Sunday, April 28, 2013

Should creationism be taught in schools?

You might think that, for anyone even barely just civilized enough to get online—and I don't mean just the Chick-fil-A free Wi-Fi-approved sites—the answer would be an obvious "No." I mean, what is this, the Dark Ages? The scholarly scientific community is overwhelmingly in consensus that creationism is no more than a religiously motivated pseudoscience. Nevertheless, I've met quite a number of intelligent, scientifically minded evangelical Christians who will maintain that, at the very least, classrooms should discuss criticisms of the "theory" of evolution (or "Darwinism," as they call it). These are people, mind you, both young and old, who have careers in the scientific sector, some even in positions of mentorship.

I'd concede that most people, myself included, actually know very little about how evolution works as anything more than just a vague model or theory, and have not nearly investigated the science enough to credibly answer the question. Ironically, most people who hold to evolution as absolute truth take it on faith—faith in the inerrancy of their textbooks and in the authority of the  "scientific community." Of course, while it's true that studying (or even teaching) evolution doesn't automatically make one a scientist, on the other hand, I don't know a single proponent of creationism who isn't religiously motivated.

At the end of the day, I am no scientist, and I am also, by nature, distrustful of any person or group that would presume to speak with authority on any topic, so it would be not only unhelpful but also actually hypocritical for me to take a position. I will instead defer to the humble wisdom of the great modern street philosopher Les Holm, whose assessment neatly puts things in perspective: "Unless and until some flying man come be flying off with my womenfolk, I don't give a damn about evolution vs. creationism."

(But seriously, the answer is "No." I mean, what is this, the Dark Ages?)

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