The Problem With Teaching Creation As Science

Louisiana’s having quite a bit of trouble in their science classrooms.

I’ve asked in posts before about the absolute ridiculousness of certain federal Congressional committee members and wondering how on earth they ever got those jobs.

Not surprisingly, this isn’t something you’ll only find on the federal level. Shocker, I know.

Louisiana has been in a bit of a fight over its science classrooms and the possibility of teaching creationist theories in them. It’s been going on for a while now in Louisiana, with the argument being kicked back into existence in early 2012. One of the main problems the argument keeps finding itself running into over and again is this entirely unfortunate misunderstanding of what the word theory actually means, and how the colloquial, common use differs from the scientific use.

Theory, as the creationists are using it and wrongly attempting to conflate or equate with the scientific definition, is abstract thought. Speculation. An unproven assumption. Conjecture. Scientific theory, however, is defined by Wikipedia as “a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment.” And before you say that Wikipedia needs sources to be worth consideration (which, if you do, I can’t imagine you’re not on my side in this argument), that definition is doubly sourced, including a source from the National Academy of Sciences.

The point is, a scientific theory must be falsifiable. Creationist conjecture is most certainly not. So, the argument against it is not only the argument of the separation of church and state, since most creationists seem to want to promote the Judeo-Christian version of the creation tale which is entirely unfair to those of us that think that, say, the Aztec version should be promoted alongside. There’s also the very simple fact that creationism isn’t science. Leave religion in comparative religion, philosophy and literature classes. It’s just not science.

Now, I’ve said all of this before. I’ve even talked about the young crusader against creationism in classrooms, Louisiana’s Zack Kopplin. You would think this sort of debate is very simple, without much need for repetition or nuance.

It would seem that’s just not true. Especially after I watched some videos of some Louisiana State Senators at the state senate hearing Kopplin spoke at. Watching these videos makes the plea to keep creationism out of classrooms and reaffirm science and what it is that much louder.

First up, we see a Senator Mike Walsworth expressing the belief that the theory of evolution is a theory about the origin and creation of humans, which it isn’t. How does he express that belief? Well, when science teacher Darlene Reaves explained an experiment utilizing E. coli and proving how evolution happens with the E. coli bacteria, he asked if the bacteria would eventually turn into humans.

…There are no words.

Then we get to see the quite lovely display of animosity from Senator Julie Quinn, who seems to think of science as easily disregarded, especially if it ever attempts to trump religion. Not only does that show a poor understanding of science, but it certainly shows a poor understanding of religion. The idea that the two must inherently constantly combat against one another is faulty.

Ultimately, it just makes me wish there was a simple way to fire a politician. Honestly. Particularly law makers. And especially federal ones. But maybe, instead of making a way to fire politicians, we should just desperately try to focus on educating our children properly. If we manage that, we might actually get politicians that know what the heck they’re talking about in a few decades.

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