The Theory of Evolution and Creationism are the two main proposed explanations on the origins of the complexity of biological systems. A debate surrounds the issue of how and whether these two explanations should be taught in natural science class in public schools. Unfortunately, the debate is largely political and produces unresolved conclusions. The analysis below is an attempt to reframe the argument in a more productive light and perhaps bring about an equitable resolution.
Summary of each position Edit
Evolution aims to explain the development of biological complexity purely through causal and natural processes/mechanisms. At the heart of this model is Natural Selection; The idea that random mutations cause diversity within one species, and that the environment causes "beneficial" mutations to be cumulatively and non-randomly preserved, as those mutations make organisms survive longer and be more likely to breed. When they do breed, this creates more organisms that carry the apparently beneficial trait caused by the mutation, leading to the trait becoming present in a larger fraction of the population. This applies from the chemical level (such as the appearance of new cell structures, changes in pre-existing ones, and the evolution of viruses and bacteria) to the macroscopic level (such as the appearance of new organs and body appendages, changes in pre-existing ones, and the evolution of populations of different species in diverse environments).
Creationism (Intelligent Design) Edit
Creationism is the belief that the formation of the universe and of many or all things in it was guided by a powerful "designer" whose supernatural actions/influence cannot be explained solely via causal natural processes/mechanisms. "Creationists" aim to identify and present "evidence" that many biological structures could not possibly have formed except through literally miraculous ways.
Restructuring the debate Edit
Principle #1 - Only scientific theories should be taught in public school science classes, and should be defined as such.
Principle #2 - Scientific theories are models which have been thoroughly observed, identified, described, experimentally investigated and remain unrefuted, and which have predictive power. In order to be possibly considered a scientific theory, a proposition must be naturalistic and experimentally falsifiable.
Conclusion - Any aspect of a theory (or hypothesis) of the study of origins which does not meet the definition of a scientific theory should not be taught in natural science class. This applies to ALL aspects of ALL theories - regardless if the claim involves a deity or a big bang.
Non-scientific theories on origins should still be presented and debated, just not in natural science class. Serious educational institutions should offer a separate class which would provide a forum for the debate on origins.
Explanations on origins Edit
List all scientific aspects of the two theories under their headings below. Please do not try to explain the whole aspect, just name it and link to an article explaining it further. This will leave more space for the debate.
It should be noted that while "forensic evidence" is helpful in the larger debate, it does not fall under the definition of natural science and should be avoided. Otherwise, we will have an unproductive spat about how the archeological record should be interpreted.
Add scientific aspects of evolution here.
Add scientific aspects of creationism here.
See also Edit
- Evolution (Wikipedia article)
- Creation vs Evolution (Wikipedia article)
- Wikipedia articles related to the creation-evolution controversy
- Issuepedia: Evolution vs. Intelligent Design