Recently, a couple atheist friends and I have been kicking around the old Evolution vs. Creationism debate, just for shits and giggles. As a health care professional, my world is filled with scientists. It comes as a great shock to me when I am confronted by someone who doesn't subscribe to evolutionary theory.
Ultrasound Tech: You believe in evolution?
Me: Well, yeah.
UT: So you believe we came from monkeys?
Me: Actually, I think that we have a common ancestor with -
UT: If we came from monkeys, why are there still monkeys in the world? Wouldn't they have become something else by now?
Me: But they did become something else. They became monkeys.
And at that point we just stared at each other in confusion. In my mind, this is the main sticking point of this debate. The two sides just aren't speaking the same language.
Science is all about empiricism - Charles Darwin didn't study finches because he had this great idea called "evolution." He studied finches and got a great idea. It took him twenty years to prepare his theory for publication. This was not something he took lightly, nor did he set out to disprove the Christian faith. As a young man he was deeply religious and had considered taking orders in the Anglican church. However, he gradually came to believe that "the Old Testament, from its manifestly false history of the world, with the Tower of Babel, the rainbow at sign, etc., etc., and from its attributing to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant, was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos*, or the beliefs of any barbarian."
Creationists, on the other hand, come at things from a different direction. They know how the Earth was created, and they go looking for evidence to prove it. Anything that doesn't fit their theory is disregarded as false. For the Bible (read: God) tells them so. If there was no other reason, that right there is an argument not to teach creationism in the science classroom. Teach it at church, at home or in Bible study. Teach it as part of World Literature, for all I care. I think 'Dr. Dino' Kent Hovind said it best: "You're welcome to believe that. But it's not science and I resent that being taught in science classes at taxpayer expense ... The fact that you believe it doesn't make it true." Ironically, he was arguing to take evolutionary theory out of the classrooms, as he is one of the most famous proponents of creationism.
Check out the video that sparked this blog entry. Warning: it's almost three hours long and you probably won't get too far past Hovind's first product-placement for his Creation Science Evangelism company. I wish I was kidding about that.
*Ouch, Charlie. What did Hindus ever do to you? In his defense ... our creation myths include sleeping gods using cobras as beds, churning seas of milk, and metaphorical human sacrifice. If you're going to teach my kids Genesis 1-3, I get to teach your kids that god took the form of a boar to dig the Earth out of the bottom of the celestial ocean. How do you like them forbidden apples?