TED Conversations

Bernard White


This conversation is closed.

Does creationism indicate bad education? (If so how can we fix this, and should it be taught?) Does Creationism have any credibility to it?

I started this debate, with a new aspect (or perspective) on our current education problem. Considering many focus on how to motivate students and various other aspects. Yet this (creationism) still remains a big problem to the American education system today, and I don't think many people think about this when they consider the education system today.

I feel I should have probably made this clearer, when I say creationism, I am making reference to the type of creationism which tell people "Evolution is wrong". (Or in other words the "Creationism vs Evolution" debate).

Creationism - http://www.creationism.org/
Does it have any credibility to it? Should it be considered a science?
Considering due to recent polls 46% of American believe in creationism.
Link :
- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/05/americans-believe-in-creationism_n_1571127.html

Many psychological studies have shown a strong correlation between a lack of education and creationism. These studies indicate that not many creationists actually understand what the scientific method is.
With all this talk of how to "improve education" surely it would be wise, to finally finish the "Creationism vs Evolution" debate, if we wish to ensure a better scientific education!
Watch this 3 minute link : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTedvV6oZjo (By Lawrence Krauss)

Here are some reasons, people believe creationism should be taught in schools, which I believe are false :
Considering, if the polls are to be believed, 46% of Americans are missing out (in my opinion) on a proper scientific education.

I think it is worth mentioning though, that I am fine with "Theistic evolution".
A good book recommendation on this matter is "Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution" by Kenneth R. Miller. I personally have never understood the claim "Atheism = Evolution"...


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    May 13 2013: Science deals exclusively with the "How" of our Universe. Creationism explains the "How" and the "Why" of our Universe. To make Creationism a science would violate the essential definition of Science. You ask, does Creationism indicate bad education? That calls for the definition of education. Please share your accepted definition. You ask, does Creationism have any credibility? To say it has none would require logical, scientific falsification of EVERYTHING Creationism posits. Since that has not happened the answer to that question is "Yes". Your parenthetical question about how we can remedy this and should it be taught assumes the answer to your first question is "Yes", which is a logical fallacy and should be corrected, or deleted. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." [Genesis 1:1 KJV].
    • May 13 2013: I'm sorry but no, the bible is not from god. Anyone who believes they should get their morals from a guy who casts demons into farm animals clearly has problems.

      Matt. 8:30-34

      "30 Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31 The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”

      32 He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. 33 Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region."
      • thumb
        May 13 2013: Now it is official. Bob says the Holy Bible is not from God. Thanks for resolving that ageless dispute. Do you have something on-topic to add?
    • thumb
      May 13 2013: What happens if that "how" (of creationism) is in conflict with modern day science?
      I personally have no problem with the idea of "theistic evolution", or a non-literal interpretation of the Bible . Yet I find it hard to believe that God created the universe in 6 (24 hour) days, and that the earth is only 10,000 years old. (Young-earth creationism).
      Considering this is in direct conflict of what physicists and cosmologists know!
      "scientific falsification of EVERYTHING Creationism posits"
      I personally am not so sure, the core concept of creationism is that "belief that life, the Earth, and the universe are the creation of a supernatural being", and that evolution never really happened.
      You do ask the good question of what is an "education" and I personally am not really sure.
      • thumb
        May 13 2013: Well, I cannot offer my opinion about deficient education being the cause of so many people supporting Creationism if I do not know what you mean buy the word. The natural definition, of course, is the process of training by attending schooling. But, I don't know if that is what you intended to ask. If you judge Creationism by the standards of Atheistic Evolutionary Science you are not going to have a proper understanding of Creationism. Be careful about accepting as unassailable truth everything Science tells you, remember such things as: Phlogiston; Ptolemy; Alchemy; Aristotle's explanation of gravitational action; the atom as smallest particle of mass; proteins are the determinate of life form, DNA unheard of; disease is spread by "bad air"; the liver controls the circulatory system; Thales taught that everything was made of water, the Earth was a flat disc, not a sphere, and it floated on water; In 2011 there were over 400 retractions of scientific papers that failed post-publishing scrutiny. A retraction is the most severe censuring action a published scientist can experience. As recently as the early 2000’s the number was just 30 or so retractions per year. (Van Noorden, R. 2011 Science Publishing: The trouble with retractions. Nature. 478 (7367): 26-28.). Science is often wrong. The Holy Bible is never wrong. Thank you Bernard!
        • thumb
          May 13 2013: Thank you for your insightful opinions on this conversation! :-)
          I suppose I am quite biased, aren't I? :P
          "Science is often wrong. The Holy Bible is never wrong."
          What do you mean by the "Holy Bible is never wrong"?
          Is that meant to mean everything the Bible says is right? So the Bible is the ultimate source of "everything"?
          Or have I just misunderstood this completely! :P (Sorry!)
      • thumb
        May 13 2013: RE: "Thank you for your insightful. . . " Good question Bernard. When I say the Holy Bible is never in error I mean that in the earliest copies of manuscripts (free from translational nuances and difficulties) the Holy Bible contains only Truth. There is no Error in the Holy Bible. The idea here is called "Inspiration", meaning the influence of God in the production of the Holy Bible. There are many contradictions, omissions, additions, and errors in the plethora of new versions, or translations of the Holy Bible. These post 1611 AD publications are based upon questionable texts (ancient manuscripts) which have long ago been thoroughly examined and rejected as inspired writings. So, when I speak of the Holy Bible I mean the Authorized King James Version published in 1611. Indeed everything the Holy Bible says is Truth. There is no Error in the Holy Bible. That is not to say the Holy Bible is the ultimate source of everything. The proper task of Science is to investigate, observe, experiment, and document the actual workings of the Universe. Good Science confirms the Holy Bible while fallacious Science conflicts with the Holy Bible. If there is a dispute between the teachings of Science and the Holy Bible, the latter is always correct. I offer this as a way for you to understand what a Creationist believes, knowing full well that very few share in such belief. Thank you Bernard. All the best to you! Incidentally, regarding bias. Anyone who embraces a particular belief is biased. That is not a bad thing. What is bad is when all other beliefs are condemned with extreme prejudice.
        • thumb
          May 13 2013: Edit : Might be going "slightly" off topic here. But I couldn't help myself! :P
          "Authorized King James Version published in 1611"
          Sorry I couldn't help noticing this Edward long, if you don't mind me saying. Doesn't this make a slight flaw in your logic, considering the Bible is meant to be the word of "God". And the "King James Version" is a translated "word of God" into English. So you might not be hearing what "God" originally intended. Even more so considering the English King James Version of the Bible (I'v heard, may be wrong) was translated from Latin into English. (And from Greek into Latin, and from Hebrew into Greek!).
          I personally don't know about the Bible to really comment on whether "everything the Holy Bible says is Truth". :P
          Are you talking about "Moral Truths" as well?
          Because I can imagine many of the "New Atheist" would have issue with this. Like the late Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris... (ect).
      • thumb
        May 13 2013: RE: "Authorized King James. . . " The Authorized 1611 KJV is not free of error. The theological term is "Inerrant". Only the original, earliest copies of manuscripts (called the Majority Texts) are inerrant. Each time those words are translated the possibility of distortion or mistranslation exists. And yes, I'm sure there are flaws in my logic, but the point here is that the Holy Bible is inerrant. The believer is constantly praying to hear what God originally intended, as you say. Regarding moral truth, that is the main purpose of the book. What little information the Holy Bible offers regarding the How of the Universe is immensely outweighed, volume wise, by moral teaching which explains the Why of the cosmos.. Believers from the Atheist religion absolutely do have issue with claims of the Holy Bible. No debate there Bernard! To a person without the gift of Faith the Holy Bible is foolishness.
        • thumb
          May 22 2013: "Atheist religion"
          Atheism isn't a religion! :D
          Unless of-course you decide to define it that way.
          How do you define a "religion"?
      • thumb
        May 22 2013: RE: "Atheist religion. . . " Here's how I define Religion: ~ having to do with one's beliefs about a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.~a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion. (Oxford Condensed).~ service and worship of God or the supernatural. (Merriam Webster).~ a cause, principle or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith. (Merriam Webster)~ any specific system of belief, worship, conduct, etc. often involving a code of ethics and a philosophy. (Webster's New World).~ a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects. (Dictionary.com).~An activity or goal that is extremely important to you. (Macmillan Dictionary).~a collection of practices, based on beliefs and teachings that are highly valued or sacred. (Wiktionary.org).~an activity which someone is extremely enthusiastic about and does regularly. (Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary and Thesaurus).(These nine definitions, to me, clearly allow the word “religion” to be applied to Atheism).
    • thumb
      May 13 2013: Whether creationism has ANY credibility is perhaps not the right question. However, the scientific method HAS just about falsified everything creationism posits, despite what creationists continue to preach. Taking your Genesis 1:1 verse, a scientist would probably reply: "well... our ideas on what exactly happened in the beginning are very abstract and complicated, but we can - to a very high probability - safely say that the Earth is a LOT younger than "the Heaven", which, if you think about it, is really "nothing more" than the vastness of the universe that is not Earth. We have - so far - no need for a hypothesis including this "god" you speak of, in order to explain things."
      It is all so very easy for creationists: all they have to read are two pages of an old book and they think they know all they need to know. Whenever scientists cannot give an answer, they say "HA" and point to the heavens.
      Reality, folks, is (unfortunately perhaps) NOT simple. Understanding it requires rigorous testing and the continued efforts of scholars actually WORKING to improve our knowledge. Scientists admit they do not have all the answers but this is NOT A PROBLEM. In spite of what creationists tend to point out, scientific discourse does not mean a rejection or falsification of the scientific method and established theories (for example, scientists in disagreement on whether birds are descended from dinosaurs or not does not "disprove" the whole fact of evolution).
      As to what causes the high level of believers in creationism in the USA, I suspect it has more to do with culture and a strong desire to believe in the bible's teachings. Christian home schooling and religious teachers are not necessarily examples of "bad education" in the sense of poor quality, but certainly of religious zeal and rejection of a secular world view imposed on children by adults. As long as people deliberately turn a blind eye to science because of religion, this won't change I'm afraid.
      • thumb
        May 13 2013: I agree turning a blind eye is always a bad idea if one wishes to understand an issue. I do not agree that Science has falsified the Holy Bible. Of course, if your presupposition is that everything Science says is Truth then you will conclude that everything which conflicts with science is Error and therefore is falsified. Such epistomology is akin to a blind eye because science can be wrong. As for Abiogenesis you choose to accept as scientific Truth that the Universe came from no knowable material for no knowable reason, while rejecting as unscientific the 10-word explanation of that Universe. . . "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.". Godless science evolves from error to Truth, from ignorance to understanding. The Holy Bible skips-over the Error and ignorance parts and goes directly to Truth. Of couse it is imperative to keep in mind that since Creationism explains the Why and the How, not just the How, it must be accepted by faith because the human mind is not capable of comprehending the fullness of the process. The Holy Bible is foolishness to those who are without faith. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word. Thank you for your thoughts Gerco!
        • thumb
          May 13 2013: You’re quite welcome. But you may have misunderstood my point. I never said that science is infallible and all that scientists say is true. In fact, that’s the opposite of what I’ve said. Science is discourse, testing of ideas and seeing whether hypotheses stand up to scrutiny.

          Disagreement in science does not disprove the scientific method any more than an argument between theologians disproves the existence of god. However, when one takes genesis literally, you step into the realm of the testable, and taking it as a basis for your faith and sense of purpose in life becomes risky (hence I think all the resistance to the scientific method).

          For one thing, science at least rejects the notion that heaven and earth were created instantaneously and at the same moment, that moment being “the beginning”. Science bases this on a number of observations from the fields of geology, astronomy, biology, archaeology, etc. Such observations precede the rejection of creationism. So I would argue that “godless science” (that is, understanding of reality, so far without the need for a god hypothesis) evolved from demonstrable errors in the (literal interpretation of the) bible.

          If you think that the bible goes directly to truth, please know that (e.g.) Hindus think the same about the vedas and the Muslems about the quran. Also, the words of god, whatever they were if ever spoken, may have been infallible; the people who wrote them down (just like scientists) certainly were not. For a funny example of mistranslation, see Exodus 36:19. Even Gen 1:1 has been disputed to have originally read: “In the beginning god SEPARATED the heaven and the earth”.

          And yes, science just gives the How. So what?! That is all that is testable; all else is subjective. If you take your Why from the bible, and your faith depends on the How therein being accurate, then I can understand you do not like it when science disagrees. Unfortunately the nature of reality doesn't seem to care.
      • thumb
        May 13 2013: RE: "You're quite welcome. . . " You are taking offense where none is intended. Yes the role of science is, as you say, "discourse, testing of ideas and seeing whether hypotheses stand up to scrutiny." No problem there. But what happens when compliance with the pure Scientific Method is violated and error is published as Truth? It happens all the time and ever more increasingly of late ( In 2011 there were over 400 retractions of scientific papers that failed post-publishing scrutiny. A retraction is the most severe censuring action a published scientist can experience. As recently as the early 2000’s the number was just 30 or so retractions per year. (Van Noorden, R. 2011 Science Publishing: The trouble with retractions. Nature. 478 (7367): 26-28.). Of course these blunders do not falsify the Scientific Method. They were the result of violations thereof. As for what Muslims and Hindus believe I cannot offer anything of value since I am ignorant about them. Please understand the Holy Bible actually says very little about the "How" of the Universe, but what it does say is true. Please note that your phrase "literal interpretation" is an oxymoron. Literal is the opposite of interpretation. A believer reads the Holy Bible and accepts what it says without filtering it through a network of interpretation algorithms. For example, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." [Hebrews 10:31 KJV] requires no interpretation. The words communicate very clearly, concisely, and correctly a timeless, albeit alarming, Truth. Please don't reduce my life-view to " all they have to read are two pages of an old book and they think they know all they need to know." That is an unfair and poorly supported accusation. If you wish to debate further I must ask you to avoid further ad hominem fallacies. State and support your beliefs without castigating mine. Thank you again sir.
        • thumb
          May 13 2013: Please, I meant no disrespect to your person, nor did I take offense. I might have phrased myself more appropriately if I had used “one” rather than "you" in most of my points. as these were not intended personally. I apologize if I was interpreted as such. However, this discussion is bound to step on someone’s toes eventually, and I do not think I am guilty of ad hominem fallacy, since challenging one’s beliefs is exactly what this discussion is bound to provoke. Similarly, I wonder whether I am to take "Godless science evolves from error to Truth, from ignorance to understanding." literally and assume you are calling my worldview - and therefore me - ignorant (not that I care).

          Also, I doubt "literal interpretation" is an oxymoron, as it is different from "symbolic interpretation". Taking your example of Hebrews 10:31: to me it requires interpretation. Why is falling into his hands so scary? Or is the falling itself scary? Should I be worried he'll catch me (because I'm a sinner)? What happens if he doesn't catch me? Or is the living god a scary person and falling in his hands spells certain doom? Then, what will he do to me? Is this falling into the hands of the living god something that happens on earth or heaven (or hell)? What does "living" mean in this sense? Or is “falling into someone’s hands” merely a figure of speech, not to be taken literally in the first place?!

          Please, I mean no disrespect, and I need no answers to these questions, but I hope you understand that to me, such texts require a great deal of interpretation, even when taken literally.

          The article you cite underscores my argument: scientists make mistakes, some plagiarize and rarely even produce false data. But such articles are retracted, and rightfully so! The fact that this article points to a rise in retractions means it’s being discussed! Science corrects itself! This is a wonderful thing! Scientists never claim to be anything but human; only the religious think themselves infallible
      • thumb
        May 14 2013: RE: Please, I meant no. . . " No apology necessary sir. I have taken no offense personally at any of your expressed opinions. What prompted my remark is that it seems to me you have taken offense. I would never call your worldview, or you, ignorant. What I pointed-out was the progression of science, or more specifically, the scientific method, from not knowing (ignorance) to knowing (understanding), from error to truth. If I were you I would take that as praise for my worldview, not as condemnation. I was wrong to introduce the criticism of the phrase "literal interpretation". There is no point in us trying to convince one another about a hermeneutics question simply because for a person without Faith the Holy Bible is nonsense. Apart from God's guidance the Holy Bible cannot be properly understood. I hope you agree we should abandon that point. Finally, I too have known religious people who consider themselves infallible. It is unfair to individuals to ascribe such a fault to them simply because they share belief in God. I can only, and barely, speak for myself when I say I am not infallible. Indeed, learning from mistakes and being willing to abandon falsified beliefs is high-order behavior. Amen to that friend!

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.