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Creationism and Public Schools

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Creationism and Public Schools

Creationism and Public Schools

The issue of whether creationism should be taught in public schools, rather than evolution, is a new one. It has only been in the past fifty years that it has even been in debate. Public school science classes, when discussing the origins of life on Earth, coincided with Sunday school classes. Students learned that the Earth, universe and everything else was created in seven days, by God, as stated in the Old Testament. It was not until recently with the rise of scientific reason and equal rights organizations did these teachings become questioned. The argument spurs from each person’s personal belief, and that is where things get complicated.

To successfully teach creationism in public schools, you have to decided a definitive creationism story to base it on, and with Christianity, this is a problem. Protestant fundamentalists will interpret the Bible as literally as possible. While Catholics and Orthodox Jews will interpret it as they see fit. This is a basic element of religion. Each group has its own views and interpretations of the Bible, and these groups will never agree on one specific idea. Therefore, how could you base a lesson on an idea that varies depending on who you are talking too?

Evolution on the other hand, is based on evidence that in the scientific field is not debated. Tangible proof has been established for evolution. It is a widely accepted theory, that most with an understanding of it, accept it as fact. Unlike creationism, the ideas that found evolution are not subject to personal opinion, they are stated as factual information, and the ideas are not questioned by those who believe it. With creationism, you introduce debate between students and teachers on how the Bible should be read. The class then becomes a theology class, instead of a biology class.

There are some who try and teach creationism as a science, calling it “Creation Science.” They state that God created the Earth and that God also created evolution as a means of self preservation. They alter the original story in Genesis to fit Darwin’s theory on evolution. Linking creationism to evolution and acknowledging the existence of evolution makes this pseudoscience sound more plausible and scientific. This is referred to as a pseudoscience because you can not morally call creationism a science. Science is governed by a set of rules and principles. These principles include a basis in natural law, and science is guided by natural law. Science has to be explanatory by referencing natural law, and scientific conclusions must lack finality. When they are proven otherwise, they are open to alteration. In a science course, for something to be taught, as a science, it must follow these guide lines, yet creationism does not. Creation Scientists will not adhere themselves or their beliefs to these rules, and therefore creationism can not be taught as a science, hence the name “pseudoscience.”

The next debate on why creationism should not be taught in schools is based on The First Amendment. The First Amendment states that the government shall make no laws endorsing or prohibiting any religious believe. Public schools are funded by the government. Requiring the Biblical teachings of creationism to be taught in school promotes the Christian religion. According to the First Amendment, a public organization that is funded by the government can not promote one religion over another. For public schools to be able to comply with the First Amendment, they would have to offer equal time to every religion’s view on the creation of life on Earth, which would be impossible and once again, turn a biology class into a theology class.

This idea was also approved by the US Supreme Court, in the 1987 case, Aguillard v. Edwards. In this case, it was decided that it is unlawful to require the teaching of creationism alongside evolution. It was also decided that a science teacher

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