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Bernard White


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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"...


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    May 14 2013: Bernard,

    Thanks for the invitation to weight in the topic at hand,

    For starters Creationism aka Intelligent Design (ID) is being pushed by the Discovery Institute and others. ID has nothing to do with Science and all to do with marketing:"This isn't really, and never has been, a debate about science," professor Phillip Johnson of the University of California at Berkeley. "It's about religion and philosophy."(http://www.leaderu.com/pjohnson/world2.html) it's all about the so-called theistic realism to replace methodological naturalism(Scientific Method) in order to accept supernatural explanations as a norm. Also take a look at the "wedge strategy"(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy#cite_note-forrest_wedge-24).
    I gather that their goal is to keep God(s) in the classroom in order for USA not to loose its moral compass, and to make peace with the right wing evangelicals.
    ID is a gimmick that looks for dumb politicians in order to creep into the classroom instead of doing the hard work that the scientific method entails, is intellectual laziness.
    Bottom line creationism aka ID is not science what it is indeed is really bad education, there is no credibility to it in the scientific community at large and to fix it we need more forums more proper information for people to make informed choices. And that said, religion provides comfort in a fantasy land that science cannot touch.
    That 46% of Americans believe in creationism in one form or another is truly a shame, it makes us look ignorant , it is really frightens me that so many people believe in outdated , dis-proven ideas. Add to that number a 20% illiteracy rate and it gets darker, when that 46% wants political control to influence the other 54%. .
    The case for evolution is overwhelming and is the basis of modern medicine in many ways, ID is useless, It should not be taught in the classroom as "science", is a waste of time from that point of view.

    "Educate to dumb down"

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      May 14 2013: I agree.
      However what happens if the politicians actually "agree" with it as well?
      Did you read that article I posted in the description, on the other debate. I'll put it here again :
      (Skip to chapter V : "We've Evolved to be Creationists").
      Luckily I have never experienced the "creationism" problem. (Considering I live in the UK!) :-)
      Kind regards,
      • May 16 2013: Hi Bernard,

        Thanks for your comment (below).

        "Surely you "could" argue that the "God(s)" work through Volcanoes?"

        Surely you could. But that shows that you can move those gods from one place to another, only confirming that they are subjects of your imagination.

        "Also you could argue that the "God(s)" put these "agency detection" mechanism in us."

        Which would come to prove again that the gods are subjects of your imagination. More to the point, a "detection" mechanism that makes us mistake almost everything for a god would lead us to conclude that gods are imaginary. :) And let's not even talk about the side effects of such beliefs, which tend to be quite contrary to leading us to believe that the gods are real at all. If we all share a detection mechanism, rather than a tendency towards superstition, then such mechanisms are so faulty that we end up thinking that we have the right gods on our side, and that whichever gods others have are imaginary (how convenient), or the wrong gods, the evil ones, and a long et cetera that I have no time to keep writing about ...

        Trying to accommodate for gods thus confirms that they are subjects of our imaginations.
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          May 16 2013: Nice reply.
          Yet I'm still unsure as to whether they are completely "part of our imagination".
          "But that shows that you can move those gods from one place to another, only confirming that they are subjects of your imagination."
          I'm not altogether sure how that logic follows. God(s) should be able to move from one place to another (considering they are meant to wield extreme power), you could argue all the different perceptions of God(s) were just everybody perspective of the same "deity(s)".
          "Trying to accommodate for gods thus confirms that they are subjects of our imaginations."
          Not at all. If argue for your existence (or against = solipsism) does that suggest you are just part of my imagination? Maybe you are, maybe your not. :)
      • May 16 2013: Hi Bernard,

        You are welcome to present any evidence that gods are not imaginary. I know you are mostly "agnostic," but I see no reason why we wouldn't be so sure that gods are imaginary. After all, you keep showing evidence that they indeed are.

        When I said "move gods from one place to another," I meant move them from being the volcano to act through the volcano. This shows that they are the objects of your imagination. If to "prove" that they exist you have to change what they are from one phrase to the next, what are you doing if not imagining different gods each time?

        Yeah, after the fact, after realizing that you are imagining different gods and kinds of gods (why do you insist on the capitals if we are talking about gods in a generic form, rather than about some actual being whose particular name is "God"?), you start claiming that maybe the "errors" are differences in perceptions of what these gods are, then I would insist that such post rationalization only comes to show how sophisticated you are willing to be in your imaginations. You just imagine new attributes, new characteristics.. As I said below, you prove nothing more but how vivid your imagination is. Be my guest, but that does nothing for gods, a lot for my claim that they are imaginary, and a lot for your imagination, which I will be happy to applaud.

        At least for my existence you have something to show that cannot easily be attributed to much else but a person. I am writing in English (kinda), have to be typing, et cetera. Yes, imagination takes place too, but you have more to go for it than just that. It is not how much you ignore about typing, English, and such, but how much you do know about those things that would give you support for the thesis. With gods the support is ignorance. It does not help that gods reside nowhere else but in our imaginations, exactly in the same way as other characters that you would agree are imaginary, like Harry Potter.
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          May 17 2013: Hmm.
          It seems basically what you are saying is that you accept that you are more probable than a "God"/"gods"/"God(s)". I ask you what makes you more likely than a "God"?
          For instance you typing could just be part of my imagination? :-)
          And I give you attributes, which I can't be certain of. To help me (unconsciously) learn about you, and make more sense...
          Just because something is in our imagination does it mean it doesn't exist? This is my point when I ask people to define (or describe) what they mean by existence.
          Considering you mentioned it, to quote from Harry potter : "of course it's happening inside your head harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"
      • May 17 2013: Hi Bernard,

        Oh, no, I am in enough of a position to assert that this is not a question of probability. I am real, gods are merely imaginary. I am not just more likely than a god. If you can't tell the difference, then you have a big problem, perhaps with your metaphysics.

        You say that my typing might be just part of your imagination. OK then, do you hear gods talking to you? Do you see them jumping around? Do they interact with you? Do they transform things for you, help you walk on water? Do they make the volcano erupt in ways you cannot but conclude that they did it?

        If nothing of that sort happens, then your imagination is quite selective about what it lets you imagine as if it were real. Do you see any differences between what your imagination allows you to believe to be real and those things called gods? If you do, then that should indicate you that there's a solution to your problem, shouldn't it? That there might be a profound way in which you might recognize what your senses are perceiving from what is just a product of your imagination. I can't offer you a full treatise on metaphysics or epistemology, but that should work as a start. Think about it.


        P.S. Of course, what happens in our heads is "real" in a way, something is happening there. But that does not mean that because we can imagine a god, then such god will materialize out of our imaginations and become an entity independent of our imaginations. That does not mean that we should start thinking that anything we can imagine has some probability of being real, and that a real person is just "more likely."
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          May 18 2013: I agree you are "much" likely than a "God".
          However you main argument seems to be that God is just part of a our imagination therefore we should assume it definably doesn't exist...
          Actaully it would be better if you went on to my debate :
          "What theological implications does the "Psychology" and "Neuroscience" (and possibly biology) of religion (or "God(s)") have?"
          Link : http://www.ted.com/conversations/18230/what_theological_implications.html
          Also to confirm God doesn't exist, 1st you need to define God in a way it can actually be tested. If not (due to their being no evidence either way) I remain an agnostic.
          Kind regards,
          P.S Cya at the other TED Conversation!
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      May 14 2013: "it makes us look ignorant, it is really frightens me that so many people believe in outdated , dis-proven ideas."

      It's one thing not to believe in creationism or intelligent design, but another to suggest that science has furnished irrefutable answers to the God question.

      We not only "look ignorant," we are ignorant as to the nature and specifics of our beginning despite the theories floating among scientists.

      What "frightens me" more is this willingness on the part of some humans to acquiesce to science that which it hasn't proven, satisfied that if it doesn't have the answers now, that it will in the near or distant future.

      "The case for evolution is overwhelming."

      Yet, evolution doesn't answer the larger question, "How did life begin, and did that beginning generate from an intelligent or non-intelligent substance?"

      "Educate to dumb down"

      Perhaps it's just the opposite, "Dumb down to educate."
      • May 15 2013: Wil,

        I would agree that science alone might not answer "the gods question." Philosophy, science, and history seem all right though. Gods are anthropomorphisms. The product of human tendency to assign human-like agency to the unknown. They are compounded and confounded by our tendency to make up stories and build upon stories over stories. To our tendency to gather around myths and make them even bigger. Gods are imaginary. However, we have to look beyond evolution. Evolution only shows how the diversity of life arises. The most it does, is prove that gods imagined to have brought about each species by puffing them into existence independently are false. But other gods are left untouched. Geology and vulcanology in particular show that gods that are personified in volcanoes are false. Philosophy helps because so many gods are filled with contradictions and nonsense. But anthropology and history show quite well that gods are the anthropomorphisms I was talking about saving us the time to check whether some scientific discovery proves some god or another false.

        Of course, people wanting to believe can take refuge from all of that by moving their gods into the realms of the still unknown, or even claim that their gods are behind something that might never be solved. But I see no difference between those who did not know what a volcano was, therefore it was a god prone to anger, and those who take refuge behind the problem of the origin of life, therefore god(s) did it. But be my guest. Believers can go further and change their gods' properties to make them "unassailable." Beyond the reach of logic, reason and science. But what does that prove other than the vivid imagination of the believer?
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          May 15 2013: "and those who take refuge behind the problem of the origin of life, therefore god(s) did it."

          Here's my point again: If science is willing to posit that life and intelligence resulted from non-life and non-intelligence, then science is in no better position than the religionist to assert the origin of life.

          Without the existence of life, there would be no evolution, giving those who believe in intelligent design and an intelligent designer as much claim to the answers as science.

          And, too, there's been an evolution of our notion of God, from one that is anthropomorphic to one that is omnipresent, and omniscient.

          Yet, don't rule out gods, as we're dealing with an aspect of God that is beyond this conversation, and would only serve to broaden the conversation beyond its present parameters.

          "Believers can go further and change their gods' properties to make them "unassailable.""

          And of course, science would never do that. There are as many taboos in science as in religion, where those in the scientific community would be ostracized, if not outright excommunicated, for holding certain theories, or publicly attacked by their peers for challenging certain widely-held scientific positions.
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          May 15 2013: Great reply by the way! :-)
          Yet my only question would be :
          Surely you "could" argue that the "God(s)" work through Volcanoes? In the way science (geology and geography) gives us the method the "God(s)" (or the "how") work out their will. Also you could argue that the "God(s)" put these "agency detection" mechanism in us.
          I mean it would be very odd if these God(s) created us, without the ability to realize they existed. (If they wanted to use us that is!).
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        May 15 2013: Wil,
        That is the gist of science that the answers are not irrefutable indeed they are, (God(s) are not) Science is falsifiable, thus allows for continuous correction and growth , religion does not.
        As to how humans came to be and our universe , there are natural explanations that cover those without using "magic" , the "creator "does not answer any questions au contraire and once accepted it poses more complex questions, ie who created the creator, hold on, no- one created the creator because the creator exists beyond space & time and is self caused, Wil I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell if buy that special pleading! Indeed yes it is an ignorant assertion to postulate an impossible being as the originator of everything!
        Just because Science doesn't answer every question to a 100% satisfaction ,is that by default evidence for God(s)? (a difference between not known to not unknowable). Take the last 200 years of history and see the advances that Science has covered, Wil diseases that are now treatable, space flight, etc has Science answer all , no has ID served mankind as evolution have ( medicine, genetics, agriculture etc) NO!, Yes "think-tanks" peddling ignorance are frightening!
        Wil you are partly correct: evolution does not explain how life began. But that is not the aim of Darwinian evolution; all natural selection requires to work is that there is life, variability and competition. Criticising evolutionary biology for not explaining how life began is like criticising the kettle for not making good toast.(try Abiogenesis:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis to broaden. your quest). All this said I respect every person's right to negate the Overwhelming , copious amount of over 150 years of Evidence for evolution. And if tomorrow morning evidence that puts Darwinian evolution belly up surfaces, Let it ring loud & clear! Science is hard work not platitudes, not pulling miraculous beings out of thin air. Question everything!

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          May 15 2013: "Science is falsifiable, thus allows for continuous correction and growth , religion does not."

          That's arguable, be it science or be it those who believe in the existence of a God.

          "As to how humans came to be and our universe , there are natural explanations that cover those without using "magic"."

          And that's my point, again: The scientific "explanations" are as "magical," as you call it, as those derived from religion. You can dress it up with a scientific overlay but it requires as much faith to accept spontaneous self-generating matter that's both lifeless and mindless creating life and intelligence.

          "has ID served mankind as evolution have ( medicine, genetics, agriculture etc) NO!, Yes "think-tanks" peddling ignorance are frightening!"

          This is only true if you're willing to arbitrarily separate intelligent design from other natural phenomenon. What's "frightening" is what science has created right along with "medicine, genetics," or what have you, providing the means for our self-annihilation, nuclear bombs, and a host of other biological weapons and the means to deliver them.

          "Criticising evolutionary biology for not explaining how life began is like criticising the kettle for not making good toast."

          Actually, I did no such thing. I merely pointed out that we've put the cart before the horse. We had to first be created before the forces and mechanisms of evolution could be employed. As a result, until the question of our beginning is irrefutably understood, we won't fully grasp evolution.

          And for "abiogenesis," this is not my first discussion of the origin of the universe, nor is the subject of abiogenesis unfamiliar to me. I still say it smacks of the supernatural.

          "Science is hard work not platitudes, not pulling miraculous beings out of thin air. Question everything!"

          Again, that's arguable. But I find, rather, that science has busy itself in an attempt to explain away, not only our beginning, without positing a God, but God Itself.

          It wo
      • May 16 2013: Wil,

        "If science is willing to posit that life and intelligence resulted from non-life and non-intelligence, then science is in no better position than the religionist to assert the origin of life."

        I don't see why. That you don't understand, or have neither studied nor reasoned this carefully enough does not mean that a scientific position is "faith." I don't see anything strange about life coming from non living stuff. After all, we see it all the time. I can produce a completely lifeless broth. Introduce a few bacteria, and then the broth transforms into billions of bacteria. That's non-life becoming life no matter how much you try and twist it. There's no intelligence involved either. That this process is catayized by a living organism does not change the facts: non-living stuff gets into being living stuff. So, for life to originate originally, all we need is something to catalyze reactions that might lead there. Maybe many somethings. And we know of many things in nature that catalyze reactions.

        There's much more to the origin of life than that, and we are yet to get a complete picture. But I see no reason why you would think that proposing that life arose from the non-living, or that intelligence arose from the non-thinking, is based on faith, other than because you have not thought about it and have not looked at any of the work around those things.

        However, you had nothing in your answer but what I already mentioned: mysteries filled up with gods. Mere anthropomorphisms: because we use intelligence to do stuff, everything is done by superhuman intelligence. The nowadays equivalent to volcano gods.

        Gods evolved into omniscient and omnipresent are still anthropomorphous. Humans only much bigger, wiser, powerful. That we have evolved them does not deny their humble origins in those myths of old.
    • May 15 2013: Carlos, I only have a few minutes to respond, so I just wanted to point out that it will help to distinguish between creationism and intelligent design. They are vastly different ideas.
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        May 15 2013: Cliff,
        ID is the brainchild of the Discovery Institute, they do declare that they are indifferent to religion at every turn They have no choice. Their mission is to destroy good science education for every child in the public schools of America, and they can't do that if they are obviously driven by religious motives. That's why you see them conceal the theological basis for their beliefs when they are talking to a governmental group. Which is the point of this debate , ID folks and those supporting -Do not care about Science, or the "so-called weakness in DE" or "critical thinking" They want to hear that their religious views are right. They're also the strongest base of support for the Intelligent Design proponents. That's why you find the very same folks who deny faith in front of government professing faith in front of religious audiences:.Even YEC (young earth folks) are against this two faced nature of ID (plausible denial tactic?) ID is a water down version of creationism for legal use and consumption by the uninformed, is a tactical move By the green serpents Cliff! I sense a less than honest approach here , a moral flaw perhaps (win hooked or crooked)

        Judge Jones noted in his 2005 Dover decision, “We have concluded that (intelligent design) is not [science], and moreover that (intelligent design) cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents.”

        There it is.

        • May 16 2013: Carlos, thanks for your response. You wrote: "ID folks and those supporting-Do not care about Science..." and "their mission is to destroy good science education for every child in the public schools of America". Please be careful about speaking categorically for all people in a group. (It's akin to stating: "All scientists want to destroy religion.") And I think refraining from the phrase "green serpents" will help keep this discourse civil.

          Certainly, your assumption may be correct for some. But many ID folks do care a great deal about doing good science and about good science education. They simply happen to believe that the evidence suggests an intelligent designer at work in the creation of the universe. This may be informed by their religious viewpoint, certainly. I have no problem saying that ID is not science in that it makes philosophical and theological statements. And I can agree with what Judge Jones says, as long as when he says "creationist" he doesn't mean Young Earth creationism. Many ID folks find YEC ridiculous, small-minded, dishonest, and a terrible distortion of scientific data (exactly why I suggested differentiating between YEC and ID).

          Ultimately, science can falsify YEC by finding contradictory evidence, which is well-established. But if ID is simply the idea that an intelligent creator was involved in the beginning of the universe, this is something science will not be able to address, as it is not falsifiable. So, regardless of where we fall in religious viewpoints, we will always be left with the possibility of a intelligent being's existence and involvement in the creation of the universe. I'm not suggesting it should be taught in the science classroom; I'm simply pointing it out as a legitimate viewpoint that science is not able to address.

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