Should Creationism be taught in Public Schools?

by Tyler Pflueger

Have you ever witnessed arguments between Creationists and Evolutionists in person or over the internet? These arguments draw off topics that are taught in school, mainly theories that are found in books that are universally accepted. The worst parts about these arguments are the people arguing that are unable to reason why the theories of Evolution are true. It is not only the Evolutionists that are unable to argue, but even Creationists seem to not know what they are talking about when it comes to Evolution. These people will resort to saying it is true, because it is what they believe or were taught. When discussing something of this stature, I prefer to be knowledgeable of both sides of the argument. From the arguments I’ve had, they merely state what they were taught. They are unable to effectively present the information and back it up. This could be because students take everything at face-value, and have the belief that the information is true just because it is what was taught to them. It is just as an ignorant when Christians say their beliefs are true because they are written in the Bible. I enjoy a challenging dispute to examine my beliefs, but challenge others to understand the information they are conveying, as well. Creationism seems to be a great challenger to Evolution, but the limited knowledge people have of creation presents a problem.
Creationism is the idea that everything was created by God accounted for in Genesis, the first book in the Bible; while Evolution states everything changes over time. Separation of Church and State has banned the teaching of Creationism or Intelligent Design in the classrooms of Public Schools. For this matter, purposes of teaching Creationism hold a greater benefit for these students, because Evolution is flawed. Creationism seeks truth to origin of humans just as Evolution does. The students of the public school system deserve an alternative viewpoint to reason for themselves. For these reasons, I believe Creationism should be taught in public schools.
The theory of Evolution, although it is based on science, is flawed. Michael Reiss, a professor at the Institute of Education, London states, “Natural selection cannot, on account of the second law of thermodynamics, create order out of disorder; mutations are always deleterious and so cannot lead to improvements”(404). As stated, the mutations that Evolution presents are detrimental and cannot arise as an improvement or adaptation over time. Not only is this a problem, but the theory of Evolution does not have a place to start. “Early history of life would require life to arise from inorganic matter – a form of spontaneous generation rejected by science in the 19th century”(Reiss 404). Theories are only observations that can be proven or disproven. This does not discredit the theory of Evolution in any way. Creationism and Evolution both seek to answer origins of human life.
Creationism and Evolution both seek truths, but by different means. Scott Hefelfinger, a professor of philosophy at International Theological Institute in Trumau, Austria, discusses in his article that religion has come into existence because of the rift in old and modern science. Not only was religion created as a way to explain our origin, but it also is a combination of philosophy and science between these old and modern eras. He goes on to state that philosophy and science are both linked through religion(132). Science is seeking hypothetical theories through observations. Philosophy seeks to answer problems with reality and existence. Religion combines both to fill the gaps between what philosophy seeks and where science fails. Creationism is the answer that could be used for the alternative viewpoint of Origins compared to Evolution.
The ability to contrast ideas of Evolution and Creationism would allow a person to see what both sides bring to the table, and what both sides lack the ability to explain. The students would be able to reason for themselves and choose the conclusion they see best fit. Arguments and problems are seen in everyday life, especially politics. “In addition to convincing and persuading others, we use arguments to inform, to explore, to make decision, and even to mediate or pray”(Lunsford,Ruszkiewicz, and Walters 6). Teaching students the technique of arguing both sides would hopefully push students to become educated on both topics. Not only that, but they would also be able to look at both sides of a topic without being biased.
Creationism being taught in public schools could benefit us greatly. The hopes of teaching an alternative origin would allow for students to gain experience in conflicting views. From my perspective, this could encourage students to gain a greater understanding of the flaws of both sides and make assertions based upon them. The greatest hope is to have students that would be able to argue with reasoning and logic rather than using “Because I was taught this.” Many Americans are uniformed on current debates raging in politics and hopefully this could benefit the educational systems.

Works Cited

Hefelfinger, Scott G. “Science, Intelligibility, Creation.” Logos: A Journal Of Catholic Thought & Culture 14.2 (2011): 131-148. Academic Search Complete. Web. 29 Sept. 2013.

Lunsford, Andrea A., John J. Ruszkiewicz, and Keith Walters. Everything’s an Argument: With Readings. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013. Print.

Reiss, Michael J. “How Should Creationism And Intelligent Design Be Dealt With In The Classroom?.” Journal Of Philosophy Of Education 45.3 (2011): 399-415. Academic Search Premier. Web. 29 Sept. 2013.

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11 thoughts on “Should Creationism be taught in Public Schools?

  1. I assume when you say that creationism should be taught in public schools, you are referring specifically to science classes. If this is the case, I have to disagree. Every single argument that the Intelligent Design movement produces are simply what they think are flaws in evolution. This is a problem, because this leaves intelligent design/creationism with no data. No empirical data means that it cannot be tested scientifically, so it should not be taught in science classrooms. At best, creationism is a philosophy and could be taught as an option in a philosophy class if the school offers one, but not a science class.

  2. I completely disagree. For one, there are as many, if not twice as many flaws in creationism as there is in evolution. It may be true that evolution suggests that the first forms of life derived from inorganic matter but creationism suggest that everything on Earth came from exactly nothing. And I would like to see any proof that mutations couldn’t be improvements considering they are complete anomalies that aren’t there for any purpose and therefore shouldn’t specifically be meant to help or not help anybody.

    Regardless of my perhaps too strong opinions, there is one fact that should overrule this entirely. Teaching creationism is teaching religion in a science class. It is forcing students that are not religious, and students who have different religions, to take part in Christianity. Creationism is not science. That is why they teach it in church. They do not teach evolution in church because the church doesn’t believe nor support scientific studies that discredit the bible and therefore why should modern day science bend to support ancient scripture in the bible? We don’t teach Noah’s arc in history, we do not read psalms in English, and we shouldn’t teach creationism in Science.

  3. I agree that creationism should be taught in public schools. Teaching evolution is like teaching religion in public schools. People who believe totally in evolution and no god are atheists. So it influences kids’ beliefs. Being part of a religion is agreeing to a certain belief. I can also make my own religion by believing that cats are gods. So, in either circumstance, evolution being taught versus creationism being taught, both lead to influencing one’s beliefs. Either there is a god or there isn’t. Students should be taught all sides of the story, that doesn’t mean just between evolution and creationism, however. That means Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. I personally am a Christian and hope that all come to know Jesus as their one and only Savior, but I cannot force others to believe this nor do I want to force others to believe this. My job as the Bible says is to plant the seed of faith, not shove it down someone’s throat. If they want to become a Christian or an experience leads them to discover Christianity and become a Christian for themselves, then that’s great! But, it’s not my job to make someone believe, only to share what I believe (plant the seed of faith) and only hope that others come to believe.

  4. I would have to disagree with the teaching of creationism in public schools. This is due to the fact that all religions offer a creation story, varying from faith to faith and from culture to culture. Creationism just is not a scientific theory and is not widely accepted by the scientific community. Therefore, schools have a duty to teach what is widely accepted by the country’s scientists. I agree with the first post that we don’t teach noah’s arc in history, we don’t read the psalms in English, and we shouldn’t teach creationism in science.

  5. I understand your reasoning, I just don’t agree with it. I get that you are saying we should teach Creationism in school so that students can hear both sides of the beliefs and then determine what they believe to be true themselves. That is a valid argument. Although, there are reasons Creationism is not taught in school. First being because Creationism is a known part of Christianity, and it is not right to force students to learn a religion that do not believe in. Also, Evolution is a scientific theory. That’s why it is taught in science class. Creationism is a strong religious belief, and it is common knowledge that religion and science do not really go well together. I think that if students want to find answers to both sides of these beliefs, they should go out and find them themselves. School is not the place for students to figure out their beliefs on how the human race came to existence.

  6. I understand where you are coming from, and I respect your opinion on the matter; however, I can’t agree. The reason that Creationism was banned in public school, like you said, was because of the separation of church and state. By reinstating it, that completely voids out the reason why that law exists. Public schools are there to teach unbiasedly, not on personal beliefs. Creationism is a perfect example of a personal belief that needs to be kept at bay. If you want to learn about that instead of Evolution, then I would suggest a private school, where those beliefs are more widely accepted. Also, I understand that you believe Evolution is flawed and religion fills the void between science and philosophy; however Creationism is not a “science”. There have been proven facts and statistics to back up the theory of Evolution, but Creationism is simply a belief based off religion. I’m not condoning yours, or anyone else’s beliefs by any means, but I think that if you want Creationism to be taught it schools, it should be kept to a college level philosophy class where students have the option to take it instead of being forced to.

  7. Okay, first off, the second law of thermodynamics has absolutely nothing to do with the biological process of macroevolution. The 2nd law is, in fact, a law in physics, and it refers to the way energy flows in a closed system. Applying that law to anything else besides energy flow in a closed system is inherently wrong, like claiming you should cook a turkey for three minutes because that’s how long you cook ramen noodles for.

    Second, no, intelligent design should not be taught in schools outside of a religious class, since it is fundamentally a religious idea. Separation of church and state and all that. Plus, it has no real scientific backing, so if you’re teaching it in a science class, juxtaposed to evolution, then you are teaching students something other than the scientific process, and that’s bad.

    Finally, sure, I agree with you that it hasn’t been definitively proven that any particularly complex species on earth evolved from any other particular species (humans from monkeys or dogs from foxes), and if that means that it shouldn’t be taught in schools because the information is so patchy, so be it. However, that’s macroevolution, not microevolution, and microevolution is what should be taught to students anyway.

    Microevolution is an observable phenomenon in the modern world, and it can be seen in the fact that you can have the common cold more than once in your life. Students need an understanding of it, at a high school level, because it shapes so much of our understanding of modern biology and it is so important to understanding many new advancements in that field. You can’t take that away and relegate it only to the people who are going to pursue biology at a higher level.

    Similarly, you can’t teach a religious ideal as fact to students, and essentially, if you teach both macroevolution and intelligent design, you’re saying one of the two is probably fact, and leaving it up to the student to decide. That is just as wrong.

  8. I would highly agree with this article. I liked how you described what creationism is and where it falls into in our modern time. Yes, many may say that science can explain how human inhibited earth. They can also say that we evolved from a monkey. Now, I ask. How come monkeys are not evolving into an actual human being in these times? Monkeys might have similar characteristics and might act like us in some way, but would this be possible if there was no human intervention? If humans are just altering an animals genes is it really called evolution? Creationism being taught in school would be of great benefit for those people who don’t know where they stand in their believes.

  9. So you’re saying that evolution AND creationism should be taught side by side? How about Buddhism? Hinduism? This is America after all…. are you choosing creationism just because Christianity is the most dominant religion in this country? We have a multitude of religions that exist in this country and I don’t think that any of them belong in schools. We should be focusing on actual topics such as mathematics and sciences.

  10. I do not believe it should be taught in schools because some kids are raised different and have different beliefs. I know my friends and I have different views on things and teaching it in school could cause people not to like each other because of what they believe in.

  11. To have religious beliefs presented as a credible alternative to scientific fact is an egregious affront to education. Religious liberty is a birthright of every American and to present scripture based lessons in public schools is to infringe on that religious liberty. In addition to being based on a book, written by people, thousands of years ago, translated by hand, through multiple languages, you ignore the premise that your intelligent design in the only other “alternative” to your faith centric story of how things came to be. I think Bobby Henderson, creator of the Pastafarian faith said it best,

    “Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him.”

    Henderson, Bobby. “Open Letter To Kansas School Board.” . Print. .

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