“HYSRT!” or “Science vs. Creationism?”

Science: “The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena.”

Creationism: “Belief in the literal interpretation of the account of the creation of the universe and of all living things related in the Bible.”

Are the twain mutually exclusive? That’s the impression it seems one is meant to take away from a blog piece I happened across last week. Although its author, Roy-Gene MacIninch, does not profess a disbelief in God, his post’s title, “Bible Classes, Creationism Do Not Belong in Public Schools. Period.”, leaves little doubt of his position on that particular issue.

The way I see it, this is a pretty multilayered question. Is there scientific support for a Creator of the universe? How literally should one interpret the biblical account of creation? How far should “separation of church and state” apply? Should science be taught in isolation from any and all other disciplines? Is there any room in science for faith?*

I’ve made an effort to thoughtfully contribute to the discussion in the comments of Roy-Gene’s post – (debate’s not really my thing, but when I feel led to speak… well, so be it) – and I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the subject, followers and guests. No points taken off for honest opinions, no matter which side of the argument you take (though please do remain civil, or I’ll use my formidable Comment Moderation powers on you). I just think it’s a good idea for us all to take stock of what we believe and why; kind of a, “Hey, You Should Think About This!

*Speaking of science and faith, I saw a piece on Facebook the other day that ties in well with this discussion. So yeah, two more cents for the tally, if you will.

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7 thoughts on ““HYSRT!” or “Science vs. Creationism?”

  1. From what I’ve observed, and conversations and debates I have been involved in, the truest statement ever uttered is “a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still”.

    As a Christian, my belief is that everything is in the Bible for a reason, and every part of it is to be read in context. Since the context given in Genesis 1 is “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth . . .” and eventually “and the evening and the morning were the first day . . .”, then it would make sense that this is the literal story of how the world came into being.

    My question is this – why do science classes in public schools have to teach origin anyway? Can’t they just teach science? When you get into origins, that’s where all the problems lie with what can and can’t be taught. Just leave that part out and teach students how to come to their own conclusions based on the data.

    Of course, public schools have many other problems. Even if creationism was allowed alongside (or instead of) evolution, my future children still wouldn’t set foot in a public school.

    • Ah, that’s a very nice idea– teach science, and leave theory out of it. The way they’re doing it now, they never even bother to mention that that’s what evolution is; a theory, and a right sketchy one at that.

      …And I also agree that this debate is but a fraction of public school’s issues. XP

      As far as the basis for creationism… well, it’s got better historical and scientific proof than the religion of evolution, that’s for certain. If you want citation, “Evidence That Demands A Verdict” is rife with it, and I dare any skeptic to read it.

    • Certainly the ability to think critically and draw reasonable conclusions from collected data is one well worth learning. My problem is with the premise that if we can’t understand it or prove it to our satisfaction, then it cannot be so.

      That’s three votes for the current public school system necessitating much help, by the way. And that’s Evidence That Demands A Verdict” by Josh McDowell, folks. (No, I’ve not read it, I just Googled the title real quick.) A book I did read, once, and found helpful on the subject was How Now Shall We Live?” by Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey. A good read for those looking to evaluate their worldview.

  2. I’ve thought about this subject a lot, actually. I am a Christian (my mother is a pastor), so I’m no stranger to religion. That being said, I have strong objections to science classes being about anything except science.

    In a science class, you learn a scientific explanation for the world we inhabit, which necessarily includes a consideration of origins. Further, theory is integral to the scientific process; it is the basis from which you derive hypotheses to test. It cannot be removed from science class. Subsequently, until someone can identify a better explanation for change and development in species that also meets the criteria for scientific validity, evolution should continue to be taught in schools.

    There are other classes, classes usually titled “World Religions,” wherein one learns about religious explanations for the world and its origins. These classes are not mutually exclusive.

    The fundamental problem I find with most objections to teaching evolution in schools or the church-state doctrine is that proponents are unwilling to carry their position to its logical conclusion. Specifically, the strongest objections tend to come from Christians, who correctly note the importance of Christianity throughout America’s history, and the predominance of the Christian religion in our country. But we are a country of religious freedom, and one with many different religions. Therefore, if we are to abolish the separation of church and state, to teach creationism in schools, to replace evolution with intelligent design, we must do so in a way that incorporates the beliefs of any and all religions equally. To do otherwise is hypocrisy of the highest degree and tantamount to religious discrimination.

    As a final note, I have read several books and articles on the subject of historical evidence for the Bible. The problem is that I feel like this sort of misses the point of faith. Faith, as I understand it, is the willingness to trust and believe in something even absent evidence. That’s what makes faith meaningful. We overcome our doubts, our fears, our human predisposition toward skepticism. If the existence of God becomes a question of evidence, rather than belief, doesn’t that effectively negate faith?

    • The fundamental problem you mention was likewise noted in the original article (for those who may not have explored the link to that post), and it certainly does put forward more to consider than perhaps many are initially likely to do.

      My biggest concern, personally, hinges on the position of a “not”. There’s not teaching that God is the creator, and there’s teaching that God is not the creator. The first strikes me as being less harmful than the second. Now, if science teachers simply want to use godless evolution as a model, that’s one thing; “Based on this data and these tests and yadda-yadda, this is one theory we’ve put together that could more or less explain some of it. Ta-da! Scientific method! Now go out there and use your brains!” That, I don’t have a problem with. But for it to be said, “No, this is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but; suspect anything beyond this as hokey mysticism”? Now I’ve got problems. Surely we can teach science without teaching out-and-out atheism.

      As regards your final note, you raise a good point.
      That there is in fact evidence backing God’s word is a grand and validating thing, but facts staring you in the face are not enough to generate belief. If God materialized in front of a classroom and told everyone in no uncertain terms, “I created this world; here, lemme take you back in time and show you,” that might be pretty tough to argue, but no one taken on that incredible field trip would have to believe it. They would have to choose to either do so or not. It would require some measure of faith.

      So that aspect of the question boils down to: In what will we place our faith?

      • Excellent analysis. In my limited experience, I rarely encountered teachers of any discipline saying “This is the entirety of the truth that I have just taught you,” but I would imagine that varies considerably. Frankly, I would have just as much problem with any educator claiming some special hold on Truth.

      • I would like to think that most educators want their students to have an open, searching mind. And for those who honestly seek it, truth will out. (:

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