Teaching Creationism In Schools Essay Research Paper

Teaching Creationism In Schools Essay, Research Paper

The question as to whether or not creationism should be taught

in public schools is a very emotional and complex question. It can be

looked at from several different angles, its validity being one of

them. Despite the lack of evidence to support the fundamentalist idea

of creationism, that in itself is not enough to warrant its exclusion

from the curriculum of public schools in the United States. The

question is far more involved and complex.

One way to address the question is whether or not creationism,

in itself, is a valid idea to be taught in public schools. The answer

to this can be yes. Not only should a student in American public

schools learn and acquire knowledge in empirical sciences, and other

tangible facts both in history and other courses, but he should also

learn how to think and make decisions for himself. Unfortunately, as

it turns out, creationism is in direct conflict with the biological

theory of evolution. Many fundamentalist propose that creationism

should replace, or at least be offered as an alternative to Darwin’s

theory of evolution.

This is not the right approach. Creationism, as exemplified in

the book of Genesis, should not be taught in a science course. Science

runs on a certain set of rules and principles being: (1) it is guided

by natural law, (2) it has to be explanatory by reference to natural

law, (3) it?s conclusions lack finality and therefore may be altered

or changed, (4) it is also testable against the empirical world, and

finally (5) it is falsefiable. These characteristics define the laws,

boundaries, and guidelines that science follows. In a science course,

all knowledge conveyed is shown, or has been shown in the past, to

exemplify a strict adherence to these qualities. Creationism,

unfortunately in the eyes of Christian fundamentalist, does not

exemplify any adherence whatsoever to these rules and guidelines of

science. Therefore, it should not be included in the science

curriculum in public schools, even as an alternative to evolution.

Another idea is that which is held by those who subscribe to

the idea of scientific creationism. Scientific creationism, as it

relates to this topic, states that God was the creator, and that

evolution is simply a means, developed by Him, of conservation. Due to

this definition of how scientific creationism relates to evolution, it

may be easier to accept by scientific criteria, despite the fact

that the origins are scientifically debatable.

The problem in scientific creationism, and what I see as a

reason for its exclusion from the science classroom in public schools,

is the fact that it looks as if, from the outside, the whole theory

that it rest on is simply a contortion of the traditional version of

creation described in Genesis, custom-made to fit in with Darwin’s

theory of evolution. R. M. Hare would probably say that scientific

creationism is simply a modification of the story of creation in

Genesis, to fit into the ?blik? of the religious fundamentalist. A

blik, as Hare describes it, is a pre-set world view held by all

people, in which they draw from when forming certain opinions on any

particular subject. In the case of religious fundamentalist, who?s

faith in the validity of the Book of Genesis is an essential part of

their blik, it becomes necessary for them to contort their literal

view of the Book of Genesis into a form that is scientifically

acceptable. For this reason, creation science still does not have a

place in the science classroom of public schools.

Another problem with scientific creationism is that it would

exclude the idea of a random beginning. No theory could ever be tested

to find origins because it would conflict with scientific creationism.

Scientific creationism would be, in essence, a lesson on science

halting efforts to find creation, if it is possible at all. It may,

however, be acceptable as a theory and not a solid law.

Now that it is clear that creationism, as well as scientific

creationism, does not fit into the guidelines on which science

operates, therefore making them unsuitable for teaching in science

classrooms in public schools, in what part of the public school

curriculum in the United States should they be taught? The story

provided in the Book of Genesis could conceivably fit into the

literary genre of mythology. It could not be considered as nonfiction,

due to the many contradictions it makes within itself, as well as in

the world of empirical knowledge. These contradictions are numerous

and would create a paper within themselves, therefore it should be

addressed elsewhere. The controversy here, despite the factual and

logical inadequacies of the Book of Genesis, is whether or not

creationism should be taught in public schools. Therefore, the story

of creation in the Bible is best suited to be taught as literature and

not scientific theory. Due to these facts, it is conceivable that it

can be taught in English courses in public schools in America. If

creationism is to be taught, this would be the proper realm of the

curriculum in which to discuss it.

Now that it can be agreed that it is suitable for creationism

to be taught in the English and literature classes of public schools,

we are faced with another controversy. The teaching of the creation

story in literature courses, while valid in itself, still faces the

problem of whether or not the government would violate any

constitutional rights by including this in any curriculum in public

schools. The First Amendment prohibits Congress from passing any laws

that show favor to any particular religion which, in effect, is a

fairly total separation of church and state. If Congress were to pass

a law demanding that the Christian version of creationism be taught,

even in literature classes in public schools which are supported by

the taxes of all Americans, it would directly violate the

constitutional rights of Hindus, Moslems, Buddhist, and scores of

other religions that flourish across the country, many of which have

their own stories of creation. Therefore, even with a suitable area of

curriculum in which to teach creationism, it still is in violation of

the Constitution.

The exact manner in which it would be taught, if it were even

remotely possible to teach it in public schools, would also be

debatable. Should it be taught as fact, as religious fundamentalist

would prefer? Or should it be taught as mythology or some other

fictional story, as it well may be addressed in an English class? This

may offend many religious fundamentalist. If it were taught as fact,

it may offend students who subscribe to other religious beliefs, whose

parents also pay taxes.

Since creationism has to many conflicting aspects, as well as

factual and logical inadequacies, and not to mention the fact that it

does not follow the guidelines of science, it should not be taught in

science classes in public schools. Scientific creationism, while

subscribing more to the guidelines of science, can be simply seen as a

contortion of the Book of Genesis to make it compatible with these

logical scientific guidelines. Until it logically fits into the mold

of a theory, it can not be accepted as a plausible alternative. Even

if the Book of Genesis happened to find a place in the English

curriculum of public schools, or an any other curriculum for that

matter, it would still violate the First Amendment of the Constitution

of the United States. Even if all these hurdles were overcome, it

would still be hotly debated by different religions as to which story

of creation to teach. For all of these reasons, it is impossible for

any version of creationism to be taught in public schools in the

United States.

As one can see, the question of whether or not creationism

should be taught in public schools is not so much a question of should

it be taught, as it is more of a question of can it be taught. Can the

Book of Genesis, or even a version of it be taught legally as part of

a standardized curriculum? The answer is no. Can Native American

versions of creation be taught? The answer is no. Can any idea of

creation, subscribed to by any religion be taught legally? The answer

is no. Should it be taught? Yes. Where then should it be taught

legally, if not in the public school system? Probably, the best

environment would be the home. The best teacher would probably be the



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