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Fairness demands evolution and creation be given equal time (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Fairness demands evolution and creation be given equal time (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.


Claim CA040:

In fairness, creation and evolution deserve equal time in science classes.

Source: Morris, Henry M. 1985. Scientific Creationism. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 197-198.


CreationWiki response: (Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

1. The teaching of creationism does not belong in science classes because creationism has no science to teach. It is based on personal religious belief, not on evidence.

The claim that creationism has no science to teach is incorrect and slanderous. Science is based on what is observable, testable, and repeatable. And there is a lot of evidence that supports creation over evolution. The fact that dogs breed dogs and bacteria breed bacteria and this sort of result is all that has been observed in the natural world is evidence for creation science which says that variation is limited to biblical kinds. So creation agrees with the observable facts (science). Evolution has to rely on the unobserved and unobservable past to say that one sort of living organism changed into another (something that has never been observed), indicating that variation is unlimited (or much less limited). Because such a grand-scale phenomenon is unobservable, it is less scientific. This is one way in which observable evidence can be interpreted as being against the theory of evolution.

A problem with this point is that both creationists and evolutionists have the same evidence. They just interpret the evidence differently according to their respective belief systems: creation science has a biblical theistic philosophy and evolution has philosophical naturalism as its basis. Talk.Origins' problem is that it is one-sided, biased toward philosophical naturalism, which is a personal religious belief (not a fact) that forces them to allow only natural causes into discussions about the history of living creatures and the universe. This is not science, but a religious worldview. So for Talk.Origins, evidence can only be interpreted one way, when realistically and rationally it can be interpreted two ways when it comes to scientific evidence about creation or evolution. Dealing with the strengths and weaknesses of both interpretations would help students to think critically, rather than just being force-fed one group's opinion.

If creation has no science to teach because it is based on a person's religious belief rather than the evidence, then evolutionism in the same way has no science to teach, since it is based on a person's religious belief in philosophical naturalism. Evolutionists only interpret the evidence to fit their belief system.

For the most part, creationism can fit with anything we find, making it unscientific. Where creation models do make specific predictions that can be tested against evidence, they fail the tests. Asking for equal time is asking for nonscience to be taught in science classes.

This again is untrue. There are parts of both the evolution model and the creation model that are not falsifiable, and there are parts of both that are falsifiable. See A Theory of Biblical Creation which gives insight into this.

It is true that one fact cannot totally falsify either model since its proponents can just claim a lack of understanding about their individual model and then improve it if possible. An evolutionist would look on a troubling piece of data which doesn't fit what they say and then say somebody else probably has an explanation or that later on science will prove him right, or even try to modify the theory of evolution to compensate for it. A creationist can do the same thing. Why? Because both are adhering to their different philosophies and continue to interpret the scientific evidence in that light. There are testable aspects to both models, and to claim otherwise is to be inaccurate.

Talk.Origins makes a blanket statement that the specific predictions of the creation model fail the tests, but gives no evidence. You have to question such a statement. It's just like my saying "evolution has failed every test but scientists purposefully lie about their findings to make it fit". If I give no evidence, then that statement has no authority of itself. In fact that sentence is, for the most part, false. In the same way, Talk.Origins' statement has no authority in and of itself and is false. Russell Humphreys alone has made a number of predictions that have been tested and verified, including ones regarding the magnetic fields of Uranus and Neptune. This is just to give evidence that Talk.Origins is misleading people with the statement that creation science is not testable, and thus also refuting the claim that creation science is non-science.

As both creation science and Intelligent Design have a valid role in science, and have a lot to say concerning claimed evidence for evolution, and there are professors and scientists with qualifications to discuss and critique the evolutionary position and to suggest other interpretations of scientific evidence, then it is fair to have such fair discussions in the science class.

A 1999 United States poll found that most people favor teaching evolution -- and teaching it as science -- and that when creationism is taught, most prefer that it be taught either in nonscience classes or as a religious belief (DYG 2000).

There are a number of weaknesses in democracy and polls. No matter how small the size of the majority or the minority, it always ends up as a tyranny over one set of people. Evolutionists simply promote tyrannically imposing evolution as fact upon everyone entering schools in many countries. The majority doesn't make right. That's why an objective standard is needed.

In any case, some polls show that a majority of people believe that humans are not evolved from apes, but are specially created. Would Talk.Origins therefore agree that this view (and no opposing view) should be taught? Or would it then deny that such things should be based on polls?

2. Equal time would open creationism, and by extension Christianity in general, to ridicule and attack. Saint Augustine recognized this in the fifth century:
Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, . . . and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking non-sense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. (Augustine 1982, 42-43)

It is important to understand the Talk.Origins mindset here. Because the Talk.Origins author has already decided that creationism (which is not limited to Christianity, by the way) is nonsense, even though to a significantly large amount of people it makes sense and accurately uses science, he thinks this quote is appropriate.

Even without equal time, creationism has been open to attack and ridicule so there wouldn't be much change there. It is not as though Talk.Origins is trying to protect creation science, since they hate it. Using this quote, what they are saying, in essence, is that non-Christians or anti-creationists, in the aspect of science, know better than the Christians or creationists. As Kent Hovind would accurately surmise, they are arrogantly saying that evolutionists are right and everyone who disagrees is not smart enough so they have no right to speak lest they make a fool of themselves and their cause. So basically, this is an argument based on their own arrogance and should be thrown out because it has little to do with science.

Besides, the quote is taken out of context. Augustine was actually saying that Christians should not oppose secular knowledge on topics on which the Bible is silent or unclear. In another place he makes clear that, where the Bible clearly speaks, it takes priority:

But someone may ask: "Is not Scripture opposed to those who hold that heaven is spherical, when it says, 'who stretches out heaven like a skin?' " Let it be opposed indeed if their statement is false. The truth is rather in what God reveals than in what groping men surmise.
3. Equal time would mean teaching
  • other versions of creationism from other denominations of Christianity (including young-earth, old-earth, day-age, gap theory, geocentrism, and flat earth). All have equal basis for being taught, since they are all based on exactly the same Bible. All are mutually incompatible (DYG 2000; Watchtower 1985, 186; Morris 1984, 215-247).
  • other versions of scientific creationism from other religions. Claims have been made for Muslim, Hindu, and Native American versions of creationism.
The only legal precedent favoring creationism in the United States in the last fifty years was an Interior Department decision finding, on the basis of native creation and flood myths, that 9400-year-old Kennewick Man was associated with present-day Native American tribes (Chatters 2001, 266).
  • creation traditions from other religions and cultures, including, but not limited to, the Aaragon, Abenaki, Acoma, Ainu,....Zjen-ta-Kouttchin, and Zulu. (from Leipzig, n.d.)
  • other ideas for the origin of life and the universe, such as
    • solipsism
    • Last Thursdayism, the unfalsifiable view that the universe and everything in it was created last Thursday with only the appearance of earlier history
    • multiple designers (Hoppe 2004)
    • Raelianism or other extraterrestrial involvement
    • creation by time travellers.

What a lot of people want is one of two things:

  • balanced treatment of the origins discussion - This would involve telling students what science is and what it is not before they get into anything deep. Science is not philosophical naturalism, nor is it strictly theism. It is a study of the world using observation and experimentation, and thus it is heavily based on the present and some assumptions. It cannot determine truth, only what is perceivable, and even then it can only deal with probabilities and not absolute certainties. Because of all this, there are going to be two or more different interpretations of certain data. If the theory of evolution or any other part of the naturalistic theory of evolutionary origin and development is going to be taught, it should never be taught as fact or as the only way of thinking or the only model about origins that has scientific evidence. Instead, the criticisms have to be heard, which include the following facts:
  • Nature has never been observed to form information, genetic or otherwise, on its own,
  • the conservation of angular momentum can be a problem for some parts of stellar and planetary evolution,
  • gas pressure laws don't help some stellar theories,
  • some parts of the evolution theory have never been observed and a lot of inferences are needed that can be different if another logical basis or assumption is used
  • only changes on a infinitesimally small scale can be observed compared to the enormous genetic and morphological change needed in the general theory of evolution, so the amount of extrapolation needs to be taken into account and tested to see if such a view is justifiable.
The scientific aspects of creationism and intelligent design should be introduced with the naturalistic evolution theory (remembering that the Talk.Origins statement that they have no science is inaccurate and slanderous - please research both movements and keep an eye out for the scientific and rational evidence that is given).

Or,

  • eliminate origins discussions in schools and only teach proper science. Evolution and creation are not integral to electronics, physics and radiation, chemistry, biology or astronomy. The basic principles can be taught in schools and expanded upon in college where a more lengthy discussion can take place which can lead to informed questions about origins, where people have the scientific backbone to really chew on the facts and the assumptions and the logic.

The reason Talk.Origins is so wrong on this point is that they are thinking that to teach creationism, you have to teach Christianity or orthodox Judaism or whoever is advocating creation science. This is wrong since time and time again creationists offer scientific, rational, experiential real evidence for their view. Whether evolutionists ignore it or not, it is still untrue to equate this approach to simply any story or myth as the extensive list of myths they offer. This shows the utter disregard and disrespect Talk.Origins has for opposing views.

Creationists do not want all of these taught in science class any more than science educators do. Clearly, creationism in school is an attempt to get greater time than all the opposing views, not equal time. That is not fair.

Creationists who want creation taught in science classes want the scientific aspects and evidence taught, not the biblical aspects. If there is scientific evidence that supports other creation stories or other ideas such as Last Thursdayism, then they could be taught also. But neither evolutionists nor creationists believe that any of these other ideas have scientific merit, except insofar as they are consistent with one of the first two views. (Last Thursdayism, for example, is merely an arguing tactic, not a view that is actually believed let alone has any claimed scientific support.) If Talk.Origins really believe that creation has no scientific merit, they should have nothing to fear from allowing scientific evidence supporting creation to be taught.

If teaching creation and not the other views (a Talk.Origins' straw man) is unfair, what does that make teaching evolution only (the stated position of most evolutionists)?

4. Creationists do not advocate equal time for evolutionary theory in church services. Why?

This one is a no-brainer. At church, you know you are going to study things that have to do with things other than science, like morality, history, the record of the acts of the Deity on this planet. At church, you know you are studying one religion, one philosophy. An opposing religion like naturalism or atheism, as that which is inherent in evolution, is not appropriate there. The same in true for an orthodox synagogue, or during the worship time of those people who worship the Deity of Genesis on their own at home.

Churches are intended to teach a particular view. But a government school is supposed to be neutral in a so-called multicultural world, and not indoctrinate one religious philosophy such as philosophical naturalism and its offspring, the theory of evolution. There needs to be fairness in the way subjects are taught in both science and other fields of study. It is difficult because true fairness is a high standard to reach, but is way better to try to do that than to have a one-sided humanistic, naturalistic approach to education.

See also