The Instigator
WilliamsP
Con (against)
Winning
10 Points
The Contender
BobTurner
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Creationism should be taught in schools.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
WilliamsP
Voting Style: Judge Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/26/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,405 times Debate No: 55466
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (22)
Votes (2)

 

WilliamsP

Con

I intend to debate an individual that believes Creationism should indeed be taught at schools, a notion I severely oppose.

Rounds

Round One: Acceptance.
Round Two: Arguments only; no rebuttals
Round Three: Final arguments; rebuttals
Round Four: Final rebuttals; conclusion

Rules

1. Forfeiture will result in the loss of conduct points.
2. Proper spelling and grammar will be used at all times.
3. All sources will be cited. All formats are acceptable.


I am ready to debate this issue. I sincerely look forward to this debate.
BobTurner

Pro

My opponent argues that creationism should not be taught in schools.

Therefore the resolution we are dealing with is this:

Creationism should be taught in schools


I'd like to note what this resolution is NOT:

"Creationism should be taught in ALL schools."

"Creationism should be taught in schools as science."

"Creationism should be taught in schools instead of evolution."

"Creationism should be taught in PUBLIC schools."

"Creationism should be a MANDATORY course."

"Creationism should be a MANDATORY course in PUBLIC schools."


He does not specify the way in which creationism would be taught, where it would be taught, or whether or not it is mandatory.

He cannot possibly add these to the resolution after the fact, as that would be shifting the goalposts.

Therefore, there are several arguments that he CANNOT possibly make:

1. Separation of church and state -- this is irrelevant because he does not tailor his resolution to public schools alone.

2. Creationism isn't science -- this is irrelevant, because the resolution does not address that creationism should be taught as literally true. It could be taught as literature, or in a world religions course.

3. Teaching creationism would impinge on religious liberty -- he cannot argue this because the resolution does not state that this is a MANDATORY course. It could be an elective where students interested in the topic, in consultation with their parents, teacher, guidance counselors, etc. opt to take the course.



My argument is that private schools -- particularly parochial schools -- should be allowed to teach creationism if they so please. This is the easiest argument to defend as private property rights in this case reign supreme.

I will then argue that this should be available as a World Religions or literature elective because some students may be interested in pursuing religious studies in their college years.



At this point, it seems nearly impossible for my adversay to win this debate.
Debate Round No. 1
WilliamsP

Con

Preface

I would like to begin by thanking my opponent BobTurner for accepting this debate. However, I will clarify a few things before debating. First of all, my challenger twists the meaning of the debate’s resolution, that Creationism should not be taught in school – the side I am arguing. My antagonist states that I have “not specif[ied] the way in which creationism would be taught, where it would be taught, or whether or not it is mandatory.” I do not see how my opponent can misunderstand me. The debate is about school overall. It is about the overall notion of teaching Creationism at schools.

Even though the debate has not truly started, he has already attacked me. He says I cannot argue anything regarding the separation of church and state, that Creationism is not science, and that teaching Creationism would intrude on religious freedom. I feel my opponent misunderstood the resolution of the debate – which I think should be evident – but he has twisted my words and already tried to limit my arguments.

I will, in fact, argue about the separation of church and state, that the United States is a secular country, that Creationism is completely false, and that Evolution is what should be taught instead.

I will now define three terms, which are crucial to this debate.

Creationism – “the belief that God created all things out of nothing as described in the Bible and that therefore the theory of evolution is incorrect”[1]

School – “1: an organization that provides instruction: as

a : an institution for the teaching of children

b : college, university” [2]

Secular – “not spiritual : of or relating to the physical world and not the spiritual world” [3] (in other words: not founded upon a religion)

I am going to argue that Creationism should not be taught at any school. It is as simple as that. My opponent, as he is reading this, is surely rolling his eyes or raising an eyebrow, thinking how absurd my stance is. But truly, he does not understand. He does not understand how and why. Surprisingly, my rival is an Atheist as well, but he does not share the same view as I do. That is extraordinary.

I intend to prove him wrong. I intend to prove my stance to the viewers and voters. Without further ado, this debate will commence.

Arguments

As I have already defined two key terms and made my stance clear, I will commence my arguments.

The United States is Secular

The United States is indeed a secular nation. This is shown through multiple things: There is a clear separation of church and state in this country. The first amendment restricts the government from recognizing any religion. Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli states, “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.” [4]

The first amendment of the United States Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” [5] History shows that the United States is clearly a secular country, taking into consideration the Treaty of Tripoli and the first amendment. People have the right to their own faith, but they should not press these views onto others. Not only would teaching Creationism at schools be unconstitutional, but it would be immoral. The thirteen colonies – the eventual original states of the United States, obviously – were essentially founded upon religious freedom. This country is secular and people have the right to their own religion.

Religious Institutions

The United States is indeed secular, but churches and religious schools exist, obviously spreading the teachings of the Bible and the idea of Creation. Church is a choice, not an obligation, so this is clearly acceptable. However, school is indeed an obligation. At religious institutions, Creationism may of course be taught – even though it is clearly false – but that is not true when it comes to regular schools. As long as these religious institutions are privately owned – not government owned – it is, of course, constitutional. However, if any religious institution were owned by the government, it would be unconstitutional.

Creationism is False

I do not intend to argue this point in great detail, as I have debated this before. Please look at my other debate about this topic and consider my arguments: http://www.debate.org...; My opponent himself is an Atheist, but a debate is truly about convincing the viewers, not your opponent.

So, as Creationism is false to begin with, why would you teach it at schools? It is absolutely illogical.

Analysis

My arguments can be summarized in the following points:

- The United States is a secular country; teaching anything religious in schools and other similar institutions is unconstitutional.
- Creationism being taught at school violates the first amendment; Atheists and members of religions without a God would have an issue with sitting through a class like this.
- The United States clearly has a separation of church and state; even if the first amendment were not in existence and even if the U.S. were not a secular country, it would still break that one principle of government. Schools are, in part, sponsored and endorsed by government, so Creationism being taught at school is surely unconstitutional.

- Creationism is false anyway.

Sources

1. http://www.merriam-webster.com...;
2. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
3. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
4. http://www.stephenjaygould.org...
5. http://www.archives.gov...;

BobTurner

Pro

BobTurner forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
WilliamsP

Con

My opponent has forfeited. I am not happy about this. In fact, I am disappointed. As there is no argument made by my opponent, there is nothing I can refute. As I warned in the first round, forfeiture will result in the loss of conduct points. I simply hope this does not repeat itself.
BobTurner

Pro

BobTurner forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
WilliamsP

Con

Forfeiture has occured once again. I am disappointed.
BobTurner

Pro

BobTurner forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
22 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
The debate has not in any way been ruined... Further Con was given opportunity to refine his opening round, he insisted on not doing so.

As a voter (one of the top voters here I might add), con did not make it an all inclusive statement along the lines of "Creationism should be taught in ANY schools," meaning I would assume the default of it being taught in public schools. However in no way did con imply "that creationism here is to be taught as being literally true," merely that it be taught.
Posted by BobTurner 3 years ago
BobTurner
I can tell you're new to the site because your conception of an "honest, reasonable" person is highly jaded. He did not specify any of the criteria you have mentioned, which I noted fully in my statement, and I not to infer contextually that they were in fact that.

So, no, I am not in the wrong.
Posted by james_d 3 years ago
james_d
BobTurner IMO you did ruin the debate in a sense because you intentionally misinterpreted the question to mean something that no honest, reasonable person would interpret it to mean, given the context. For one thing, it is implied that creationism here is to be taught as being literally true, or at least a literally true possibility, either from a scientific or historical perspective.

I'm brand new to this site though, and I'm not yet aware if real, honest debates are supposed to take place here or just exercises in semantics and trying to 'win' debates by technicalities. I'm also not trying to be a jerk, as I believe you did further the debate in a sense by very clearly showing some ways in which the question needs added specifications. I would be interested to read this debate once that has happened.
Posted by james_d 3 years ago
james_d
BobTurner IMO you did ruin the debate in a sense because you intentionally misinterpreted the question to mean something that no honest, reasonable person would interpret it to mean, given the context. For one thing, it is implied that creationism here is to be taught as being literally true, or at least a literally true possibility, either from a scientific or historical perspective.

I'm brand new to this site though, and I'm not yet aware if real, honest debates are supposed to take place here or just exercises in semantics and trying to 'win' debates by technicalities. I'm also not trying to be a jerk, as I believe you did further the debate in a sense by very clearly showing some ways in which the question needs added specifications. I would be interested to read this debate once that has happened.
Posted by BobTurner 3 years ago
BobTurner
I didn't misunderstand. As I said, attempting to say "I mean in public schools" is attempting to change the goalposts of this debate after the point of acceptance.
Posted by WilliamsP 3 years ago
WilliamsP
I believe my opponent has misinterpreted this debate. Therefore, I will clarify everything in the opening statements of my arguments.
Posted by WilliamsP 3 years ago
WilliamsP
MyDinosaurHands, I do not know why that is. I really do not know.
Posted by BobTurner 3 years ago
BobTurner
I didn't twist the debate. I'm simply arguing for the stated resolution. I'm using WilliamsP's exact words.
Posted by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
Too late now. Good luck.
Posted by lightingbolt50 3 years ago
lightingbolt50
Due to BobTurner twisting the debate because of wording, he ruined the debate.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by MyDinosaurHands 3 years ago
MyDinosaurHands
WilliamsPBobTurnerTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: CONDUCT goes to Con for Pro's near full forfeiture. ARGUMENTS go to Con as well because Pro's entire argument was based on semantics, which is frankly unconvincing. The fact that Pro resorts to technicalities instead of debating what we all think of when we read the resolution shows his lack of proper arguments. I know this is a little bit of a grey area issue, so if anyone wants to have some discourse with me on this decision, I will. Don't even trip dog.
Vote Placed by jamccartney 3 years ago
jamccartney
WilliamsPBobTurnerTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro forfeited, which gives Con conduct points. Con also made more convincing arguments, for Pro did not make any. Con used sources, while Pro did not. The only thing that is tied is spelling and grammar.