Saturday, January 24, 2009

Creationism and Evolution in our society

I was asked in an email to complete a survey about "creationism and evolution in our society".  I came up with some answers, spur of the moment, and I thought I would paste them here.  If it really is a student, I would like to help him out, and pasting it here gives me a little more incentive to complete it. (Anyone know what is a "Facharbeit"?)

Dear Reader.
I'm a german student who works on a "Facharbeit". We had to choose a subject and I think that the controversy between Evolutionists and Creationists is very interesting. Therefore I decided to learn more about it. I've created a survey and now I'm sending it around, hoping that many people are going to write something in the gaps. It would be very helpful if you answer me because here in my town I'm not able to talk to someone about this subject. If you are able to open the word file you can fill in the gaps there and send it back. This would make it very easy for me to evaluate the documents. Well, if this doesn't work, I've just copied the survey and you can fill in the gaps in this E-mail and send it back.
Hope hearing from you soon. Thank you.

Creationism and Evolution in our society

1) Do you support the evolution or the creationist theory?

I fully accept the enormous weight of scientific evidence that has accumulated for the theory of evolution. By "the theory of evolution", I mean the common ancestry of all living things, and descent of living things with modification.

I am not sure what "creationist theory" means. There are many stories of creation, many of which are not consistent with known facts and observations. I have not heard a creation myth that I support, and I know of no creation story that could be called a "theory" in the sense of a scientific theory.

2) Do you think that the other theory is non-sense? (Can you explain why you think that the other theory is non-sense?)

I would need more information about what is meant by "the other theory"; but many of the creation myths I've heard are non-sense in my opinion. For example, the Iriquois creationist story states that people once lived in the sky until a woman, pregnant with twins, was forced down to the Earth. At that time, the Earth was covered with water, there was no land. A giant turtle wanted to help the woman who had fallen to earth, so the turtle swam to the bottom of the sea and placed mud on its back to generate North America.

Yes, I think this creation theory is non-sense. There is no evidence of any turtle the size of North America, nor any evidence of any animal that could reach such a size. There is no evidence that this turtle is under North America today.

3) Are you sure that the theory you believe in is the right one? Why, why not?

Science should not be a matter of "belief". Given the enormous weight of evidence for common descent of all living things, and for descent with modification, I might say that I "believe" that this explanation will remain "the right" explanation for a very long period of time.

4) Do you think that there could be a danger if the world believed in the opposite theory?

Again, I am not certain what is meant by "the opposite theory". But, yes, I imagine that if belief in creation stories is a symptom of a potentially dangerous pattern of thought: When people believe what they are told without thinking critically about it for themselves, they are prone to dangerous manipulations.

5) Do you think that there’s a possibility that there’s an answer in between those two theories?

Again, I'd have to know which 2 theories. I don't think there is a true answer between the theory of evolution and the Iriquois creation story.

6) Maybe you’ve got an idea how that theory would look like?

7) If someone would find out that the theory you believe in is surly not the right one, would there be an effect on your life? Would you be frightened? Would you think that there’s something missing in our world?

Yes, if common descent and descent with modification were proven false, it would have an impact on my career. I would change the scientific questions I am studying. I do not think this would lead to something missing in the world, because the current scientific view of the history of life would simply be replaced with another scientific view of the history of life.


TLP said...

Your reply was truncated when you copy/pasted it. Please post the full content :)

I would like to use some of your replies in an article I'm writing on the Evolution/Creation "dispute" in Romania. I will mention the source, of course.

Do you give your approval?

JLT said...

A "Facharbeit" is a kind of thesis you have to write in your final year of (the German version of) high school. You have to research a topic/question of your choice and present your results and your take on it. In some areas of Germany you also have an oral examination about your "thesis".
It's a relatively new requirement that was introduced to better prepare students for college or university.

Hope that helps.