Thursday, September 6, 2012


"If we are going to teach "creation science" . . . as an alternative to evolution, then we should also teach the stork theory as an alternative to biological reproduction."

The following is a rather long (ongoing?) conversation I had on Facebook about a clip from Bill Nye (the Science Guy), where he says that it is inappropriate to teach creationism to children. But before you read it, watch the clip.
Person 1: "That was irrational on various levels on his part. the vast majority of intellectual break throughs in science, medical health care and inventions that changed the world came from individuals who believed in creationism. I've been studying biology, chemistry, physics for the last 4 years. Professors (who are not Mormon as side note) have talked to me on an individual level and stated that the theory of evolution is incomplete and not fact, they only teach it because they have been commissioned to do so. Anyway, creationism is absolutely appropriate for children."
Me: "[Person 1], a couple of centuries ago the vast majority of intellectual break throughs in cosmology came from individuals who believed the Earth was the center of the Universe. So what? The question is not how many professors you know personally who believe "evolution is incomplete and not a fact." The question is why they think that. Also, even if evolution was disproven completely, that is still not an argument in favor of creationism, because it is not a true dichotomy (disproving "x" does not prove "y"). Bill Nye's point is that creationism has no evidence to support it, and this makes it inappropriate for children. Do you, [Person 1], have evidence for creationism? I suggest you check out "" to see what scientists have to say about many creationist claims. One last thing, evolution is a fact in the same way gravity is a fact. It is based on observations which formulate a scientific theory. That evolution happens is a fact, the theory of evolution is the explanation of the facts. Check out "" to see what I mean."

Person 2: "[Me] im gonna emphatically disagree with you based on this......Faith. Who appointed this man to tell me or anyone else how to raise my children? There is absolutely nothing wrong with teaching your children about creationism if that is your belief system. If i choose to teach evolution to my children then that is my perogative as well, dont you think. Youre allowed to teach your children satanism. Do i question you? I dont care what you teach your children as long as it coincides with the law. Personally Ill teach them evolution and creationism" 
Me: "Having the right to teach your children something does not make it appropriate. Bill Nye's is talking about methods of thought. According to him, it is inappropriate to teach children creationsim because it is not based on evidence. This method of thinking is in opposition to the way science works, which will influence the way future doctors and engineers go about solving problems. This is his point. You have every right to teach your children that the earth is flat (look up the "Flat Earth Society"), but you cannot deny this will affect the way your children view the world and how they think. Also, based on previous comments made by Bill Nye, he seems to be attacking Young Earth Creationism through a literal interpretation of the Genesis account, rather than the more modern reconciliation of creation through evolution, which is what it sounds like you are teaching your kids. Correct me if I'm wrong."
Person 2: "What i am saying is this. There is nothing wrong with teaching your children the literal interpretation of Creationism. People have been passing down faith, God, and their religion to their children for thousands of years. And this clown comes out and says this!? Can you at least admit this hasn't caused any damage whatsoever to children. I contend without faith, morals,religion that we would not be living in the greatest civil society in the history of the world. This argument is absolute garbage."
Person 2: "Let me further say this....Science has not been able to disprove the possibility of a higher power or God either. To say theres no proof, there is no proof to the contrary there? So who is this clown Bill Nye to tell me that i am wrong teaching my children my sincere beliefs? When he cant prove that my beliefs are wrong? Idiotic argument im sorry"
Person 2: "[Original Poster] i swear you love to stir me up dont you? I think you like to post controversial things and just sit back and enjoy the show laughing dont you?"
Me: "No, I cannot admit that this "hasn't caused any damage whatsoever to children." Many people have experienced great inner turmoil when trying to reconcile the things they have been taught as truth with what they see around them, or what science has shown us. At the time of Galileo, the Catholic Church taught that the geocentrism of the Earth proved God's glory and power. When Galileo used physics to show that the sun was the center of the solar system, thus disproving geocentrism, the Church feared what this would mean docrinally, and he was exiled and lived under house arrest for the remainder of his life. The time to believe something is when there is sufficient evidence to support it (apply this to bigfoot, UFO's, Santa Clause, etc.). This is the basis of science, and this is the point Bill Nye is trying to make. Falling back on the argument that "science has not been able to disprove the possibility of a higher power or God" is a shifting of the burden of proof (can you prove Santa didn't put presents under the tree?). Is this why you believe in god? Because science hasn't disproved it? Then I say you need to rethink your faith. I don't mean this sarcastically or to be mean. I genuinely think there are better reasons to believe in god than an argument from ignorance. Let us be clear, you can believe in creationism without teaching it as divine truth. Many people do this. It is when it is established as unalterable dogma that it causes problems with scientific thinking. And, since you brought it up, faith and religion are separate from morality and are not responsible for “the greatest civil society in the history of the world.” Every significant scientific advancement (the earth goes around the sun, evolution, the big bang, germ theory, etc.) has been vehemently opposed by at least one significant and powerful religious group which has sought to suppress information and ideas. But this is not what Bill Nye is talking about! Again, he is talking about methods of thought. And some methods of thought are inappropriate for children."

Person 2: "Oh good grief! You know what, Bill Nye is flat wrong brother and so are you. Its really sad that some people are so ardent on destroying this society based on their lack of faith because they cant prove it. Your Santa clause example is ridiculous. A made up story that can be proven just that, a story. Why dont you people just leave us alone and allow us to live our lives, believe what we want and teach our children what we want. You people are corrupting this country which was founded by men of faith. How do you explain miracles genius? I have personally witnessed several undisputed miracles in my own life. How lost some have become trying to drag society into darkness with them. Perhaps one day your eyes will truly be opened to a world filled with the love of God. I suspect you cringe at that statement. It takes a whole lot of humility and maturity to see. Good luck with that." 

Person 3: "One word: Dinosaurs. Where oh where did those things come from? Also, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and George Washington were deists. Which means they believed that God did not intervene in his creation (no miracles, no favorite nations/races). He made the world and moved on. And while you are preaching humility and maturity... your facebook rants aren't building your case."

Person 2: "My facebook rants are coming from a man watching his country go down in flames at the hands of a dictator buddy. I believe the Capitalist free market society this country was built on has done more to lift up individuals then any other system in the history of the world pal. Your fraudulent President is turning it into a Communist type iron fisted top down imperial regime with himsekf at"
(I assume he wasn't finished writing) 

Me: "I don’t know where I said I was trying to destroy society (ardently, no less), but I think you have me mistaken for someone else. But none of this has anything to do with what Bill Nye is talking about. Bill is saying that teaching children to believe things without evidence is not as good as teaching them to use the scientific method (which, by the way, is why this society is so great). I have no doubt you have experienced things which you can only explain by supernatural means. Does this make it so? How do you know if you are correct in your interpretation? How does explaining things through supernatural means explain anything at all? How do you know if your supernatural explanation is better than other supernatural explanations? If I can only explain visions and voices in my head as god talking to me, what happens when I discover epilepsy? If the Bible explains diseases as being the result of sin or demonic possession, as many used to believe, why investigate germs? Again, (sigh) this is what Bill Nye is talking about. Being satisfied with a non-answer stops investigation. This is the harm. I don't cringe at the prospect of anything if it can be demonstrated as being true, and despite the sarcasm in your tone, I do appreciate the sentiment."

Person 3: "Again, that maturity and humility is shining through."
Person 2: "[Me] youre an exeptionally intelligent guy. I yield to your knowledge of science. I believe in science absolutely and have no doubts have benefited the world immensely. I just happen to disagree with Bill Nye. I think he's just dead wrong. Sure given your example some children struggle with creationism. Im not sure how you were raised but im sure there are those like you that have been raised this way that do struggle with it of course. Is it damaging? I would argue not to a child who was raised properly and not abused with it. We all question this at some point in our lives. I appreciate your arguments and your reason. I do apologize for my sarcasm. Im very engaged in our politics and tend to be able to pair just about anything into it. Wasn't my intention to bring politics into this discussion. Anyway God bless ;-)" 

Person 2: "So is the oatmeal dripping off your chin buddy. How bout you go away now."
(I assume this comment was directed at Person 3)
Me: "I'm glad that you at least partially see my point in the harm teaching creationism can cause. Now I ask, how many children struggling with this reconciliation makes it no longer OK to teach creationism? Going back to the Santa Clause example (respectfully, of course), if even one child was emotionally disraught by the teaching of Santa Clause, wouldn't that be enough to say we shouldn't teach this to children without a good reason and at least some evidence? How much emotional trauma is acceptable? Wouldn't it be better to teach children how to think and find answers for themselves rather than telling them what to believe implicitly?

Original Poster:

Person 2: "As far as my children go they are taught creationism in the literal sense and that it is what i personally believe to be true and have faith that the things i teach are true. It really depends how it is taught. There are proper ways this can be done. In a healthy environment with discussion and prayer i dont believe this is harmful in the least. There are wrong ways to do this of course. As far as the Santa Clause example i dont think ever in my life have heard a case of a child being emotionally damaged by this. There are going to be disappointments in life, winners and losers. Too often people do not let their children experience these things. Life experience builds character. Being allowed to experience loss is not a bad thing. Children do not need to be shielded from everything bad that may happen. This is going to be the downfall of our society because our children are being taught that everybody wins, heres a trophy for all. If we do not allow failure when they hit the real world they will be in for a huge emotional loss. Im not sure if this ties into what you are saying but it seems relevent."

Person 2: "[Original Poster] you crack me up man! lol"

Me: "Let me see if I understand you. You are saying it is OK to teach children something false because when they find out it is false it will build character, regardless of any potential emotional damage? That sounds very cynical to me. By this logic, is there anything that would be inappropriate to teach children? I hope that you teach your children creationism, and evolution and as many different ideas as you can. I also hope you teach them how do make their own decision as to which one they accept as truth (even if it means they might not believe in creationism). As an aside, have you ever considered the possiblility that god may have used evolution as the mechanism for creation? I only bring this up because many religious people hold this view, including the previous Pope."

Person 2: "I believe creationism to be true. As far as Santa Clause it is the spirit of the season. A symbol. All children taught this eventually realize he is not actually a real person and are ok. I believe in some forms of evolution and dont think it is wrong to expose them to different theories in this case."

Person 2: "So yes im not the type of person to shelter my child from getting upset. This is part of life and necessary."

Person 2: "At the same time i dont intentionally expose them to things i know to be false."

Person 4: "Wow. You should write something long and boring. And ya did."

Me: "I'm not talking about sheltering children. I'm talking about teaching them to accept things which are false and the damage that can cause. Suppose a child never learned Santa isn't real? Would that negatively affect the way they view the world? Many children are not Ok when they find out Santa isn't real. They usually come to accept it eventually, but initially it can be traumatic. But the point is, why would you teach your children something as truth if you cannot demontrate it as such? What does this teach your children about truth? Or accepting things as truth despite evidence to the contrary, as is common for Young Earth Creationists like those at Answers in Genesis, who actually built a multi-million dollar museum displaying vegetarian velociraptors living harmoniously with humans before the great flood. At what point do you go too far?" 

Person 2: "You're really getting in the weeds here with alot of "what ifs". Creationism is taught with faith and prayer. It cant be taught on absolute fact, only belief. Religion itself is faith based confirmed by much prayer. Why is it so difficult to accept those who choose to believe in something based on faith? I teach my children this because i believe it. Thats it. Your arguments on damaging children with this is minute at best. The benefits are life long when taught properly."
Me: ""Creationism is taught with faith and prayer. It cant be taught on absolute fact, only belief." This is exactly my point. If you teach creation with this mindset, then I think we are in agreement. OK, everyone. The show is over. Cheers."

Person 2: ";-)"

No comments: