The Instigator
Installgentoo
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
boss1592
Con (against)
Winning
14 Points

Creationism should be Taught in Public Schools

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
boss1592
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/13/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 755 times Debate No: 43880
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (7)
Votes (2)

 

Installgentoo

Pro

I believe Creationism is a viable scientific alternative to the theory of evolution, and therefore both should be presented in schools. First round is acceptance only.
boss1592

Con

Thanks for proposing this debate Installgentoo, let's make it a good one.
Debate Round No. 1
Installgentoo

Pro

"Thanks for proposing this debate Installgentoo, let's make it a good one."

And thank you to you for taking it up so quickly. It's very hard to get people to debate topics quickly in my experience.

Now onto my argument. I have to establish two things in this argument, it seems. One, to show that Creationism is a viable thesis of the origins of life on this Planet. Two, that it is appropriate that it be taught in public schools. If I should fail to demonstrate either of these claims, I will instruct people to vote for Con.

To prove my first point, that Creationism is a viable thesis of the origin of life on this Planet, I would like to say that there are many facts in the make-up of animals today that makes them appear as if they are the products of an intelligent Creator. The eyes on many animals, for example, are delicately made, and one mistake would cause them to become unusable. They in fact operate like cameras, and we all know cameras can only be made by intelligent human beings. Why? Because cameras display complex patterns which allow them to function to capture images so perfectly. Eyes also display complex patterns in themselves. Even Darwin said that certain features like a human eye could not be accounted for by random evolution over geographic time, and that it was beyond our imagination.[1] Such objective patterns can only be the work of an extremely intelligent mind or consciousness, which is what theists mean when they talk about God.

On my second proposition, that Creationism is an appropriate thing to teach in schools, I would like to say that teaching Creationism in public schools does not violate the first amendment to the constitution. Why not? Well, Creationism teaches nothing other than a biological thesis of the origin of life. Creationism is supported by the objective evidence present in biological life, that shows evidence of a design. It does not teach any form of religion, it only teaches biological ideas about the origins of life. No child, no matter what their beliefs, should feel threatened by such presentation of facts. Religion is about faith. Creationism is about presenting facts about life, and that is it. Nobody's faith is bolstered by such a presentation.

Citations

[1]http://www.goodreads.com....
boss1592

Con

I will be arguing that creationism has no place in public education. It is a profoundly unscientific approach to the origin and diversity of life and the available data and evidence fit much better with the theory of evolution than with creationism. In addition, creationism violates what's known as the establishment clause of the U.S. constitution. These are the three pillars of contention that I shall be building my case around.

1. Creationism isn't scientific
2. Evolution better explains the evidence
3. Creationism is unconstitutional

Let's look at point one first of all. Creationism is unscientific for a variety of reasons, it's not falsifiable, it doesn't make any testable predictions, there is no evidence to support it and plenty of evidence against it, in addition to it blunting Occam's razor by grafting on the premise that life needs a designer when we have a perfectly suitable naturalistic explaination for the diversity and complexity of life in the form of evolution (more on that later).
As a result, creationism has been widely rejected by the scientific community. A Gallup poll taken in 1991 showed that of the 480,000 scientists in the U.S., only 5% were creationists. That number however takes in to account engineers and scientists not working in fields relevant to the creation/evolution debate. When only taking in to account scientists working in relevant fields, that figure drop to less that 0.15%, and that's in America, the country with more so called "creation scientists" that anywhere else in the developed world.
Creationism is unscientific simply because it does not follow the scientific method. A scientific theory begins with an observation, leads to a hypothesis to try and explain the observation, makes testable predictions, constantly compares those predictions against new evidence, then experiments are done to test it's veracity even further, experiments that must be reproducable and replicated to ensure that the theory really is the best, most complete explanation of the way a facet of the world works that we can offer, and when a better theory comes along, the original theory is either discarded or ammended.Creationism begins with the hypothesis and looks for observations to support it. Creationism offers no testable predictions or experiment by which we might test it. Creationism offers nothing that could falsify it, and now we most definitely have a better theory in evolution by natural selection, a theory that provides a powerful explanatory mechanism that creationism doesn't, it makes testable predictions, and the many observations and experiments supporting it are reproducable. Evolution is a scientific theory, creationism doesn't rise above the level of hypothesis at the very best, and pseudoscience at worst.

So let's look at evolution. Evolution is one of the most watertight, widely supported, rigourous theories in science, standing proudly alongside relativity, electromagnetism, and quantum mechanics. It's supported by molecular biology, it's supported by the fossil record, including transitional fossils that creationists endlessly claim don't exist, and it's independantly supported and verified by other fields of science, including medicine, many treatments of which, such as vaccines, have to take evolutionary principles in to account, in the case of flu vaccines, the disease that the vaccine has been designed to combat evolves, which is why new vaccines need to be brought out each year to combat the new strain. The level of support evolution enjoys from the scientific community is almost unanimus, many members of which, are Christians, or religious in general. I'll elaborate further on the evidence for evolution in my rebuttals as it will no doubt be challlenged (and rightly so, this is a debate after all) but for now I want to examine the legal argument.

The establishment clause is a clause found in the first amendment of the U.S. constitution that states, verbatim: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". This ensures that the United States cannot ratify a state church or state religion and ensures that religion and state are kept separate from each other, in other words, a religion, any religion, can't dictate the running of the state. Creationism is a religious viewpoint, even if you attempt to dress it up as merely a biological hypothesis, it's a hypothesis based solely on one's religious opinion, it has to be, because as I demonstrated earlier, the scientific method does not lead to the conclusion that there is a designer because such a theory is unscientific in a variety of ways. As further evidence of this, I call to your attention the very highly publicised legal trial of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area High School. This was a result of a recent decision of the school board voting to challenge evolution and "teach the (so called) controversy". The court found that intelligent design (which is just creationism in disguise, something else the court found) was a primarily religious initiative that unnecessarily and unconstitutionally entangled church and state, failing what has become known as the lemon test. It also found that intelligent design was not science. The lemon test examines three points. Is the action purely secular? Does it promote or inhibit religion? Does it entangle church and state? A failure of any of these conditions means the action is unconstitutional under the establishment clause. Intelligent design fails all three.

So, with my opening statement, I will now turn the floor over to my opponent for his first rebuttal, and shall address his opening statement in my next round.
Debate Round No. 2
Installgentoo

Pro

Okay first off I am sorry for taking so long to get back to this debate, my laptops battery ran dry and I had to order a replacement.

My opponents first contention that Creationism isn't scientific is wrong. His statement that it isn't falsifiable is also wrong. But even if it were not falsifiable, that alone would not make it wrong. "Falsifiability" is not a criteria which is used by science any more to figure out what is right or wrong.

I would also be interested in what evidence there is against Creationism. I haven't seen anyone disprove the contention that animals need a designer, and if my opponent wishes to disprove this, he must disprove these two beliefs about life that form the basis of Creationist theory,

1) biological systems show objective patterns
2) these biological patterns cannot be reasonably ascribed to chance

If he could do that I would be happy to concede because I am aware of my heavy BoP here.

Another contention he makes to Creation theories is that only a few scientists agree with it, but this is just an argument ad populum. I would also like to see the poll he mentions.

He then states that Creationism does not uphold to the scientific method. I believe it does, however, because it makes a hypothesis that there are objective patterns working in nature which cannot be made by chance, it makes statements based on evidence, such as evidence of the complex workings of cells in mutations, saying these mutations cannot occur purely through a chance mechanism alone,n and these experiments can be repeated and proven/disproven by scientists in a lab environment. Dembski cites such mutations, if you would look his statements on my statement up, and he is a brilliant scientist who should know about that.

On the statement about my idea being unconstitutional, I would say that yes the desire to teach it is based on religion, but this is just a genetic fallacy. There is no connection between religion and the idea of design. Deism teaches that things are designed, as do many other types of pantheistic views that are not usually classified as religious, for example syncretic religions.
boss1592

Con

I'd like to begin with my opponents request to see the Gallup poll that I cited in my opening remarks as evidence of the rejection of creationism by scientists. While I have been unable to locate the original poll, I am happy to provide a different poll showing similar results.

According to this poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, a think-tank based in Washington D.C., 97% of scientists believe that humans and other living things have evolved over time, with 87% believing that this occurred through naturalistic means alone, as opposed to just 2% who believe that living things were created in the present form and have not evolved: http://www.people-press.org...

In addition to polling date, intelligent design has been utterly rejected by numerous scientific institutions such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) who said regarding the teaching of evolution in 2006: "... A number of bills require the students be taught to 'critically analyze' evolution, or to understand 'the controversy'. But there is no significant controversy within the scientific community about the validity of the theory of evolution. The current controversy surrounding the teaching of evolution is not a scientific one." The AAAS is the world's largest general scientific society, serving 10 million individuals. This is a view supported by the American Association of University Professors, which has a membership of over 47,000. The AAUP said, regarding proposed academic freedom bills involving the creation/evolution debate, "Such efforts run counter to the overwhelming scientific consensus regarding evolution and are inconsistent with a proper understanding of the meaning of academic freedom". Now it's at this point that I want to deal with an objection my opponent made in his rebuttals. He argued that my argument regarding the number of scientists who rejected evolution was nothing more than an argumentum ad populum, or to put it in simpler terms, he argues that creationism should not be considered false simply because the majority of people disagree with it. Now, he is actually right when he says this, and if the truth of creationism was what we were debating, then I would not have brought it up at all, but we are not debating the truth of creationism, we are debating whether or not it should be taught in schools. The scientific consensus does not claim to be true, it claims to be our current best understanding held by those who are experts in the field, who actually study the matter. In a court of law, such people could and would be called as expert witnesses, as indeed they were in the aforementioned Kitzmiller vs Dover trial. My opponent is arguing that creationism is a valid scientific hypothesis that should be taught in public schools. It is not remotely fallacious to point out that the overwhelming majority of the scientific community vehemently disagrees with him.

Now, onto my opponents actual rebuttals.

My opponent begins by contesting my argument that creationism is not scientific. He further goes on to say that creationism is falsifiable, but he gives no examples or evidence to support either of these two claims. He claims that creationism does not have to be falsifiable to be science, however in his book The Logic of Scientific Discovery, the philosopher of science Karl Popper argues that falsifiability is critical to the enterprise of science, since no amount of experiments can ever prove a theory, but just one can contradict it. Popper argues "The criterion of demarcation inherent in inductive logic - that is, the positivistic dogma of meaning - is equivalent to the requirement that all the statements of empirical science (or all 'meaningful' statements) must be capable of being fully decided, with respect to their truth and falsity; we shall say that they must be 'conclusively decidable'. This means that their form must be such that to verify them and to falsify them must both be logically possible"

My opponent goes on to say "I would be interested in what evidence there is against creationism". The need to produce evidence to support the claim being made logically must fall on the person actually making the claim, but as it happens, the evidence against creationism is very powerful. The most prominent example being countless examples of bad design in nature, be it simply inefficient (such as the design of the human eye) to being seemingly downright cruel (the constant life and death struggle present in nature between predator and prey). As it happens, the eye was something that my opponent cited in his opening remarks as an example of good design, so lets analyse it a little further.

My opponent referenced a quote from Charles Darwin, the full quote being "To suppose that the eye with all it's inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic abberation, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree" This quote is a favourite of creationists, because it seems to imply Darwin himself considers the idea of the eye evolving not just wrong but "absurd". However, the quote in question has, on many occasions, been taken from it's true context in the most pernicious of fashions. Darwin immediately makes it apparent that this is nothing more than a rhetorical tactic very often seen in debating, to appear to grant the opponent victory, only for him to step by step show how the eye in fact could have evolved, spending three and a half pages detailing several intermediate stages that are all present in nature today, from a simple, photosensitive cell to the development of muscles that would allow a lens to adjust. As mentioned before, every intermediate stage, and I can elaborate on those individual stages if required, is known to be viable, because examples of each stage are present in animals living today. Darwin concluded with "... and if such variations should be useful to any animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, should not be considered as subversive of the theory."

As I alluded to earlier, despite being a popular example among creationists of design evident in nature, the eye is actually quite inefficiently designed. Our eyes are actually built backwards, and upside down, requiring, according Dr. Michael Shermer, here being quoted by Christopher Hitchens in his book God is not Great, "photons of light to travel through the cornea, lens, aqueous fluid, blood vessels, ganglion cells, amacrine cells, horizontal cells, and bipolar cells before they reach the light-sensitive rods and cones that transduce the light signal into neural impulses, which are then sent to the visual cortex at the back of the brain for processing into meaningful patterns". It is this inefficient "design" that creates a blind spot in the eyes of vertebrates.

Now I just want to make one final point regarding a theme that has permeated my opponent's rebuttal. He says that there are phenomena in nature that can not be accounted for by chance alone, but this betrays a fatal misunderstanding of how evolution works. Evolution, primarily, is not dominated by chance, natural selection, evolution's principle driving force, is explicitly non-random. Mutations are random, but they are only one thread in the tapestry that is evolution. Thus, to categorize evolution as being a matter of chance is demonstrably fallacious as it is a blatant strawman of how the theory of evolution actually works. He claims that to disprove creationism, I must disprove 2 premises, that biological systems show objective patterns and that these patterns can't be accounted for by chance. His problem is that evolution accommodates both these premises, and do
Debate Round No. 3
Installgentoo

Pro

Installgentoo forfeited this round.
boss1592

Con

Well, sadly it seems my opponent has missed the voting deadline. I hope he takes part in the final round regardless, and I shall surrender my rebuttal round in this spirit.
Debate Round No. 4
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Cygnus 3 years ago
Cygnus
Correction from my vote. The word "phenomenology" should be "phrenology".

Freaking autocorrect. #anger
Posted by boss1592 3 years ago
boss1592
Whoops, didn't realise it was my final round lol.
Posted by boss1592 3 years ago
boss1592
Ugh, just realized the last sentence of my response got cut off lol
Posted by Installgentoo 3 years ago
Installgentoo
Sure, thetapinch, I'd love to debate ya.
Posted by theta_pinch 3 years ago
theta_pinch
installgentoo I'd like to debate this with you later if your okay with that.
Posted by Installgentoo 3 years ago
Installgentoo
@DudeStop: I think God existed eternally before he created the universe. It's the only logical point of view to take on such an entity.

And no I don't think an intelligent mind needs a creator- abstract entities don't need creators, but most people would say they exist- in a Platonic sense anyway!
Posted by DudeStop 3 years ago
DudeStop
@Instagello: I was just wondering where you think that god came from. Existed eternally etc.

And also do you think an intelligent mind requires a creator?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Cygnus 3 years ago
Cygnus
Installgentooboss1592Tied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Con wins by default as Pro forfeited his final round, although he may have had a good reason to do so. But the real reason that Con wins is that he displays a fundamental understanding of science and evolution, whereas Pro does not. For instance, Pro states that falsifiability is not used in science. However, if that were true, then we would still be using phenomenology, Holliston theory, emitter theory, etc. Science must remain dynamic, and without falsifiability we would still be using candles as our primary source of lighting. 7 points for Con.
Vote Placed by wateva232 3 years ago
wateva232
Installgentooboss1592Tied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture, so points go to Con. However, I will give reasons as well. Pro made many claims that were unsupported, such as creatures shows objective patterns and cannot be ascribed to chance. Con replied as evolution is not by chance, it is the accumulation of good features overtime. Also evidence against creationism was given by Con and Pro made a fatal mistake by saying science can be not falsifiable. The creation story of the Hindus is also unfalsifiable,, do you agree we should teach it in schools? Definitely not. All points go to Con for forfeiture.