How can the creation-evolution issue be brought into the classroom?
This is but one chapter found toward the end of Dr Walt Brown's book In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood (6th edition.)
The following critique was written by Mark O'Leary, Network Support Officer, Manchester Computing, UK. To go to the article in question, please click here. To go to the complete book click here.
I think "sly" is a good description of this article. Creationists know they aren't allowed to teach creationism, so they ask for a report on what the student thinks is the best theory of origins - and how does one choose the best between alternatives? By studying them all and then picking one, right? So, by the back door, the students end up reading up on creationism anyway.
The page says "The scope of the subject matter is so broad that it would be unreasonable to expect teachers to master it quickly enough to teach it.", but among the alternative projects it lists "[students could] summarize or outline what they feel are the most convincing evidences for the various theories of origins." So, its too complicated for the teacher to read up on, but the students are expected to form sophisticated opinions on the field, and to present them in a context where the teacher hasn't been required to do the background work in order to tell how accurately they are reported.
Once could go on, but what really caught my eye was "this page describes what it calls 'The Creation Model of Origins'"!!!
Here it is in full:Everything in the universe, including the stars, the solar system,
the earth, life, and man, came into existence suddenly and recently,
in essentially the complexity we see today.
Genetic variations are limited.
The earth has experienced a worldwide flood.
Now lets think for a moment about the characteristics of a scientific model. Well, falsifiability is the obvious one, and I agree this is eminently falsifiable. For example, there is overwhelming proof that the Universe is not of "recent" origin, that genetic variation mechanisms are not limited, and that there hasn't been a global flood. But then, when a model is falsified, shouldn't it be discarded? Another crucial aspect of a useful model are its predictive ability: I suppose by extrapolation you could say it "predicts" that there will be worldwide evidence of flood damage, or that whatever dating technique is chosen it will give the same answer for any material likely to have endured since the creation moment. It doesn't allow us to make any predictions at all about the future of life or the Universe, though. The final crucial aspect is that of facilitating control: by the understanding of causative agents built in to the model we can perhaps induce or prevent the phenomenon under study (useful for those novel antibiotic resistance experiments, perhaps). This model doesn't say anything at all about agents.
The model as presented here is an instance of the nominal fallacy. "Creation" is a label, not a model or an explanation that can be used to determine or control observable causes or to make predictions about the future. If one asks "how did the leopard get its spots?", the answer "creation" is just a shorthand for what we don't know, although it removes the discomfort associated with ignorance by giving the impression of being a meaningful answer. (in contrast, the evolutionary model gives us a convincing "why" and a convincing "how" on this question.