Monday, May 14, 2007

Teaching Creation?

(Well, if anyone reads this post, this will probably prompt a response.)

For decades there has been an ongoing debate as to whether the presentation of Creation, as given in the first three chapters of Genesis, should be taught in science class. The proponents claim that with all the holes in the Theory of Evolution (capitalized for a reason), that Creation is at least as valid as the ToE. The opponents claim that there is nothing scientific or valid about the story of Creation, it is just an ancient myth.

The problem seems to be a misunderstanding, on both sides, as to what "science" actually is. Science is NOT the answer to everything. Science is a logical methodology of organizing observations, facts, and calculations to present a POSSIBLE reason as to the events that occur and how they occur. And, in simple cases, why they occur.

Should creation be taught in science class? No. Here is the reason why. Imagine it is 300 BC, and you are in Greece, sitting on a hill watching a storm at a distance. You can see the dark clouds, and above them you can see the sun shining. At one point, you see lightning strike a tree and start it on fire. You did not see Zeus (Jupiter) or Hephaestus (Vulcan) throwning the lightning bolt, so being a curious person, you wonder where the lightning came from, you start thinking. You remember that once you saw heavy dew in a spider's web create a very shiney pattern on an old, dry evergreen branch, and in a few minutes, it burst into fire. Somehow, the water transformed the sunlight into fire. You begin to put two and two together, the sun was above the clouds, the clouds somehow contained water (that is where the rain came from) ... perhaps the water in the clouds somehow transformed the sunlight into fire. You run to tell someone of your thoughts. "Hey, stupid, we have lightning at night, too, when Apollo has put the sun in his stable ... besides we already KNOW what causes lightning, Zeus." And you are quickly stoned as a heretic.

The problem with teaching any religious-based idea in a science class is that:

..(1) it cannot be tested because:
......(a) you cannot put God in a test tube, and
......(b) you may be burned at the stake for even
............suggesting that it SHOULD be tested, and
..(2) you always run the risk of alienating or
........ostracizing those who disagree.

If you whole-heartedly agree with those statements then listen very closely because that exact thing is happening right now ... to those who disagree with the Theory of Evolution. Those who disagree are having papers rejected from publication and have been threatened with having their degrees revoked. (Not all religions meet in a church and sing hymns ... some meet in college classrooms and sing the praises of Charles Darwin. The Theory of Evolution has become a foundational pillar of the religion of Scientism. Hence, the capitalization ... it is the one of the new Commandments,)

So, should educators totally ignore the story of Creation, or, indeed, the entire bible. No. What should be taught at the beginning of science class is what science is and what it is not. Science can tell us that a fertilized chicken egg will hatch in about 21 days. But it can't tell us the exact difference between a chicken that is alive and one that has been dead for a few seconds. (Oh, it can tell some basic things, like this one is breathing and that one is not.) Science can tell us that our DNA is over 90% the same as that of our fellow primates, but not why we even bother to study their DNA and they don't bother to study ours.

In science we have observations, facts, and calculations. These are our building blocks ... the "bricks" of the scientific structure. We also have ideas; they are our mortar. The ideas turn the observations, facts, and calculations into theories. Theories are structures of science. The problem is that if we are building, and there is a hole in our theory, the only thing that science can fill it with is a "brick". There is no "not-brick" in science.

That is where philosophy and religion come in. They have "not-bricks". The scientific definition of truth is "that which can be proved". The philosophical or relgious definition of truth is "that which is true". There are things which are true which cannot be proved. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle states that you cannot know the speed of a particle and its location at the same time. The basis of this is that in measuring something, the very fact that you are measuring it alters the thing you are measurning. For example, a pitcher throws a ball and you clock it with a radar gun. Before you turn the radar gun on, the ball was going 90.0000000002 miles/hour. When the energy from the radar gun hits the ball, it causes it to slow down, ever so slightly to 90.0000000001 miles/hour. So what, you could never measure it to that great a degree, so it does not make a difference. Perhaps, but the principle is there. I cannot PROVE that the ball was travelling at 90.0000000002 miles/hour because my attempt to measure the speed affected the speed. BUT, that does not mean that, in TRUTH, the ball was going at 90.0000000002 miles/hour. Therefore, not all truth can be proved.

Science can tell us that we are here, and MAYBE, how we got here, but there are no "bricks" to tell us why. There are no observations, no calculations, no facts to say we are here because. Some people mistakenly believe that because science does not have the answer, that means that there is no answer. That is like saying because I cannot smell colors, colors do not exist, or because I cannot see thunder, there is no such thing as thunder, or like trying to use sandpaper to drive nails into a board. It is expecting the wrong type of answers from science.

So, am I a heretic? Actually, I strongly believe in Creation, from a philosophical point of view. I do not understand how the things we seem to observe, a universe which seems to be 15+ billion years old, dinosaur fossils which appear to be 100+ million years old, etc. can be reconciled with an account which, if I understand it correctly, states that the universe that we know was created in seven days about 6000 years ago.

This will sound very unscientific and closed minded, but I believe God, and if what science has found does not reconcile with what I believe He has said, then one of three things must be true: (1) I do not correctly understand what God said, (2) science has made a mistake, or (3) they are both true, but my mind is too simple to understand the greater principles which unite them.

In conclusion, the simple answer is "no Creation should not be taught in science class." And if that is all you take away from this monologue, then you have completely missed the point.


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