Creationism short on facts, says writer
The great debate featuring creationist versus evolutionist finally made a rather late appearance in our small town, courtesy of the Pentecostal Assembly of Carbonear. There was a rehash of the same old “evidence” that to the “ believers,” especially the children in attendance, left no doubt that the earth is 6,000 years-old and that humans and dinosaurs co-existed.
The slick but rather disjointed presentation which included computer graphics and animations, fossils and what was claimed to be casts of fossils were presented as conclusive proof that Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is false.
Who could dispute a cast of a fossil that showed a dinosaur footprint overlaid by a human footprint? I approach ideas with a healthy skepticism, realizing that breakthroughs in science often come from radical thinkers; however, my mantra is that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.”
The space provided for this letter would not allow me to provide counter arguments to the premises that the earth is only 6,000 years-old; that dinosaurs and humans co-existed; and that a great flood as presented in the Bible killed all life on earth except for those Noah took on the Ark.
For interested parties. there is plenty of literature based on empirical research found on the Web or at any book store. However, I would suggest the following website where you will find a brief article titled “ 15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense.” http://www.swarthmore.edu/NatSci /cpurrin1/textbookdisclaimers/wackononsense.
The whole presentation was based on creationism, which argues that evolution is only a theory and cannot be proven. As used in science, a theory is an explanation or model based on observation, experiment, and reasoning, especially one that has been tested and confirmed as a general principle helping to explain and predict phenomena.
Any scientific theory must be based on a careful and rational examination of the facts. A clear distinction needs to be made between facts ( things which can be observed and/or measured) and theories (explanations which correlate and interpret the facts).
A fact is something that is supported by unmistakable evidence. For example, the Grand Canyon cuts through layers of different kinds of rocks, such as the Coconino sandstone, Hermit shale, and Redwall limestone. These rock layers often contain fossils that are found only in certain layers. These are the facts.
It is a fact that fossil skulls have been found — which are intermediate in appearance — between humans and modern apes. It is a fact that fossils have been found which are intermediate in appearance between dinosaurs and birds.
Facts may be interpreted in different ways by different individuals, but that doesn’t change the facts themselves.
Theories may be good, bad, or indifferent. They may be well established by the factual evidence, or they may lack credibility. Before a theory is given any credence in the scientific community, it must be subjected to “peer review.” This means that the proposed theory must be published in a legitimate scientific journal in order to provide the opportunity for other scientist to evaluate the relevant factual information and publish their conclusions.
Creationist refuse to subject their “ theories” to peer reviews, because they know they don’t fit the facts. The creationist mindset is distorted by the concept of “good science” (creationism) versus “ bad science” (anything not in agreement with creationism). Creationism “scientists” are biblical fundamentalists who cannot accept anything contrary to their religious beliefs.
As a former educator and rational thinker, I fear the spread of this anti-scientific world view, which is so prevalent among religious fundamentalist of all creeds, but especially prevalent in the religious fundamentalist movement in the United States. This movement endangers our children’s entitlement to an education that is based on reason, not on bronze age mythology.
An education that harkens back to the dark ages does not prepare our children for the future world.
All mainstream Christian denominations now accept evolutionary theory — albeit with the belief that God started the process. Let us not permit the loud voice of the vocal fundamentalist minority to jeopardize our children’s rights to a quality education. Dennis Galway