February 12, 2009, marks Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday. How fitting, then, that the Texas Board of Education is currently meeting to decide how the subject of evolution should be taught in Texas public schools.
Up for consideration is whether to remove the requirement of presenting both strengths and weaknesses of evolution in science curricula, and whatever standards the Board agrees upon will be in effect for the next 10 years.
Supporters of evolution, of course, argue that the current requirements open the door to teaching Creationism and amount to “bad science,” while proponents of the requirements say that removing them is tantamount to censorship.
I say, if evolution is, in fact, completely true, then what’s the harm in debating its strengths and weaknesses? The point of school is to educate our children, and a big component of education is teaching critical thinking skills, teaching kids how to research, debate, formulate an argument and then communicate that position. To me, allowing for debate about the topic of evolution in school is a perfect opportunity to teach these skills.
Why, then, are evolution supporters so adamant about not allowing for that debate? It’s because this whole issue isn’t really about science.
The scientific method, as taught to every student, is as follows:
- Ask a question.
- Do background research.
- Form a hypothesis.
- Test the hypothesis.
- Draw a conclusion from those tests.
- Report the results.
If evolutionists were so concerned with teaching proper science to students, then they would allow the students to do their own research, perform their own tests, and come to their own conclusions. But evolutionists don’t want students coming to their own conclusions. They don’t want to debate. They want to forcefully impose their beliefs on everyone else, a desire which stems from their wholesale rejection of the possibility that God could actually exist and the the universe and mankind could actually have been created by Him.
UT Austin professor Dr. Dan Bolnick, a supporter of evolution, stated in his testimony before the Board yesterday that creationists “haven’t earned a seat in the classroom.” (Video below.) He argues that if there is to be debate about evolution allowed in schools, then creationists must first provide scientific evidence of Creation.
He doesn’t get it.
The evidence is all around us. This universe, this solar system, this planet, the plants and animals inhabiting it are far more complex than we will ever truly and completely understand. And we as human beings are unique within the animal kingdom. Homo sapiens is the only species to ever question the origins of its existence, and it has been doing so since its inception.
The latest in evolutionary theory states that life first originated on earth after a unique blend of chemicals and compounds were ignited, probably by lightning, forming amino acids which eventually gave rise to RNA, DNA, and then complete organisms. In my opinion, it takes a far greater faith to accept this hypothesis than it does to believe that an eternal God designed them. But even if the hypothesis is true, that still doesn’t disprove God’s existence or contradict the Bible’s account of Creation; all it does is contradict the idea of creation in six 24-hour days.
As I’ve stated before, I can accept the concept of evolution if you define it as plants and animals adapting to their environment. I can even go so far as to accept that life was created in the way described above. None of that is inconsistent with the idea of God or intelligent design. But as a Christian, I cannot accept the idea that mankind, Homo sapiens, evolved in the same way that other plants and animals may have evolved. I cannot accept that our existence is merely happenstance. I believe that we were uniquely created alongside the animal kingdom and that we were created for a reason.
Francis Chan writes in his book, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God:
Have you ever thought about how diverse and creative God is? He didn’t have to make hundreds of different kinds of bananas, but He did. He didn’t have to put 3,000 different species of trees within one square mile in the Amazon jungle, but He did. God didn’t have to create so many types of laughter. Think about the different sounds of your friends’ laughs — wheezes, snorts, silent, loud, obnoxious. …
Whatever God’s reasons for such diversity, creativity, and sophistication in the universe, on earth, and in our own bodies, the point of it all is His glory. God’s art speaks of Himself, reflecting who He is and what He is like. …
That is why we are called to worship Him. His art, His handiwork, and His creation all echo the truth that He is glorious. There is no other like Him. He is the King of Kings, the Beginning and the End, the One who was and is and is to come.
I don’t expect Dr. Bolnick and other supporters of evolution to agree with this assessment, nor do I expect every Texas school teacher to. But to disallow the debate over it does far greater harm to Texas students than the alternative.