[I have copied this to the list, because I want my comments to be
public. But the note I am responding to was sent to me privately,
in response to my posting of the pending creationism bill in the
Michigan state legislature, so while I have copied the note below
to put my response in context, I have removed the author's name.]
Thank you for your note. I appreciate your position as a theistic
evolutionist. (Check out my website.)
I sincerely have absolutely no problems with teaching religious
beliefs about creation in the public schools in, say, a history, or
social studies, or religions survey class. I have no problems with
religiously-affiliated private schools teaching (erroneously) in
their science classes that young earth creationism is scientific, as
The problem here is that some people who are motivated by their
religious beliefs are working to have their religious beliefs taught
in science classes in public schools under the rubric of "science"
when, in fact, the beliefs are religious and not scientific.
Additionally, I do have very serious concerns about people who believe
that the universe, the earth, and human beings have not been in
existence for more than about 6,000 years -- all ideas that have been
manifestly falsified by empirical observation -- trying to have such
false beliefs taught in science classes. These are religious beliefs.
If people wish to adhere to such beliefs regardless of their empirical
falsification they have every right to do so. They do not, however,
have the right to misrepresent their beliefs as being the same as or
on a par with scientific examination of the real world itself.
Moreover, as someone who understands the distinction between religious
beliefs and scientific examination, and who understands the falsified
nature of young earth creationism with respect to objective features
of the real world that we have learned about, I too have every right
to act politically, as young earth creationists are doing, to oppose
their efforts to legislatively "water down" science education in
science areas that they happen to dislike. And I am doing so.
Finally, there are three senses of "the theory of evolution," and two
of them are quite proven. The first is the historical sense, in the
general fact of the change in organic forms through time as seen
(spottily) through the fossil record. This is considered factual (by
everyone, even all other creationists, except YECs). The second is the
biological change sense, which YECs typically refer to as
"micro-evolution" (in order to portray a distinction with what they
call "macro-evolution"). This is considered factual, even by YECs.
The third sense is that there is nothing other than the second sense
is needed to explain the first sense. Just as one example, a gap in
the fossil record is genuinely a gap in the fossil record, and thus a
gap in information, and not evidence of a "supernatural intervention."
(Of course, YECs also use evolution in a fourth sense to very
generally refer to anything and everything non-YEC, whether in
astronomy, geology, physics, or any other pieces of science that they
do not like. But I won't get into that here.) Will this creationism
bill acknowledge such factual items, such that the universe is
objectively observed to have been around for at least several billion
years, and that the antiquity of the earth (and fossils) is
objectively observed by such evidences as the Manicouagan Crater which
obviously cannot be a merely 6,000 year old geological feature, and
that such transitional forms as *Homo erectus* (or *Homo ergaster*)
have been around for almost 2 million years? I don't think so. The
attempt of the bill, like other creationism legislation, is simply to
obfuscate these matters.
When creationists choose to enter their ideas into a political arena
and try to masquerade them as something other than what they are, then
they certainly deserve the critical scrutiny that they will get.
Sincerely, and regards,
Todd S. Greene
###### From: [...], 3/13/01 10:26 AM ######
Subject: Re: Legislative Alert: Michigan Creationism Bill
I have a Ph.D in petroleum geochemistry and lean towards a theistic
evolution view on the origin of life. Yet -
What is so wrong about including a statement that the theory of evolution
is not proven? Yes there is good evidence in favour of it, but why do you
guys make such a big issue of not allowing part of the population to
include such a minor statement which takes their world view into account?
Is the US a democratic country?
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