Not a Matter of Choice

A few days ago a school teacher told me that she tells her stu­dents that the state requires her to teach evo­lu­tion but it was up to them to decide if they believed it or cre­ation­ism. I am sure she is not the only teacher to make such a statement.

The prob­lem here is a mis­un­der­stand­ing of what is the goal of science.

Sci­ence seeks an under­stand­ing of the phys­i­cal uni­verse we live in. It seeks to explain how a giv­en event comes to pass. It seeks an abil­i­ty to be able to pre­dict what will hap­pen giv­en a par­tic­u­lar set of circumstances.

Evo­lu­tion is the under­ly­ing frame­work for biol­o­gy. If one stud­ies biol­o­gy, one is study­ing evo­lu­tion. Evo­lu­tion as a con­cept explains biol­o­gy. It explains how a giv­en bio­log­i­cal event comes to pass. It is capa­ble of pre­dict­ing future bio­log­i­cal events (even if the future event is an as yet undis­cov­ered past event).

Is our present under­stand­ing of evo­lu­tion com­plete? No, there are still unan­swered ques­tions. Are there details in our present under­stand­ing that will turn out to be wrong? Yes, in all like­ly­hood. But the over­all frame­work of evo­lu­tion is quite sol­id at this point. It is extreme­ly unlike­ly that it will some­day be shown to not apply.

When one stud­ies evo­lu­tion one gains an under­stand­ing of how the world works.

When one stud­ies cre­ation­ism, one gains an under­stand­ing of how God works (or an under­stand­ing of how some long ago (or present day) “prophet” thinks God works.) There is no pre­dic­tive pow­er when one invokes the will of God. Noth­ing about the phys­i­cal uni­verse is explained when one invokes the will of God.

The choice the teacher gives the stu­dents is wrong. There is no choice between believ­ing in evo­lu­tion or cre­ation­ism. Evo­lu­tion is the way the phys­i­cal bio­log­i­cal world works. But this does NOT mean that cre­ation­ism can­not be true.

If God cre­at­ed the world, she cre­at­ed a world in which evo­lu­tion is the frame­work biol­o­gy oper­ates on. The evi­dence of past evo­lu­tion is in our phys­i­cal uni­verse. If God cre­at­ed the uni­verse recent­ly, then God put that evi­dence there.

Cre­ation­ism is not sci­ence, it is reli­gion. It does not explain the phys­i­cal uni­verse we live in, it explains some­thing about God.

No “choice” needs to be made.

Would it not be nice if our teach­ers under­stood that?

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