Why I Hate the Theory of Evolution

A more appropriate title to this blog post would be “Why I hate that the public schools teach ‘creation’ by evolution and do not teach the Biblical account of creation,” but aside from being too wordy, I thought the inappropriate title might persuade more people to read this entry. After all, the second title might lead one to think that I’m in favor of creationism and who wants to hear another argument for creationism? Well, you’ll be happy to hear that I frankly don’t care for creationism (and for that matter, I don’t care much for intelligent design…or Ben Stein). But in spite of my apathy toward creationism, I am still greatly miffed by this country’s ridiculous replacement of one creation story (evolution) with another (the Biblical account).

The short of the story is this: the creation story told by evolutionary scientists is a myth. It’s just a story made up by some people who claim to have some sort of authority regarding biology, paleontology, a little organic chemistry, and the so-called scientific method (other disciplines may apply). It comes with no guarantee of factual validity and it begs just as many questions as it supposes to answer.

Now, many might claim that the creation story in the Bible fits under a similar description (with a few minor alterations). In fact, that is my point: we have been forced to chose between two creation myths – the Big Bang and the Bible – competing for academic space in the public schools, and in my estimation, the worst of the two myths won out.

Do not try to tell me that evolution won out because it’s based on “facts.” It is likely true that this was one of the questions behind the decision to teach the Big Bang: which one is based in “fact.” But the fact of the matter is no one, no matter how sophisticated, can make a claim as to the factual accuracy of either myth. so whether or not factual accuracy was the question, it shouldn’t have been and it shouldn’t be now. Factual accuracy just cannot be a question in the case of “creation,’ even for evolutionary scientists, else we ask questions that will never be answered.

The question we ought to have asked (at least for the public schools’ sake) – and the question that we ought to ask now – is “which myth better serves the educative purposes of our students?” The answer to that question is without a doubt the Biblical myth.

400 years of culture – particularly the arts and literature – finds its foundation in the myths of the Bible. By excluding the Bible from our scholastic repertoire, we have violently separated ourselves and our children from that which defines us culturally and instead (as a consequence of several court decisions ostensibly fighting for the division of church and state) we have adopted a culture that is untested – the scientific culture. We can argue whether this new culture is better or worse for us (my case lies with the almost-too-true-to-life account of Aldous Huxley), but the point is, we are sacrificing the security of 400 years (and more) for what-we-know-not.

That’s not to say that we couldn’t teach both myths in school. But if we make that decision, we ought to award the Big Bang the status it deserves: mythical. Otherwise, we are doing our children a violent disservice.

I guess if I were to make some sort of conclusion to this post, that conclusion would be a call to arms. The Bible doesn’t have near the defenders it should have, especially in our own faith (I believe that is partly due to our willingness to make our religion fit with anything called science), and if it did, we might see arguments for teaching the Bible in our public more sophisticated than creationism and intelligent design. So if I were to make a conclusion, I would say “Let’s fight for the Bible in public schools!” But I’m not going to make a conclusion. Instead, I’d just like to invite your comments on some of the thoughts I’ve expressed here. Maybe I’ll make the call to arms when I actually have something to say.

[Administrator's note: I'm adding an important corrective (published as a comment) to this post, from the author, below:]

My lack of sophistication in writing this post seemed to do the ideas an immense disservice. So I’ll start by giving a blanket clarifying response:

I’m not talking about teaching Christianity, I’m talking about the Bible as the mythological, symbolic framework it has come to represent in literature and in the arts. In other words, to teach students about Petrarch, Dante, Milton, Caravaggio, Michelangelo, and hundreds of others, a knowledge of the Bible and its stories are necessary.

The primary reason the Bible is not used is because it is a religious text, so it gets the axe out of respect for our Bill of Rights. But the Bible is not just a religious text – it is a work of literature that Shakespeare himself could not have done without. Yet we think we can do without it.

I’m not against teaching evolution in school. I was talking about creation stories – one told by the Bible and one told by evolutionary theorists. Let me echo Tom D: the Big Bang is not evolutionary theory. So that we all understand, I was not criticizing evolution (please re-read the first paragraph of the blog entry). I was just commenting on the fact that the myth of the Big Bang (and I challenge anyone to persuade me it is NOT a myth) is given priority over the Biblical myth. And in my estimation, this is a gross error.

Finally, I am in favor of the separation of church and state. Those who know me know I am well cultured and fair-minded (I hope) and that I have utmost respect for the several religions. In fact, many who know me well know I’d much sooner send my kids to the public schools then to a Mormon-run charter school (I’m Mormon, by the way). I’m not trying to push religion into the public schools – I just want to see our children broadening their horizons beyond just “science” and into the arts and letters. That’s all.

[Administrator's note May 23, 2008: further comments for this post are discouraged. We have reached the looney bin limit, I'm afraid.]

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98 Responses

  1. “the question that we ought to ask now – is “which myth better serves the educative purposes of our students?” The answer to that question is without a doubt the Biblical myth.”

    WHAT?

    I’m sorry, but I think you’re overlooking here the real reason why a non-religious theory was chosen over creationism – a respect for other cultures. Not everyone in this world is Christian, there are by far more religions and it is impossible that no members of these other religions attend public schools in America (I assume that’s where you’re from, your post just screamed it).

    And also, assuming that say, a muslim were to be taught this theory, would you or would you not say that the teacher could ultimately be forcing the Christian beliefs on them by teaching it to them? This, as you should know, is against the Bible.

    And as for the “fact” statement, although neither is based on 100% fact, a simple study of what we know for sure about wildlife will show a survival-of-the-fittest pattern, supporting the theory of evolution.

  2. One last thing to add … Religious Education is already taught in America, right? Why is there a need to have two subjects serving the same purpose?

    Ultimately, what you’re saying in the last paragraphs of the post is that you want to replace Science with Religion when there is truly no need. People should be given a choice in what they want to believe, and the current education system offers that.

    Really, all you’re doing in this post is speaking from a purely Christian point of view with no thought for those of other cultures or beliefs.

    [Remainder of comment deleted by administrator: No personal attacks, please]

  3. I’m with you on the fact that the Bible should be taught in public schools, ideally in literature classes (and, in fact, I was required to read the Old Testament for my AP lit class). Schools tend to shy away for First Amendment reasons, but probably shouldn’t.

    However, you lose me when you argue that evolution, Big Bang, and Genesis should be taught as myths. Basically, while religion qualifies as a myth (not in a perjorative sense, but in a technical one), science does not. No, science is not Truth, and doesn’t aspire to it. Rather, science is a description of how the world operates, determined using scientific methods. Basically, it’s a whole different sphere of inquiry from religion.

    The argument that religion should be taught as science is a horrible argument, because it is not science. That’s not to suggest it’s invalid or wrong, just that it is not science. Likewise, evolution (although it happened) should not be taught as religious truth, because it is not religion.

  4. Joe:

    So called “Creation Science” is just NOT a satisfactory explanation, anymore than my claiming that God made me write this comment. If I explained all actions of nature as being due to God, I think my students would get tired of that explanation. God explains everything and therefore nothing. God is simply outside of the purview of science.

    Evolution is considered scientific fact by 99.5% of life scientists. The fossil record shows systematic anatomic changes over time. Dinosaurs are multi-millions of years old, NOT thousands of years old. Also, one does NOT find human bones mixed with dinosaur bones. If Darwin had not proposed natural selection, then someone else would have. (Actually, A. R. Wallace did, but that is another story). It simply is an integral theory for explaining the fact of evolution.

    The good news is that evolutionary findings are NOT atheistic. They are agonistic. Science simply knows nothing about God. Further, I know many evolutionists who believe in God, many of whom are LDS.

    Scientists who attempt to attack concepts of God using science are CLEARLY outside of their domain of authority and understanding.

    I see no reason why God cannot use nature to accomplish His purpose.

    Creation theory is theory that must explain away evidence. Evolutionary theory actually accounts for evolutionary facts.

  5. Um, I think it’s important to note that neither Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection nor the theory of Biological Macroevolution say anything about the creation of life. Evolution is a theory that attempts to explain the variety of life on the earth but makes no claim as to its origin (there are seperate theories about that which often get confused with evolutionary theories). The fundamental principles of macroevlution (i.e., that beneficial mutations can spread through a species by natural selection until it becomes sexually distinct and becomes a new species) have been proven with simple organisms like bacteria and insects over short periods of time (weeks, months, and years) and can be readily inferred for wild populations of larger organisms like birds (seabirds are especially helpful in this) over a loger estimated time (hundreds and thousands of years). Evolutionary theory makes certain expectations of the fossil records which have been (so far) extremely close to what we find in the ground (please note that fossils are technically used as examples of evolution and not proof of evolution).

    Are you against teaching anything that I have just said in a public classroom. I’ve been careful to point out exactly what we know from directly observation and what we have inferred from external sources. I’ve mentioned nothing of dating or of origin.

    And while I know for myself from spritual experience that God created this world, and did it for a purpose, I also know that there are others in this world who don’t have that knowledge. I cannot and should not force my beliefs upon them. I would be just as angry if my children were taught in school, “The Vedas teach that Vishnu created the world” or “The Popul-Vuh teaches us that the world was sown as a great Tree.” It is not right or proper that the Biblical creation should be forced upon people who don’t all believe in it. If you have trouble with what the schools teach then you should see your own home as a house of learning that supplements the schools. Teach your own children the truth you think they are missing at school.

  6. Looks like you’ve started a fire with this one, Joe :)

    I want to come back and weigh in on this later.

    I think that Joe would not mind if I tried to steer discussion in this direction: Should we be teaching our children, in public schools, to think critical about science, including evolutionary theory? By thinking critically, I mean identifying and examining the assumptions of science and evolutionary theory.

  7. Re: Dennis,
    Yes! Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! Critical thinking is what real learning is all about: it is about looking at the world and asking questions (and wanting answers). This is how I deal with my daughter when she asks me questions about the world and the Church: what do you think the answers are and how can you find out?

    How many of our revelations in the D&C come from prophets thinking critically about the Gospel and doctrine? How much of our science comes from asking questions and determining the answers (as best as we humans can on our own)?

    People should never be afraid to ask questions (not just about science, but about all aspects of learning), and should be encouraged to question, as long as they are also taught that it is the pursuit of the answers that provides knowledge.

  8. Joe O, I am confused by many things you said, but let’s start here:

    > no one…can make a claim as to the factual accuracy
    > of either myth.

    I think anybody can claim anything they want. The trick is convincing others.

    In the world of Religion, we rely on God’s spokesmen to tell us what we need to know, and that convinces us.

    In the world of Science, we use the Scientific Method + Peer Review. Scientists claim that if you set up conditions X ,and then do Y, you’ll get Z. Then other scientists try it. Sometimes other scientists prove the claim wrong. Sometimes other scientists get the same results. And then they write and teach about it, and other Scientists ask new questions.

    > I hate that the public schools teach ‘creation’ by
    > evolution and do not teach the Biblical account

    Many of the Founding Fathers were openly Protestant and religious, but they unfortunately didn’t create a Protestant theocracy. Instead they separated church and state, and, like AKH pointed out, state-run schools aren’t allowed to favor one religious tradition (or myth, in your words) over another.

    So schools teach what they can demonstrate – Science.

    You are free to hate Science or branches therof. Or you could do something positive, like disprove erroneous theories. You don’t need permission; just go prove them wrong.

  9. Yes, Finn, I believe I confused many people. My lack of sophistication in writing this post seemed to do the ideas an immense disservice. So I’ll start by giving a blanket clarifying response:

    I’m not talking about teaching Christianity, I’m talking about the Bible as the mythological, symbolic framework it has come to represent in literature and in the arts. In other words, to teach students about Petrarch, Dante, Milton, Caravaggio, Michelangelo, and hundreds of others, a knowledge of the Bible and its stories are necessary.

    The primary reason the Bible is not used is because it is a religious text, so it gets the axe out of respect for our Bill of Rights. But the Bible is not just a religious text – it is a work of literature that Shakespeare himself could not have done without. Yet we think we can do without it.

    I’m not against teaching evolution in school. I was talking about creation stories – one told by the Bible and one told by evolutionary theorists. Let me echo Tom D: the Big Bang is not evolutionary theory. So that we all understand, I was not criticizing evolution (please re-read the first paragraph of the blog entry). I was just commenting on the fact that the myth of the Big Bang (and I challenge anyone to persuade me it is NOT a myth) is given priority over the Biblical myth. And in my estimation, this is a gross error.

    Finally, I am in favor of the separation of church and state. Those who know me know I am well cultured and fair-minded (I hope) and that I have utmost respect for the several religions. In fact, many who know me well know I’d much sooner send my kids to the public schools then to a Mormon-run charter school (I’m Mormon, by the way). I’m not trying to push religion into the public schools – I just want to see our children broadening their horizons beyond just “science” and into the arts and letters. That’s all.

  10. By the way, I’m sorry to those scientists who felt I was equating the Big Bang with the theory of evolution. I recognize they are not the same and was unfairly clear in my discussion of both (especially insofar as the title is concerned).

  11. Joe O.,
    It depends entirely on how you define “myth.” The Big Bang theory isn’t a myth in the technical literary meaning of the word, at least as I understand it. But if you define myth to mean anything that describes creation, certainly, it’s a myth.

    Teach Bible as literature is clearly constitutional in public schools; teaching it as truth (i.e., having the teacher proselyte) is just as clearly unconstitutional. My guess is that, where it is not taught, it is because schools are skittish about how much they can trust their teachers (or because the teachers don’t have the necessary familiarity, or something else). Where it is not taught, the students lose out. But, like I said earlier, 15 years ago, I studied it in my high school English class. And, for that matter, so did my wife, across the country from me.

  12. I understand your argument, Joe, that both scientific theories and the Bible are comparable because they both present a kind of narrative. But I would not call scientific narratives myths because true “myths” proclaim themselves to come from non-human, divine sources of inspiration. Science is a mundane text or narrative. Unlike scripture, its authorship comes immediately into question. It is wholly secular and, when its honest, doesn’t claim to be anything else. I suppose you could argue however that in recent movements, some people have tried to turn science into a replacement for religious narratives. That’s a big problem. From my experience, sometimes kids learn to let scientific theory and explanation trump scripture and don’t understand that it’s alright if the things they learn in school are challenged by their personal interpretations of scripture. I would have appreciated it if my teachers had discussed science with greater openness about its assumptions and openness about the importance of religious beliefs.

  13. Sam,
    I would probably define myth much how it’s defined Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth – academic usage).

    Given your second comment, I’m glad to hear that you and your wife were taught the Bible as literature, and simultaneously disappointed that I was denied that privilege. I understand, however, the “skittish”ness that comes from teaching a religious text and can therefore sympathize with schools who do not teach the Bible for that reason.

    On the other hand, I think Dennis’ comment now comes to mind: if we are going to be skittish about teaching the Bible, let’s be equally skittish about teaching science. In other words, we ought to be just as attentive about how we teach science as we are about how we teach the Bible.

  14. Candice – Good point. I would love to see that kind of openness among teachers and students, even in higher education.

  15. Not a fan of Ben Stein?

    For shame.

  16. There was a recent post on Times and Seasons about the topic of teaching evolution vs. intelligent design (ID) in public schools.

    I gave the following comment (#85):

    Should ID be taught in school? It could be mentioned, but I don’t know if it deserves substantial consideration. But what SHOULD be taught is critical thinking about science, including evolutionary theory. This would include being upfront about some of its common assumptions (naturalism, materialism, abstractionism, dualism, reductionism, universalism, linear time, and so on). Of course, it might be a little daunting to go over all of this with a 13 year old. But, seriously, what is the problem with saying that there are intelligent people (and not just religious people — in fact just as many are agnostics and atheists from my experience) who challenge some of the fundamental assumptions of mainstream science, including evolutionary theory. Seriously, why would we not do this?!?! I’ll tell you why. Because scientific hegemony is about power. If we were really interested in honest scholarship and truth, we would be giving a fuller, more critical picture to our children in public schools. Or rather, we should be helping our children to think critically about this picture themselves rather than naively bowing at the altars of science.

  17. Joe,
    I’m sorry you didn’t get taught Bible as lit; if it makes you feel better, my teacher wasn’t spectacular on that point, so you probably didn’t miss a whole lot. (I’m not sure what his background was, but he seemed stronger on 20th century lit than earlier literature; of course, I’m remembering at a significant time difference.)

    As to skittishness, I would argue that it is misplaced regarding teaching the Bible, and I would rather not encourage further wrongheaded skittishness, taking further away from kids’ education. But beyond that, skittishness toward teaching the Bible is rooted in a (mis-)interpretation of the Constitution; there is no corresponding Amendment designating a separation of Science and State, as it were. Or, for that matter, a separation of HIstory and State or of Physical Education and State. So the root of the skittishness toward the Bible doesn’t exist as a motivating factor for the teaching of science.

  18. Joe, You would probably really enjoy reading Ricoeur’s biblical hermeneutics (Figuring the Sacred). He often looks at the Bible as poetry but as a special kind. For me, I feel like reading this made up for never taking the Bible as Lit. (which I wanted to do) and is even better than that. It helps me see ways the scriptures invite us to interpret them and extend meaning into our worlds as readers that I might have never seen. I especially like his description of narrative theology. It actually makes me want to teach Sunday school or seminary.

    I agree that studying the Bible outside of Sunday school, etc. can be immensely helpful to our understanding of it. The reason for this in my mind is that we fall into repetitive and dumbed-down modes of interpretation (often out of fear people will reject our interpretations or not understand us, I think). Learning to look at the text more carefully than we are normally “comfortable” with helps us build the personal interpretive relationships we need to help others do the same. It’s not that church of family study alone can’t do this, but sometimes we need all the help we can get. I don’t know if mainstream public school classes even should be trusted with this kind of study of scripture though. Maybe all of this is why we send teenagers to seminary– I rarely enjoyed it myself, but I hope that good things happen for most people there.

  19. I think Tom makes a good point, showing the differences between evolutionary processes and scientific creationism (the story of creation as told by proponents of science and evolutionary theory). The former is somewhat justified by the philosophies of science (i.e. empirical observation) while the latter is an un-falsifiable, non-empirical inference often spread by certain scientists with evangelical zeal.

    If I understand Joe’s point correctly, both creation stories are myths in the sense that they are inherited traditions that tell stories that take stances that have major philosophical and metaphysical implications (as opposed to an Agatha Christie story which is a bit lacking on those points).

    I think Candice offers a valuable insight about the mundane-ness of scientific creationism, but I think her latter point (that scientific understandings have been elevated to religious levels) is more true than not.

    Therefore, I do not see what justification could exist for teaching one story and not the other. Furthermore, while such instruction most likely would be better handled by an instructor trained in literature analysis and not just biology, I am confused at the insistence of some to maintain a strict separation, not just of church and state, but of science and humanities (or even two sciences, physics and biology…). Is not integrated teaching and learning our goal?

  20. This sounds for the first few paragraphs like a mindless rant against everyone, based on little but opinion and attended to only because of a title that was meant to fool the audience into reading. I hope not too many such posts are made.

  21. Arts and literature are taught in different classes then evolution. I have no problem with “The Bible as Literature” classes in public school, but that is entirely orthogonal to the teaching of evolution.

  22. Andrew,

    Certainly you could offer more constructive criticism than what you offer here. Joe’s post is certainly more substantive than what you have offered in response. Glib dismissals (honestly, a “mindless rant against everyone”?) are a dime a dozen, and I would hope for better.

  23. Jacob J,

    Fair enough.

    But why must arts and literature be taught in different classes than evolution?

    Regardless of whether things are taught in different courses, students have only one mind. It is interesting that the public schools for some reason find it so important to indoctrinate our children concerning evolution but not offer any kind of way of bringing this study together with other topics. The hidden message is clear: evolution (and science) is “fact,” literature and the arts are (mere) “opinion.”

    And we are indoctrinated from a very young age about the difference between “fact” and “opinion,” in which even an 8-year old can tell you the difference between an indisputable fact (man landed on the moon) and a mere opinion (God exists OR slavery is wrong). So, from the very beginning our children’s minds are shaped according to some kind of Cartesian dualism and the (subtle) implication is that the “fact” side is better than the “opinion” side (which works really well for the black and white thinking that children and adolescents are more prone to have).

    So, in accordance with this indoctrination is the (subtle) indoctrination that science is a veritable authority but the other subjects are not. The implication is that we can trust scientists (and perhaps historians) for what is REAL. The arts and literature and so on — they’re fun and you can read stories and they can help you learn to write and stuff, but there’s nothing about the “real world” that you are learning here.

    The result is that you have all sorts of “sophisticated” teenagers (and subsequent adults) who are adamant about the truthfulness of evolution but their defense of such can be little more than a naive appeal to authority: “Well, they’ve PROVEN it … they’ve found bones … and stuff… All the real scientists believe it so it must be true.” So let’s be honest, all we’re REALLY doing is indoctrinating our children to trust in the authority of science, without thinking critically of what this trust entails (see my comment above for more on this). The only answer I can come up with is that this REALLY IS a power struggle on behalf of science. Were it not, we would teach our children to think critically about science, which would require a critical examination of science from a larger context. Now I am in no wise arguing here for a dismissal of science, but more of an “informed consent” when it comes to what science actually is.

    At the very least, what would be the harm if a teacher said this: “Hey, there are people who have faith in science and people who don’t. Likewise, there are people who have faith in evolution and people who don’t. Similarly, there are people who have faith in God and people who don’t. And there are people who have faith in God and in science, and people who have faith in neither. It is not my job as an educator to tell you what to believe in, and there are respectable people of all of these different positions. We’re going to learn about the theory of evolution, but understand that this theory relies on certain assumptions (perhaps we could talk about what assumptions are) that not everyone believes in. Moreover, many of these assumptions have not been proven. Thus, the theory of evolution is one narrative about the world which may or may not be true. But it’s important for us to learn about this worldview and what this worldview has to say about the world. But please understand that you do not have to believe this worldview in order to learn about it.”

    If a teacher did this, then they are only being totally honest, but the evolutionary scientists would be livid! And why…?

    And could you imagine if the same approach were used for various faith traditions?!?!

  24. Evolution is a theory, not a myth. You got it right in the title but somehow missed that point throughout the entirety of your post.

    You criticize students of evolution for appealing to authority, and yet you argue we should study the bible since Shakespeare did?!? Um, that’s an appeal to authority, too. Way to keep the non-sequitors consistent throughout.

    If your point was to argue that we should read the Bible secularly as literature then I think you could have left evolution out of the equation. It only muddles your argument.

    Dennis, you seem distraught. Were you once misled by your school teachers who surreptitiously taught you to believe that man’s daddy was Mobo the monkey? Evil secular schools. Damn them all — May they burn in the fiery pits of hell with all those “sophisticated” teenagers who were indoctrinated by them. Oh, how blessed art ye Dennis, he who valiantly crusades for the imposition of religion in science class.

  25. Anselmo,

    First of all, I would hope for better than the sarcastic personal attacks towards me. Alas, it’s always easier to attack the person than to assess the logic of their claims. I would hope, Anselmo, that you and I could actually talk in a fair-minded way about this issue — that you have things to say that I might learn from and vice-versa. However, your arrogant and sarcastic tone makes such a conversation difficult if not impossible … it’s up to you. I really don’t think that anything I have said deserves such a response (I’m assuming that only the last paragraph of your comment was for me). At any rate, I’m going to respond to a couple of your criticisms:

    Oh, how blessed art ye Dennis, he who valiantly crusades for the imposition of religion in science class.

    I never said anything about imposing religion in science class (let alone valiantly crusading for such). Look at my comments again.

    Were you once misled by your school teachers who surreptitiously taught you to believe that man’s daddy was Mobo the monkey? Evil secular schools. Damn them all — May they burn in the fiery pits of hell with all those “sophisticated” teenagers who were indoctrinated by them.

    I was never talking about a conspiracy theory, Anselmo. Indoctrination can occur even if it is not consciously intended. I could argue about a lot of ways that good and relatively innocent teachers indoctrinate their students without even knowing it (e..g, that America is the best country, that capitalism is the best economic system, that science is more “true” and important than other disciplines). Often the problem is not with anything that IS said, but what is NOT said. That being said, the public schools are certainly not the enemy. They are simply one part of a larger context of unintended socialization (if you prefer that word to indoctrination) of our children. However, I would hope that the public school system could begin to teach our children to think more critically about the world they live in, including the assumptions of science. That’s really all that I have said in my two comments here. You have chosen not to assess the logic of this claim by casting me off as a religious zealot, which is not at all justified by what I have said (in fact, there is nothing that I have said that would even clearly reveal me as a religious person).

    Was I misled by my school teachers? Well sort of. I was never taught about anything regarding the philosophy of science — where this is now my academic specialty, I realize what is missing. The failure of this approach helped me to not be able to integrate or interface my religious beliefs and the views of science very well. Basically, I had two compartmentalized worldviews. Only after having a sound understanding of the philosophy of science was I able to handle this integration.

    Perhaps, Anselmo, you see anything that is critical about science as a religious crusade? (You certainly are not alone if this is true.)

  26. Anselmo,

    The only difference I see between “theory” and “myth” is that one was written by scientists and one was “divinely inspired,” as Candice points out.

    My point wasn’t that Shakespeare read the Bible; my point is that we have an extremely difficult time understanding what Shakespeare wrote without also understanding what’s going on in the Bible. I think you’d do our students a disservice if you didn’t teach them Shakespeare and the rest of the arts appropriately; I’m simply arguing that the Bible as literature would contribute to that.

    Further, what Dennis says is absolutely correct: our students leave the public schools convinced that the arts and letters are secondary to science, when the truth of the matter is, the value of knowledge we obtain from either science or the humanities can be equally good (as it can be equally bad). Any thoughtful person can see that this is so.

  27. Dennis, all trains of thoughts should be thoroughly critiqued, and I appreciate all good attempts at such. This post was not one of them. Sarcasm was a tool used to illustrate the ridiculousness of you and Joe’s disdain for evolution. It was apt.

    Joe, if that is the only difference you can see than I suggest you look up the definitions in a dictionary. [Remainder of comment deleted by administrator: No personal attacks, please.]

  28. Anselmo,

    I reject that you can simply cast off my “disdain for evolution” by using sarcasm and calling it ridiculous. You have yet to actually assess my claims. I really do think they are quite reasonable. Help me understand why you disagree, Anselmo. I’ve made a fair effort to try to reason with you (in spite of what I consider to be pretty unfair comments by you) and have asked you direct questions that you have not attempted to answer.

  29. Anselmo,

    Appealing to the dictionary as an authority makes for bad speeches as well as bad arguements. Most dictionaries are discriptive of the use of the word. If the dictionary takes theory to mean “conception based on scientific fact” and myth to mean “fiction” it is only because most people use the words in that sence. So in fact all you are arguing is that most people believe there is a huge difference between theory and myth. Congratulations on making the fallacy of appealing to mass support.

    Could it not be that the masses’ position are in part a reflection of the poor quality of education at our public high schools and even universities?

  30. Dennis,

    My experience with children leads me to believe that it is not principally indoctrination that causes children to have very white/black views of the world. Don’t you think it is primarily a matter of cognitive development?

    I can’t really respond very well to the discussion because I am not sure what level of schooling we are talking about. Do you want to roll out Bible as Literature courses in our public elementary schools, high schools, or colleges?

    The distinction between objective (fact) and subjective (opinion) certainly becomes tricky when examined closely. (By the way, I don’t think this distinction is related to Cartesian dualism, which is concerned primarily with ontology and the mind-body problem rather than epistemology). However, it seems that you are veering dangerously close to full-blown subjectivism in your comments.

    Education which simply tells people that “some people believe this while other people believe that” is not an adequate education. Certainly, such comments have there place, but they cannot be the sum total of what is taught. The idea that we should put creationism on par with evolution in public schooling seems frankly indefensible to me. But, I can’t really tell if you are advocating that or not. So, let me ask a clarifying question: Do you believe all views should be on equal footing in the arena of public education? Should creationism be given the same status and attention that evolution is?

  31. Clayton, its hard to believe someone who can write would suggest that looking a word up in the dictionary is a fallacy, so I’m convinced that your comment was intended to be taken sarcastically. Good one…lol….I mean, if a dictionary is not an authority on the American-English lexicon, what is?

    Dennis, can you refer me to a study (or some other convincing material) that people believe in science ‘just because’? That science is about hegemony? You only offer personal anecdotes attesting to your claims. If you don’t think its fair that I parody your claims then substantiate them and I won’t. Also, lighten up a bit…are you and your ideas too good to be poked fun at?

  32. According to Joe and Candice, myths are “divinely inspired.” So, warlock and witches are divinely inspired?!? Lockness monsters, too?!? What’s more, you claim that the “creation story told by evolutionary scientist is a myth.” Should I then presume, Joe and Candice, that you believe evolution is divinely inspired?

    Dennis, still waiting for something substantiating…

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  34. Here goes another exclusionary comment, but I am a Latter-day Saint who thought the theory of evolution was the purest evil I’d ever heard of as an undergrad at BYU. I read everything I could about it (there is a LOT I didn’t and won’t ever get to), but from everything I’ve seen Darwin’s observations seem pretty spot on to me. However, I gave up on the scientific method long ago as a frame work for truth-finding.

    I will say that nothing (again, nothing) has enhanced my temple worship more than an understanding of the tenets of the theory of evolution. I don’t know how it all happened, but if we allow for its possibility, we can move the literal in the temple to the deeper symbolic meaning. We can’t learn if we we think we know all the answers.

  35. You do know that it’s false doctrine to preach against evolution, don’t you? You might do well, next time you’re in Provo for any length of time, to take a couple of courses in the biology department at Brigham Young. Evolution is the binding theory of the biological sciences, and BYU has several professors who do an outstanding job of teaching it.

    There is no revelation in favor of creationism. Be careful to stick to the facts.

  36. Ed,

    You do know that it’s false doctrine to preach against evolution, don’t you?

    I think your statement here definitely needs qualified. I have taken a course in the BYU biology department that dealt with all of the complications of evolution, and I am also acquainted with the work of Dr. Duane Jeffery. It is not correct for me to say that Latter-day Saints cannot believe in evolution. They certainly can, and they can be very good Latter-day Saints. But this hardly precludes debate on the issue of evolution among Latter-day Saints. A Latter-day Saint is well within his rights to say that he or she does not believe in evolution, and can also provide doctrinal reasons for why (in fact, Elder Packer has done this very thing). I don’t see anything that Joe has said here, or myself, that can be seen as saying that good Latter-day Saints cannot believe in evolution. Do you?

    I remember on my mission I argued with a scientific-minded person about evolution — I didn’t go as far as to say he couldn’t be LDS and believe in evolution, but I think that impression came across. I still regret doing so — it was way outside my bounds as a missionary, and I failed to realize (at least in that moment) that the Church doctrines are broad enough to include even the most die-hard evolutionist. However, this does not mean that I can not point out what I see as some of the (often unrecognized and unproven) assumptions of evolution, as well as point out the simple fact that a Latter-day Saint does not have to believe in it. To tweak your point, “There is no revelation in favor of evolution.”

    And as far as “sticking to the facts,” one of the “facts” of this post (as well as at least my own comments) has never been the issue of evolution and LDS doctrine.

  37. Trevor,

    I agree that there can be symbolic value in evolutionary theory. Man being of the dust is certainly one of them. I, for one, have been unsatisfied by those who insist that Adam and Eve’s physical bodies were begotten by God (similar to the way a human father begets their children). Now, the key word here is “insist.” I do see this as a possibility. However, a person can certainly see meaning in the fact that man is made, in some way or other, from the dust, and this fact is only degrading when we don’t consider that we all need to be begotten by Jesus Christ. Thus, Christ becomes our Father, even of our physical bodies, in a very literal sense.

    Meaning can also be gained in terms of man’s connection with the other animals.

    I do think, also, that Darwinism has been around simply because it explains so much. But it carries some baggage that can be easily sloughed away. It is hard to be an evolutionist and also believe in free will and human altruism — at least without being a very different kind of evolutionist.

    I do think, though, there is something about evolution and God’s way of creating things. But I’m resistant to accepting Darwinism wholesale. And I’m very opposed to those who think that it is a “fact” rather than a theory, which itself relies on certain assumptions about the world (which have not been proven and which probably never can be).

  38. Dennis,

    “But I’m resistant to accepting Darwinism wholesale.”

    I think Darwin, at least at the beginning, would have said the same thing. Its a wise stance, and the one I take. But for my purposes, its pretty convincing, and it fills me with gratitude for God’s power.

    likewise, If we believe that we are created in God’s image, then Man being endowed with altruism, while other forms may not be, seems entirely conducive to an evolutionary foundation. And Mosiah 3 makes a compelling argument for the same.

    sorry to digress, but I do also remember a friend of my was told by the sealer, while he was kneeling at the alter waiting to be sealed to his wife, that the theory of evolution was of God. Luckily my friend didn’t have any strong opinions one way or another, so he had a great sealing.

    That’s a wedding day story.

  39. Anselmo,

    I would expect that there is no better evidence for the hegemony of science (and please consider me a hegemon here) than demanding a study to firmly establish such hegemony.

    Also, Clayton’s point is not that the dictionary is a bad authority, but that it is the product of common usage rather than that which dictates common usage. Clayton is suggesting that some dictionaries may not reflect the nuances of meaning that some of the commenters here are suggesting.

  40. Well said Brady,

    Hermeneutics argues that those nuances are in fact more important than imperical dictionary knowledge.

    Poetry is the prime example of when this occurs. But, it happens at some level in every kind of discourse.

    Anselmo asks:”if a dictionary is not an authority on the American-English lexicon, what is?”

    The authority lies in the relationships between text and reader, and listener and hearer.

    An important part of that relationship is having a grounded common langauge, but such a imperical langauge is not the authority itself. Nor is that langauge free from innovation or challenge. As Joe seems to be doing (challenging the way myth and theory are used).

  41. Jacob:

    Do you believe all views should be on equal footing in the arena of public education? Should creationism be given the same status and attention that evolution is?

    No. No.

    In regards to the first question, I’m simply saying that teenagers (probably not children) should be taught to be critical thinkers, including critical thinkers about science. This simply has not been valued because, in my opinion, science is part of the economic capitalism that is unquestioned in the United States. That should change — high school graduates should be aware of intelligent criticisms both within and about science. I’m not talking here about spurnings from religious zealots. There are many criticisms of science from atheists and agnostics. I get so tired of people thinking that anyone who criticizes science must be on a religious crusade.

    To your second question, I think that students should learn that people have many different ideas about the creation of the earth and the origin of life. These ideas could certainly be discussed without being endorsed. And one of these ideas is evolution. And we’re going to talk a little about evolution because it’s a big part of a science education (this really is not a sufficient explanation as to why evolution should be taught, but it’s probably as deep as a high school teacher needs to get). But understand, the teacher might say, that this is one idea about the origin of life. It relies on certain assumptions. Really, is what I’m approaching here all that radical? I don’t think so. Is it dishonest? Not at all, it is very honest. It is threatening to science? Yes — it is a direct attack to the false and indefensible rhetoric of objectivity that science currently enjoys. And THAT, I would argue, is why evolutionists and others have resisted this very rhetorical tactic being done in public schools. Which proves to me that our public schools really are a place for the socialization of the truth of science. And I think this is dishonest. Now, a socialization of the usefulness of science I could understand.

    Teachers really shouldn’t be Truth tellers. In fact I’m fairly radical in this regard. I disagree that a teacher needs to indoctrinate a student (at least a teenager, anyway) who says, “I don’t believe the Holocaust really happened!” that it really did happen. Rather, the teacher should discuss with the student concerning the basis of such a claim. “Well, where have you heard this? How, then do we explain x, y, z … ? Are there important reasons that you think someone might want to say there is no Holocaust?” and so on. Of course, the teacher would be concerned about this student’s disbelief in the Holocaust, but the concern would be based on moral reasons, not epistemological ones. Frankly, it is morally jacked up for someone to dispute the Holocaust. No reason to even consult epistemological issues. However, I would argue, that it certainly is not morally jacked up for someone to dispute evolution (unless zealots like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris have their say). So the teacher perhaps treads a finer line on this one. Let’s not forget that education has always been a socialization of community values and morals. You’re not going to get around this. So, really, what I am arguing for as much as anything is a more nuanced view of the public’s perception of science. As this changes, so will public education. (Unless, of course, we fall prey to an undemocratic scientistic machine that guides all public policy and that cannot be stopped.)

    Regarding your comment on children’s black/white views of the world, I think that it is in part due to cognitive development, and more so the younger a child gets. However, I think that cognitive development is more plastic than we want to acknowledge. How can we be certain that our children simply have not been in the proper environment to help cultivate more nuanced views of the world? I do think that there are certainly cognitive limits, but I think these can be greatly pushed with the right kind of education and parenting — certainly to varying degrees depending on the individual.

  42. Anselmo,

    Dennis, can you refer me to a study (or some other convincing material) that people believe in science ‘just because’? That science is about hegemony?

    To your first question, that people believe in science “just because,” the answer is no. I never said this, and I don’t believe this.

    To your second question, that science is about hegemony, there is a plethora of “convincing material.” I’d begin with Wendell Berry’s Life is a Miracle: An Essay Against Modern Superstition. If you want more reading after that, let me know… :)

  43. Brady, I understand your point and it is a good one. Still, I evaluate some questions according to criteria other than reason. With science, I may want reason; but with religion, I want faith. Also, I have no issue with particular definitions that relate to a given field. But redefining words to mean whatever one may want it too is neither good for communications sake nor the American-English lexicon. Anyway, Clayton essentially reduced dictionary use to logical fallacies.

    Dennis, first, I am flattered that you quote me more than you do yourself. Second, I think Berry has a good point: science doesn’t nor ever will provide all the answers (or even half of them) to our many questions (like why do some people loath Mobo the Monkey). Yet, aside from some extremists, do many people really believe science has a hegemony on the truth or that its theories are viewed as unquestionable? I don’t think so. For the most part humans are still very emotive with respect to their beliefs. I don’t see teaching evolution in science class without your caveats necessary of correction. People believe what they want to believe. If anything this goes to show that science doesn’t have a monopoly on truth.

  44. Also, Dennis, are you a fan of the Amish?

  45. I do think, also, that Darwinism has been around simply because it explains so much. But it carries some baggage that can be easily sloughed away. It is hard to be an evolutionist and also believe in free will and human altruism — at least without being a very different kind of evolutionist.

    It’s only difficult if one somehow misunderstands the science of evolution, which requires altruism as a survival strategy in many social species, for example.

    Either one has faith in the creation God handed us, or one doesn’t. If one has faith in God’s work, when it manifests evolution, no amount of “critical thinking” will reason it away.

    This discussion is a real through-the-looking glass experience. May I ask, both for curiosity and self defense: Is anyone here a biologist?

  46. Wow, I should have been reading during the weekend. I’m not a biologist, but I am a fan of the Amish (whatever that means). Lived among them in Indiana and like the way they treat each other. As for not being a biologist, that certainly should speak to my inadequate knowledge of the theory of evolution, which began this whole discussion (my inadequacy, I mean to say; not my disdain).

    Not to stop this rather interesting discussion, but let me put evolution to the side here and add just a couple more things: one, I never argued for creationism; it’s just bad science; two, I never argued against teaching evolution; three, I think Anselmo may be right about evolution being “divinely inspired” (in the loose sense, of course), but enough of that…; four, Dennis makes a good point, which I agree with, on teachers being truth tellers – teachers should be allowed to “profess” based on their experience, but should never consider their knowledge to be fiat.

    i’m a big fan of D&C 93, where it says that we lose light both through disobedience and the traditions of our fathers. I know what it’s like to be disobedient, but it’s taken me a while and I still don’t quite know what the “traditions of the fathers” means. But I have some sense that how we teach (not WHAT is taught) might be related to this idea of “traditions of the fathers”. I think that’s what Dennis is saying (though he can surely correct me if I’m wrong).

    Please, everyone, quit talking about creationism. I, like most of you, would rather have my children taught evolution than creationism. That has little to do with the argument I was making.

  47. Anselmo,

    Yet, aside from some extremists, do many people really believe science has a hegemony on the truth or that its theories are viewed as unquestionable? I don’t think so. For the most part humans are still very emotive with respect to their beliefs. I don’t see teaching evolution in science class without your caveats necessary of correction. People believe what they want to believe. If anything this goes to show that science doesn’t have a monopoly on truth.

    This dodges the point. If people are going to believe what they want to believe, anyway, then why not teach creationism, without any caveats? Indeed, why teach anything at all about the creation or the origin of life? Why would it even matter, if people will believe what they want anyway?

    Also, Dennis, are you a fan of the Amish?

    Just more evidence, Anselmo, of your being quick to caricature and ridicule. If someone criticizes science, then they must be a Luddite, right?

    If you’d like to contribute on this site, you’re welcome to. But your snide remarks and personal attacks do not add anything, nor do they say anything except about your own character. I realize that this sort of dialogue is common on the blogosphere, but they are not welcome here. Moreover, your habit of ridicule and then responding with “can’t you take a joke?” or “don’t take yourself so seriously” matches perfectly the pattern of verbal abusers.

  48. Ed,

    I’m having trouble understanding your last comment.

  49. Dennis, Wendell Berry is a big fan of the Amish, thus the question. I don’t see why that would be considered ridicule. There’s nothing wrong with being Amish.

    [Portion of comment deleted by administrator: No personal attacks, please. ]

    Again, I poke fun at silly ideas like hating evolution and teaching creationism in science class. People ridicule those things they find ridiculous. That doesn’t make them a verbal abuser.

    [Portion of comment deleted by administrator: No personal attacks, please, whether defended in the name of humor or not. If you can't handle this, then you'll need to get off of THIS stage. Criticism is welcomed, ridicule and personal attacks are not. Sorry.]

    B/c creationism is not a science — its a religious belief.
    There is no place for it in the curriculum. They don’t have philosophy classes on the various trains of thought on the Earth’s origin K-12. If anything the problem in public schools is a disinterest in science and not an dogmatic adherence to it.

  50. Dennis, Wendell Berry is a big fan of the Amish, thus the question. I don’t see why that would be considered ridicule. There’s nothing wrong with being Amish.

    I apologize about taking offense at that comment. Given your previous string of personal digs, I saw this as one as well.

    However, my comments about your humorously ridiculing ideas that you find to be ridiculous still stand, even without the Amish comment.

    I poke fun at silly ideas like hating evolution and teaching creationism in science class. People ridicule those things they find ridiculous. That doesn’t make them a verbal abuser.

    The problem, Anselmo, is that what is silly to you is not to someone else. Regarding “hating evolution and teaching creationism in science class,” I have never said either of these things, and yet you have still (wrongly) poked fun at me — you mocked me as a crusader for the imposition of religion in science class when I never said anything to imply such.

    Whether you really are a verbal abuser or not — I don’t know you. However, the behavior of humorous ridicule, learning of offense, dismissing the offense as ridiculous, and then continuing to ridicule is (to a tee) the pattern of behavior from a verbal abuser. Even if the person really is being ridiculous, it still shows tremendous disrespect and arrogance. This pattern of behavior was very common among the inmates who I worked with at the Utah State Prison.

    The process is quite similar, actually, to sexual abuse. A woman might not want a potential suitor touching her in a certain place. The suitor might think the person is being ridiculous (and he might be right), but whether he abuses or not depends on what he does next. Does he respect the woman’s right to set her own boundaries? Or does he ridicule those boundaries and continue to abuse? The man’s initial contact is (perhaps) not abuse, but his subsequent contact definitely is.

    So, Anselmo, you know very clearly where I stand. Metaphorically, the blog is my house (as well as the other authors). I have every right to not let somebody in. However, you are very welcome to continue to comment here according to the terms I have set. I do think that you make many good points.

  51. If people are going to believe what they want to believe, anyway, then why not teach creationism, without any caveats?

    Because it isn’t truthful. Creationism is not what nature shows. An argument for creationism cannot be maintained for more than about three minutes without resorting to dishonestly denying the evidence or distorting science — and any enterprise which leads otherwise good people to commit such sins is not of God.

    As to being unable to understand my argument, let me try to make it concisely: Creation is a testament of God. Creationism denies what creation shows us, and therefore it denies the testament of God.

    Creationism is unholy, and wrong. Every moment spent on creationism is a moment stolen from real biology practice, which brings us treatments and cures for diseases as diverse as diabetes and cancer.

    Teachers who teach creationism when they should be discussing evolution are misleading children. They should be fired.

    Nothing wrong with believing any fool thing you wish, as an adult. Our Constitution protects that right.

    Teaching fool things to students is illegal, and a sin.

  52. Fine point, and we can all admit that creation does not show us how it was created. Therefore creation by evolution is as untruthful as creationism is. So let’s just agree to not talk about creation altogether?

  53. Broad point, and creation does show how it was created. Please stay out of our schools.

  54. Creation does show how it was created? What epistemology are you basing that claim on? If it’s empiricism, don’t forget that no scientist (to my knowledge) has ever empirically witnessed the creation of a new species. Therefore there is no empirical evidence from creation itself as to HOW it was created.

    Now, if you’re basing that claim on rationalism, that’s fine, as long as you acknowledge that basing a claim on rationalism leaves you with no claim on absolute truth. Any good scientist will acknowledge the limitations of rationalism and that all rational arguments are subject to the same fallacies, thus prohibiting rationalism from making any absolute truth claims.

    But if you’re asserting that what you claim is true, you must be invoking an alternative epistemology (a non-scientific epistemology). If that is the case, I’m curious to know which that is.

  55. Many scientists have witnessed the creation of new species. It happens all the time! Broccoli, Canola, grapefruit, modern beef (from aurochs), several species of sticklebacks, and so on — there are examples particularly well documented through the 20th century, and documented in the previous 1,000 years, too. Creationism’s power of deceit is so great that it blinds people to actual events. It is an evil force, I tell you. Every phase of evolution theory has been observed in operation in the wild, in the lab, and creation of new species is such a powerful force that lab researchers must take special steps to prevent insects from speciating when isolated in the lab.

    If you reject God’s creation as absoluted truth, and then claim that nothing, including God, is absolute truth, then I’ll agree that rationalism has no claim on absolute truth. Good scientists will admit the limits of rationalism, certainly — but good religionists will admit that it’s rather foolish to deny reality. God is generally not separate from reality in a well-operating philosophical scheme. If you wish to argue God is different from reality, make the case — but otherwise, rationality is not only not opposed to a God argument, but parallel to it. Rational arguments may not be trumped by a religious claim.

    The evidence for creationism is not superior to evidence for evolution in any schema anyway. Thanks for playing.

    Your problem is that creationism has no useful evidence in any epistemology. Reality may bite hard, but you can’t go crying to God about it to get excused from it, when it’s God’s reality.

    Where have you been the past 150 years? Did you really think speciation hadn’t been evidenced? The first formal paper on speciation was published in before 1870. Creationism’s claims had been mostly falsified by Lyell 40 years earlier, on evidence from geology.

    I’m really worried about creationists in the schools, now. Is there any familiarity with anything after 1900 in the stuff?

  56. Ed,

    Are you trying to paint Joe as a creationist trying to get into your schools, in spite of his repeated insistence that this is not the case?

  57. I’m suggesting that people who do not know what the theory of evolution is, and who do not understand the science behind it, should neither teach biology nor criticize those who do.

    I’m not making the creationist claims here. I’m only rebutting the creationist claims that have been made. Does that paint the claimer as a creationist? My correcting the claims isn’t the problem.

  58. I’m only rebutting the creationist claims that have been made.

    Maybe I missed something (which is quite possible). What creationist claims have been made here?

  59. Ed,

    I’m also wondering who is a creationist here. I think it is safe to say that Dennis and Joe (as well as myself) reject creationism.

    Also, isn’t your term “reality” begging the ontological and epistemological question? I agree that we have to take reality into account, but we can’t take it for granted that reality is readily apparent, defined, or agreed upon.

  60. Here are several creationist claims — I’ll limit this to false claims:

    But in spite of my apathy toward creationism, I am still greatly miffed by this country’s ridiculous replacement of one creation story (evolution) with another (the Biblical account).

    The short of the story is this: the creation story told by evolutionary scientists is a myth. It’s just a story made up by some people who claim to have some sort of authority regarding biology, paleontology, a little organic chemistry, and the so-called scientific method (other disciplines may apply). It comes with no guarantee of factual validity and it begs just as many questions as it supposes to answer.

    But the fact of the matter is no one, no matter how sophisticated, can make a claim as to the factual accuracy of either myth. so whether or not factual accuracy was the question, it shouldn’t have been and it shouldn’t be now. Factual accuracy just cannot be a question in the case of “creation,’ even for evolutionary scientists, else we ask questions that will never be answered.

    By excluding the Bible from our scholastic repertoire, we have violently separated ourselves and our children from that which defines us culturally and instead (as a consequence of several court decisions ostensibly fighting for the division of church and state) we have adopted a culture that is untested – the scientific culture. [The Bible is not excluded from schools; science is a major player in culture now anyway -- this claim rather ignores the need to know what science is, how science works, and why evolution is solid theory.]

    The Bible doesn’t have near the defenders it should have, especially in our own faith (I believe that is partly due to our willingness to make our religion fit with anything called science), and if it did, we might see arguments for teaching the Bible in our public more sophisticated than creationism and intelligent design. [There are many defenders of the Bible -- probably too many, considering most of themare plug ignorant of the First Amendment, biology, and the Bible, too, ironically.]

    The primary reason the Bible is not used is because it is a religious text, so it gets the axe out of respect for our Bill of Rights. But the Bible is not just a religious text – it is a work of literature that Shakespeare himself could not have done without. Yet we think we can do without it. [The Bible is used in schools.]

    I just want to see our children broadening their horizons beyond just “science” and into the arts and letters.

    This would include being upfront about some of its common assumptions (naturalism, materialism, abstractionism, dualism, reductionism, universalism, linear time, and so on). Of course, it might be a little daunting to go over all of this with a 13 year old. But, seriously, what is the problem with saying that there are intelligent people (and not just religious people — in fact just as many are agnostics and atheists from my experience) who challenge some of the fundamental assumptions of mainstream science, including evolutionary theory. Seriously, why would we not do this?!?! I’ll tell you why. Because scientific hegemony is about power. If we were really interested in honest scholarship and truth, we would be giving a fuller, more critical picture to our children in public schools. Or rather, we should be helping our children to think critically about this picture themselves rather than naively bowing at the altars of science.

    But beyond that, skittishness toward teaching the Bible is rooted in a (mis-)interpretation of the Constitution; there is no corresponding Amendment designating a separation of Science and State, as it were.

    If I understand Joe’s point correctly, both creation stories are myths in the sense that they are inherited traditions that tell stories that take stances that have major philosophical and metaphysical implications (as opposed to an Agatha Christie story which is a bit lacking on those points). [This is an insult to the science involved in biology, especially Darwin's powerful refinements of scientific methods, and an insult to Agath Christie and her inventiveness; was this a joke comment, I hope? You guys seriously don't understand the difference between science and fiction?]

    It is interesting that the public schools for some reason find it so important to indoctrinate our children concerning evolution but not offer any kind of way of bringing this study together with other topics. The hidden message is clear: evolution (and science) is “fact,” literature and the arts are (mere) “opinion.”

    So let’s be honest, all we’re REALLY doing is indoctrinating our children to trust in the authority of science, without thinking critically of what this trust entails (see my comment above for more on this). The only answer I can come up with is that this REALLY IS a power struggle on behalf of science. Were it not, we would teach our children to think critically about science, which would require a critical examination of science from a larger context. Now I am in no wise arguing here for a dismissal of science, but more of an “informed consent” when it comes to what science actually is.

    At the very least, what would be the harm if a teacher said this: “Hey, there are people who have faith in science and people who don’t. Likewise, there are people who have faith in evolution and people who don’t. Similarly, there are people who have faith in God and people who don’t. And there are people who have faith in God and in science, and people who have faith in neither. It is not my job as an educator to tell you what to believe in, and there are respectable people of all of these different positions. We’re going to learn about the theory of evolution, but understand that this theory relies on certain assumptions (perhaps we could talk about what assumptions are) that not everyone believes in. Moreover, many of these assumptions have not been proven. Thus, the theory of evolution is one narrative about the world which may or may not be true. But it’s important for us to learn about this worldview and what this worldview has to say about the world. But please understand that you do not have to believe this worldview in order to learn about it.”

    If a teacher did this, then they are only being totally honest, but the evolutionary scientists would be livid! And why…?

    And so on.

    All right out of the creationist playbook.

    Make a call for Bible and religion literacy, and don’t base it on false claims, you’ll get better mileage.

  61. Oh, and Dennis, the specific claim I was responding to was the classic creationist false claim that evolution has never been witnessed.

  62. Outside of mental hospitals and opium dens, what definition of reality is it you claim excludes proofs of science found suitable for courtroom use?

  63. Ed,

    When did I ever claim anything about excluding proofs of science found suitable for courtroom use? I am talking about the philosophies of ontology and epistemology (try wikipedia if these are unfamiliar terms). In the halls of the academy these issues are far from settled. Heidegger’s Being and Time is a great place to start if you want to study the complexity of the question of reality.

    If anyone who is critical of evolution is by fiat a creationist then we’ve reached an impasse. There are more options than evolutionist or creationist. Folks here have declared their rejection of creationism’s positive claims. Whatever similarities there might or might not be in the critiques does not necessarily make folks here creationists.

    Until you can consider that there might be thoughtful ways of being critical (even if you don’t agree with them), you’re going to end up yelling right past the people you’re trying to reach.

    It may be helpful to note that we’re not deciding policy here, so we have the luxury of taking our time to really understand one another. If we do this, then we can learn from one another. If anyone here is only interested in preaching at the uninformed (rather than really learning in a mutual exchange), best of luck to you. I don’t think you’ll win many converts.

  64. In the halls of the academy these issues are far from settled. Heidegger’s Being and Time is a great place to start if you want to study the complexity of the question of reality.

    If anyone who is critical of evolution is by fiat a creationist then we’ve reached an impasse.

    In the philosophy department, and when you take literature courses in the books of Carlos Casteneda, you can claim that there are blurry lines between reality and fantasy or surreality. The rest of the time, such complaints are quaint essences of superstition gone amok. The original post wondered why we can’t teach creationism in public schools alongside evolution, blurring the lines between literature and science, or obliterating it all together. Why isn’t the raving fool’s hallucinations as good as a photograph? you might ask. That’s what you’re asking, isn’t it?

    When you ask to discuss evolution, you either accept the conventions of analysis of reality we generally accept, or you fall down a rabbit hole with Alice. Are you seriously arguing that there is a separate reality in which hard scientific evidence doesn’t count, Brady?

    There are lots of good criticisms of evolution. But creationists insist on saying there are other epistemologies in which their silliness won’t be quite so silly, and they refuse to stick with the science. That makes it deucedly difficult to discuss things on a scientific basis. Fossil evidence? “Perhaps the rocks are not real.” DNA evidence? “Who can believe anything that even faintly resembles a corkscrew, the device used to dispense wine and other intoxicating spirits.”

    No thanks. Let’s not go there.

    I’m not saying at all that any criticism of evolution makes the critic a creationist by fiat. Frederick Hoyle’s criticisms didn’t make him a creationist in any way — and he stoutly rejected all the creationist claims. But when one accepts the creationist arguments without criticism or even caution, and repeats them, if one is not a creationist, one becomes a dupe of the creationists. Which is worse?

    I keep hearing “I’m not a creationist,” but that claim in this thread so far has always comes before a wholesale swallowing of a creationist red herring. It’s difficult to give credence to such statements when the other statements and actions are exactly contrary.

    People here reject creationism’s positive claims? Where? Are we then debating only your acceptance of negative claims? What in the world are those?

    There are definitely thoughtful ways of being critical. You could state what your criticisms are, state the scientific basis behind the criticisms, and discuss. But some thought is required before a criticism may be called “thoughtful.”

    A mutual exchange between the facts and claptrap? No thanks. If you don’t have anything of value to use, what’s the use? All I’m trying to do is keep y’all from plunging over the cliff without anything resembling wings or a parachute, or roped up ready to rapel or bungee.

    You call it “epistemology,” but gravity is not forgiving of such error. You call it epistemology, I call it teaching falsehood to children since that is what it is if we use some standards of evidence, a sin of substantial weight.

    There is no godly reason to avoid use of standards of evidence that I can see. Are you kidding?

    Ernst Mach didn’t “believe” in atoms, either. But he didn’t claim we should preach and teach against them. He didn’t stand in the way of the development of atomic theory. He didn’t say we should lie to children and tell them maybe atoms don’t exist, or that if they do exist, they are no better than whatever phantasm anyone might have proposed instead.

    Sure, it’s possible to take a principled stand critical of evolution theory. That hasn’t happened here.

  65. Ed,

    I want to reply to you more completely than I have time to do now, but let me reassure you that I am not asking why the raving fool’s hallucinations aren’t as good as a photograph nor am I arguing that there is a separate reality in which hard scientific evidence doesn’t count.

    If criticism must have scientific basis then the critiques offered by most of the commenters here will be of little value to you. This is because many of us, in our use of science and its methods, want to be careful and critical of the foundations of our enterprise. Speaking for myself here, I find standards of evidence of immense practical value, but I am troubled when we lose sight of the assumptions that ground these standards and begin to elevate them as transcendent truths rather than practical tools.

    I might also say that I have less issue with evolutionary biology than you may think. I am fine with it being taught in our schools. I am very suspicious of many of the proposals to teach alternative accounts in our schools.

    I want to elaborate a critique so that you’ll have more context to respond to. Perhaps a new post in the next week or two . . .

  66. If the criticisms of evolution, a scientific theory, are not based on science, then they run the risk of being pointless. Dr. Francis Beckwith at Baylor has published a book calling for creationism to be taught in public schools, saying it would be Constitutional (this was before the Dover case). He argues still that it is Constitutional, but his argument is based on the premise that there is solid science backing it.

    As I’ve explained several times, this is akin to arguing that, philosophically, the Federal Aviation Administration should regulate pig farms. After all, if pigs could fly, flying pigs might pose significant hazards to commercial aviation in the form of collisions and smeared windshields, especially if the flying pigs liked to flock around airports. It would be a natural extension, since other industries that are federally-regulated and which deal with aviation are regulated in part by the FAA, such as bolt and rivet manufacturers, and seat and carpet manufacturers.

    But such debates are pointless, because pigs don’t fly.

    Evolution is scientific theory, and arguing that creationism should be taught along side evolution in science classes is pointless unless and until someone does that hard scientific work to make the case that creationism is science. For more than 50 years now creationists have simply refused to go into a laboratory or into the wild to make the necessary observations, and publish the results. The issue has been litigated twice, and in both cases claims that science journals are biased against creationism faltered on the evidence that showed there is no creationism research to publish.

    And as Judge Overton noted somewhere in the Arkansas case, if there were science in creationism, the publishers would rush to be the first to get it into the textbooks with no operation of law required, since the latest science is a big selling point. Let me add that, if creationism had science behind it, it would make the books best sellers in Texas and Florida, two of the biggest states for textbook sales.

    But pigs don’t fly, and creationism isn’t science. Hypothetical arguments on the philosophy of teaching creationism as science should instead be directed toward the philosophy of teaching falsehoods to children. Pedagogically, that’s stupid. As science, it’s stupid. Most Christians would find such practices immoral.

    But if you can make a philosophical case for teaching foolishness that is false to children, go ahead. Please deal with the moral implications when you do: Which part of the Scout Law, to pick one solid set of moral standards, would allow teaching falsehoods to innocent children? Which of the Ten Commandments would favor the enterprise, or which of the 613 laws of the Torah? Which philosophers in any school argued that teaching falsehoods is correct, epistemologically?

    And if you can make the case, how can you ever claim any moral standard ever again?

  67. P.S.: Here’s a gateway to a more full explication of the flying pigs fallacy:
    http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/intelligent-design-a-pig-that-does-not-fly/

  68. Clearly we’re talking past one another. I’m out. Best of luck.

  69. [...] Here’s an LDS blog where the authors are trying to argue that “philosophically,” creationism should be taught alongside evolution, since it’s a “better” myth than science. Or something like that. All that high-falutin’ use of six-syllable words, e.g., epistemology, makes me think that the words don’t mean what the authors think they mean, especially when the authors then go on to make foolish claims based on something they think they’ve “proven” logically. My tolerance of six-syllable words has been reduced by dealing with actual laws, I think. [...]

  70. I just want to through in my two cents worth. I am an LDS member for over ten years and these are the things that I have learned even before I joined the Church. The evolutionary theory is only a theory on how life came to be and to try to explain all the different species in this world. It is only a theory not a fact. Same thing with creationism. It is only a belief on how life came to be and attempts to explain how all the different species came to be. It is not a fact. Science deals with facts only. Scientists and researchers start with a theory and try to prove that theory true or false. Evolution as a whole theory, as far as I know, has never been proven a fact. The idea the God created all things has been around for hundreds of years but how He created them has changed, depending the era and location. I have read somewhere that according to some Jewish rabbis the creation story in Genesis is actually kindergarten level. They obviously know and believe a lot more than what is in Genesis. I personally believe in natural selection- survival of the fittest. Every living thing on earth has a purpose and has learned to survive to fulfill that purpose. I do believe that apes may have developed to a certain point that resembles early human but at some point modern human came on the scene and these early apes could not compete and eventually died out. The most ancient traditions talk about mankind leaping on the earth or just appearing here from somewhere. All this intelligent design talk is not new to me. In the early 90′s I came up with this theory that God created all life on earth but through nature’s law they have adapted and changed to survive. More than anything it was man that may have accelerated natural selection for animals to survive. With the advancement of technology and the growth of cities and man’s constant demand for resources the animals in the area had to adapt or die out. Look at bacteria and virus strains. With each new vaccine they adapt themselves and change in order to survive. This is evolution in my opinion. If you trace a strain of virus from 50 years ago to now you would see how much it has changed because of the vaccines introduced. One way to resolve this whole issue of whether creationism or evolution should be taught in class is to have a class on the various theories that have been introduced throughout the centuries on how people believe life has been started on earth. You can talk about Native American traditions or Hindu creationism, for example. An all around general class on how life began. I believe all this fighting between Christians and scientists is a complete waste of time and energy. There are better things to do than trying to prove who is right or wrong. And I don’t believe it should be a law just to teach creationism or evolution in a classroom without including other traditions from around the world. Who is to say that these other traditions are not the correct ones?

  71. Dennis doesn’t seem to be any of the typical anti-evolution types. From his posts, it seems to me that he feels the humanities are considered second class compared to the sciences. I imagine he rails against atoms and quantum mechanics as well.
    If he feels that studies such as literature and arts are inferior to studies such as chemistry or biology because the former are more subjective and the latter are more objective does not mean everyone feels that way. Ironically, in his efforts to compare evolutionary biology to the Bible and thus make all subjects of equal subjectiveness, he sounds a bit like disgruntled biologists complaining about unflattering comparisons to “harder” sciences such as physics.
    The scary part is that his academic specialty is the philosophy of science.

    j a higginbotham

    Dennis wrote:
    “But why must arts and literature be taught in different classes than evolution?

    So, in accordance with this indoctrination is the (subtle) indoctrination that science is a veritable authority but the other subjects are not. The implication is that we can trust scientists (and perhaps historians) for what is REAL. The arts and literature and so on — they’re fun and you can read stories and they can help you learn to write and stuff, but there’s nothing about the “real world” that you are learning here.”

  72. It’s not a conflict between Christians and scientists. It is a conflict between scientists and non-scientists. Scientists hold that there is an objective reality and the way to best model it is through hypothesis and experiment. Non-scientists hold that the best way to understand reality is to hold classes and talk about it; that reality is a construct of the human mind.

    jah

    “One way to resolve this whole issue of whether creationism or evolution should be taught in class is to have a class on the various theories that have been introduced throughout the centuries on how people believe life has been started on earth. … An all around general class on how life began. I believe all this fighting between Christians and scientists is a complete waste of time and energy.”

  73. Ed,

    Brady is right — we are definitely speaking past each other. I would like to reason with you, but when you continue to insist that I am advocating for creationism when I have never done so, it’s a little difficult. And when you caricature my arguments as creationist arguments, when they are not at all creationist arguments, then we are clearly at an impasse.

    I wish you the best.

  74. The comments have officially reached the looney bin.

    if there were a way to close the comments for this post, I would, but unfortunately I cannot do so without the existing comments disappearing.

    At any rate, I am officially done responding to any comments to this post, and I discourage further comments.

  75. Dennis, I think you have a very liberal definition of what a verbal abuser is, but oh well, it doesn’t really matter. It is interesting that you drew a comparison to me and inmates at Utah State Prison. I have never been there, thankfully, but I have been in and out of the New York penitentiary system, mainly Rikers. The guys there thought I was largely funny rather than verbally abusive. If they did I likely wouldn’t have the luxury of annoying the hell out of you.

    I will apologize for the “Oh blessed art ye Dennis” comment. That was a bit over the top. I had no reason to believe you’re self-righteous. The rest of the funny-stuff was in jest.

    The title of this post is “why I hate the theory of evolution”. From your many comments here it seemed that you condoned the idea. Apologies if I misinterpreted your viewpoint.

  76. Anselmo,

    Thanks for the apology.

    I suppose my biggest defenses come when a person assumes that I am saying something when I am not at all, and then I am ridiculed for it. Regrettably, I did the same thing to you with your Amish comment.

    So, Anselmo, let’s just put this behind us, both of us treading with a little more care in the future (on this blog), perhaps doing more to clarify when things are not clear. OK with you?

  77. It’s very easy (for me at least) to misunderstand web/internet stuff. There are no vocal/facial cues to base intent on and very seldom do I have much idea what background/context somewhat else has.

    jah

  78. I think that it is absolutely wrong for someone not to grant to Darwin the same thing that we as Latter day saints grant to all other scientists of the past such as Galileo and Newton and Edison, that they were all led by the Holy Ghost to make great discoveries. I for one do not want intelligent design in schools, nor to I want the Evangelical notions of Biblical literalism of the creation taught. I think we are foolish to not let science speak on what it finds on Evolution any more than anyone was foolish to not listen to Galileo or Copurnicus. We are after the truth in this Church. We are not after false traditions. And when traditions are shown to be false, it is time to abandon them. This doesn’t mean we have to accept everything science says by any means, but to not take into account what science has found out is a very foolish thing indeed. This is why they have found what they have found, because they have divested themselves of any traditions that would cloud their judgement and or color their vision. Should we not give ear to some degree what they have found in an objectivity devoid of any false tradition or false notions? Truth is truth where er its found.

  79. > I challenge anyone to persuade me [the Big Bang] is NOT a myth

    I think you have it backwards, friend. Nobody can force anything into your mind once it’s closed.

    Finding truth requires proactive effort. Erecting a mental fortress of willful ignorace and challenging people to breach it with what you assume will be The Battering Ram of Truth is not going to take you far.

    If this subject is not important to you, you don’t need to fight it.

    If this subject is important to you, you should put in your own time and effort to seriously study advanced Physics and Cosmology, and see if either you become convinced, or you find a flaw in the science that will prove to cosmologists that the Big Bang is “a myth.”

    But challenging others to convince you of something you don’t want to understand and have already decided to disbelieve doesn’t make much sense.

  80. Finn,

    I agree with everything you’re saying, in terms of a general treatise on open-mindedness.

    The problem is that you’re being unfair in assuming that your sermon needs to be preached to Joe — that his quote reflects that he must have a closed mind, that he has erected a mental fortress of willful ignorance, that he doesn’t want to understand the subject, and that he has already decided to disbelieve it.

    All unsupported assertions.

    In fact, the quote you refer to might actually be a way of saying the opposite of all of this. It could be a way of saying, “I really am open to hearing good arguments concerning how the Big Bang is not a myth. So far what I know and what I’ve heard has not convinced me. Can you help me to see otherwise? I really do want to understand.”

  81. Thanks Dennis. And I should add that it was a genuine challenge. I might clarify by saying that by myth, I don’t mean “false.” I am open to believing that the “big bang” factually happened, just as I am open to believing the Biblical myth factually happened.

    The truth is, I am severely ignorant when it comes to Physics and Cosmology. But what I do know of science and its philosophical foundations lead me to wonder why we seem to think we have empirically established anything that happened before any of us were around to make empirical observations. But perhaps that reveals my ignorance.

    Ignorance aside, I happen to like the myth of evolution (I’m not totally convinced I like the myth of the big bang) and as with everything we “hate,” there’s a side of me that loves evolution for the story it tells.

  82. Joe,

    I agree with this post. I read through the comments, and there are certainly clarifications and caveats to be made on your post, but I think the central point of it is absolutely correct. Thanks!

  83. I am open to believing that the “big bang” factually happened, just as I am open to believing the Biblical myth factually happened.

    We have photographs of the universe shortly after the Big Bang. We have the mathematical equations that predicted to pinpont accuracy the frequency of the “echo” that would be found everywhere, if it is so — the noise that Wilson and Penzias won the Nobel for having found.

    Photographs and sound — isn’t that enough to get you to acknowledge the existence of the thing?

  84. Ed,

    You’re back! I was wondering what happened to you after you never responded to my latest points on your blog. (But it’s just as well, I don’t have time to get into all that right now.)

    You’re going to have to define “photograph” to me, in the context you’re using it here.

  85. Oh, you know: Grading, graduation, shutting down, plans for next year, the hundreds of hours of summer courses teachers have to take, getting the younger son set up for college in the fall, the dust storm, the monsoon, the family business meeting, and a few days out for hiking in places remote enough even GPS doesn’t work. I’ll get back to that, some time, maybe soon.

    “Photograph” as in the COBE project, though Hubble has more interesting and beautiful stuff of somewhat later.

    COBE (Cosmic Background Explorer), scroll down to images:
    http://lambda.gsfc.nasa.gov/product/cobe/c_edresources.cfm

    Hubble:
    Half-way back to Big Bang:
    http://www.physorg.com/news127138924.html
    Ancient galaxy, just after “dark ages”:
    http://spacespin.org/article.php/80220-hubble-spitzer-galaxy-distance
    Early universe, “Lego block” galaxies:
    http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2007-097

  86. Dennis proposes: “I really am open to hearing good arguments concerning how the Big Bang is not a myth. So far what I know and what I’ve heard has not convinced me. Can you help me to see otherwise? I really do want to understand.”

    Understanding Physics takes work. A lot of work. If someone *really* does want to understand, they need to go to college or do a bunch of reading.

    Joe O. adds: “I am severely ignorant when it comes to Physics and Cosmology. But what I do know of science and its philosophical foundations lead me to wonder why we seem to think we have empirically established anything that happened before any of us were around to make empirical observations”

    The beauty of Physics is that we can calculate the past and future. For example, if we understand the physics of the moon, we can know where it will be in 1000 years, and where it was 1000 years ago. And if we understand the Physics of microwave radiation, we can figure out where it came from and when it left. If we understand how the universe is expanding, we can calculate its configuration at some earlier point in time.

    As busy people we often just pick and choose what we want to believe without putting in the work to understand it. Which we are entitled to do, I suppose. But it takes a lot of chutzpah to proclaim to the world that the Big Bang is a myth because “I am severely ignorant when it comes to Physics and Cosmology [so logically my opinion on Cosmology is at least as good as that of the combined work of every Cosmologist since Sir Isaac Newton]“.

  87. That sounds fair, Finn. But if you read the comments carefully, I am not saying that the Big Bang did not occur; I am saying that it is one explanation among many concerning how the world came into existence (others might include the Biblical myth of creation). The problem I see is favoring one myth over an other simply because our calculations say that it is a more “factual” account of how things occurred. We ought to look favor myths based on what practical use the myth offers us, and I happen to favor the Biblical myth for several reasons which I’ve already discussed.

  88. One explanation among many? Sure.

    The only one among many that has evidence to back it up. Big Bang is measurable, photographable, audible, and predictive of the current state of the universe, and the future state of the universe.

    The problem I see is accepting as myth (in the Griffin rhetorical school of myth criticism way) something that is already disproven over something that can be well measured. Not all myths are created equal.

    Moreover, there is danger in ascribing accuracy to myth that can only be taken on faith over a myth that requires no faith whatsoever, but instead offers itself to be tested.

    Of course, Big Bang won’t tell you to take every 7th day off. But neither will honoring a sabbath explain dark matter, or protect us from wandering asteroids.

  89. That’s great, if your goal is to explain dark matter and avoid wandering asteroids. Unfortunately, Big Bang tells me that my only relationship with the rest of the world is happenstance, therefore why not just screw around my whole life, take advantage of my neighbor, claw my way to the top using whatever means available, exploit the environment, and kill all the plants, animals and people necessary to make my life as comfortable as possible?

    All myths have limitations, it would seem.

  90. I’m not going to get into this again …

  91. [...] Theory of Evolution Posted on September 12, 2008 by Joe O. If I exposed my ignorance the last time I discussed evolution, I am sure to do no better with this post. Since writing (not very well) about why I hate [...]

  92. > We ought to look favor myths based on what practical
    > use the myth offers us

    Are you saying we should believe whatever ideas we find to be of practical use? What does “practical” mean, that it fits nicely with our other ideas? This concept of selecting among “myths” puzzles me. Why not seek Truth?

    > Big Bang tells me that my only relationship with the rest of
    > the world is happenstance, therefore why not just screw
    > around my whole life,

    Are you suggesting that the only reason we humans should behave morally is if we believe Genesis 1 is more accurate than modern cosmology? Genesis 1 was written long ago, for an audience with a somewhat different scientific background.

    The mechanics of how the Universe came to be has little bearing on what we can come to be. God’s method of forming the firmament is irrelevant to our own choices of how we live.

    To my agnostic friends, God’s existence is irrelevant on how we choose to live. Who’s the better person, the one who behaves in hope of salvation, the one who behaves in fear of damnation, or the person who tries to be good simply because he wants to be?

  93. yep, that’s what i’m saying.

  94. I found this particular article to be fairly unconvincing as an argument, primarily because I’m not sure what is being argued for. The main message I seemed to get out of it is that ‘Big Bang’ Theory and the Biblical account of creation are both equally mythological and so of equal validity but somehow the latter is of a greater benefit to students.

    The problem is that the Big Bang, evolution and any other favoured punching bags of people who want Biblical accounts to be taught in schools fall, as the author points out, under the umbrella of science. As far as I’m aware they tend to be taught as part of science classes. From a philosophical perspective I’m relatively comfortable with viewing Biblical accounts and scientific theories as ‘mythological’, but along with that I don’t think we should be mixing such approaches. Biblical accounts have no place in a classroom that is teaching science, if students are confronted with alternative world views (indeed it doesn’t seem like the two are somehow incompatible) in other contexts then there doesn’t seem to be a problem.

    If we want to appreciate the moral, literary and cultural importance of biblical writings, I’m not entirely sure why we need to teach them in the same framework as scientific theory. The author seems to have some false dichotomy set up whereby one such approach must be taught rather than another and wholly fails to justify why this should be.

  95. [...] Posts Why I Hate the Theory of EvolutionBilly Joel: "She'll Promise You More Than the Garden of Eden"Sacrament Meeting Talks: A More [...]

  96. Meanwhile, in Europe, we are laughing at America and its creationists.

    I know Americans are not all stupid, so please fight creationists and other people who make you look like idiots.

  97. After 150 years along with tons of man hours, millions of dollars/pounds, perfect lab conditions and countless failed attempts at recreating the big bang it should be obvious it did not occur without a creator. If we can’t duplicate the early events in a controlled lab experiment in perfect conditions, how did a chaotic universe get it right with no intelligence?

    Furthermore, scientists are starting to dissent from the religion that is Darwinism (because its not science, its an unproved theory full of huge gaps requiring more faith than creationists need to believe in god to make it work). Your religion has falsified countless fossils as well as drawings, diagrams etc. Its shocking to find schools and universities are still teaching from materials and handbooks which have been proven wrong and in some cases fraudulent and yet they have not been recalled? There is most certainly hidden agendas at play here.

    The deceit started right in the beginning with Haeckels doctored images. You telling me nobody bothered to verify his drawings in 150 years? Nonsense, it was purposely covered up to serve athiest agendas. Evolution is permanently getting it wrong. First there was only a 1% genetic difference between humans and primates. It then became 2%, then 3, 7 now its somewhere around the 20% mark. All the time remember this nonsense is being published as pure fact.

    Since when does science push anything other than pure proven facts? I could go on for days showing athiest deceit, covered up evidence, hidden agendas etc but it won’t change anybodys minds. Go research this for yourselves, the athiest religion of evolution shows its cracks very easily.

    Go Google “dissent from Darwinism” and see what’s happening. Also go read the articles published by those scientists particularly” survival of the fakest”. Any other theory would have been shelved a long time ago. Its the athiests that refuse to acknowledge a creator and continue perpetuating its lies.

    Darwin had no idea the level of complexity within each cell. Had he the technology and the knowledge that each cell in our bodies are encoded with millions of computer like codes he would no doubt had a different story to tell.

    Most of Europe is actually religious except for UK which has become a godless country. Its lack of morals, ethics and deteriorating society is evidence of this. Europe is most certainly not laughing at the US and its Creationist beliefs, in fact we support them. The scientific community has shown the world how untrustworthy and devious they are, we have lost faith in them.

    You put your trust in man my friend, I’ll put my trust in God.

  98. That’s hilarious, my comment answering to “dont be silly” has been censored.

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