TED Conversations

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 26 2013: Doesn't the US constitution prohibit the establishment of religion by the state.
    I expect this prohibits teaching creationism given it is a religious perspective.
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      Feb 26 2013: If a religious perspective is scientific, why can't it be taught in schools? Creationism does not belong in science class not because it is a religious teaching, but because it is not scientific. It does not belong in science class even in a religious school.
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        Feb 26 2013: If any religious perspective were scientific, it would necessarily be taught in science class by definition. Since no religion wants to contain itself within the realm of "nature", no religion is scientific. Science only studies nature, not "supernature".
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          Feb 26 2013: Religion is not science. Creationism is not science. No argument about that. However, a valid scientific research can be motivated by religion. Motivation of the research or fear that the results may support certain political or religious views should not be used to suppress a valid scientific research. This was my point.
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        Feb 27 2013: I'd put it the other way around, if a scientific finding correlates with a religious view, so be it.

        I know some theists who see the big bang as being compatible with creationism. Could be.

        If the science is done well, they have tried to falsify, and the conclusions are sufficiently supported by evidence, it has been reasonably peer reviewed, so be it, whatever the result

        The best science we have indicates the Earth is about 3 or 4 billion years old and the universe is 13.6 billion, not 6,000 to 10,000, and no evidence humans walked with dinosaurs. I'm not saying you think that. Just that YEC should suck it up. Actually their god concept is powerful enough to create the universe 6,000 years ago to look much older and as though animals evolved and share a common ancestor.

        To be consistent I would accept hell is real, angels, alien abductions, ghosts, gods, fairies, demons, reincarnation, thetans whatever if there is compelling evidence.

        I would agree that the motivation doesn't matter that much in better understanding the universe if the science is done well and the conclusions are validated.
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      Feb 27 2013: "Science does develop and discard.Go back far enough and we we only aware of of one galaxy."

      This is arguably is the single greatest attribute of science. While religions have "truths" that do not change with the passage of time. Science, however, is willing to accept criticism and change if the evidence requires.

      Anyone, I would think, would be forced to believe in angels and demons if there was any evidence. Good thing there isn't.

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