TED Conversations

Bernard White

TEDCRED 20+

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 :
http://listverse.com/2013/02/07/10-reasons-creationism-should-be-taught-in-school/
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"...

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    May 14 2013: Bernard,

    Why yes, we have our host of ignorant politicians (Akin "legitimate rape"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_and_pregnancy_controversies_in_United_States_elections,_2012) and shameful host of others .Follow that by partisan efforts to teach ID in states like Louisiana , TN and others. Check this:http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/10/most-anti-science-lawmakers-running-office#13685684249961&action=collapse_widget&id=5148187

    Is there a inbreed need for a creator in mankind? Let's assume yes and let's juxtapose that frame of reference to Geocentricism and Heliocentrism,(Copernicus & Galileo), See how a Heliocentric theory goes against common sense ( after all th Earth does not move but rather all else), and in Galileo's time against the Bible cosmology.The Church with more control edicts the Decree of 1616.
    Maybe our senses are natural instruments of simplification for example we cannot see the whole light spectrum with our eyes, yet our minds were ble to dig it up , we have evolved with visible wavelengths that are usually between 400 nm and 700 nm, and we have done plenty with that. Couple the senses with a mind that seeks order,and design and voilá! ID
    Relativity is also counterintuitive but is also well established. Is a massive undertaking , to educate scores upon scores of people. In the other hand Natural Selection will do the voodoo that does so well...

    "Nothing is more difficult than competing with a myth"
    -- - Françoise Giroud

    Cheers then!
    • thumb
      May 14 2013: "Is a massive undertaking , to educate scores upon scores of people."

      If we can't "educate scores upon scores of people" to resist killing members of their own species whether as an individual undertaking or collectively as armies, what's the point of teaching them about evolution or creationism.

      Both religion and science have failed to advance the human species beyond its barbarity, and its proclivity toward self-annihilation.

      "Nothing is more difficult than competing with a myth"
      -- - Françoise Giroud

      No more difficult than competing with a scientific "myth" disguised as science, and for that reason sheltered from criticism.
      • thumb
        May 15 2013: Wil,

        Educating the masses in science proper is indeed an epic undertaking.
        Darwinian Evolution (DE) is a Scientific Theory and has nothing to do with enticing people to kill others-Non sequitur. Now religion has done lots, & lots of massive killings (9-11, Inquisition(s),Burning witches .. you get the point).
        Yes Wil I agree with you we have some folks that are nuttier than fruitcake.
        Science is just a tool like let's say a hammer properly used you can build a table with the aid of a hammer, or put somebody under (gross!) it is not the art is mankind.
        Now religion has spilled blood for as many Gods as it has spun.
        Wil, so you say that Science is the modern "myth"sheltered from criticism"OK, the Earth revolves around the Sun (myth or scientific fact? testable too), F=ma (myth or scientific fact? testable too),an electron and a positron interact to produce a photon (myth or scientific fact? testable too).
        Every morning atheist and faith based scientists get to Work to prove DE wrong (Big Nobel Prize) still at no avail (no conspiracy either).

        Error has its uses,once found out it gives wings to understanding,
        and those wings will take you places.
        _Me

        Cheers then!
        • thumb
          May 15 2013: "Now religion has done lots, & lots of massive killings (9-11, Inquisition(s),Burning witches .. you get the point)."

          But it wasn't religion that created doomsday weapons, nuclear weapons. Give me that Ol' Time Religion any day to the madness of science.

          "Educating the masses in science proper is indeed an epic undertaking."

          My point was this: Educating people in any direction is an "epic undertaking," whether it's science or teaching the species not to kill itself.

          And I still say that scientific progress can be hamstrung by the very community that says that it values scientific inquiry--that to criticize certain findings can amount to scientific heresy.
    • thumb
      May 15 2013: Out of interest. Do you know if you could explain to me what Occam's Razor is?
      Because (to me) it is : "The simplest answer wins", and from that logic we should believe there are God(s)! Considering it is far simpler to believe in God(s) than it is to understand Relativity. (Which I don't!)
      Regards,
      Bernard.
      • thumb
        May 15 2013: Occam's Razor basically states that - between conflicting explanations - the explanation that requires the least assumptions should be preferred. That is, unless evidence emerges that contradicts it. The razor cannot actually prove anything, but it can shift the burden of proof and act as a tool to guide scientists in their research.

        Whenever scientists say "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", this is a reference to Occam's Razor.

        For example, using the "what caused the universe" debate, one might say that a big bang being able to result in a complex universe solely by naturalistic principles is quite an assumption. However, the alternative of intelligence behind it all requires more far-stretching assumptions. For starters, it assumes the existence of something before there was anything; something that was powerful enough to conjure everything into being and intelligent enough to predict what exploding the universe would do.

        In other words, the burden of proof is on the person assuming an intelligent creator to either show the complete impossibility of a naturalistic explanation, or provide concrete evidence for intelligence in creation. This is actually the level at which most of the debate is going, though not always fairly.

        It may be "simpler" for a person to believe in god, but this has nothing to do with Occam's Razor. In fact, it goes against it because it ignores the assumptions necessary for this explanation, without providing evidence for doing so. "Simplest" is not the best word because it also means "easiest", and this is certainly not what is meant. Scientists usually use the term "parsimonious".
        • thumb
          May 15 2013: I would disagree with the bit "burden of proof is on the person assuming an intelligent creator".
          The burden of proof in on "everybody" really. I mean if I make the claim : "God does not exist (beyond reasonable doubt)". Then I need some form of (logical) argument or evidence for that claim. Otherwise you should just remain an agnostic.
          KK.
          Thanks for explaining it for me! :-)
      • thumb
        May 15 2013: Science has a hard time disproving the existence of anything, so when it really boils down to it scientists might remain agnostic to all sorts of things, whether it be god or unicorns, the flying spaghetti monster or the small purple carrot that sits in the centre of each black hole. However, the problem that proponents of such phenomena face is not that such things have no evidence AGAINST them, but rather that there is so preciously little evidence FOR them. This grants their existence little probability, which allows us to be atheistic and a-unicornistic. Although that might seem like an argumentation, all I’ve really done is shift the burden of proof to the other side :-)

        This is somewhat beside the scope of Occam’s razor*, which deals with conflicting explanatory hypotheses. For the origins of the universe, naturalistic mechanisms require assumptions, but these are nothing compared to the assumptions required for an intelligent creator**. Mind you, that is no proof against an intelligent creator; it just makes its existence less likely. It therefore requires explicit evidence FOR it; or AGAINST the naturalistic mechanisms in order to be accepted as the best explanation. I.e. the burden of proof lies with the proponents of an intelligent creator.

        * But, as I’ve just learned, right within Hitchens’ razor: “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” :-)

        ** This is a rather bold statement, but I've raised some initial concerns in the previous post, after "For starters"
        • thumb
          May 15 2013: Some I philosophers I have been lucky to meet, view that the theist God is actually impossible to exist. In the "problem of evil" and "Making a boulder it cannot lift / square circle".
          Which is fair enough in my opinion.
          Bertrand Russell said he was an agnostic at heart, for saw no way to disprove God. Yet you could (for all practical) purposes call him an atheist.
          I suppose I am rather similar to Bertrand Russell in this aspect.
          I feel if there is a "God(s)" we make far too many assumptions about it.
      • thumb
        May 15 2013: Yes haha. As the famous philosopher Homer Simpson asked Ned Flanders: "Could Jesus microwave a burrito so hot that he himself could not eat it?" ;-)

        But this would be argumentation, and testing of the assumptions made about the characteristics of God, him being all powerful in this case. It has little to do with Occam's Razor, though it could underscore one's atheistic assumptions.

        It is a good question: when is atheism justified? I believe Dawkins and Dennett (probably among others) have some ideas on this, possibly ventilated here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-P6rG2FPio and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQOxvTKKpOg
        • thumb
          May 16 2013: If you want the honest truth :
          I'm still debating with myself as to whether I am a "atheist" or an "agnostic"...
          Or in other words : Whether a "God(s)" is (/ are) still possible. Or whether they are logically impossible.
          EDIT : I watched the "poverty of agnosticism" ages ago. And disagreed with Dawkins on it quite a lot.
      • thumb
        May 17 2013: Yeah well, it doesn't really matter in everyday life. I often enjoy debating whomever thinks he's certain of something. So if I meet a staunch atheist who - in my opinion - hasn't thought about it enough, I might just try to go agnostic on his behind :-)
        Socratian questioning is a powerful tool: how do you know that? How can you be sure?

        If it is necessary for you to make god a logical impossibility in order to become an atheist, then I think you'd have to stay agnostic. Science just renders the possibility very much improbable and unnecessary. To me, this is enough to assume the nonexistence of gods, mermaids and smurfs until the opposite is shown.

        Also, which is the god you are agnostic about? Apart from the "is it Thor, Osiris or Yahwe?" question that Dawkins always asks, what's left of the supernatural intelligence once you take away all that you can logically rule out? The Epicurean paradox comes to mind here. (I'm not trying to convince you by making you answer these questions, just trying to offer something to think about)

        At the end of the day though, a scientist can never be absolutely certain of anything. Certainty is faith and we try to stay away from that. We are to assume, based on evidence. Even to a question like "will the sun rise in the East tomorrow?" a scientist should answer something along the lines of "Well, based on emipirical evidence - the sun rising in the East every morning for as long as there have been records of - as well as our well-supported model of the solar system, we can to a very high degree of probability assume that the sun will rise in the East tomorrow. But I cannot be certain."
        • thumb
          May 17 2013: Damn! I'v ran out of thumbs up for you this week! :P
          To be honest, I'm agnostic about all of them. I mean they can't all be right, unless of-course it was just different perceptions of the "same Deity", and if so that Deity certainly hasn't done a great job of revealing itself.
          On this note, it always bothered me when I was younger the odd method the Christian God chose to reveal itself. Considering it reveals itself in a book, which scholars had to study. Why not make a book everybody could understand?
          Also the timing was poor, what happened to everybody "before" God revealed himself (through Christ)? Did God just wait for evolution to happen, just for countless species to die...
          Anyhow back on topic.
          Yet they could all be wrong, which I admit is possible. Yet I have no reason to assume this...
          Though it may be a "rational conclusion" it still might be wrong. Yet it might be fine to describe myself as a "definite atheist" concerning the Christian God. Considering I do have a feeling the Christian God is logically impossible. Yet I can't be certain I haven't missed something.
          I like David Attembourghs thought on this matter :
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mI7f3xVgZdA
          And Bertrand Russell's :
          "Am I An Atheist Or An Agnostic?"
          Link : http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/russell8.htm
          Watch (/ read) both of them before responding! :-) Won't take that long.
          "a scientist can never be absolutely certain of anything. "
          I agree. :-)
          Have you heard of something called the "problem of induction"?
          Kind regards,
          Bernard.
          (P.S : You did give me a lot of "food thought" in that comment!)
        • thumb
          May 17 2013: I would appreciate a reply! :-)
          When you find the time that is!
          Kind regards,
          Bernard.
      • thumb
        Jun 3 2013: Sry, life got in time's way.

        The reasons for rationalism or “why we have a quarrel” is the same in me: the insanity of literal interpretation of old texts and the dogmatic execution of the “values” included in them. I agree wit Russell that we should have a “doctrine of degrees of probability”, but I doubt dogmas owe their danger to novelty, for example: fewer people were prosecuted due to the dogma that dark matter exists, than for the dogma that homosexuals ought to be killed.

        IMO, the reason for Sir David remaining an agnostic is the correct reason. Perhaps we do lack certain sense organs or the intellectual capacity to fully understand the nature of the universe. Indeed, it is probably impossible to ever know “The Truth”, but at least we are trying, which is more than can be said of termites.

        And all our scientific searching has failed so far to require any higher intelligence. But that is the problem of induction isn't it: we have never (scientifically) needed it before, so we can rule out this higher intelligence? No of course not, but as long as we do not need it, it is more unscientific to say: let’s assume it’s there (and mad to say, it’s there cuz my old book says so).

        Unfortunately, religious fundamentalists wrongly see admitting to agnosticism as a sort of victory for them. As if agnosticism is the thin end of the wedge towards us admitting there is an omnipotent being. A practical atheism can coexist just fine with a philosophical agnosticism: although there is probably no deity, we cannot be certain.

        And that is one thing the religious do not understand: our ability to be uncertain. As Richard Feynman puts it (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YltEym9H0x4) we scientists want to “Investigate [questions] without knowing the answer to them”
        “I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing.”
        “I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things.”

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.