Defending science from religion – creationism vs. evolution

The mighty Crom commands that man must stay on earth. This is why when we jump, we don’t get very far. I find it very insulting that when science covers the theory of gravity, Cromism is never even mentioned. I went to the Board of Education demanding that my sacred religious beliefs be included in science. Not doing so was an infringement of my religious freedom. I was told that science requires empirical evidence, observation, experiment, the scientific method. I found this very confusing. Crom is the creator of the universe! It says so right here in the sacred scripture! You dare think that you have authority over the one who created you!

The Cromism scenario seems comical, but accurately represents the sad reality of many evangelical Christian assaults on science. Everyone has a right to individual ignorance, but when they try and spread their own absurdity to children through public policy, the rationalists must be called in to protect the youth. There is no creationist science as every argument has been tied to fraud, ignorance, scientifically shown to be false, or relied on hearsay. The story of Noah’s Ark is an exaggerated myth originating from an earlier local flood account. Theology and science are two different things, and they must be kept separated. No scientific breakthroughs will ever come from a theocracy where science is chained to ancient superstition. Science is currently under assault in America, and this must stop. Now more than ever we need scientific integrity. Any advancements in energy, food production and quality, water supply, waste treatment, pollution reduction, housing, medicine and transportation depend on science.

In State after State after State, ill-advised elected officials are introducing creationist legislation that would promote scientific ignorance. This must stop. Time and time again, the bills get shot down, but they keep getting introduced in other states. The latest assault is HB 368 in Tennessee. This legislation is dishonest. It goes under the disguise of promoting “critical thinking” skills by encouraging evolution to be taught as “controversial”.
The House Bill 368 in Tennessee includes:
“(2) Assist teachers to find effective ways to present the science curriculum as it addresses scientific controversies.”
Imagine a panel of misguided politicians being lobbied by religious and other organizations interpreting what a “scientific controversy” is and “assisting” science teachers in presenting science curriculum.

The discipline of science requires criticism and the challenging of authority. There is currently nothing preventing a student from raising their hand and asking questions or presenting “what if” scenarios. Legislation is not needed to enforce a structure that’s already part of the course by definition, and to subjugate the syllabus to theocratic intrusion. Legislation is not needed that would protect incompetent science teachers.

There are many ways to improve education without adding costs or tampering with scientific integrity. For example, philosophy and religious studies could be made mandatory in high school. Critical thinking, argumentation, debate, criticism and journalism can and should be promoted in our educational institutions. With the right people we can achieve much needed gains in educating students so that they are well armed to make competent and ethical decisions in their lives.

The underlying philosophy of modern science avoids the concept of absolute knowledge. This is the opposite of religion which claims undisputable divine authority instead of discovery. In science, nearly nothing can be regarded as a fact, only the best possible explanation at this time. If someone comes to an absolute conclusion regarding an issue, the mind is closed to all further inquiry. The modern definition of science removes any finish line to the obtainment of additional knowledge. The goal is continuous improvement and to try all things holding fast to what is good. No matter how strong the fortification of knowledge may be on a particular issue, we must continually test it and fortify it further. We must keep our mind free from dogmatism and pursue knowledge unbiased and to the best of our abilities.

The standards by which something is declared to be a scientific theory are very high. A scientific theory should never be confused with a hypothesis. For example, gravity is called a theory, but for practical purposes we consider it fact. Until I see someone throw themselves at the ground and miss, I will believe in it. Evolution meets the criteria of being a scientific theory, creationism does not. “God did it” is not science.

Despite the fact that Pope John Paul II accepted the realities of evolution in 1996, and that evolution does not address the origin of life, it is still perceived as a threat by many of the Western faiths. In regards to evolution, is the hammer of evidence heavy enough to bury the nail of doubt? The evidence in this case is actually not a hammer at all, it’s a nuclear warhead. Not only does the evidence bury the nail, it drives it in a mile deep. 100% of U.S. citizens should believe in evolution.

Evidence for evolution includes:
1. The oldest to newest fossils clearly demonstrate without exception an overall progression of life forms from basic to more complex. If there was no evolution there would be no progression of species complexity over time. There are species that have existed relatively unchanged for millions of years referred to as living fossils. This is not evidence against evolution, only evidence that the traits of those particular species have been very successful for survival over a long period of time.
2. Each continent and even groups of islands contain unique species of plants and animals. If there was no evolution, there would not be unique species on every continent as they would all be the same shared among them as when there was one supercontinent before the continents divided. Why are there species on Darwin’s Galapagos Islands unique to all other parts of the world? Why are there lemurs in Madagascar, but none in Africa?
3. Through artificial selection (human guided evolution) we have clearly demonstrated the ability to alter species of plants and animals in a short period of time. Even the evolution of bacteria has been clearly demonstrated.
4. Many skeletal and other similarities exist among animals that can be used to trace changes such as gills to lungs.
5. DNA is the common genetic instructions found in all living things. DNA can be used to determine how closely different species are related.
6. Many traits once thought to only exist in humans such as tool making have been found to be common in other primates. For example, gorillas create tools in nature to get food and can be taught sign language.
7. Because of the nature of fossil creation, we don’t have a full record. However, many so called “gaps” or “transitional fossils” have been discovered since Darwin including:
Tiktaalik: The "Fishapod"
Archaeopteryx: The First Bird
Amphistium: The Halfway Flatfish
Ambulocetus: The Walking Whale
Homo Ergaster: The "Turkana Boy" Species
Hyracotherium/Eohippus: The Dawn Horse
Thrinaxodon: The Emerging Mammal

Arguments for so called creationism and young earth include:
1. The banana was created curved to fit the human hand.
Note – this argument has been abandoned by creationists since bananas were altered to be more edible for humans through human guided evolutionary process. The great designer turned out to be mankind.
2. Crocodiles existed during the same time as dinosaurs, so humans did too.
Note - Under this logic since humans use cell phones, we can conclude that dinosaurs did too.
3. Some guy in Ireland a long time ago was said to have maybe seen something like a dinosaur so that proves both species existed at the same time.
Note – If we regarded someone might have seen something as fact, we would need to conclude that Elvis was still alive.
4. Moon Dust – if the earth was really old, there would be lots more dust on the moon.
Note – The outdated claim that millions of tons of dust hit the moon each year is false. Modern measurements place the estimate at one inch of dust accumulation per billion years.
5. Magnetic fields – The earth’s magnetic fields are decaying too rapidly for the earth to be old.
Note – Assumes that the magnetic field continuously declines which is false. It has had periods of increase, decrease, and even pole reversals.
6. Fossil Records – They’re incomplete.
Note - Due to the nature of fossil creation, there will never be a complete record. We have enough of the record to validate the reality of evolution and many so called “transitional fossils” have been discovered since Darwin. EVOL_T_ON – do you know what this word is even though the letters are incomplete?
7. Low probability of the first building blocks of life to be formed without divine intervention.
Note – There is not enough data to come up with an accurate probability number. We are one planet out of one star of billions and billions of other stars. We are very limited in the ability to experiment with the conditions on earth right before life began. Any so called probability number is conjecture.
8. If the earth was old, there would be more metals accumulated in the ocean.
Note – This argument only takes into consideration accumulation metrics and completely ignores known mechanisms that remove metals from the oceans. Considering both factors of accumulation and decay, the amount of metal is at or near equilibrium.
9. Dating methods are unreliable
Note – The argument takes an instance of failed results, possibly due to contamination of samples, and attempts to use that to discredit all dating methods. This is akin to saying that one wristwatch doesn’t accurately tell time so every timepiece should be thrown out.
10. Noah’s ark was one and a half football fields long and therefore was able to carry dinosaurs.
Note – The technology, craftsmanship, resources and labor did not exist during that time and place to create an operational vessel nearly that big.
11. The sun is shrinking too quickly for the earth to be old.
Note – Assumes shrinkage rates that are not established and that the sun always shrinks. Imagine the temperature being 1 degree colder today than yesterday and then concluding that it was 100 degrees colder 100 days ago and 500 degrees colder 500 days ago.
12. The earth’s rotation is slowing too much for the earth to be old.
Note – This argument is based on exaggerated numbers. The earth has slowed down, but not nearly to the extent where a bulge would have formed around the equator billions of years ago due to blazing high speeds.
13. God in the Bible created everything at once.
Note – This is theology, not science. Science does not recognize myths as evidence.

What can you do to protect science? Be aware, be educated and be involved. Sign the petition against HB 368 at http://signon.org/sign/urge-governor-haslam?source=c.url&r_by=4040027
Per this petition:
“As parents, educators, and concerned citizens, we call on you to veto HB 368, which encourages teachers to present scientific topics such as evolution and global warming as "controversial." This bill is deeply misleading and will only serve to confuse students about well-established scientific concepts. Our children need the best education possible in order to excel in college, compete in a 21st-century job market, and cope with the future challenges of climate change. Governor Haslam, we strongly urge you to support sound science and veto HB 368.”

Related material:
Tennessee General Assembly HB 368 Bill Summary
http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/billinfo/BillSummaryArchive.aspx?BillNumber=HB0368&ga=107

The Age of the Earth
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-age-of-earth.html

Richard Dawkins’ book The Greatest Show on Earth

National Geographic PHOTOS: 7 Major "Missing Links" Since Darwin
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/02/photogalleries/darwin-birthday-evolution/#/thrinaxodon-missing-link_7787_600x450.jpg

Young Earth Argument: Moon Dust
http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/creation/moondust.html

Does the Earth's Magnetic Field Prove a Young Earth?
http://www.epicidiot.com/evo_cre/magnetic_field.htm

Where Fossil Fuels Come From
http://www.energyquest.ca.gov/story/chapter08.html

Youngearth "proof" #1: The sun is shrinking at 5 feet/hour
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/dave_matson/young-earth/specific_arguments/sun_shrinking.html

The Slowing of the Earth's Rotation Rate Means the Earth Must be Young
http://www.godandscience.org/youngearth/rotation.html

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