Evolution Debate in Public Schools

by Lewis Loflin

Christian fundamentalists are absolutely convinced that the continuing drop in church attendance is because of high school science classes. Figures show this is not true. Only 9% of the general population are atheists yet church attendance is as high as 65%, others claim below 40%. Very few people reject God, many people reject Christian institutions for a variety of reasons.

The majority of Americans (a slim margin) believe in evolution as fact but over 80% of those believe in theistic evolution, that is evolution is the work of God. Most of the complainers are whining because their particular view of theology (or lack of it) doesn't really dominate the public thought. Literal "six day" Creationism got rejected is by most people, as is atheism in general.

This rejection of literal six-day Creationism is not a product of high schools, but college where 75% reject literal six day Creationism. The fact is most people stop attending church as adults because of what they find in the pulpit. That is where the fundamentalists are a failure. The children's parents reject their church and will not attend, so they just want a chance at other people's children and a captive audience in the public schools. Yet most refuse to help children after school.

This is really about politics and culture. Yes the school systems in general are often the products of radical left-wing bias in elite universities that supply the teachers and teaching methods that are indeed hostile to traditional values and the Bible. Belief in evolution doesn't mean one is an atheist and most do believe in God as they define it.

The problem for Christians is with no literal Adam/Eve, the Paulist/Augustinian theology of Original Sin comes unglued. They want to define God, not the individual. They are fighting what they have fought since the Fourth Century: freedom of conscience leads to heresy. They can no longer burn heretics at the stake.

My purpose here is not the Bible as such with its demands of blind faith in the teachings of the Gnostic Paul. My concern is keeping science out of politics in total be it religious or secular fundamentalist' fanatics using the classroom to sell a captive audience their various agendas. Yes Christians do have legitimate complaints, but often make themselves look like fools and discredit themselves.

Answers in Genesis?

Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that [are] not clean by two, the male and his female.

Genesis 7:2 KJV

When they are not thinking, Christian fundamentalists can tell the truth once in a while. A fundamentalist website called Answersingenesis.com is typical of the efforts to undermine modern science. One of their leading writers, a Ken Ham, has this to say in the AIG Newsletter in 1998:

Time and time again I have found that in both Christian and secular worlds, those of us who are involved in the creation movement are characterized as 'young Earthers.' The supposed battle-line is thus drawn between the 'old Earthers' (this group consists of anti-God evolutionists as well as many 'conservative' Christians) who appeal to what they call 'science,' versus the 'young Earthers,' who are said to be ignoring the overwhelming supposed 'scientific' evidence for an old Earth.

I want to make it VERY clear that we don't want to be known primarily as 'young-Earth creationists.' AIG main thrust is NOT 'young Earth' as such; our emphasis is on Biblical authority. Believing in a relatively 'young Earth' (i.e., only a few thousands of years old, which we accept) is a consequence of accepting the authority of the Word of God as an infallible revelation...When someone says to me, 'Oh, so you're one of those fundamentalist, young-Earth creationists,' I reply, 'Actually, I'm a revelationist, no-death-before-Adam redemptionist!' (which means I'm a young-Earth creationist!).

That is what "Creation Science" is really about, a flawed religious theology. Based only on the ramblings of Paul, a man that never even knew Jesus in flesh. He claimed via the voices he heard in his head (revelation) that some risen Christ died for the sins of Adam. Unless the Adam in the Garden story is true, that "Biblical authority" in undermined. They don't mean God's authority, but their authority as God's self-appointed earthly representatives.

The desperation and nonsense go to extremes. Here is some more on the "Six Day" revolationist method instead of the scientific method:

Thus, as a 'revelationist,' I let God's Word speak to me, with the words having meaning according to the context of the language they were written in. Once I accept the plain words of Scripture in context, the fact of ordinary days, no death before sin, the Bible's genealogies, etc., all make it clear that I cannot accept millions or billions of years of history. Therefore, I would conclude there must be something wrong with man's ideas about the age of the universe. And the fact is, every single dating method (outside of Scripture) is based on fallible assumptions...

That statement is contradictory nonsense. The Old Testament as written completely contradicts Christianity on most points, but they refuse to read it in a literal manner. But that requires the use of reason and even Martin Luther raged against it and that it must be rejected for the Gospel of Paul and his Gnostic Christ.

There is no use trying to reason with those that reject reason. No amount of proof is good enough. Yet evolution was known in a basic form to the ancient Greeks, Muslims, and even the church fathers such as Augustine. Martin Luther states it well: "Reason is that greatest enemy that faith has...(it) must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed...trample underfoot all reason, sense, and understanding, and whatever it sees must be put out of sight and ... know nothing but the word of God."

The Greek Orthodox Church (the oldest) does accept evolution as fact and attributes this "Six Day Creationism" that is limited mainly to the United States to mistranslation and politics. Quoting one Eastern Orthodox writer:

The reason for the persistence of the fundamentalists, which makes this not merely a privately held belief, is social. It is only in our current situation of fin de siecle (the end of the age) that it became possible to come into open conflict with scientific data. At the end of this century statements contrary to science have become fashionable. Astrologers, fortunetellers, magicians, and other occultists are free to say the most bizarre things.

It seems that people are tired of scientific sobriety and responsibility and are ready to accept anything - "Why not?" The purest form of voluntarism and irrationality takes the place of argumentation: "This is what I feel! This is so exciting!" This massive ecstasy by irrationality makes also Protestant literalness completely into sellable goods...

Views and opinions of radical creationists can not be accepted because they use scientific data in an arbitrary and non-objective way, by which they produce fair objections from those who are professionally involved in science. There is a real danger here that a biologist, having read some arrogant creationist book, will apply the word "rubbish" to Christianity in general.

One can visit "Answers in Genesis" at www.answersingenesis.org. they are a Christian ministry, not a science organization. To quote The Australian June 5, 2007,

"Last week, the status, success and power of the Answers in Genesis ministry was ordained for even non-believers with the opening of its Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky.

Ham's immaculate concept of a pilgrimage place for the faithful was built on the back of $33 million in largely small donations raised in the US, where 65 per cent of the population regularly go to church, compared with 7 per cent in Australia. With exhibits of Noah's Ark, the Garden of Eden and dinosaurs walking with humans, the museum opened with much fanfare, as well as 4000 first-day visitors, some of whom had lined up overnight..."

Ken Ham is an ex high-school teacher from Australia.

At their theme park they have dinosaurs walking around with humans, so how come they weren't on the Ark as God commanded of Noah in Genesis 7:2? Using reason means going by what is written then drawing a conclusion based on their claims of God's Word. Even here they will reject anything the Bible says that doesn't conform to Paul, a man that never even met Jesus in the flesh. So they reject God's Word when it doesn't fit their "faith alone" in Paul.

Answers in Genesis and other revelation or creation science organizations do just that. Their "experts" have no credentials in any earth science related fields, have never been published in any mainstream scientific journals, and many have no credentials of any kind. Ask them a question and they resort to personal attacks. There agenda is a literal Genesis to defend Paul's "Original Sin" theology, period.

The problem is extremists on both side of the issue dominate the discussion. Schools should present all sides of an issue or stop allowing one side (atheism or fundamentalism) from censoring others. We will look at the other extreme at the so-called 'National Center for Science Education' later on.

The fact remains there is no verifiable scientific proof that life began by chance or any "natural" mechanism to account for this. It has been tried and tested in laboratories for decades and has failed. In other words, self-creation is bunk.

The following is from http://www.religioustolerance.org/;

According to Newsweek in 1987, "By one count there are some 700 scientists with respectable academic credentials (out of a total of 480,000 U.S. earth and life scientists) who give credence to creation-science..." That would make the support for creation science among those branches of science who deal with the earth and its life forms at about 0.14% 5 However, the American public thinks very differently.

The Gallup Organizations periodically asks the American public about their beliefs on evolution and creation. They have conducted a poll of U.S. adults in 1982, 1991, 1993 and 1997. By keeping their wording identical, each year's results are comparable to the others.

Results for the 1991-NOV-21 to 24 poll were:

Evolution debate in Schools

1997-NOV data is little changed. Note the massive differences between the beliefs of the general population and of scientists:

Evolution debate in Schools

The "scientist" group would presumably include biologists and geologists. But it would also include persons with professional degrees in fields unrelated to evolution, such as computer science, chemical engineering, physics, etc.

Political science professor George Bishop of the University of Cincinnati published a paper in 1998-AUG listing and interpreting 1997 poll data. "Bishop notes that these figures have remained remarkably stable over time. These questions were first asked about 15 years ago, and the percentages in each category are almost identical.

Moreover, the profiles of each group has been constant. Just as when these questions were first asked 15 years ago, creationist continue to be older, less educated, Southern, politically conservative, and biblically literal (among other things). Women and African-Americans were more likely to be creationist than whites and men. Meanwhile, younger, better educated, mainline Protestants and Catholics were more likely to land in the middle as theistic evolutionists
." 1

With the elderly representing a gradually increasing part of the U.S. population, one would expect that the creationist view would receive increasing support. In fact, there appears to be a gradual erosion of support for the creationist view.  It is barely statistically significant. The sample size is about 1,000 so the sampling error is within +/- 3.2%, 19 times out of 20. It will take a decade or two to determine if a significant shift has really happened.

By any measure, the United States remains a highly religious nation, compared to other developed countries. And its citizens tend to hold more conservative beliefs. For example, the percentage of adults who believe that "the Bible is the actual word of God and it is to be taken literally, word for word" is 5 times higher in the U.S. than in Britain. Church attendance is about 4 times higher in the U.S. than it is in Britain. 1

Similarly, according to one opinion poll, belief that "Human beings developed from earlier species of animals..." is much smaller in the United States (35%) than in other countries (as high as 82%).

Beliefs elsewhere in the world:

Belief in creation science seems to be largely a U.S. phenomenon. A British survey of 103 Roman Catholic priests, Anglican bishops and Protestant ministers/pastors showed that: 97% do not believe the world was created in six days. 80% do not believe in the existence of Adam and Eve.

It's clear to see that education is a main factor in belief in evolution with the biggest changes in college. Many universities are often bastions of radical secularism and leftist' politics. Atheism has a clear "choke-hold" on science departments. The Humanist Society claims to have thousands of members and supporters in academia.


Larry Booher
Booher

Evolution debate erupts again in the Bristol VA

by Lewis Loflin

"There is no real scientific evidence that a so-called 'big bang' ever occurred." "Skeletons of modern man occasionally have been discovered in rock dated by evolutionists as lower Tertiary, much older than man's supposed ape-like ancestors."

"... evolution is, in reality, an unreasonable and unfounded hypothesis that is riddled with countless scientific fallacies. Biblical Creationism, on the other hand, does correlate with the known facts of science. ... The widespread influence of evolution is largely responsible for our moral decline of recent years. ... Herein lies the awesome danger of this Satanic delusion ..."

This according to Larry Booher, a so-called "Christian" biology teacher from his home made textbook Science Battles Evolution. This was distributed in a public high school (John Battle) in Washington County, Virginia just outside Bristol.

The local school board voted a few years earlier to ban an advanced biology textbook (the one used at the local community college) from local high schools because it conflicted with certain religious beliefs. This was that very "elective" biology class I believe the book was banned from. The school board claimed not to know he was doing this, I don't believe that.

What I always find interesting is the reaction of the public. I'll write letters to the editor merely to read their reactions that reveals a constant pattern of fuzzy thinking. Many Christian publications on this subject are little more than deliberate misinformation. Fundamentalist' churches dictate belief from the top-down where more moderate churches such as the United Methodists allow individual interpretation.

What Mr. Booher did was pass on what he believed true based on his religious beliefs alone. To quote one local fundamentalist, "Creationist scientists start from a literal interpretation of the Bible.." Science doesn't operate that way.

They believe their inability to fill local churches is related to high school science classes. But atheism is both discredited and in decline or has held steady for years. The majority that believe in scientific evolution also believe in God, but rarely the Christian fundamentalist' version. This is also at the heart of home schooling and demands for vouchers, etc. Many fundamentalists don't want their children exposed to modern science, or alternate belief systems. There is some merit with concerns over drugs and violence even in this rural region, but it's usually religion.

It isn't just evolution as such, they believe the entire universe appeared by magic in its present form about 4004 BC based on some nonsense from a Bishop Usher in the 1600s. Booher's sources for his "book" has been discredited.

Evolution debate in schools.

Teaching of Creationism Is Endorsed in New Survey. This I got from the New York Times August 31, 2005 shows two-thirds of the people polled by the Pew Research Center supported teaching Creationism. What shocked them was "that teaching both evolution and Creationism was favored not only by conservative Christians, but also by majorities of secular respondents..." (This being intelligent design which isn't Genesis.)

The poll found "42 percent of respondents held strict creationist views, agreeing that "living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time." That 42% is nearly identical for everyone in the Gallup poll at 44%. What isn't clear is how they asked the questions and the large percentage (14%) in the "don't know" column.

It should be noted that Intelligent Design is not Six-Day Creationism and does have a scientific basis. From the article:

In a finding that is likely to intensify the debate over what to teach students about the origins of life, a poll released yesterday found that nearly two-thirds of Americans say that creationism should be taught alongside evolution in public schools. The poll found that 42 percent of respondents held strict creationist views, agreeing that "living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time." In contrast, 48 percent said they believed that humans had evolved over time.

But of those, 18 percent said that evolution was "guided by a supreme being," and 26 percent said that evolution occurred through natural selection. In all, 64 percent said they were open to the idea of teaching creationism in addition to evolution, while 38 percent favored replacing evolution with creationism. The poll was conducted July 7-17 by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. The questions about evolution were asked of 2,000 people. The margin of error was 2.5 percentage points.

John C. Green, a senior fellow at the Pew Forum, said he was surprised to see that teaching both evolution and creationism was favored not only by conservative Christians, but also by majorities of secular respondents, liberal Democrats and those who accept the theory of natural selection. Mr. Green called it a reflection of "American pragmatism." "It's like they're saying, 'Some people see it this way, some see it that way, so just teach it all and let the kids figure it out.'

It seems like a nice compromise, but it infuriates both the creationists and the scientists," said Mr. Green, who is also a professor at the University of Akron in Ohio. Eugenie C. Scott, the director of the National Center for Science Education and a prominent defender of evolution, said the findings were not surprising because "Americans react very positively to the fairness or equal time kind of argument." "In fact, it's the strongest thing that creationists have got going for them because their science is dismal," Ms. Scott said. "But they do have American culture on their side." This year, the National Center for Science Education has tracked 70 new controversies over evolution in 26 states, some in school districts, others in the state legislatures.

Comment: But exactly who/what is the National Center for Science Education? To quote their website (www.natcenscied.org),

The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) defends the teaching of evolution in public schools. We are a nationally-recognized clearinghouse for information and advice to keep evolution in the science classroom and "scientific creationism" out. NCSE is the only national organization to specialize in this issue...The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) is a not-for-profit, membership organization...We educate the press and public about the scientific, educational, and legal aspects of the creation and evolution controversy...NCSE is religiously neutral...

That part about "religiously neutral" is absurd. They are a private political organization with a political agenda.

Their critics accuse them of being an off-shoot of the Humanist Society. The ACLU and the Humanist Society (there are several and they keep changing names) were both founded by many of the same people, often disgruntled socialists. Many of those supporting the NCSE are often militant atheists or members of the Humanist Society, etc. I don't believe this is some conspiracy here. These people share common beliefs, share similar social positions, etc. They are in the position of power and like anyone else promote their beliefs from that position. They are no more "religiously neutral" than Answers in Genesis is.

To continue from the NYT, Intelligent design is the belief that life is so intricate that only a supreme being could have designed it. The poll showed 41 percent of respondents wanted parents to have the primary say over how evolution is taught, compared with 28 percent who said teachers and scientists should decide and 21 percent who said school boards should. Asked whether they believed creationism should be taught instead of evolution, 38 percent were in favor, and 49 percent were opposed.

More of those who believe in creationism said they were "very certain" of their views (63 percent), compared with those who believe in evolution (32 percent)...Survey respondents agreed in nearly equal numbers that nonreligious liberals had "too much control" over the Democratic Party (44 percent), and that religious conservatives had too much control over the Republican Party (45 percent)...

In other words why not both as the majority of people support? I for one don't support introducing any form of supernaturalism, mysticism, or politics into science. But unless they admit outright in the science class that critical sections of evolution are under dispute and/or unproven, they should present both.

This is part of an earlier fight involving a student in Sullivan County that got suspended over harassing a science teacher over religion and evolution.

* Jesus never mentioned Adam at all, but the Apostle Paul did claiming Jesus as a "blood" sacrifice for the sin of Adam. St. Augustine promoted the idea of inherited sin passed to Protestants through founders John Calvin and Martin Luther. See Romans 5:14; 1 Corinthians 15:22 & 15:45; 1 Timothy 2:13-14. John was a pseudo-Gnostic.



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