Kansas and Pennsylvania are debating whether or not to reinstitute creationism (or intelligent design) as subject matter. That debate will be going on for some time.
In Virginia, however, at issue is the actual discussion of creationism in a classroom. A biology teacher has been talking about creationism in his science classroom for 15 years, much to the dismay of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia and the school superintendent. "Creationism is not biology and has no place in a biology class," declared the executive director of the ACLUV. The superintendent of Washington County, Virginia schools said, "[The teacher] must teach evolution exclusively — observable scientific fact, not beliefs or religion."
The message from the school superintendent and the ACLU is that religion and science should not, must not, be mixed.
The ACLU official declared that creationism isn’t biology. Fair enough. Creationism is not biology. But when it comes to explaining how the universe began, biology and evolution do not provide the answer, either. The “Big Bang” theory, not evolution, is the accepted scientific explanation of the beginning of the universe. Evolution deals with what happened after creation, by whatever “mechanism” creation happened to have come about. Biology and creationism are like lug nuts and milk duds: totally unrelated in this context. However, the argument has been framed as evolution vs. creationism, science vs. religion.
In Georgia, 34,452 stickers placed on science textbooks across Cobb County some time ago have been removed, as classes are about to start up for the fall semester. A federal judge ordered the stickers removed after six parents filed a suit saying the disclaimers violated the principle of the separation of church and state. The stickers read: "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered."
Nothing in that statement relates to religion. It is only a disclaimer noting the theoretical nature of evolution as the explanation for how it all began, and the advice to keep one’s mind open on the subject. How can that be offensive to anyone?
Many scientists assert that the theory of evolution is THE explanation for how it all began. Yet the theory of evolution contains gaps that science cannot fill with fact. As leading evolutionist and paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould stated: "All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions between major groups are characteristically abrupt. The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life's history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we never see the very process we profess to study."
Mr. Gould is one scientist who will shoot straight about the uncertainty of this particular scientific theory, but more than a few do not shoot straight. Scientists like to consider scientific matters in a science vacuum. That is to say that anything that is not science is not allowed in a discussion of science. Thus, even though science has been unable to fill in the gaps in its theory of the origin of the universe, creationism cannot be part of that discussion because it is not a legitimate scientific subject. Having so handily disposed of the only other broadly accepted hypothesis for how it all began, scientists then crow that evolution is, indeed, the true story.
Some evolutionists get apoplectic when it is pointed out to them that because science has not been able to conclusively prove its case on “evolution,” evolution and creationism are equally possible: Neither can be absolutely proven; neither can be absolutely disproved. The scientific community is unable to conceive that science, despite its failure to close these gaps with provable evidence, could be wrong. Arrogance replaces searching for answers.
So, while it is true that creationism is not a science, the story that science peddles is riddled with holes. How the universe began is a legitimate and important area of study for public school students. Why, then, do we allow one “theory” on that subject to be taught, but not the other? Why do we teach as truth a theory than can’t be proven?