October 1, 2008
Humanist Association of Canada
The physical sciences also depend on an accurate knowledge of the origins of the universe, radioactive decay, the age of the earth, chemical reactions and many physical relationships that change uniformly over time.
All these facts complement and reinforce each other. To comprehend the age of the universe, students must learn about the speed of light, what a red shift is, and something about spectroscopy. To understand the age of the earth, they must understand sedimentation, fossilization, and radioactive decay. To understand human origins they must understand genetic drift, carbon dating, archeology and linguistic change. Then they can begin to appreciate how these different systems reinforce each other and mutually confirm many diverse facts. They will then appreciate how a scientific hypothesis must fit in with all the observed and confirmed facts of the universe. Gravitation, relativity, radioactive decay, molecular genetics; one odd observation or a new theory cannot overturn these well-established truths. For instance, Einstein's relativity did not change the observations Newton had made. Newton's laws of gravity and motion still work correctly, unless one is dealing with objects moving nearly at the speed of light. Students must learn that a new theory must still fit in with the old facts, while explaining observations that were previously unexplained.
Evolution is an area where great strides are being made yearly, especially in the area of human origins. Students should learn how science changes because of new information.
Students should learn how science progresses through the accumulation of facts, through testing theories to see if they explain the facts, or if any facts disprove the theory.
Science education must avoid implying that science is a received and unchangeable set of dogmas for students to memorize, but must also teach those facts that are true.
So-called creation science is merely misnamed religious propaganda. There is nothing of science in it beyond the name. Creationists do not accept any evidence that goes against their case and will not listen to any arguments that don't go their way. Science is interested in the truth, and seeks out tests that might disprove a new theory. Creationists do not recognize anything that contradicts their beliefs. They have simply decided in advance what the conclusion must be, and head toward it without consideration of any contrary evidence that may be in the path. Creationism is an attempt to sneak a narrow sectarian religious creed into public classrooms and impose it on everyone. It is based, despite denials, upon the Genesis texts of the Jewish and Christian bible. Only a few Christian denominations, and a few Jewish sects, demand literal interpretation of these myths. Creation science is a religious dogma. Most of all, it is false and it is inaccurate. There is no evidence to support the creationist argument.
There is no room in science for believing without evidence. The whole of humanity's scientific enterprise is based on testing every belief and relinquishing those that fail the tests. Any public school teacher or public school board that lets "creation science" into a classroom, has abandoned teaching and taken up preaching and should be stopped.