It’s a valid question, and one with which society has struggled for quite a while. Those who answer in the affirmative believe that Creationism and evolution are two beliefs that should be taught side by side. Those that say that Creationism has no place in schools usually suggest that Creationism is a belief, whereas science is fact, and therefore has no place alongside the study of evolution.
So where do I stand? Well, I don’t mind acknowledging that I completely agree that Creationism and evolution have no business being taught side by side. But I won’t go so far as to say it should be dismissed from school altogether. I’ll tell you why in a bit.
What is Creationism?
Originally, this was a term coined by Christians as a contradiction to evolution. Creationism means that an omnipotent god created all humans from nothing. Our observations of the universe are therefore based on irrelevant information, as everything was created as is.
Most people who oppose Creationism don’t recognize that Creationists are diverse, and not all of them agree on the manner of which life was created, or when. Many religions have their own creation stories, and so Creationism, while almost always used to recognize Christian belief when we debate this subject, can refer to any of those religions.
I don’t see any reason to argue that Creationism is false, as there’s no way or confirming or denying. The concept of “faith” is something a lot of people can’t wrap their heads around, which is why so many people dismiss Creationists with a mere roll of their eyes.
What is the Theory of Evolution?
Evolution is the idea that all life was derived from a specific pool of genes which has mutated over time. Some mutations have eventually resulted in new species, even though the old species still exist. Chimpanzees, humans, fish, and dinosaurs, therefore, all arose from the same cosmic bucket of biological muck. The concept is simple enough, and so I’m not going to go into too much detail.
I’ll absolutely argue why evolution is relevant, and that’s because you don’t need faith in order to accept it. Many Creationists point out that evolution is only a theory. However, a theory like you or I might make isn’t necessarily based in fact. It can be nothing more than an idea without any real relevance to anything.
Scientific theory is completely different. Scientific theory is strenuously tested and empirically relevant. It is fact, based on repeated observations and experimentation. Evolution itself is historically documented and can be seen in nature without the need to accept something fantastical.
Many Creationists will ask how we came from chimpanzees if chimpanzees are still here. Well, it’s simple. If have children with a woman, and my brother has children with a different woman, our kids won’t necessarily be the same. If my genome has a mutation and his does not, I might pass it down to my children, while he wouldn’t pass it down to his. My kids would then have children of their own and continue to pass the gene down, while my brother’s children would continue to have children of their own and not pass the gene down. But hey, guess what: We’re all still living and breeding. Different species are created in similar fashion. Domesticated dogs were all once wolves, but not anymore.
But Why Shouldn’t Creationism and Evolution Be Taught Side by Side?
Simply put, one is religion and one is science. Studying one is theology, and studying the other is science. It doesn’t matter if you believe in Creationism or if you believe in evolution. Why would you put them in the same classroom?
And it’s during the answer to that question that I become angry.
The answer: I don’t believe in indoctrination. Children shouldn’t be force-fed your beliefs if those beliefs contradict facts. People want Creationism and evolution side by side because they want to spread their own religions. We fund schools with tax money, and we separate church from state. You don’t get to have your religious beliefs inside the public school system when it’s paid for with my money. Send your kids to Sunday school.
I do accept the idea of placing religious education courses in public schools. Courses that teach about all religions instead of just yours. The Bible can absolutely be studied as a historical text. So can the texts which hold the beliefs of other religions. We can study Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Greek mythology all in the same room. If you disagree with that, then I’m at a loss.
I agree that people have the right to hold their own beliefs, but that doesn’t mean you have the right to put them inside of schools. Only facts belong in schools.
And as for my own beliefs? Well, they’re obvious at this point. Faith is noteworthy for being based in blindness. I don’t like blind loyalty, blind trust, blind faith, or anything else blind. Science is based in what we can see with our own eyes and/or detect by drawing direct conclusions from what we already know. Seems the better choice, if I had to pick one over the other.
This is why I’m agnostic; spiritual instead of a follower of organized religion, which in my opinion tends to do more harm than good. If you are a member of a religious congregation, then I urge you to use your influence in that organization to make it a tool for good instead of an excuse to do evil.