Evolution versus creation
As we examine scientific research papers, it is becoming increasingly clear that the evolution versus creation controversy is something we won't be leaving in the last century. The evolution versus creationism debate is likely to continue strong for centuries to come.Have Paper Masters custom write your own opinion on evolution versus creation when you tell us exactly how you want your paper written.
The bottom line is that evolutionists are arguing scientific evidence while creationists are arguing faith. Scientific facts will not convert those with faith in the literal nature of the Bible. Likewise, the teachings of Genesis will not convert those without faith in those religious principles will be difficult to sway toward creationist doctrine.
Recent research papers on the theory of evolution verses creation report that the Kansas Board of Education brought this debate to the surface again recently by voting to exclude evolution from state science curriculum. The evolution versus creation controversy brings to light the newest tactic of creation's proponents- using loopholes to subvert Supreme ourt decisions.
In Kansas, the school board has opted not to challenge evolution directly and avoid invoking the wrath of the Supreme Court. Instead, policy makers have decided to omit evolution from state academic achievement tests. Teachers will not be prohibited from instructing on evolution, but any material taught will not appear on state curriculum or student evaluation tools. Given modern education's frantic rush to complete required curricula, it is certain that few teachers will increase their workload by teaching unrequired material. The Kansas situation is distinguishing itself further by failing to push for the instruction of alternatives to evolution that are generally the flagship of creationist initiatives. These sophisticated plans, designed to unseat evolution from its leading position in public schools, mark a new era in which the debate of either idea's validity is second to the mechanics of using loopholes.
The most famous event in the history of this controversy is the Scopes Trial in 1925, where teacher John Scope was convicted using antievolution legislation. In 1968, the Supreme Court declared laws forbidding evolution instruction unconstitutional in the Epperson v. Arkansas decision. With these decisions, evolution gained a legal foothold in scientific education.
In the 1970's, creationists renewed efforts to find a place for creationism in public education. Their answer to the legal problems posed by excluding evolution was to counter it with equal time spent on "scientific creationism". Scientific creationism seeks to use scientific evidence to prove that the universe was created suddenly, and not too long ago. Arkansas and Louisiana passed laws requiring equal time for instruction of evolution and scientific creationism. These laws, however, were determined to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. In Edwards v. Aguillard, the Supreme Court determined that creationism was religious by nature and that its instruction in public schools constituted government sponsorship of a religion. Such advocacy is constitutionally forbidden under the first amendment, making it unlawful for school districts to allow creationism instruction.
Ironically, the loopholes creationists are using today were created by the 1987 Edwards v. Aguillard decision.
- Justice Brennan wrote in the majority opinion that, "teaching a variety of scientific theories about the origins of humankind to schoolchildren might be done with the clear secular intent of enhancing the effectiveness of scientific instruction".
- Judge Scalia offered in the dissenting opinion that school districts should be allowed, "as a secular matter, to have whatever scientific evidence there may be against evolution presented in their schools".
Creationists have begun anew with these declarations in mind. Today's creationist teaching materials omit the use of specific religious elements like God or the Bible. Instead, they work toward combating evolution as the accepted scientific theory of origin. Intelligent design is offered up as an alternative theory, asserting that only an intelligent agent could create the complexities found in our world. The most important element of this theory is irreducible complexities, which denies natural selection's ability to describe the intricacies of life. The Kansas School Board is following this line of defeat by omission by abandoning any mention of evolution from their curriculum.
The Discovery Institute, a Seattle think tank, has joined creationists in their efforts to contest the merits of Darwinism in favor of creationism. A Discovery Institute fellow, David K. DeWolf recently published "Teaching the Origins Controversy: A Guide for the Perplexed". This paper is a guide for educators seeking to work around the Supreme Court decisions. DeWolf writes about directly referring to creationism, "We have to treat such views respectfully, but they can't form the basis of our curriculum- not because they are not true, but because the courts have made it clear that we may not".
For evolutionists, these new tactics pose a new challenge. Wary of judicial restrictions, creationists are using the Supreme Court provisions and the constitution to work for creationism's inclusion. Steven K. Green of Americans United for Separation of Church and State remarks, "It's very hard to litigate bad science. You can't sue a bad science teacher under the establishment clause. You'd have to show he's almost entirely motivated by religion". With the removal of words like God, Bible and Genesis from the intelligent design position, proving religious motivation is almost impossible.
Evolutionists are confronting intelligent design with their greatest weapon - the scientific evidence in support of evolution. Intelligent design's primary criticism of evolution is that it has never been observed. Paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould dismisses this argument with a reminder that "good science integrates observation with inference". Evolution occurred over such a long period and "at an infinitude beneath our powers of direct visualization" that it would be impossible to observe it directly. Evolution, he adds, does not threaten the ethical development of schoolchildren, because scientific facts do not lead people toward conclusions about how they should behave. Gould summarizes his arguments with a sentiment endorsed by the greater scientific community, "Science and religion should be equal, mutually respecting partners, each the master of its own domain, and with each domain vital to human life in a different way".
Charles Krauthammer offers a different perspective on the efforts of groups like the Kansas School Board. He asserts that the deletion of evolution from Kansas curriculum was "a reaction of people of faith" to secular prohibition of "legitimate expressions of that faith in their children's pubic schooling". Religion, he argues, deserves a place in the schools. While Krauthammer agrees with the majority of the scientific community in asserting that creationism is not science, he understands why those desperate to see faith in schools would try to sneak it in through biology. Following Mr. Krauthammer's reasoning leads to the deduction that the debate over creationism in public schools would cease once religion is allowed in ethics instruction.
This, however, may spark another controversy of equal weight. Creationists, after all, are not seeking the introduction of just any religion, or even all religions for that matter. They want to introduce Christianity to the public school system. If such an initiative were successful, the resulting fallout from parents of non-Christian children is likely to be immense. Once Christianity is allowed in behavior and ethics instruction, the government will be responsible for providing instruction in all other forms of religion. After all, sponsorship of one religion over another is unconstitutional.
The evolution versus creationism debate is likely to continue strong for centuries to come. The bottom line is that evolutionists are arguing scientific evidence while creationists are arguing faith. These two platforms, equally valid, are not likely to unseat one another. Scientific facts will not convert those with faith in the literal nature of the Bible. Likewise, the teachings of Genesis will not convert those without faith in those religious principles will be difficult to sway toward creationist doctrine.
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