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Creationism In Arkansas Schools


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Speaking of creation/evolution being taught in Arkansas schools - well that's not a buzz right now. At least not like it was back in the early '80s, when there was a buzz and court cases, including  McLean vs Arkansas. The Arkansas battle was one of several cases in the nation that wound up being rolled into a Supreme Court decision.  The Supreme Court, in the tradition of Dred Scott vs Sandford in 1857 (declaring that African Americans could not be citizens) and Roe vs Wade in 1971 (declaring that fetuses were not people) declared in 1987 in Edwards vs Aguillard that creationists were not scientists. Well, we have since discovered that black people are citizens and fetuses are people. And in the tradition of the avant-garde knowledge of the US Supreme Court being wrong, we may now be discovering that creationists are scientists.


As feasible as Darwin's theory was, it has run into much difficulty -  "... even Darwin himself struggled with the fact that the fossil record failed to support his conclusions. "Why," he asked, "if species have descended from other species by fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms?" The Origin of Species, 1859.


"The fossil record has been thoroughly explored and documented. Darwin's excuse of "extreme imperfection of the geological record" is no longer credible"  Evolution: A Theory in Crisis,1985, 


Since Darwin's angst over fossils, many problems for his theory have cropped up in science - like carbon dating. Via eating, all living stuff has an atmospheric composition of carbon (plants absorb it from air). This is almost all stable C12  with some unstable C14,  formed with space radiation. When a once living thing dies, it stops taking in carbon, so measuring the C14/C12 ratio tells when something very old died. C14 has a half-life of 5730 years, so you should be able to find lots of dead things with all of the carbon-14 decayed, disproving a young earth.


"However, modern technology has produced a major fly in that uniformitarian ointment"  per  Carbon Dating Undercuts Evolution's Long Ages ( icr.org ) In short, they've found way more C14 in the fossil record than should be there.


But to me, there is one big problem with evolution that seems overlooked. 


We have come to think of the simplistic Christian version of origins as being the fragile half of the debate easily shattered with each advance of science. That is now very questionable as each advance of science now seems to be shattering Darwin's theory. But think about this for a minute. It only takes one case of the supernatural to nullify the entire uniformitarian (pure natural law) argument. If you have an intervention over natural law by a higher sphere, this sphere can intervene anyway it wants, and thus has the right to explain origins, or anything, rather than natural law. It is actually the uniformitarian view that is fragile since just one superseding of natural law upsets the whole apple cart.


There are many such interventions. The most well known case is the murder of Jesus and his resurrection. He was dead for three days, then walked around for 40 days and was seen by hundreds of people with the wounds of the crucifixion visible in his new body. It has been described by historians as the most verifiable event of the ancient world.


If you'd like to learn more about the status of the evolution/creation debate, you can attend a series of presentations at The Global Outreach Center in Rogers (google for directions) beginning at 9 am Sunday mornings starting on 10/20 in the Men's Class (upper Landing area).

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I'm going to regret this, as debates about creationism and its place in schools rarely lead anywhere productive.  However, I shall make one, singular request to the original poster: please provide a link to one peer-reviewed article published in any major scientific journal that seriously questions evolutionary biology (I don't mean questions some mechanic about it, but rather states that the whole framework is broken and should be scrapped in favor of a strictly creationist structure).  Bonus points if it shows young-earth creationism to be the fact. And no, the Institute for Creation Research is not what I'd consider

Mind you, it's one thing to believe that evolution is God's way of interacting with the earth, with a hand of Divine Intervention guiding the way life has, and continues, to evolve. I tend to subscribe to this.  That is my interpretation of the events, it's how I answer "Why?".  I do not, however, believe that this should be taught in schools, as it is by its very nature a view of a natural phenomenon through a religious lens. In public schools, or in any school that is accredited to grant degrees, what is scientifically shown is what should be taught in science classes, not what is religiously interpreted.

As for changes in modern evolutionary theory, yes, that will happen. It is a scientific field in which new breakthroughs are made every day that advance our understanding and knowledge.  Much like plate techtonics superseded Wegener's theory of continental drift, new pieces of the evolutionary puzzle lead to a more in-depth picture of the processes that enabled life to develop to its current state.  None of those pieces have yet to bring the underlying theory to its knees, and it is a misrepresentation of facts to suggest otherwise.  Frankly, Darwin never scrapped his theory of evolution, and paleontology in the 19th century was hardly the most developed of sciences.  Confusion between the two is understandable given the limiting factors of the developmental levels of both sciences.  That confusion has largely been cleared and corrected since then.  That being said, the fossil record is not so complete as the book you cited would lead one to believe.  However, there is still enough variation and even a rather linear descendancy for a number of species, ourselves included.

Inquiry is the basis of science, however this crusade to quash evolutionary theory in favor of creationism borders on an unhealthy obsession.  Instead of spending your time trying to redact scientific efforts in Sunday school, use your time to study the message of the Bible You'll forgive me when I choose to believe that the Genesis stories are a parable of creation that talks of God's power and explains His desire to make a world in a poetic tone that takes some literate license with scientific reality.  Frankly, I think you're missing the entire point and doing the Bible and the Christian Faith a disservice.  I prefer to focus on Christ's teachings, to have discussions of religion from a philosophical point of view instead of trying to shoehorn scientific understanding into some narrow literalist interpretation.

Oh, and as a side note, since you tried to throw out some scientific sounding 'evidence' with regards to radiocarbon dating of fossils, there are a few things you should know:
- Carbon-14 is not shortened to C14, it's 14C (14C if you really want to get technical). C14 would imply a molecule consisting of 14 carbon atoms (C14).
- True fossils, like those of dinosaurs that died 65 million years ago, do not have carbon. Organic material is replaced by nonorganic minerals in the process of fossilization, ergo the only radiocarbon dating that can be done on them is of incompletely fossilized remains that have not been dead long enough to have completely decomposed or fossilized.  Any 14C detected in fossilized remains is the result of contamination, and has been solidly shown as such.

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