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Christopher Halliwell

Secondary Education Physics, Mississippi State University

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Should public schools be allowed to teach creation myths in science class?

Should christian political parties be allowed to circumvent the scientific method by using politics to put mythology in science textbooks?


Closing Statement from Christopher Halliwell

This conversation contains strongly differing opinions about public education. However, those who commented in favor of introducing creation myths into science textbooks were always religiously motivated. This is no surprise. Instead of appealing to the validity or truth of their respective creation stories, theses people appealed to "teaching the controversy". My response:

There is no controversy concerning evolution in the scientific community. "Teaching the controversy" of creation stories vs evolution is equivalent to teaching astrology next to astronomy, or alchemy next to chemistry, or magic next to electromagnetism. Without any verifiable claims to test, creation stories are not scientific. Ergo they do not belong in a science textbook.

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    Feb 25 2013: "If you put faith in scientific ideas, that is nobody's fault but your own. With just a little effort, you could have researched the concepts that you did not understand.

    You may have put faith in science, but I do not. My confidence and trust in any specific theory is a direct result of my understanding of the evidence presented for it. If I am not convinced, then I have no right to say I believe based on faith or any other ridiculous reason that some people give for their beliefs."

    It's not a question of fault. It was more a question of adolescent expediency. I learned the theories and the experiments and evidence to support them, but initially I simply had to believe. I don't credit theories simply because I don't understand them or lack the knowledge they require. But as a student, I wanted good grades, so I believed what I was told.
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      Feb 26 2013: Good point. A lot gets improved or discarded in science.
      Good to be discerning about what is reasonably well established and what is cutting edge and speculative.
      Also it is an ongoing human process and we get it wrong sometimes.
      In the early years they also omit teaching about the margins of error in predictions.

      I think its okay to say well this is the current state of scientific understanding, and it will be different significantly in another 10 years or 50 or 100. I mean special relativity less than a 100 years old. The expanding universe confirmed recently. String theory is a bit bogus. But evolution is one of the best tested and robust theories. There really isn't much scientific debate. There is a significant religiously political movement.

      Science is probably the greatest human invention. But it is good to put it in context. The fact that it adjusts to better fit the evidence is a positive.
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      Feb 26 2013: "I learned the theories and the experiments and evidence to support them, but initially I simply had to believe"
      My entire point is that you did not "have to believe". You were provided with all the information you needed to come to your own conclusion. You decided to believe on faith, which is the worst possible reason anyone can give for any belief.

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