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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