Science Education and the Creation Evolution Controversy

Psalm 33:6-9 NIV   6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. 7 He gathers the waters of the sea into jars, he puts the deep into storehouses. 8 Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere him. 9 For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.

Real Science and the Scientific Method

Scientists over the centuries have studied the effects of nature and the principles that govern the Universe. Research has helped to develop an understanding of the world that we live in as well as offering insight into the vast expanse of the Cosmos. Scientific discovery has served to enhance our quality of life through knowledge gained in medicine, physics, chemistry, and many other related disciplines. And yet, as we continue to learn we find that many discoveries still await.

A thread common to all fields of science is adherence to the Scientific Method, which serves as a guide in the quest for knowledge. An overview of the basics of the Scientific Method is essential in order to understand what both the Genesis account of Creation and the Theory of Evolution must address in order to comply with acceptable practices.

select the beaker for a brief review of the Scientific Method

Evolutionary Science and Indoctrination?

Evolutionists present their theory as the only one supported by "science", while the Creation perspective is considered (by evolutionists) to be solely faith based. As such, a concerted effort has been made to assure that Creationism makes no public contribution to scientific discussion. Based purely on science, however, evolutionary thinking falls short and becomes merely a system of indoctrination. The ongoing debate of Creation vs. Evolution is dramatically altered when both sides are expected to substantiate their position by applying the principles of science as well as declaring where there is a reliance on "faith."

Observation is the beginning of scientific inquiry: The act of observing would seem to be self-explanatory, but defining the concept is important in understanding one of the first (and ongoing) critical steps in scientific discovery. Investigation begins with an idea that is based on observation at some level. This type of observation is much more intense and intuitive than simply stopping to observe a flower or a sunset. It is generally accompanied by a deep interest to understand why something is occurring, or has occurred. Isaac Newton's observation of gravity and motion led to ever greater levels of experimentation, concluding with scientific laws that are accepted as valid more than 300 years later. Newton based his initial theory on what he observed in the present, namely the occurrence of gravity and motion.

Observation (as pertaining to origins): The study of the origin of the material world and all of life (which occurred in the past) requires a different level of observation. All that can be observed is what we see in the present. The historic origin of our present state can be theorized but cannot be proven solely by the interpretation of the available evidence. Ken Ham, President of Answers in Genesis, often states that both Young Earth Creationists and Evolutionists have the same evidence. The difference in how the evidence is interpreted is often based on the individual's worldview.

Objectivity and Subjectivity: A most important aspect of science is to assure that discovery and the interpretation of evidence is accomplished with objectivity.

Objective: expressing or dealing with facts or conditions as perceived without distortion by personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretations (an objective judgment).

Subjective: peculiar to a particular individual : personal (subjective judgments) (2) : modified or affected by personal views, experience, or background.

Scientific inquiry begins with some level of pre-disposition followed by an effort to confirm or deny the investigator's original perception. Evidence will accumulate along the discovery journey. If the evidence disproves the original premise, objectivity will assist in leading to a full disclosure of what is or is not true. A subjective view of the evidence may give cause to disregard or misinterpret the results to the favor of a particular agenda.

Evolution & Education

Evidence (as pertaining to biological evolution): Fossil evidence has been unearthed in abundance for a myriad of organisms that have existed throughout the history of the earth. Conclusions regarding the history of a particular species based on fossil evidence should adhere to scientific objectivity. As an example, there are striking similarities in the skeletal structure of humans and chimpanzees. Both have a femur (large bone that connects the knee and the hip bone) that appears to be somewhat the same. The evidence alone does not clearly indicate that the 3-4 million year old (according to evolutionary dating) chimp fossil known as Australopithecus afarensis (aka "Lucy") was the mother of humans. Similarity and appearance may be considered as only one piece of the overall evidence, but observation alone cannot confirm the fossil as a transitional species. The inference by evolutionists that humans evolved from primates is subjective at best.

Australopithecus afarensis aka "Lucy" Evolutionary re-creation of "Lucy"

Universities have created courses entitled Comparative Biology (or other similarly descriptive titles) that use anatomy, behavior, genomics, and related fields of study to demonstrate the course of evolution over time. Comparison and computer modeling, however, should not be accepted as empirical evidence that interprets the past. Objective inquiry suggests that the earth's crust would provide numerous fossils to demonstrate change through step-by-step transitions if the evolution of species has occurred. However, closely sequenced changes between species detailing an increase in complexity are missing, even to the novice observer. The fossil record remains silent.

Darwin's finches are often cited as proof that evolution has occurred in the past and continues in the present. The finches, however, demonstrate only that they have "evolved" over time into ... finches. Further discussion is available in the section on Adaptation (Micro Evolution) & Macro Evolution.

Darwin's Finches: Adaptation (Micro Evolution) vs. Macro Evolution select image to enlarge

The fact is that, to a great degree, evidence represented as supportive of evolution has been interpreted with subjectivity (non-science) rather than objectivity (science.) As we read the ever-increasing evolutionary pronouncements regarding fossil discoveries, critical thinking will help to determine the motivation behind an analysis and which method of interpretation (objective or subjective) was applied.

In reality, creationists may seem to follow the same subjective path when faith in an unseen God is invoked. Believers in Christ understand that faith cannot be proven with empirical evidence and our approach to Creation may be construed as also not being objective. And so it is with evolution when faith in the "unproven" carries the Theory over the threshold of belief. Empirical evidence is not available for either belief system. Therefore, both sides are basing the premise of their specific theories on faith and an interpretation of the evidence. Faith cannot be proven, but the available evidence can be applied to understand the three foundational concepts of order, origin, and the complexity of life. Since God is the author of science, we believe that science will always line up on the side of His word. Let the evidence be the judge.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:3 NKJV

Indoctrination is not education

The Theory of Evolution is thoroughly engrained in our educational system and enjoys the benefit of protection from questioning or criticism. When "scientific discussion" attempts to silence all opposing thought it becomes dogma. defines dogma as "characterized by or given to the expression of opinions very strongly or positively as if they were facts."

Examples of dogmatic support for evolutionary doctrine are prominently noted on the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) web-site, and are accompanied by specific reading recommendations. A May 2013 search of the NSTA site for "creation" presented a publication entitled: The Creation Controversy and the Science Classroom.

The authors each present a chapter addressing the classroom issues faced by educators when confronted with certain religious thought. Specifically, their methods are directed toward students who hold to the belief that the Bible is to be read as a literal source of historic fact. Both authors have scientific credentials and Dr. Skehan also has a Master of Divinity degree. The following quotes are excerpts from the first chapter, Modern Science and the Book of Genesis (Skehan), include the following.

The reconciliation of faith and reason delivers the student from a state of confusion about important areas of life portrayed as contradictions by some fundamentalists. pg.3
Mainstream biblical scholars focus on the intentions of the authors of Genesis and the other four books that comprise the first section of the Bible. pg. 6
It (referencing the Genesis chapters) was not composed as history for its own sake, but as history whose purpose was to communicate religious truth pg.6
Early biblical commentators recognized, as we do, that Genesis 1-11 is an imaginative narrative that uses poetic language and contains much imagery and many figures of speech. pg. 6
The Creation Controversy and the Science Classroom, chapter 1, NSTA Press, 2000,
James Skehan, Ph.D., Boston College and Craig Nelson, Ph.D., Indiana University

Comment: The above quotations speak for themselves and clearly identify the tenor of the book. The idea that deliverance from a belief in Genesis 1-11 is necessary in order to understand evolutionary science represents an elitist thought process that accompanies evolutionary indoctrination. It is also interesting that the focus of mainstream scholars is on determining the intentions of the Genesis authors rather than gaining an understanding of the inspired text itself. It would be best for the scholars to understand the importance of the truth emanating from Genesis 1:1 as it opens the chapter with: In the beginning God ....

Finally, Dr. Skehan seems to believe that his students should accept the early chapters of Genesis not as history, but what he identifies as "religious truth". Historians clearly define their discipline as an investigation and collection of actual past events. Could it be that evolution is redefining history as a way of communicating perceived truth rather than the reporting of events?

In the second chapter, Effective strategies for Teaching Evolution and Other Controversial Topics, Dr. Nelson moves the discussion to a focus on evolutionary science. A double hamburger sandwiched between three bun layers is presented as a metaphor to differentiate between what is well-known (proven) and that which is inferred with regard to evolutionary science. The two "meat" layers represent those areas where science has "comparatively solid answers", specifically: 1) Biological Evolution; and 2) Age and Physical Development. The bun is comprised of: 1) Origin of Consciousness?; 2) Origin of Genetic System?; and 3) Origin of the Universe?. Following are several quotes from the second chapter:

Between these three layers of metaphorical bun, there are two big layers of meaty science. Specifically, we have comparatively solid answers for how and often why the physical universe changed from when big bang was well underway on through the formation of elements, organic molecules, solar systems, and planets. Similarly, once a functioning genetic system is in place, we have strong answers for how and why organisms changed. pg. 24
We have found fossils linking invertebrates to fish, fish to amphibians, amphibians to reptiles, and reptiles to birds and mammals. As Darwin predicted, a number of fossils linking apes and humans together have been found in Africa. pg. 41 Question 7, Lines of evidence.
Skehan & Nelson, op. cit.

Comment: The two layers of Dr. Nelson's burger that contain the meaty science seem to be conflicted by his subsequent words describing that the aforementioned are supported by comparatively solid answers (an oxymoron at best.) The purported "science" for the age and development of the Universe and the diversification of life should remind us that the evidence for the meat in the burger becomes pure guesswork when presented without facts. The evidence for the complexity (diversification) of life is discussed in detail in the next section of In6days.

With regard to the "bun" layers of the burger, to state that the origins of consciousness, a genetic system (DNA), and the Universe are based on speculation should disqualify the theory of evolution as a confirmed science (as it is taught in schools today.) Humans are made in the image of God and were created with a conscience, unlike anything in the animal kingdom. A conscience is solely human and the failure of evolution to address its "evolution" with evidence is significant. Secondly, to admit that there is scant evidence for the origin of DNA should be at least a reason to consider a miraculous creation event as an alternative. And the suggestion that the third "bun" of the burger, the creation of the universe, can be relegated to a lesser importance in scientific discussions of Creation and Evolution should raise the question as to whether the premise of evolution is reasonable science.

The second of Dr. Nelson's quotations present supposed evidence as proof of the upward complexity in the evolutionary process of organisms. The transitional fossil links that are stated as having been found are not specifically identified and their existence is more than questionable.

The authors of the Creation Controversy seem to be making an attempt to separate the question on the very beginnings of the Universe, galaxies, the Solar System, planet Earth, and life as issues that should (or possibly may) be sorted out by another area of science. Are they implying that the lack of evidence for a first cause, and specifically the origin of life in a primordial soup, has no bearing on the evolution of life? This reasoning has become more prevalent of late in order to circumvent the fact that evolutionary evidence in support of the creation of the Universe, the formation of our Solar System, and the formation of the first organism does not exist. Therefore, evolution is being addressed as a discipline separate from the necessity of origin by creating two fields of study which are not inter-dependent. Ignoring a lack of evidence of this magnitude and agreeing that one (biological evolution) is not dependent on the other (origin) would result in a failing grade in any beginning science class. It should also be noted that biological evolution, even if isolated as a separate field of study, still lacks serious evidence which will be discussed in the In6Days section The Complexity of Life.

It would seem that evolutionists, at some point, would discontinue the use of metaphors and speculation and concentrate on proving their theory with scientific facts. The effort to promote Evolutionism by discrediting Creationism would be better served by an honest discussion and adherence to the scientific method.

Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Job 38:2 NIV

The very thought that someone does not "believe" in evolution invites derision and intimidation. Yet, many in the general public who submit to evolutionary doctrine do so by faith without understanding the facts of science. There is a willing acceptance of eons for the age of the Earth as well as an unquestioning belief that organisms changed from simple to complex by natural processes. Their belief is not generally based on critical thinking, but rather on the weak foundation of "words without knowledge", such as "everyone believes in evolution", or "evolution has been scientifically proven."

Volumes have been written by prominent scientists, submitting "proofs" that man descended from the cell that emerged from the primordial soup. If, however, the foundational cell of evolutionism is not scientifically sound, then the ensuing transitions of the varied species are based on "contrived evidence." If the original formation of the cell and the organization of that cell into complex species cannot be proven, supposition has become a substitute for "fact".

It might also be said that belief in a Young Earth Creation is supposition since we were not present at the time. There is no claim by creationists that the origin of the physical world and all of life can be proven scientifically. The events that occurred during the six days in Genesis 1 describe the origin of all that is material and, being supernatural, cannot be tested by the scientific method. The question to be asked is, "Does the interpretation of the available evidence support a Creation Model, or does it support an Evolutionary Model?" Additional discussion will follow to describe both models and how an honest interpretation of the evidence may be used to defend the creationist position. The YEC position is that creation ex nihilo (from nothing) was a miraculous event and the "stones will cry out" in support of the Biblical narrative.

Let us never lose sight of the fact that the crowning achievement of God's creation was the formation of man from the dust of the earth.

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. Genesis 2:7 NKJV

Man did not descend from a primitive cell over millions of years to emerge as a chimpanzee and eventually change into God's image. The faith of the creationist is that man was miraculously formed from the dust of the ground, while the evolutionist's faith is in the miraculous creation of life by abiogenesis, comprised of the non life-giving elements of the primordial soup. The difference lies in the belief of a miracle by God or a miracle by nature.

Is belief in a Young Earth important?

Belief in a young Earth, an old Earth, or one in the process of evolutionary change does not gain a person entrance to heaven or to eternal life with Christ. The only way to become a Christian and obtain eternal salvation is by accepting Jesus Christ as Savior for the forgiveness of sins.

Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 NKJV

The importance of accepting the entire word of God as being without error is emphasized throughout the Bible.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 2 Timothy 3:16 NKJV

The above includes belief in all scripture as being true, including a six day recent creation of the physical world, the Fall, the Flood, the parting of the Red Sea, Christ's death and resurrection, and the hope of eternal life. If Genesis chapters 1 and 2 are to be accepted as allegory, which of the other events mentioned are also not to be taken literally.

When specifically looking at the acts of creation, Genesis 1 and 2 are supported as actual events in Exodus:

For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. Exodus 20:11 NIV

The revelation given to the writer of Exodus confirms a six day account by clearly speaking of 24 hour days; a time period understood by Moses. Our personal controversy emerges when faced with "scientific evidence" that may seem to contradict our belief. It then becomes important to apply critical thinking and the basics of science when determining whether the "evidence" is presented to support an evolutionary agenda rather than engaging in a quest for truth. As has been previously mentioned, evolutionary theory cannot be proven when objective science is applied for both the origin and the complexity of life.

Please proceed to the next section: >> The Origin and Complexity of Life

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