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Bernard White

TEDCRED 20+

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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 :
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"...

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    May 14 2013: HI

    I am not sure it should be considered science as they have no evidence to sustain their clams. But I do feel that it should be presented to students in a non-mocking manner. Not to do so, would not present all sides of any argument, and thereby ignoring all views. It can be presented as "this is an alternative view that at present lacks evidence" - and let's face it, there never will be any evidence. Also, this would allow the introduction of how the sciences have been derailed and delayed by the church (in general).
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      May 14 2013: "I am not sure it should be considered science as they have no evidence to sustain their clams."

      Brian, I'm not as sure as you are. We both agree that there was a creation: a beginning. That in itself is as much "evidence" that's needed to support the existence of a "creator."

      What may be in contention is whether that creator was intelligent or not, or the nature of its other properties. M-theory says creation was the result of spontaneous self-generating matter, and that the big bang that resulted created a multiverse, not just one. If that's true, then science is positing the nature of God, a Creator, and calling it spontaneous self-generating matter.
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        May 14 2013: Hey Wil, thanks for commenting.

        I am not 'sure' that there was a creation or beginning? I am sceptical of all claims, but I err to science as they have the most tangible and "tested" answers. To accept that a "creation" occurred is to accept that a creator exist; and for that there is no evidence, only faith. Faith is not a foundation for science.

        I feel that I should point out I am not being disrespectful to religion, and declare my hand as closer to an agnostic, than a believer, as I don't know and I admire believers faith. I was responding to the question and it was asking should it be taught. I believe that it should be taught - but not as a science.

        That said, I do love the civility of this topic. We can discuss things like adults.
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          May 14 2013: "I am not 'sure' that there was a creation or beginning?"

          That's your prerogative, but it flies in the face of most scientific findings, and resultant observations, what is termed a big bang.

          We can't dismiss a beginning, as something was generated by the big bang that clearly wasn't there before, which resulted in our universe and what is now posited as a multiverse.

          It has nothing to do with "faith," but a Creator, in the case of M-theory, it's spontaneous self-generating matter. By any other name this matter would constitute that which gave rise to various universes, hence a Creator.

          My point: It's already being taught, but it's being taught without reference to God, or Genesis, or an Intelligent Designer.

          Brian, I put the "civil" in civility, and like that you appreciate it as well. With just a modicum of effort, we can all disagree without being disagreeable.
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        May 14 2013: " we can all disagree without being disagreeable"
        If only that was the case in all aspects of life... :P
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        May 14 2013: Hi Will,
        Currently, I don't think M-theory is talked about much in schools and I will not pretend to understand it in any way, but I doubt we currently need it for discussing whether or not any mention of a creator should be included in science class.

        According to theoretical physics and astronomy there was some beginning to this universe. The thoughts on this are complex and abstract and still riddled in mystery, but scientists are working to improve this (perhaps that's where M-theory comes in).

        However, to say that an intelligent creator was at the start of it all is quite a leap that poses a whole range of other questions that are next to unanswerable, which is intolerable to those who want to understand the universe. So far, a creator-hypothesis has also not seemed necessary in explaining things (although it has in the past, Newton being a good example).

        I would respectfully have to say I feel you are switching things around by taking "spontaneous self-generating matter" (I don't know the official scientific term and I'm not sure what it is) and calling it "god". You might though, if that is your definition of god; but it does not really help the conversation along because the term "god" comes with many religiously inspired connotations and symbolism that confuse things, especially in the classroom.

        Even if at some point, scientists do get stuck and require an intelligent creator or "starter" to understand the universe, we are still left with finding the nature of this thing/person/deity/presence/designer/intelligence/etc. Any guess is then as good as the rest and we'd have to find out more about it through hypothesizing and experimentation. Any reference to a specific religion (e.g. genesis) when mentioning this "designer" would be dishonest, as there are tons of alternatives already in human cultures, see also my reply to Peter Law below. More likely, a creator would be something new entirely.

        I hope the above was not disagreeable :)
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          May 14 2013: Hi Gerco.
          If we come down on the creation side of the argument, surely it makes sense to continue the quest. The bible then becomes a source of attention. Does geology really allow for a cataclysmic worldwide flood? Did the history of the Jewish nation turn out as predicted? If we apply the scientific method to each 'Holy Book' in turn; how do they stack up?
          It's really just a quest for truth, leave no stone unturned. What else have we to do while awaiting our turn to go?

          :-)
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          May 14 2013: "According to theoretical physics and astronomy there was some beginning to this universe."

          If a "beginning," then a creation. If a "creation," then that which created, a creator. The problem is semantics. Science would rather call the creator spontaneous self-generating matter, while the religionist would call the Creator, God.

          If God is that which initially created our universe, and we posit that that creator is self-generating matter, by any other name, we've identified our creator.

          "to say that an intelligent creator was at the start of it all is quite a leap that poses a whole range of other questions that are next to unanswerable"

          Here's a "leap." Was this self-generating matter intelligent or unintelligent? If unintelligent, then how was it possible for non-intelligence to create mind, and therefore intelligence, an intelligence evident in our animial kingdom although in varying degree.

          "So far, a creator-hypothesis has also not seemed necessary in explaining things."

          And that's my point: It's inescapable. Whether the creator is called "self-generating matter" or the Judeo-Christian God, it's impossible to ignore a Genesis, a beginning, and, if a beginning, a Creator.

          "I feel you are switching things around by taking "spontaneous self-generating matter"... and calling it "god"."

          Fair enough, but, more to the point, I'm calling it the Creator. For, at bottom, that is what a God is.

          "but it does not really help the conversation along because the term "god" comes with many religiously inspired connotations."

          Perhaps not. But since, depending on which side of the divide you rest, it's all speculation, theoreticlal, and inconclusive, why not give as much weight to a God as creator, as to spontaneous self-generating matter, or any other speculative scientific answer for how our universe was created?

          From a supposed "self-generating matter," a non-intelligent and non-living substance, we posit the creation of both life and mind. Why not the opposite?
        • May 15 2013: Gerco, I find it interesting you said "However, to say that an intelligent creator was at the start of it all is quite a leap that poses a whole range of other questions that are next to unanswerable, which is intolerable to those who want to understand the universe." Do you consider them unanswerable because they are not testable, and thus outside the realm of science? If this is the case, then there will always be unanswerable questions. Anytime you question issues of purpose, meaning, or a potential first cause outside our physical world before the universe or multiverse existed, you are asking questions that science can't address. But that doesn't mean they are not worth asking. Science is an incredible tool, but it does have its limits, as there are certain things that simply can't be put to the test. But it also is not the only method used to arrive at knowledge. If you really want to "understand the universe" (and obviously to me, you do), you will inevitably arrive at questions that science cannot answer. Even if every aspect of how the universe works/exists is someday explained, it still leaves the 'why'? If there is no why, it still leaves us asking "why do we think there could be a 'why'?" Either way, questions are unanswered. If having questions that science can't answer is "intolerable", then it will always leave you in a difficult spot, as such questions will always exist.
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        May 15 2013: Hi Wil, (this is a reply to "If a "beginning" then a creation.")

        You make some interesting points.
        "Science would rather call the creator spontaneous self-generating matter, while the religionist would call the Creator, God."

        To make this creator or starter or prime mover something living, intelligent and personal would require some extraordinary evidence, which - as far as I and the rest of science can see - has not presented itself so far*. Calling this creator "God" already implies the latter and often also gives the idea that it is something which intervenes AFTER the initial creation; simply by the the religious connotations attached to the term "God". For an interventionist God, there is even less evidence or explanatory need than for a prime mover/initial creator.

        "why not give as much weight to a God as creator, as to spontaneous self-generating matter, or any other speculative scientific answer for how our universe was created?"

        Simply because scientists see as yet no need for an intelligent creator. If they do at some point, then the investigation has only just begun, because what was this creator?

        "Whether the creator is called "self-generating matter" or the Judeo-Christian God,"

        And that is where a major problem lies, see my last paragraph in my previous post as well as some others: THERE ARE TONS OF CREATION MYTHS. Taking Genesis (universe created in 6 days, starting with earth), this is refuted right off the bat by physics and cosmology; then there are loads more to investigate merely as hypotheses, but most are incompatable with science. Evaluating all in science class would make it religious class.

        * In case that by such evidence you mean this: "If unintelligent, then how was it possible for non-intelligence to create mind, and therefore intelligence"

        To me, this is not a paradox. Intelligence and mind can come from the mass of grey matter in our heads, with no problem of this coming about through millions of years of natural selection.
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          May 15 2013: "To make this creator or starter or prime mover something living, intelligent and personal would require some extraordinary evidence."

          To make this creator less than living and intelligent would defy logic, since we'd have to posit that non-intelligence created both mind and intelligence. What's more paradoxical than that?

          "For an interventionist God, there is even less evidence or explanatory need than for a prime mover/initial creator."

          Universal laws set in motion at the beginning of creation would be the only intervention required, that and an evolutionary mechanism to control species adaptation over time.

          "Simply because scientists see as yet no need for an intelligent creator."

          And that's the rub. It's impossible to reconcile an intelligent and life supportive creation (biological organisms) with non-intelligent and nonliving matter. To posit such is not scientific so much as it's a conscious effort to rule out the presence of an intelligence or an existence preceding, and at the moment of, creation.

          "THERE ARE TONS OF CREATION MYTHS."

          And many, derived from different cultures, and without known cross-cultural encounters, are similar.

          "Taking Genesis (universe created in 6 days, starting with earth), this is refuted right off the bat by physics and cosmology;"

          Indeed it is, if we're talking about a material creation as opposed to a spiritual creation. In the beginning God (Spirit) created the heavens and the earth. The six days aren't diurnal days since a measurement of time had yet to be created, even if we are to take Genesis literally.

          ¶ And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

          This occurred on the third day, although we're told that, on the first day, God created light and called it Day and the darkness, Night.

          If "Intelligence and mind can come from the mass of grey matter," why can't science source mind in brain?
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        May 15 2013: "To make this creator less than living and intelligent would defy logic, since we'd have to posit that non-intelligence created both mind and intelligence. What's more paradoxical than that?"

        Well, for example, an intelligent deity creating an enormous (truly mind-bogglingly vast) universe just so that we on this tiny planet could worship him, I find more paradoxical. I really do not see a problem with blind evolution giving rise to our level of cognition through natural selection. I'm sorry.

        "it's a conscious effort to rule out the presence of an intelligence or an existence preceding"

        But allowing for the presence of an intelligence preceding requires so much more explanation. Where did it come from? Why did it create anything? Now that brings us to religious answers, but those have no place in science per se for, as I said, there are many creation myths.

        "many [creation myths] derived from different cultures, and without known cross-cultural encounters, are similar."

        No. Not really. If there are superficial similarities, you may need to wonder how many ways - conveivable to stone age man - there really are of talking about some beginning from nothing/chaos/otherwise. The fact that there are wide differences - even between those WITH cross-cultural encounters - already is a very strong point against the notion of revelation and for the notion of fabrication by people.

        "if we're talking about a material creation as opposed to a spiritual creation."

        We can only talk about material creation as spiritual creation is exactly something that science cannot work with. Such caveats take the origins debate only further from the realm of science; what would falsify an intelligent creation for you?

        "why can't science source mind in brain?"

        Assuming you are right, it is because our brain is very complex. But neuroscientists are working hard to find the answers to such questions, but there so far seems no need for a supernatural dimension to our consciousness.
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          May 16 2013: "Well, for example, an intelligent deity creating an enormous (truly mind-bogglingly vast) universe just so that we on this tiny planet could worship him, I find more paradoxical."

          God doesn't need you to worship her. You've heard wrong. What would be the purpose of that?

          "I really do not see a problem with blind evolution giving rise to our level of cognition through natural selection. I'm sorry."

          Given what this supposed "evolution" has wrought, living organisms, and minds that can reflect upon themselves, and upon their environment, I'd call that evolution with 20-20 vision, and far from blind.

          And to consider further, that it all started with dumb matter, matter that's nonliving and non-intelligent, yet able overtime to transform itself into that which is alive and intelligent, I call that the greatest "magic" trick of existence.

          "Where did it come from? Why did it create anything? Now that brings us to religious answers, but those have no place in science per se for, as I said, there are many creation myths."

          And the preexistence of self-generating matter, or any matter, doesn't elicit the same questions?

          "No. Not really. If there are superficial similarities."

          Not the myths that I have read: the premise being how similar they all are, and how they share pretty much the same or similar elements.

          "We can only talk about material creation as spiritual creation is exactly something that science cannot work with."

          Since the Bible and many other Holy Writ speak of spirituality and spiritual things, small wonder that those who approach them from a physical, material, scientific bases often misrepresent what they've read, or don't fully comprehend what is being stated.

          "Such caveats take the origins debate only further from the realm of science; what would falsify an intelligent creation for you?"

          You're right: Creation is not in the "realm of science," and science will never get to the bottom of it, nor get to the bottom of man himself.
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        May 17 2013: "God doesn't need you to worship her. ... What would be the purpose of that?"

        Well I don't know; what would be the purpose of anything? How do you know there even is a purpose to anything??

        "I'd call that evolution with 20-20 vision, and far from blind."

        The process of evolution by natural selection is blind, but it produces some good results that are often mistaken for visionary design, yes.

        "Not the myths that I have read: the premise being how similar they all are, and how they share pretty much the same or similar elements."

        Now I'm curious as to which would be these similar but unrelated creation myths (I'm quite sure I could give you a couple that are different). My point was that the fact that there are differences is enough to dismiss all of them as THE truth. Science would still have to be used to uncover the origins of the universe, creation myths are not going to help with that.

        "Since the Bible and many other Holy Writ speak of spirituality and spiritual things, small wonder that those who approach them from a physical, material, scientific bases often misrepresent what they've read, or don't fully comprehend what is being stated."

        Oh and religious people are free from this difficulty?! With all the religious strife going on the world, all the disagreement on completely unfounded spiritual readings, wars being fought over which type of Christian or Muslem someone is, they all fully understand the written works? Both sides in every argument?!? A couple weeks ago, I witnessed personally a young earth creationist lecture an intelligent design proponent. They cannot both be right!!

        "Creation is not in the "realm of science," and science will never get to the bottom of it, nor get to the bottom of man himself."

        I didn't mean the origins of the universe are outside the realm of science, I think that the causality of the universe can be investigated scientifically. You didn't answer my question: what would falsify an intelligent creation for you?
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          May 18 2013: "Well I don't know; what would be the purpose of anything?"

          You are the purpose of everything: You're alive and you're experiencing the process we call life. What greater purpose could one ask for, or hope for?

          "The process of evolution by natural selection is blind, but it produces some good results."

          It depends on how you define "good results." Evolution is not unlike the various laws of the universe, let's say, gravity, but these laws aren't self-determinant, but are established my an all-pervasive intelligence.

          "My point was that the fact that there are differences is enough to dismiss all of them as THE truth."

          Well, you should stop your search now, as you'll never find The Truth in this realm of existence, only a shadow of it. Reacquaint yourself with Socrates' allegory, The Cave, which approximates a version of the truth.

          Rather than throw out the baby with the bath water, cull from these myths areas where they do agree, and fashion a narrative of concordance, as they tell a story about the human condition, but not about ultimate reality, The Truth.

          "Science would still have to be used to uncover the origins of the universe, creation myths are not going to help with that."

          Stranger things have happened. Science doesn't have the means to "uncover the origins ot the universe." Its methodologies are inadequate for the task.

          "they all fully understand the written works? Both sides in every argument?!?"

          They "understand" what they understand. You understand what you understand. And I understand what I understand. It's what we do with that understanding that determines our outcomes.

          "I witnessed personally a young earth creationist lecture an intelligent design proponent."

          When God created light and called it Day, and darkness Night, a diurnal day hadn't been created.

          God created everything in the Holy moment of Now, and from our limited, human perspective, it appeared to have taken billions of years of evolution to achieve it.
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          May 18 2013: "You didn't answer my question: what would falsify an intelligent creation for you?"

          When science renders me--that I live and think, that I possess life and mind, that I act and am conscious--a myth.

          My answer is not as flippant as it might appear at first blush. Says Robert Frost:

          Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
          I took the one less traveled by,
          And that has made all the difference.

          Humanity once had two roads it might have traveled, the one laid by Socrates, and the one laid by Aristotle. We chose the latter, and that choice not only "made all the difference," but a difference that will ultimate in our demise, if we don't retrace our steps, and take the road "less traveled by."

          If you doubt me, take a long, hard, studied look around, and if you can read the signs of the times, you won't miss what we're doing to ourselves, our planet, and our longevity.
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      May 15 2013: Brian,
      Is better to keep Creationism out of the science classroom and push that debate to a social studies. To bring Creationism side to side with evolution, even without evidence is like presenting about Astrology in an Astronomy class as the "other "side of the issue, there is no other side.

      Cheers!

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