Every school year, students wanting to do a paper on “Creation vs. Evolution” contact Answers in Genesis for our advice and insights. In reply, we share the following points with our studious enquirers.
General Advice in Writing Your Paper
- If you are assigned a specific topic, please be sure to stick to the topic given. For example, if your set topic is “antibiotics,” then it is worth explaining antibiotic resistance and why this is not an example of particles-to-people evolution because no new information is ever generated. But it would not be appropriate to discuss religion vs. science or the age of the earth in such an essay. Or, in a report about rock formations, it is perfectly appropriate to discuss evidence of catastrophic formation of the rocks, but not the evolutionary basis of Nazism.
- If you have not been assigned a specific topic, please be aware of the following. Because the “Creation vs. Evolution” issue covers a wide range of areas, it is too broad to be dealt with adequately in one paper. Therefore, we suggest choosing one aspect of this debate to focus on—particularly, an area you may find interesting.
- Do not say “evolution is just a theory.” While you probably mean “evolution is unproven,” the problem with calling evolution “a theory” is that scientists use the word differently from laymen. A “theory” in science means a well-substantiated explanation of data. The evolution conjecture should not be called a “theory,” because this gives it unwarranted respectability by association with the Theory of Relativity, Newton’s Theory of Gravity, the Debye-Hückel theory of electrolytes, etc. All these theories have strong experimental support (although Newton’s theory has been augmented by Einstein’s). In contrast, evolution of life from non-living matter and from one basic type of organism to a different type has not the slightest experimental/observational support.
- In certain essays, you may be expected to write about what you’ve been taught during the class. Also with examinations, you are being tested on your knowledge of the course. Please be aware that these are not appropriate times to “preach.” For example, if you are asked “how old is the Earth?,” then the (correct!) answer of ~6000 years will almost certainly be marked wrong, because the course would have said ~4.5 billion years. So you don’t have to lie, we recommend prefixing your answer with: “Most scientists believe that …” or “The general consensus among geochronologists is …” Remember, an exam is not a test of your personal beliefs. Rather, it is a test of how well you have learnt and understood the course as taught.
- Try to anticipate possible “come-backs.” E.g. if you say: “There are no transitional forms,” then your teacher may downgrade you and say: “Haven’t you heard of Archaeopteryx and Lucy?” While these examples are not convincing when looked at in depth, it would still be better to say: “While Darwin predicted that the fossil record would show numerous transitional fossils, even 140 years later, all we have are a handful of disputable examples.” Or if you say: “There are no beneficial mutations,” your teacher may suggest, however inappropriately, sickle-cell anaemia or wingless beetles as examples of mutations that can be beneficial to the organism. It would be better to say: “Mutations have been observed to destroy, delete or corrupt genetic information or to be neutral, but have not been observed to add information. This is true even of ‘beneficial’ mutations like shrivelled-eyed cave fish or flightless beetles on windswept islands, where the changes still involve loss of sight or flight. However particles to people evolution requires so many information-increasing mutations, that it should be easy to find such mutations happening today, and we have yet to observe even one.” (See also Arguments Creationists Shouldn't Use.)
Proposed Points of Discussion
Creation vs. Evolution
Is this really an issue of religion vs. science, or is it the historical science of one religion vs the historical science of another religion? What are the philosophical presuppositions of each side?
What is it and what are its implications for the creation/evolution issue?
Created or Evolved?
Is there evidence of design in the world?
What are the logical implications of adopting an evolutionary worldview?
Is there evidence for a young Earth and Universe?
Can life really come from non-life as (chemical) evolution suggests?
What about neo-Darwinism (mutations plus natural selection)?
Can it explain the increased genetic information required for microbe-to-man evolution?
What about the so-called “evidence” for evolution?
The Scopes Trial
What is the lesson to be learned?
(Read this testimony of a student who used this material on the Scopes Trial.)
Bible vs. science?
Rebuilding the Foundation
by Ken Ham
“Bible vs. science” was the headline in a recent Canadian newspaper featuring a report about the creation/evolution controversy in public schools in America. As you read the plethora of articles that have recently appeared in newspapers, on webpages and in magazines, and as you listen to the numerous interviews on various secular radio and television programs, the creation/evolution debate is portrayed over and over again as “science vs. faith” (or “religion vs. science”). Secular reporters and evolutionists (and even evolutionist clergy) have emphasized that creation has no place in science classes, because religion has nothing to do with science.
I believe much of the church has been responsible (sometimes unwittingly) for fostering this view within the church and general public. Sadly, the majority of church leaders in America have compromised with millions of years and evolutionary ideas in geology, astronomy and biology, and thus have allowed generations of churchgoers to accept such beliefs and reject the literal history of Genesis 1–11.
Not only this, but even many theologically conservative churches have avoided dealing with the millions of years/evolutionary ideas (even though they, by and large, have accepted a literal Genesis and a six-day creation). Instead, they have mainly taught the Gospel, Christian doctrine, relationships, Christian morality, etc. Now, this is all great, of course, but too many churches have been ignoring an attack on the foundational book of the Bible, Genesis, upon which our Christian doctrine is based.
Even though the Genesis accounts of Adam and Eve and Noah’s Flood have been taught in Sunday school lessons and other places, churches have not dealt with areas like geology, biology, anthropology and so on. For instance, though the pastors and their congregations basically believe Genesis to be true, the Genesis accounts are presented as just “stories” that are not related at all to fossils, the age of the earth, dinosaurs, etc. As a result, if you asked the average churchgoer (or even Christian leader) today, “Is geology, biology, astronomy, anthropology and so on taught in your church?” the answer is usually, “no.” If you then ask, “Where do we go, then, to learn about geology, biology, astronomy and anthropology?” the answer is typically “to school.”
The account of origins in Genesis has been relegated to “religion,” but what has been taught at school concerning origins has been labeled as “science.” What has happened is that the church has handed over the teaching of geology, biology, astronomy, anthropology, etc., to the secular public school systems. Now, keep in mind that the majority of students from church homes go to public schools, where by and large they are taught that “science” has “proved” a history of the world that is millions of years old and full of evolutionary progress.
Because church leaders don’t know how to deal with millions of years and evolutionary issues (or compromise with them), they teach topics that mostly relate just to spiritual things. No wonder the world (and sadly many Christians) think the creation/evolution battle is the “Bible (or religion) vs. science.”
The Bible gives the foundation for the right approach in geology, astronomy, biology, anthropology—in fact, for all areas of reality. The church needs to take this all back (“to rebuild foundations,” as our 2005 theme declares) and teach people the true foundation of science based on the Bible. And if this is done, perhaps the public will begin to see that the battle is not “the Bible vs. science,” but actually the “Bible vs. secular beliefs.”
First published March 2005
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