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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 :
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 21 2013: I think it's time to give some direct answers to the questions posed in the article's title.
    No, (belief in) creationism does not by itself indicate a bad education. From the Scientific Revolution until today, many great intellects have accepted six-day (young-Earth) creation, and have believed the Bible. Many well-known creationist scientists have PhDs earned from secular universities.
    Yes, creationism has a good deal of credibility to it. That is: Even if you don't accept this view, there are strong points in its favour.
    (1) There is abundant evidence of design in the universe, and in living things in particular. Richard Dawkins defined biology as "the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose," and he wrote, "Echo-sounding by bats is just one of the thousands of examples that I could have chosen to make the point about good design. Animals give the appearance of having been designed by a theoretically sophisticated and practically ingenious physicist or engineer...." (The Blind Watchmaker)
    (2) The Bible, a highly influential shaper of Western culture — including promotion of the development of science, as documented by historian Peter Harrison (The Bible, Protestantism, and the rise of natural science, Cambridge University Press, 1998) — is clearly a creationist book, if read in a straightforward fashion.
    (3) The materialistic evolutionary explanation of origins, despite all its high-powered advocates on this website and elsewhere, has some serious difficulties: the origin of something (a multiverse??) from nothing; the origin of complex life from unguided chemical reactions; and the origin of biodiversity through negative, destructive processes like mutation (information degraded) and natural selection (earlier deaths of some individuals).
    (4) As well, creationism implies ultimate purpose for our lives, whereas evolution leads easily to nihilism — with no ultimate moral accountability or justice for the oppressed.
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      May 21 2013: Have you read "Is God an Accident?" by Paul Bloom :
      http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2005/12/is-god-an-accident/304425/?single_page=true
      You would enjoy it!
      • May 24 2013: Thanks, Bernard. It was an interesting article, indeed.
        But I disagree, of course, with the conclusion: "But the universal themes of religion are not learned. They emerge as accidental by-products of our mental systems. They are part of human nature."
        We are mentally and spiritually wired by the Creator. This was done in the original creation when humans were created "in God's image." Human nature is not the result of mindless evolution, but of divine creation.
        God is not 'an accident.' Nor is the universe, nor are you.
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      May 23 2013: 1. There is clear evidence of adaptation not design. Not a very competitent or kind designer if that were the case - birth defects, cancer, arthritis, dementia and animals surviving by killing or eating other living things. Also deceptive, making it look like natural processes are responsible, and there being no evidence of a designer, no acts of design we can examine in real time.

      2. Yes various forms of Christianity have been influential in the west, and the west has led the way in science for centuries. However it is fallacious to suggest that this means the bible claims or christian dogma are compatible with science.

      3. Evolution does not cover abiogenesis. Not having a well established scientific answer for life origins is not evidence for creation. Saying a creator did it out evidence is an argument from evidence. Suggest we don't have all the answers, but it does not follow that saying a supernatural agent did is useful for filling gaps.
      4. Humans can decide what their life purpose is and what is moral without a creator. No reason to assume a creator is a moral authority. Just because a god issues a divine command does not make it moral.

      I note many contradictory claims about divinely revealed morality reflecting subjective processes and no actual evidence of any creator.
      • May 24 2013: "1. There is clear evidence of adaptation not design." Well, Richard Dawkins is an Oxford zoologist and leading evolutionary spokesman. He says "design" and he says it repeatedly.
        "Not a very competitent or kind designer if that were the case" I assume you meant "competent." Richard Dawkins says "theoretically sophisticated and practically ingenious." Sounds rather competent to me. Are you a higher-level biologist than Dawkins is?
        Furthermore, the noted evolutionary philosopher Daniel Dennett has written, "There is simply no denying the breathtaking brilliance of the designs to be found in nature. Time and again, biologists baffled by some apparently futile or maladroit bit of bad design in nature have eventually come to see that they have underestimated the ingenuity, the sheer brilliance, the depth of insight to be discovered in one of Mother Nature's creations. Francis Crick has mischievously baptized this trend in the name of his colleague Leslie Orgel, speaking of what he calls 'Orgel's Second Rule: Evolution is cleverer than you are.' "
        Dennett does recognize good design — even though he won't give credit where it's due (i.e., to the true Designer).
        Regarding your concern/complaint about diseases and carnivory: Genesis 1 indicates that God's original creation did not include these. Suffering and death entered this world as a result of human treachery. The Creator will in time restore those pristine conditions following a time of cleansing and judgment upon sinners who have refused to repent.
        "3. Evolution does not cover abiogenesis." Every biology textbook discusses the origin of life in its "evolution" section. Upper level texts on Evolution all have a good-sized chapter on abiogenesis. Leading evolutionists view "chemical evolution" as a key problem in evolution (New Scientist 201[2693]:41-43, 2009).
        "4. Humans can decide what their life purpose is and what is moral" Such existential decisions are arbitrary and groundless, therefore ultimately unsatisfying.
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          May 24 2013: 1. If you think Richard Dawkins is proposing design or a designer, as opposed to what people often construe as design, then you must be talking about a different RD to the one I have read.

          I suggest when Dennett is talking about the appearance of design he is not proposing a designer too.

          Are you asserting that their use of the word design proves design?

          Are you really asserting Dennett and Dawkins are proposing design by a designer?

          Suggest Crick is talking about natural selection, changes in gene frequency, from less to more adapted h

          2. There are some amazing adaptations in nature. Life manages to struggle to survive in many harsh environments.

          I was referring to evolution due to natural selection (and other selection drivers). I understand some talk about evolution of the cosmos etc.

          Your god concept is typically all knowing and powerful. It set things up and knew what would happen. It set up a system where most don't believe it exists and associated dogma and supposed will suffer for eternity. Mmm great design if an intentionally cruel and malevolent being.

          4. A creator god deciding what the meaning of our existence is, is just as arbitrary. Which god concept, which dogma on meaning?

          I find a life without gods satisfying. You don't. You are welcome to your opinion.

          All but one contradictory theist belief must be incorrect. So most theists over the millennia believe/believed in false gods and false revelations about the meaning their god concept assigns to humans.

          And there is no good evidence for any of them to be correct.

          So chances are while you might find your theist beliefs give your life meaning, this is most likely based on false beliefs, or at best completely speculative and unverifiable. It seems most likely most theists are finding meaning in falsehoods.

          I prefer to find meaning based on what we best know, not speculative, subjective, faith based beliefs.

          Imagining or inheriting a cultural god concept is just as arbitrary or groundles
      • May 26 2013: Hi again. Dawkins and Dennett are, of course, atheists. They do not accept the Designer. Dawkins speaks of "apparent design" (which he thinks can be explained by natural selection rather than a personal Designer). Nonetheless they both affirm that organisms exhibit excellent design characteristics — despite various claims of "bad design," which are based in (as Dennett observes) ignorance.
        For more on "Dawkins and Design," see my writeup: http://www.creationbc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=67&Itemid=62
        You're right that the various views of a god/God/no gods are contradictory. No more than one of those conflicting views can be correct. We can at least agree on that. But if you think atheists are not afflicted with any inclination to speculation, subjectivity, or unwarranted faith in authority, you are simply self-deceived.
        Here's a quote from Harvard geneticist Richard Lewontin that you might ponder:
        "... when scientists transgress the bounds of their own specialty they have no choice but to accept the claims of authority, even though they do not know how solid the grounds of those claims may be. Who am I to believe about quantum physics if not Steven Weinberg, or about the solar system if not Carl Sagan? What worries me is that they may believe what Dawkins and Wilson tell them about evolution." (The New York Review of Books 44[1]:30f., Jan. 9, 1997)
        Just before the above words, Lewontin had written (p. 30): "As to assertion without adequate evidence, the literature of science is filled with them. Carl Sagan's list of the 'best contemporary science-popularizers' includes E. O. Wilson, Lewis Thomas, and Richard Dawkins, each of whom has put unsubstantiated assertions or counterfactual claims at the very center of the stories they have retailed in the market." (Lewontin goes on to provide specific examples.)
        For more on Lewontin's realistic warnings about scientism: http://www.creationbc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=71&Itemid=62
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      Jun 3 2013: “creationism does not by itself indicate a bad education. From the Scientific Revolution until today, many great intellects have accepted six-day (young-Earth) creation, and have believed the Bible.”

      Yes, and people also believed in a geocentric solar system, the “five elements” and medicine centered around balance of humours. They were well-educated for their time, but we now know better.

      "(1) There is abundant evidence of design in the universe, and in living things in particular. Richard Dawkins defined biology as "the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose,"

      “The appearance of having been designed” is not evidence for design. It is the appearance of design. Illusion versus reality. Surely that’s not hard to understand?
      Dawkins never expected religious people to take the word "design" (implying a designer) so literally in The Selfish Gene and has tried to put this right ever since.

      "(2) The Bible, a highly influential shaper of Western culture — including promotion of the development of science"

      That is of no consequence. Being a shaper of culture does in no way prove your dogma right. And yes, the reformation - finally questioning religious dogma - opened the doors for science, but a thousand years of catholicism had closed them firmly before (science was a Greek invention, preserved by the Muslems for a time).

      "(3) serious difficulties: the origin of something (a multiverse??) from nothing; the origin of complex life from unguided chemical reactions;"

      I agree, those are still unanswered questions. We are uncertain there. But that does certainly not prove the bible right, and there are plenty of uncertainties and unanswered questions arising from religious explanations. We try to tackle our questions with hypothesis and experimentation, with reason and curiosity. We do not pretend to have all the answers, unlike the religious. We are not afraid of uncertainty.

      See below for the rest.
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      Jun 3 2013: “and the origin of biodiversity through negative, destructive processes like mutation (information degraded) and natural selection (earlier deaths of some individuals).”

      I think you have a limited view of genetics. Gene duplication, chromosome duplication, retrotransposons, perhaps even retroviruses; there are all sorts of processes that increase the genetic freedom that organisms have to adapt. Natural selection governs which alterations remain fixed in the organism.

      “(4) As well, creationism implies ultimate purpose for our lives, whereas evolution leads easily to nihilism — with no ultimate moral accountability or justice for the oppressed.”

      If a belief system gives us what we want – i.e. a purpose in life – that does not mean its assumptions are true. If my ideology says I have a million dollars, I’d love to believe it, but that doesn’t make it true. There is good evidence that moral accountability and justice for the oppressed are innate – even monkeys exhibit them. Conversely, religious beliefs often trample all over these attributes. Also, I think one could distill a very good morality from Darwinism, which recognizes the adaptive value of helping those in need and upholds the rights of every individual.

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