that the question itself is unimportant to His message, but the enemy has used it to prevent belief and to cause those who have faith to be viewed as stupid, ignorant, superstitious, and reviled as uncivilized.

The question is: how did the universe come into being and how old is it? Did God wave his magic hand and "poof" here's the world, or did the universe just evolve from the Big Bang and form life? How long did all of this take?

First off - a disclaimer. He has told many other people this so I know I'm not the first or special. I might be crazy but, well...whatever.

There are a number of places in the Bible where God tells us that He does not view time the way we do and that His days are not our days. Psalm 90:4 is one of the first and this revelation was always a breath into my soul. Also 2 Peter 3:8. What did this mean?

For quite a while I had wondered, prayed, and listened. Several years back at the church I was attending at the time, we had gone thru the various verses where the Word spoke of Jesus creation through which the universe was created. With a mounting sense of awe of I kept on hearing these verses louder and louder in my soul along with again the verses about His days not being our days but again I wondered why.

Then finally I heard the truth and it rang out with an exhultation of peace and Love the spoke into my soul.We were going thru the birth of our Lord in Luke 2 and we got to verse 21 it was to me as if the Heavens had opened and I saw the words that answered everything: "On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise Him, He was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before He had been conceived".

A voice rang out in my soul that brought peace and Love and it said unto me "this is My Truth". Jesus life itself has always truly been described as the circumcision, the shedding of flesh and blood to atone for our sins. Why do you think God gave the tradition of circumcision on the eighth day to the Jews? He was asking for them as His chosen people to atone in flesh and blood as he would do when he came to this world. This was both a prophecy and the Convenant of his promise to them and to us. That He would come on the eighth day of creation(after the birth of Himself and the universe) from their chosen race to shed His own blood and flesh for all of our sins.

All of the other arguments and theories are really immaterial to this truth.In Genesis it says that God created Adam from the dust. Does it matter what forms the dust took before it became Adam? We can still see His hand writ in all of creation. Does it matter how you believe what is written about all of this? As long as you believe that it was all by His hand and that it was all created thru Jesus all of these other points are merely intellectual exercises and in truth serve their best by allowing us to view the true majesty of His creation.

All of the arguments against a longer age of the universe are moot before the fact that the light of suns and galaxies from far beyond our own has taken millions and billions of years to get here and yet before our Lord we are STILL in His eighth day. For His days are not our days.

This for me is His truth that keeps me and hold me, and that gives me strength when I face both the darkness of my world and my own unworthy self.

On this day, however many days in the eyes of our small lives since the creation of all, I bid you Happy Eighth Day. May the Lord Bless you, always.

Tristram said...

While there may be a debate among politicians and pundits about teaching evolution in the classroom, there is no debate among scientists. Grade school and high school students shouldn't be taught 'competing views' on the issue, if the competing views are unscientific, and merely the will of whichever evangelical Christians happen to have been elected to the school board.
This attitude smacks of inquisitional close mindedness...

In fact, what are they trying to hide? If they are innocent, they would be happy to discuss it? What are they afraid of?

Wade_Garrett said...

Tristam (and others)

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/28/opinion/28dennett.html?incamp=article_popular_1

Geoff said...

Leeontheroad

You may know more than me but you still haven't addressed the main point of all my comments here. Is my main point wrong? I mean you are the one who can tell me because you went to college and I didn't.

Geoff said...

I know my worldview has flaws, I am a fallible man, but at least I have the integrity to make myself vunerable by expousing the things I believe. It doesn't take much courage to sit there and say, "I'm only going to stand up for what is scientific."

leeontheroad said...

Hi Geoff,

I would like to believe that "how much" people know or don't isn't what's at issue. And maybe you missed this: I'm a devout Christian. And I'm a science educator. There is nothing to be gained, in my view, from evangelizing in the science curriculum or bringing scientific method to religion or worship. That's my main point. In brief detail, As a Christian, I don't want God named as some "designer." As an educator, I want students to develop their God-given intellect. Peace be with you.

gs said...

Wow, there is a lot going on here. No way to respond to all the points made, and no offense meant if I ignore someone's opinion or repeat it without acknowledgment.

1. Ann: It may be possible to design surveys which distinguish between the public's support for free speech and the public's indifference or opposition to science.

2. Scientists have brought some of this on themselves with the various scandals that have occurred over the years. The perception may exist that, contrary to advertising, scientists are not selflessly absorbed in the quest for truth, but are more like grey wizards whose motives are mixed and unclear. Such wizards can be cajoled or influenced in ways that an 'ideal' scientist cannot, and it's not surprising that politicians and the public try.

3. Are introductory science courses the place to discuss conceptual difficulties associated with first principles and limiting cases? Not necessarily. Teach reasoning and basic skills. Show the power of reductionism, which is by no means obvious.

4. On the other hand, it would be good to teach multiple points of view, and show they are sometimes equivalent (analytic and descriptive geometry), sometimes partially consistent (Shakespeare's plays and history), sometimes nonoverlapping (artist's and hydrologist's views of a waterfall) and sometimes in conflict leading to the need for tradeoffs (short-term economic growth vs. environmental protection).

5. In comments to Ann's post here, I expressed concern that the president and majority party do not "get" science and technology. I'll say the same about the public. In the late 1960s, the book "The American Challenge" expressed European concern that America was too far ahead technologically to ever be passed. In the 1980s technology was synonymous with Japan, but the Japanese overleveraged themselves and tripped over their own feet. In the late 1990s the US had regained the overall technological lead. Fifteen years hence, will there be American complaints that China or India or Japan or etc 'don't play fair' in biotech?

Tristram said...

2. Scientists have brought some of this on themselves with the various scandals that have occurred over the years. The perception may exist that, contrary to advertising, scientists are not selflessly absorbed in the quest for truth, but are more like grey wizards whose motives are mixed and unclear. Such wizards can be cajoled or influenced in ways that an 'ideal' scientist cannot, and it's not surprising that politicians and the public try.

This certianly could be part of it. From Tobacco Safety 'Reasearch' funded by Big Tobacco, to some Global Cooling/Warming stories (models perhaps flawed), to even such current topics as big Pharma and safety and efficiacy of drugs, plus a whole host of mad scientist movies (which may be popular because people believe/want to believe/are afraid they are true), many scientist have lost the air of credibility that surrounded Einstein, Feynmann, 60's NASA scientists, etc.