We may be testing the limits of civility now. Discussions of this topic are frequently known to degenerate into brawls. So let me say at the outset. I do not believe that all students should be forced to recite Bible verses. I do not believe that teaching of the creationist view of science is the only appropriate material for study. In fact, I am not at all sure I want public school teachers educating my children about anything to do with the Bible. In most cases that would be worse than the blind leading the blind.
I do believe, however in an honest, level playing field. As a scientist and a supporter of science education, I would far prefer honest admissions of where science is supportive of evolution theory and where it is not. I would appreciate sincere admissions, on the part of educators, that evolution is NOT in any way settled science.(1) Far from it. There is as much evidence contradicting the theory of evolution, as there is supporting evolution. (In my opinion there is actually vastly more contradictory evidence.) No right thinking science educator should allow students to be taught things that are untrue. But unfortunately, this is the state of affairs in public education today. Classrooms should be for facts, not propaganda. And open minded discussions should be the rule when the facts are in dispute.
In schools and universities alike, students who question any of the underpinnings of evolution (for any reason) are often bullied and intimidated. They are often called science deniers, or anti-science Bible Thumpers. There are countless examples. In describing his education, Dr Evan Jaimeson describes multiple occasions when, confronted with the scientific inconsistencies of the theory of evolution, “often there was an angry reaction and feeble, if any, explanations.”(2) He goes on to say “the lack of credible answers makes me quite skeptical of the theory of evolution. After all it wasn’t an obscure theory; it was basically accepted worldwide and had been studied for many years. Simple and obvious questions should have been given simple and obvious answers — so where were they?”(2)
But suppressing classroom debate does not advance the cause of truth. Just as suppressing free speech about other topics is counterproductive, taking an “evolution or else” approach is not good for students or for the educational system. There are many unknown effects that can occur with changes in worldview, and we are seeing many of these today. Few would say that the emotional and spiritual levels of peace of mind and satisfaction with life have increased in past decades. In fact, most would agree we are in the midst of a mental health crisis. Some part of this may be attributable to our feelings of meaninglessness and hopelessness as a result of evolutionary teaching.
Dr Ariel Roth , former director of the Geoscience Research Institute in Loma Linda California, writes, “When it comes to answering the great questions of origins, meaning, and destiny, science has lost its credentials. This happened over a century ago when science decided to exclude God from its explanatory menu. If God exists, science will never find Him as long as it refuses to consider God as a part of reality.”(3)
Any objective scientific examination of the texts used to teach science and to “debunk creationist nonsense” will find that most of the diagrams, facts, and statistics used to teach evolution are not only out of date, many are absolutely false. So perhaps the Bible-Thumpers and the Neander-Thumpers should all get together and choose a set of non-disputable facts that all can agree on. And perhaps that is what we should use to teach our children. When all else fails, stop to propaganda and teach the facts.
Isaiah 37:16 “O LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth You have made heaven and earth.”
(1) Nicholas Satin, “Sorry USA Today, Evolution isn’t “settled” science. Crisis Magazine, January 20, 2014
(2) Evan Jamieson, in six days, New Leaf Publishing, Jan 2001, P. 324
(3) Ariel Roth, in six days, New Leaf Publishing, Jan 2001 p. 99.