P. Edronkin

Creationism Versus Respectable Science and Belief

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Recently in the United States, a whole debate over whether creationism should be taught on an equal basis with the theory of evolution of Darwin - Mendel has been unfolding. This is a dangerous situation because by political and even judicial means, the fraction of the public and groups that support the creationist 'theory' are attempting to redefine what is science and what is not, and this is something that the world has only witnessed under the duress of authoritarian regimes.

In the Soviet Union, for example, certain things were not considered scientific, and others quite un-scientific were considered as part of science for political motives. The arguments of Lysenko in favour of dialectic materialism elevated to genetics come to mind as proof of how disastrous can this practice be.

Science is not defined by public opinion, and it cannot be defined in a court of law. That creationism may be part of the curricula of Sunday school is fine. It may even be ok to teach it at normal school; however, it is not science and should not be put on the same level and category as Darwin's theories. And it is not science because scientists may or may not like it, but because it was constructed using religious arguments, and not following the scientific method, that far from being a dogma, it is a way of thinking that took humanity thousands of years to develop in order to assure that what is considered as a true scientific 'theory' fulfils certain requisites, including demonstrability.

The creationists argument was never scientifically tested, its alleged proofs do not meet scientific criteria; it is based on metaphysical and religious arguments, which may be perfectly respectable as beliefs, but not as hard science, and it cannot be tested because it ultimately explains things on the basis of the existence of a 'superior being' whose existence cannot be physically verified. Things that cannot be seen or verified as existent can be believed, but science is not belief. It a method to explain things based on logical thinking.

Creationism pundits loath Darwin's ideas because they question - in their view - the existence of God. They should remember that contrary to most of them who do no seem to have any serious theological, scientific or academic credential, Charles Darwin was in fact, a well-educated religious scholar; then, works done since the first publication and acceptation of his theory seem to confirm that, including the existence of DNA, genes and so on. The case for Darwin's ideas is pretty strong.

In my opinion, what is happening is that creationists know that the theory of evolution of species is just plain common sense and as such, very easy to understand even for the uneducated in natural sciences. Thus, it is a 'dangerous' theory for those who hold religion for dear in the peculiar way in which they do.

Brainwashing students by discrediting science and blurring the lines between rigorous academic thought and just plain speculation. That is what this alleged 'theory' will attempt; teaching an idea is not wrong, but pretending that one idea has a character that it does not have intentionally is unethical both from the point of view of religion as well as science. It is an ill-intended attempt of second-rate religious zealots at convincing people about something. Bishops of the Church of England, Catholic Cardinals, respectable Mullahs and Zen Masters don't need to use ambiguous arguments to convince their people; and by the way, the Vatican has a highly respected academy of sciences complete with a few dozens of Nobel laureates, and never said anything in favour of something like the creationist idea in the sense of pretending it to be a science.

So, they know that the only real chance that they have to convince someone with their rather feeble arguments is to attempt to put them on a par with science by unscientific means, using public opinion and courts of law. I think that what is true is simple and does not need neither so much activism nor twisted interpretations of science, law and so on; if creationism is unable to convince the modern human about the origin of life, it may just be that it should be forgotten altogether as a way of respecting both science and belief.

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