Teaching Creationism in Schools
The question as to whether or not creationism should be taught in public schools is a very emotional and complex question. It can be looked at from several different angles, its validity being one of them. Despite the lack of evidence to support the fundamentalist idea of creationism, that in itself is not enough to warrant its exclusion from the curriculum of public schools in the United States. The question is far more involved and complex.
One way to address the question is whether or not creationism, in itself, is a valid idea to be taught in public schools. The answer to this can be yes. Not only should a student in American public schools learn and acquire knowledge in empirical sciences, and other tangible facts both in history and other courses, but he should also learn how to think and make decisions for himself. Unfortunately, as it turns out, creationism is in direct conflict with the biological theory of evolution. Many fundamentalist propose that creationism should replace, or at least be offered as an alternative to Darwin’s theory of evolution.
This is not the right approach. Creationism, as exemplified in the book of Genesis, should not be taught in a science course. Science runs on a certain set of rules and principles being: (1) it is guided by natural law, (2) it has to be explanatory by reference to natural law, (3) its conclusions lack finality and therefore may be altered or changed, (4) it is also testable against the empirical world, and finally (5) it is falsifiable. These characteristics define the laws, boundaries, and guidelines that science follows. In a science course, all knowledge conveyed is shown, or has been shown in the past, to exemplify a strict adherence to these qualities. Creationism, unfortunately in the eyes of Christian fundamentalist, does not exemplify any adherence whatsoever to these rules and guidelines of science. Therefore, it should not be included in the science curriculum in public schools, even as an alternative to evolution.
Another idea is that which is held by those who subscribe to the idea of scientific creationism. Scientific creationism, as it relates to this topic, states that God was the creator, and that evolution is simply a means, developed by Him, of conservation. Due to this definition ...
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...plausible alternative. Even if the Book of Genesis happened to find a place in the English curriculum of public schools, or an any other curriculum for that matter, it would still violate the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. Even if all these hurdles were overcome, it would still be hotly debated by different religions as to which story of creation to teach. For all of these reasons, it is impossible for any version of creationism to be taught in public schools in the United States.
As one can see, the question of whether or not creationism should be taught in public schools is not so much a question of should it be taught, as it is more of a question of can it be taught. Can the Book of Genesis, or even a version of it be taught legally as part of a standardized curriculum? The answer is no. Can Native American versions of creation be taught? The answer is no. Can any idea of creation, subscribed to by any religion be taught legally? The answer is no. Should it be taught? Yes. Where then should it be taught legally, if not in the public school system? Probably, the best environment would be the home. The best teacher would probably be the parent.
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