Teaching Creationism is Dumbing Down our Youth

dunce“The theory of evolution by cumulative natural selection is the only theory we know of that is in principle capable of explaining the existence of organized complexity” – Dr. Richard Dawkins

Flying in the face of logic and reason, there continues to be consistent effort to “teach the controversy” of creationism in U.S. classrooms. Various strategies to achieve this are being used, but it all started back in the 1980′s with one inane suggestion that evolution be classified as a religion, putting it on par with creation, and thus validating creation as a science.

The issue today involves our progeny.  If you do not have children, you might not be as aware as those of use who have high-schoolers. Too many of them have little or no idea how old the earth is, how long humans have been on the planet or where most of everything came from.  Most of what they know has come from Sunday School. It literally brings tears to my eyes knowing that if there is going to be an Armageddon, it will be an academic one. Teaching children that creationism in any of its forms is based on facts is inadequate because it is not just anti-science, but blatant scientific fraud.

Graduating classes are being sent into the world without a proper education, and countless students are being lied to and the core of the problem is ignorance on a national level. A recent survey by Gallup revealed that acceptance of creationism is on the rise and a majority of Americans are against evolution being taught in school, or at least in favor of providing “specific evidence” that supports creationism, creation science, intelligent design, etc. Apparently, the development of critical thinking skills is not important. Who cares if we end up with eroded technological and medical leadership, right?

School Bored…

It has come to the point that school boards and teachers have been intimidated to the point that many of them do not even touch the subject of evolution beyond the bare minimum to satisfy laws passed by a congress, a political and legislative body wherein fully one-third believe that Adam and Eve were real. This ends up in alarming statistics such as the fact that 30 percent of American high school seniors don’t know that the sun appears to rise in the east and set in the west or how the Sun even appears to move that way.

The importance of understanding evolution is critical to our future.  Evolution integrates biology with geology and astronomy, and to establishing the scientific foundations of modern medicine and agriculture.  Imagine a future where even the best scientists lacked the tools necessary to understand how microbes develop and change. There would be almost no new developments in treatments against deadly diseases.

Backward, March…

Instead of moving forward, the creationists would have us move backward.  At it’s heart, creationism is nothing but a revival of an argument made by British philosopher William Paley in 1802. In Natural Theology, the Anglican archdeacon suggested that the complexity of biological structures defied any explanation but a designer: God.  This is little more than the “Irreducible Complexity” argument that has long since been refuted.

Teaching creationism is the same as teaching astrology, numerology or alchemy in to our students.  Creationism does not impart scientific knowledge. Evolution, however, is the product of scientific discipline.  Creationism in any of its forms is not science but a religious doctrine. The impact of teaching it in our classes results in the dumbing down of our kids, and is a direct insult to our educational system which should advance according to cumulative knowledge.

Truly, a new age is dawning.  A very old new age. We seem to have moved, in many areas, from the twentieth century and about to embark upon the eighth.

  22 comments for “Teaching Creationism is Dumbing Down our Youth

  1. June 8, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    The situation reminds me of the story of the people who inhabited Easter Island. As they gradually destroyed the environment that sustained them, they redoubled their efforts to placate the gods they assumed were punishing them for some sin. Those efforts consumed more and more of their environmental resources, accelerating the eventual total collapse of their society. As a nation, the USA is rushing headlong toward their own collapse by seeking to become a theocracy. Religion is poison and we need less and less of it, not more and more!

    • June 9, 2012 at 11:21 pm

      Didn’t “The Terminator” say that it was within our nature to destroy ourselves? 🙂

  2. Mr.Kosta
    June 8, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    At this rate, the fate of many American boys and girls will be unqualified cheap labor for Chinese companies.

    I’m pretty sure I’ll see it in my lifetime, and really, so much wasted potential is saddening to the extreme.

  3. leebowman
    June 8, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    “Flying in the face of logic and reason, there continues to be consistent effort to “teach the controversy” of creationism in U.S. classrooms.”

    If that were truly a valid threat, I would agree. But it has been stated extensively that creationist views and biblical accounts are NOT to be debated in classrooms, let alone ‘taught’. A subset of the recent Tennessee Bill:

    (e) This section only protects the teaching of scientific information, and shall not be construed to promote any religious or non-religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs or non-beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or non-religion.

    But to the prime issue at hand, that of indoctrinating a child with creationist view “being akin to child abuse.” I could not agree more. Indoctrination of any ilk is not only abuse, but a degradation of ones mental capacity for rational thinking, and a propensity for true open/ objective inquiry. And in science, medicine and engineering in particular.

    But not just conservative churches are villains in this regard. Many, if not most of the halls-of-ivy fit this scenario as well. I, later on an honor student, failed American History twice in tenth grade, simply for questioning points of contention regarding confrontations with the British, French and Indians during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Contra to the chauvinistic views presented, I sided with the ‘enemy’ on occasion, a guarantee of course failure.

    Well guess what? El mismo hoy (the same today), if within a biology class, or any science class for that matter, you entertain the hypothesis of directed alterations to historic genomes, simple a form of genetic engineering by unknown intelligencia. Whether a student OR a proff, merely entertaining the prospect of ID can lead to demotion or course failure.

    So rather than religion pervading and ultimately entrenching science, it’s merely a question of allowing true open inquiry, rather than a Bible along with your science book.

    • June 9, 2012 at 1:23 pm

      leebowman says: “If that were truly a valid threat, I would agree. But it has been stated extensively that creationist views and biblical accounts are NOT to be debated in classrooms, let alone ‘taught’. A subset of the recent Tennessee Bill:

      (e) This section only protects the teaching of scientific information, and shall not be construed to promote any religious or non-religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs or non-beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or non-religion.”

      How does one teach the controversy without bringing up (and thereby promoting the delusion of a scientific controversy) biblical accounts? That inevitably

      The section quoted from the bill strikes me as a pre-emptive attempt to disclaim any connection with religion, despite the clear connection. Further, any proper teaching of the controversy would label the biblical accounts as religious mythology, which no doubt would be interpreted by the fundies as “discrimination”. It IS discrimination of a sort: discriminating between science and religious dogma! Vive la difference!!

      • June 9, 2012 at 1:29 pm

        Oops … I inadvertently dropped some text. My 3rd paragraph should read:

        How does one teach the controversy without bringing up (and thereby promoting the delusion of a scientific controversy) biblical accounts? That inevitably lends undue credence to the doctrines of the abrahamic religious accounts of the origin of life. There is no controversy in the SCIENCE. The only controversy owes its origins to the efforts of fundies to push their religious claptrap into public schools.

    • dean
      June 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm

      The bills have to be written as they are, since if they were honest about intent (we will teach creationism/ID) they likely would not get them passed.

      ” merely entertaining the prospect of ID can lead to demotion or course failure.”
      Citation – proof?
      Of course, students should not get credit for arguing for intelligent design in a section on evolution – or in any biology class, IMO, since it simply is not science, and dancing around by referring to “unguided intelligence” doesn’t make it so. Why should they be encouraged to follow that course of non-thought?
      As for science faculty treading that way: other than to explain clearly and succinctly why ID/creationism is not science and will not be covered, why would a qualified faculty member bring it up?

      • Lee Bowman
        June 11, 2012 at 3:24 am

        As for science faculty treading that way: other than to explain clearly and succinctly why ID/creationism is not science and will not be covered, why would a qualified faculty member bring it up?

        ID/creationism is not science. Never said it was. But ID as an adjunctive hypostheses within evolutionary theory is.

        Granted, the topic is the teaching of creationism, or religious dogma. I’m just clarifying what ID in its seminal form is defined as. It’s just that creationists have co-opted the term for their own use.

        So does ID infer religion? Not unless one is already wedded to that concept. ID fits well within rational thought, which by definition is thinking w/o restraint, and agnostic to the god question.

        • dean
          June 11, 2012 at 9:28 am

          “But ID as an adjunctive hypostheses within evolutionary theory is”

          Really hope you are never allowed in a science classroom.

          • Lee Bowman
            June 11, 2012 at 8:27 pm

            Do you have proof of no other intelligences in this vast Cosmos? If not, then teleology, or in this case ID is a valid investigatory hypothesis. Unless, of course, AAAS is your god.

            http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2002/1106id2.shtml

            Sincerely, does a science community thrive on dictatorial constraints like the above? I regard it as a form of fascism.

        • June 11, 2012 at 1:43 pm

          “ID fits well within rational thought, which by definition is thinking w/o restraint, and agnostic to the god question.”

          I think it is more accurate to say that ID is a fallacious conclusion. The most rational conclusion one can derive from the “facts” that creationists publicize is “I don’t know how the cosmos was created.” To leap to an ID conclusion is an argument from ignorance or an argument from incredulity.

          To claim ID fits well within rational thought ignores the relationship between fallacies and rational thought.

          In fact I think we can say that rational thought is not “thinking w/o restraint”. Rational thought can be better defined as the application of critical thinking that gives structure to the problem solving process that increases the probability that our conclusions are accurate.

          • dean
            June 11, 2012 at 8:57 pm

            Do you have proof of no other intelligences in this vast Cosmos? If not, then teleology, or in this case ID is a valid investigatory hypothesis. Unless, of course, AAAS is your god.

            So making up a “designer” to explain the things you think you see in nature, but which scientists don’t, qualifies as a theory? You think making incorrect claims about ID/creationism (they really are the same, despite your whining) moves them from topics deserving of scorn to requiring positions in an already too-short science curriculum? I repeat my comment above: you should never be allowed in a science classroom: probably any classroom.

            Sincerely, does a science community thrive on dictatorial constraints like the above? I regard it as a form of fascism.

            Sorry Galileo-wannabe, the fact that ID/creationism isn’t covered doesn’t stem from fascism, it stems from it being a steaming metric buttload of crap. No research, no testable hypotheses, no predictions, nothing has come from it. There is no there there.

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  5. Amadan
    June 9, 2012 at 5:10 am

    Contra to the chauvinistic views presented, I sided with the ‘enemy’ on occasion, a guarantee of course failure.

    Well done! I bet you were able to cite evidence to support your position too!

    if within a biology class, or any science class for that matter, you entertain the hypothesis of directed alterations to historic genomes, simple a form of genetic engineering by unknown intelligencia. Whether a student OR a proff, merely entertaining the prospect of ID can lead to demotion or course failure.

    . . . and the evidence to support the assertion of “genetic engineering by unknown intelligencia”* would be what, exactly? Or are you arguing that science should treat all hypotheses (and baseless assertions) equally in the interests of “fairness”?

    * Do your vocabulary (and dignity) a favour and look up the meaning of “intelligensia” (NB: correct spelling). It is not a plural of “intelligence”

    • Lee Bowman
      June 9, 2012 at 10:53 am

      I typed that comment on the fly, and c’s, s’s, and double letters sometimes get messed up, not to mention the z for s we have altered from Brit spelling.

      Then there’s the plethora of words that sound the same but spelled differently, and those spelled the same but being different in meaning and/or pronunciation.

      And i before e, except after c, but when sounded as ‘long a’, as in neighbor and neigh. Actually, there are more exceptions to that rule. A Latin language would have been much better.

      Anyway, I sometimes type intelligencia for kicks, ’cause who knows. Cosmic entities just *may* be elite …

      intelligentsia 963,000 hits
      intelligencia 337,000 hits

      “Contra to the chauvinistic views presented, I sided with the ‘enemy’ on occasion, a guarantee of course failure.”

      “Well done! I bet you were able to cite evidence to support your position too!”

      I was a ‘skeptic’, man.

  6. ConcernedJoe
    June 9, 2012 at 6:52 am

    Al thanks for continuing your work.

    OT: If anyone thinks that your point is not valid they are naive. One only needs to travel to some parts of the USA where religion holds a predominance in the culture. And that is a wide swath of the States.

    Go to any folksy private event – say a wedding or funeral. Often a pastor has a few words “at the podium”. And there is a good chance some dig at science and often specifically evolution is fed to the captive audience.

    It is propaganda. And it is effective! It plays on the basic need humans have to be in control and to feel superior.

    In essence the church line tells people that they can (verses the establishment) righteously own their own knowledge and conclusions and with those things vanquish experts. And – importantly – do such with just faith and with little effort.

    The whole god industry has this as one of its main selling points. It allows adult people to be childlike and be praised for it. It allows people to feel like they have superior knowledge and placement on the scale of things. It allows people a pass on things. It allows people easy answers and easy scapegoats for their misery.

    “It is god’s will” or “it is in god’s hands” or “god has chosen me to do ..” or “it is against god’s laws and will” makes for some powerful numbing of pain or worse unwarranted self-justification, self-superiority, self-excusing, and/or bias confirmation.

    The attack on science is propaganda to hold the flock by undermining the light that can shine on the vampire of religion. The propaganda uses the mechanisms that bolster one’s status with the work really necessary.

    • ConcernedJoe
      June 9, 2012 at 6:55 am

      that was “with[OUT] the work”

  7. jaycee
    June 10, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    I was shocked a few years ago (~2009) when my third grade daughter (in a quite good Georgia public school) was trying to think of ideas for a science project. I suggested doing a project about evolution and her first response was “oh…well that’s not allowed.” I nearly fell out of my seat. Upon further talking to her I learned that while no teacher had officially said evolution wasn’t allowed, even these 3rd graders understood that it was going to be a controversial topic among peers and some were choosing to steer clear of it for that reason. (Yes, this is in Cobb county where the creationists tried to put the stickers on biology books about 10 years ago.)

  8. JJ7212
    June 11, 2012 at 1:45 am

    I teach English at a junior high school in Japan. Two weeks ago, the eigth grade class started talking about the environment in English. This is verbatim one of the short stories from our goverment issued English textbook. Remember it’s an English book, not a science book. There is zero controversy in this country about life on Earth. Imagine if I were a creationist trying to teach this English lesson in Japan. I would get laughed at and fired here. Fortunately, I’m a proud atheist. Check this out, y’all… from Japan.

    A CALENDAR OF THE EARTH

    The earth is 4.6 billion years old. This is a very long time. When we make a one-year calendar of its history, you can understand it easily. Let’s do it.
    The earth was born on January 1.
    The first living things appeared in late March, about 3.5 billion years ago. For billions of years, many kinds of plants and animals appeared and dissapeared.
    Dinosaurs appeared on December 13, about 200 million years ago. When the shape of the land was changing, dinosaurs were walking on it. Some dinosaurs were very big. Others were about the size of humans. They all died on December 26.
    Humans appeared on the morning of December 31, about 7 million years ago. When monkeys were moving from tree to tree, early humans were walking in the tall grass.
    We are a small part of the earth’s long history.

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