libraries and evolution teaching

John Grehan jrg13 at
Tue Aug 17 21:02:36 EDT 1999

Martha  Robinson wrote

  I would really question, though, how many of
>you have really taken the time to consider the evidence for the Biblical
>version of creation.

The creation view expressed by Martha appears to be expressly a particular
religeous view so I would not question it. I respect people to have their
various personal religeous beliefs, and if that is contrary to science that's
ok, but

I am more interested in research methodology than so-called evidence for
the ultimate nature of reality. So when it comes to evolution its not because
of the "evidence", but because it works in terms of scientific methodology - and
what "works" is that which leads to new insights rather than just reiterating a
set position. In other words, creation "science" is boring, it goes nowhere.

>Most of us on the other side of the bridge grow up on a steady diet of
>evolution and only evolution.  We are not taught to question assumptions
>such as the "millions and billions",  or that layering necessarily
>involves long periods of time, or even to read the fine print on the
>large intermediary form in the museum, which turns out to be an artist's
>interpretation, *not* something dug up by an archaelogist.

The questioning of the millions etc suggests that Martha is a young-age
creationist. The irony of biblical-backed creationism is that it also
used to support old-age cretionism as well! It seems that the bible "version"
of creation is no more monotheistic than evolution.

In science there are
plenty of publications and classroom presentations of examples where
perceptions have led to false interpretations. Scientists are human, and make
human mistakes, but thats nothing unique to evolution.

There is a limit to questioning assumptions so even though I try to be
critical, I don't question assumptions where there is no serious
anomoly. So when physicists state that the speed of light is constant,
I find no need to question it, even though philosophically it can
be questioned. I leave that issue to the specialists, and if they find
reason to question it I would certainly take note.

 I was never
>taught to wonder why, if evolution is true, is the fossil record not
>jam-packed with intermediary forms?

The issue of intermediary forms become circular. Since intermediary forms
share characters or characterisitics in common with different groups, their
position naturally becomes ambiguous since they don't fit easily within
classifications of distinct categories. The result is if one or other
character is emphasised
the "intermediate" might be classified within one of the alternative
categories. Creationists take this to mean that the intermediate is not
and intermediate. It sort of gets to the point that there is a denial of
intermediates, so there are no intermediates, any other view notwithstanding.
This gets boring since it does not lead to futher analysis of the
while in evolutionary theory they are anomolies that lead to novel predictions
(e.g. presence of "feathers" on dinosaurs could be predicted before they
were discovered).

>I would venture to say that most creationists only ask for a balanced
>presentation,  in the early years,  of differing viewpoints and that
>children be taught and encouraged to ask questions.

This is asking for special treatment. Since competing research progrms in
science never get special treatment why should creation? Such a request is
unfair and immoral (at least my idea of morality is that favoratism
like this is unethical). If proponents of creationism want their theory to
be treated as science they should fight it out the same way as everyone
else - in the marketplace of ideas in science. If this does not succeed in
gaining wide following resorting to political interference represents
low moral standards. As a supporter of a minority research methodology that
has not gained a dominant following, should I do what creationists do and
get politicians to force my research program upon everyone?

However, Martha's view is a religeous one so perhaps she could get
it introduced into courses on religeon.

>This was not my experience when we donated a number of well-written books
>that presented creation as *a* viewpoint, not the only viewpoint.  These
>books never hit the shelf.  In contrast, there were countless books that
>assumed evolution.

I was talking about the library in general, not individual libraries.
on my research program won't make it onto many shelves either. That's
life. Some things are sufficiently popular others are not.

John Grehan

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