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Challenge Match: jasonjnelson vs. maria_stardust: Creationism, Evolution, and the Education System

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posted on Jun, 22 2008 @ 01:10 PM
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The topic for this debate is "Creationism should be taught alongside Evolution in the public school system.

jasonjnelson will be arguing the pro position and will open the debate.
maria_stardust will argue the con position.

Each debater will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each. There will then be one closing statement each and no rebuttal.

Character limits are no longer in effect. You may use as many characters as a single post allows.

Editing is strictly forbidden. This means any editing, for any reason. Any edited posts will be completely deleted. This prevents cheating. If you make an honest mistake which needs fixing, you must U2U me. I will do a limited amount of editing for good cause. Please use spell check before you post.

Opening and closing statements must not contain any images, and must have no more than 3 references. Excluding both the opening and closing statements, only two images and no more than 5 references can be included for each post.

The Socratic Debate Rule is in effect. Each debater may ask up to 5 questions in each post, except for in closing statements- no questions are permitted in closing statements. These questions should be clearly labeled as "Question 1, Question 2, etc.
When asked a question, a debater must give a straight forward answer in his next post. Explanations and qualifications to an answer are acceptable, but must be preceded by a direct answer.


Responses should be made within 24 hours. One single 24 hour extension can be used by a member by requesting it in the thread. If 24 hours passes without response, you may proceed with your next post. Members who exceed 24 hours run the risk of losing their post, but may still post up until their opponent has submitted their next response.

This is a challenge match. The winner will receive 2 ranking points, the loser will lose two ranking points.




posted on Jun, 23 2008 @ 08:59 AM
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jasonjnelson has contacted me via u2u to seek his 24 hour extension. There was some confusion surrounding the beginning of the debate, but all has been clarified.

Members can declare the extension themselves within the debate thread, but I don't believe jason will be back in time to announce it himself, and due to that he has announced it in his u2u, he should not miss out on his opening statement.

As another reminder, only one extension per debate is permitted.

Good luck to both competitors.



posted on Jun, 24 2008 @ 02:01 AM
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Note; I have had a really rough last few days, and my car broke down today. So although I am really excited to begin this debate,I think it will get better a couple of posts down.

I hope that I put forth a good fight on this debate, and I wanted to first thank my challenger for the opportunity to engage in this debate, as well as thank chissler for setting this up. (and for having patience with me:@@


And now I begin;

The question of whether or not creationism should be taught alongside evolution is a valid one. And although the answer may seem as clear cut as someone citing the "separation of church and state", I feel that within the question itself lie a series of misperceptions that, coupled with a serious look at the influence one's community should have on local schools, actually allow for (and should encourage) the discussion of creationism and Intelligent design (I.D.).

Although I cannot separate my own faith and beliefs from the argument, I can however, use this very faith to further my argument regarding cultural influence that a community should maintain in its schools. Although there may be valid arguments against undo influence in schools, (regarding religious teaching) there can also be arguments that "pop culture" and science can be seen as attempting to usurp the influence of parents and churches while itself taking on those roles in schools.

Lastly, I would like to discuss the roles that schools are actually intended to fill, versus the roles that they are attempting to fill. The constitutional issues are actually far more complex than they appear to be, and one can even question the motives and framing of the argument of separation of church and state. And with schools unable to fill basic educational needs in an outcome based educational system, one would begin to wonder if they are actually capable of framing creationism in the proper light anyway. (were they forced to teach it)

The framing of this debate topic is actually a common one, and yet it is devoid of the actual complexities, and facts, that really exist within. It seems as though the question is, pick one or the other.

Well, the first problem, is that who decided which version of creation is taught? Was the time taken to consult the religious scholars that represent the local peoples faiths? Were there debates to decide the best way to teach this topic?
Unfortunately, no, there haven't been properly structured debates on this. I will get back to that in a second.
Secondly, who said that the choice was ever between those two? It would seem to me that the logical choice would be creationism versus the big bang.
You see, although many might actually delude themselves into allowing the mysticism of religion (and flowery words of long dead authors), to eliminate logical scientific processes; there are many like myself who believe that the bible was written by those describing the best they could of that they never understood. That other than the Gospel, there were many books written where simple word substitutions would actually easily fit within the observations of the modern scientific peoples. I will also address this later in the debate.
(side note, is that okay? to just save my points for the debate? Oh well, told you this might suck
)

As I will show by answering the two points above, evolution should be taught in schools, and creationism does not negate, nor hinder the structure of, the current theory of evolution.

That said, I want to make the point that offends me about this question. Why is it that if you believe in a Creator, or an omnipotent being, you are believed to be anti-science (read; anti-fact). How can there be so many intelligent beings that believe in a God, and succeed in all areas, if they are truly without a basic knowledge of science, including cause and effect?
Science uses a different set of words, that is all.
By making the assumption that all of those who believe creation to be true are ignorant, they do more damage than just alienating and stereotyping. They actually degrade a huge part of that persons life, equating it with insignificant hocus-pocus. This in itself has set back any true philosophical or scientific debate on the merits of any claim made by the creationist camp.

So without getting into my last few main points, I will make this statement, and turn this forum over.

Creationism, disallowed from main stream debate as a meritorious subject of study, has a place in the classroom, as a theory, just as much as other such theories as the big bang and evolution. Culturally, it has had a significant impact on enough peoples lives, that rather than create a chasm, one would seem to think that there would be desired a bridge in order to truly expand our way of thinking. As the educational system has expanded, and therefore lowered it's standards in order to claim responsibility for all youth, it has forced upon itself a sterile outcome based education program.
This system has disallowed what once would have been considered necessary for growth; the teaching of many ideas in order to stimulate thought, and the openness to embrace another's cultural desires and beliefs as more than just a sidebar.



posted on Jun, 25 2008 @ 12:18 AM
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I would like to take this opportunity to thank my opponent, jasonjnelson for accepting my challenge on this rather thorny issue. I also extend my thanks to Chissler for setting up this debate match.

So, without further ado...


Creationism, Evolution and the Education System
More than a battle of wills…

The issues surrounding the debate of Creationism, evolution and the public education system are, needless to say, complex. No doubt, some will view it as a classic battle. Christianity vs. Atheism. Moralist vs. Scientist. Good vs. Evil. Us vs. Them. True, this is a rather simplistic view, but we first we must ask ourselves: What really is at stake?

The fact of the matter is, it is a battle to control the minds of our children. Children are our most precious asset. To deny the significance of this maxim, is to deny the very essence of our future, our nation, nay… our world. Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders. It is for this reason that we must take great care on how we shape and mold these delicate, highly malleable minds.

Education is the cornerstone upon which we raise our children. It is our educators with whom we entrust our future generation. These educators, in addition to imparting knowledge, help our children strengthen character and self-esteem. They are an essential part of our community, and work in tandem with parents to ensure our children receive the fullest educational experience possible.

Now the public education system, the safety net for our children, faces undue polarization from special interest groups. Chiefly, faith-based groups intent on gaining a foothold in public schools and dragging them on to non-secular ground.

The Christian Agenda…

I will demonstrate throughout the course of this debate that there is a concerted effort within the Christian movement to bring the pulpit into the classroom. It is a multi-pronged approach that includes not only the issues of Creationism, but abstinence-only sex education programs, school prayer and biblical literature courses.

It is apparent that the ultimate goal of this Christian movement is to wrest control of a secular environment and proselytize to schoolchildren.

The Separation of Church and State

While Creationists may try to dismiss the validity of this noble ideal, it is merely lip service. They will argue that these words are not stated in the Constitution. While, technically this is true, the merits of the separation of Church and State are most certainly implied.

They will argue that America was founded as a Christian nation, and therefore the Constitution is based upon Christian morals. I will argue they take great liberties in interpreting this prominent document.

Together we will delve into the political and legal issues, as well as the ramifications, surrounding religion and the separation of Church and State.

The Creationist has no clothes…

Just as there are a multitude of colors in the rainbow, there are a multitude of Creationist schools-of-thought. I will explore the scientific merits (if any) of these various categories and compare them side-by-side with evolution.

By taking an objective look at what Creationism has to offer the public school system in terms of actual science, we will come to realize that the Creationist has no clothes.

That said, it is my sincere hope that I will provide within the confines of this debate, the evidence necessary to substantiate that only evolution is deserving of being taught in the science classrooms of the public school system, as the definitive authority as to the origins of life.



posted on Jun, 25 2008 @ 10:47 PM
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What my esteemed opponent is doing with this debate; is exactly what fails it from the start. As I had pointed out in my introduction, there is a fear among the non-religious of our country that is based upon the acts of desperate conservatives.

What I begin this point with, is an attempt to steer this debate away from the common pitfalls that occur when it normally plays out. Creationism is not a Christian idea. It is common in all religions, and this country is filled with many people of all faiths. To pretend that this is a Christian conspiracy is preposterous, as that would imply that the Christian churches have stopped their divisive theological squabbling to address the issue. We all know that isn’t true.

To pretend that the founders of this nation did not believe in a God, and therefore acted with the intent of one who’s faith is an integral part of their life, is actually contradicted in their own documentation.


When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.


Source The Declaration of Independence.

This document, ratified by all of the colonies, CLEARLY states that all of the members who signed this document believed there to be a creator. It actually uses that word. To imply that the founders were all Christian, or even supported any specific church or dogma, is incorrect. However, although I will concede that point, I will maintain that ALL of the founding fathers OBVIOUSLY believed there to be a creator.

That said, I believe that we have failed where our forefathers succeeded. Although they made no law that favored any one faith, they still made a law to protect any belief. In that time, there were no public educational systems that catered to the public at large. Schools were either based in a church, or there small schools that catered only to the local (rural) surrounding areas. We allowed people to maintain their own cultural identities, many of which were infused with religious faith, and to send their children off to schools that reinforced their way of living and thinking.

However, as the population has grown, and educational needs have grown, there was a great rush to provide public education to the masses in order to allow for success. (of both the country and the individual) This, coupled with the need for dual parent incomes, has led to a change in the needs of our schools. Parents no longer are at home to provide any guidance, and the schools began to take up the slack.
Once the schools began to have top take the kids to adulthood, there came a change, and what I believe to be the worst thing to happen to the debate in this country, has occurred.

Religion went from being a respected and common belief, to an attacked and questioned joke. Shouldn’t we question our beliefs and world around us? Yes. But religion has not been separated, as much as it has been ostracized. Most subjects in school now actually openly attack the religious, and their views. (think of global studies, most science and political classes. And even health) Where did the idea come from that religion was a nutty idea, and those who believed it are the same?

I personally think that in the zeal to eliminate religion from what is essentially public domain, we have actually created a greater chasm. Instead of meeting and discussing these subjects, we have placed a taboo on them. We have essentially told those that disagree with the policy three things;

Religion and its ideas need to be kept hidden, (similar to alternative lifestyles?)

Religion believes in imaginary things, and has no social value.

Religion is contrary to science and logical thought.

This has resulted in parents fighting to force through a type of creationist teaching that has NOT been discussed by REAL religious scholars and scientists. That means that it IS unconstitutional in its current form.

This also results in parents creating charter schools and sending kids to private schools as well as home schooling. This creates an even deeper divide within our communities, and a building resentment and lack of communication between rival camps.


So what is my point with the above?

This intolerance is unacceptable. Instead of creating warring camps, why not create a compromise that actually reflects the culture of those that go to school there. And if you are so worried about indoctrinating the "helpless Children", then Why hasn't the pop culture issue been addressed. Parents get far less exposure to their children than pop culture does, and they have no way of eliminating it from public schools without someone saying that it is a C & S issue. So our children are forced to let everyone have a shot at them, but parents get one day a week to reinforce their values? (note that I am not saying religion should be taught in public schools, just pointing out the hypocrisy of the issue)

With religion such a key part of so many Americans lives, then religious thought processes should be given consideration, if only for exposing our children to an EQUAL level of cultural beliefs. After all, there is NO proof that an intelligent creator of some kind did not create our universe. If anything, I would almost think our rarity to be some sort of proof that there is. (but that is a whole other debate)

However, due to what I believe is a lack of communication, and a stubborn streak that prevents any logical debate or instructive compromise, we have yet to even consider certain aspects of the creation debate. I would like to make an example, using the book of Genesis. (okay, I just realized I don't have space for this. Um, here is the link to the book of genesis, sorry)www.bibleontheweb.com...

If you were to separate the book of genesis, and remove flowery language, what do we find? Well, we find exactly the same story of evolution, and even the forming of our planet and the rest of the universe.

It goes, (in order) Universe, Earth, moon, plants, creatures of the sea, creatures of the land, then humans. That is the order of creation. That is also the scientific order of creation. (elements of both planetary formation, and evolution)

So why do we discredit one? Is it because we think that we have to carry specific Dogma with it? Is it because some people of various faiths try and pretend that God is a magician, as opposed to someone who may actually follow the very laws of science that He created to maintain this universe?

So I will present a couple of questions to my opponent;

1) Why do you insist on insinuating that this is a Christian agenda, when they are just the most vocal?

2) Do you not agree of the cultural significance that religion plays? In EVERY area of life?

3) Will you not agree that although religion by institution is banned from influence on the government, A belief in a Creator was actually shared by our founding fathers?

4)Would an open debate, and compromise, among scientific and religious scholars (to reach a lesson plan) change your mind about that indoctrination you claim to fear?

5) Can you raise the level of this debate so that it mocks no persons beliefs, and understands the intrinsic value of ones own faith in their life?


I believe the laws of science to be just modern words applied to the same concept as "God's Law" (old school words). That it is a disservice to both fields of study to try and eliminate the other. There are many things that science still cannot prove, find, or replicate. And the same goes for religion. It is just that extremists from all of these camps have forced us to take sides on an issue so easily joined...



[edit on 26-6-2008 by chissler]



posted on Jun, 26 2008 @ 10:58 PM
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The not-so-hidden Christian Agenda…


Originally posted by jasonjnelson
… there is a fear among the non-religious of our country that is based upon the acts of desperate conservatives.


It’s a bit presumptuous to assume that it is merely the non-religious who are concerned with the issue at hand. I personally know various people of faith who are opposed to bringing any type of religious dogmatism into public classrooms. I also don’t believe that fear is the word that best suits this particular situation. A better one would be outrage.

It is ironic that my opponent has indirectly asserted that the Christian agenda is largely ”based upon the acts of deseperate conservatives.” There is a movement by several faith-based Christian groups that are actively seeking to discredit evolution and promote Creationism and intelligent design. A prominent group comes to mind, The Discovery Institute.


Discovery Institute is a secular think tank, and its Board members and Fellows represent a variety of religious traditions, including mainline Protestant, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Jewish, and agnostic. ...Although it is not a religious organization, the Institute has a long record of supporting religious liberty and the legitimate role of faith-based institutions in a pluralistic society.


The Discovery Institute is nothing short of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It describes itself as a secular think-tank, while its founding members have been actively attacking evolution on religious grounds. In fact, this group devised a strategy aptly entitled The Wedge, that states that its’ mission is ”…nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies” in order to ”…raise serious doubts about scientific materialism and have re-opened the case for a broadly theistic understanding of nature.”

The term wedge refers to the idea that evolution is analogous to a large tree whose trunk can be split at its’ weak points through implement of a wedge. These are a few excerpts from the introduction of The Wedge Strategy: (Please note that portions have been emphasized by me.)


The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built.



Discovery Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies. Bringing together leading scholars from the natural sciences and those from the humanities and social sciences, the Center explores how new developments in biology, physics and cognitive science raise serious doubts about scientific materialism and have re-opened the case for a broadly theistic understanding of nature.


The purpose of The Wedge Strategy is to reintroduce religion under the auspice of intelligent design. Again, the emphasis is mine.


We are building on this momentum, broadening the wedge with a positive scientific alternative to materialistic scientific theories, which has come to be called the theory of intelligent design (ID). Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.


The Wedge Strategy consists of three phases:

Phase I: Research, Writing and Publication
Phase II: Publicity and Opinion-making
Phase III: Cultural Confrontation and Renewal

And consists of the following goals:



Governing Goals
• To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies.
• To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and hurnan beings are created by God.

Five Year Goals
• To see intelligent design theory as an accepted alternative in the sciences and scientific research being done from the perspective of design theory.
• To see the beginning of the influence of design theory in spheres other than natural science.
• To see major new debates in education, life issues, legal and personal responsibility pushed to the front of the national agenda.

Twenty Year Goals
• To see intelligent design theory as the dominant perspective in science.
• To see design theory application in specific fields, including molecular biology, biochemistry, paleontology, physics and cosmology in the natural sciences, psychology, ethics, politics, theology and philosophy in the humanities; to see its innuence in the fine arts.
• To see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life.


It should be noted that the Discovery Institute has both acknowledged that their staff had indeed authored The Wedge Strategy, only to backtrack and dismiss it as an urban legend. It is evident that the Institute is trying to cover up the fact that intelligent design is merely a ruse to promote religious thought.


Many of you may wonder how the not-so-hidden Christian agenda directly plays into the public education system. I present to you the Creationist textbook Of Pandas and People.


The book is published by the Foundation for Thought and Ethics (FTE), a non-profit organization founded by ordained minister Jon Buell in Richardson, Texas in 1980 as a tax-exempt charitable and educational organization, with articles of incorporation which stated that its purpose includes "proclaiming, publishing, preaching [and] teaching…the Christian Gospel and understanding of the Bible and the light it sheds on the academic and social issues of the day". In the original Internal Revenue Service tax exemption submission Buell described the foundation as a "Christian think-tank", and stated that the organization's first activity would be the editing of a book "showing the scientific evidence for creation".


This textbook was involved in the landmark case Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. In this case the school districted mandated that creationism be taught alongside evolution. The Creationism text book Of Pandas and People was the book the school district sought to use. The court determined that book’s central premise of intelligent design was a form of Creationism, and could not be used as a textbook in the public school system because it was a direct violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

In fact, it was demonstrated during the course of the trial that the www.creationismstrojanhorse.com..." target="_blank" class="postlink" rel="nofollow">original draft of the book used the word creationism and that it was later substituted with intelligent design in the final printed version.


Eric Rothschild gave the opening statement for the plaintiffs. He said that the plaintiffs would be able to provide many examples of school board members wishing to balance the teaching of evolution with creationism. He attacked prior defense claims that it was a minor affair by saying that there is no such thing as a "little" constitutional violation. He also provided the definition of creationism given by an early draft of Pandas:

Creation is the theory that various forms of life began abruptly, with their distinctive features already intact: Fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers and wings, mammals with fur and mammary glands.

He compared this with what was eventually published:
Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features already intact: Fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks and wings, et cetera.


So, it is fair to say that there is indeed a not-so-hidden Christian agenda to move religion into the public classroom.

As for the Founding Fathers…

As for the founding fathers of this great nation, at no time did I ever imply that they were not men of faith. As my opponent has graciously pointed out, God and Creator is mentioned prominently in the Declaration of Independence. Nor, is that a point I have ever or will ever attempt to argue.

However, the laws of this great nation are not derived from the Declaration of Independence, they are derived from the Constitution. The Constitution, itself retains a neutral stance in regards to religion and in that sense this particular document is wholly – and might I add – intentionally secular in nature.

I will address this particular issue further along in the debate.

Answers to the Socratic questions


1) Why do you insist on insinuating that this is a Christian agenda, when they are just the most vocal?

It is a Christian agenda because it is mainly Christians striving to introduce Creationism and intelligent design into the public education system.


2) Do you not agree of the cultural significance that religion plays? In EVERY area of life?

Yes, I agree that religion has played a significant role in all areas of life.


3) Will you not agree that although religion by institution is banned from influence on the government, A belief in a Creator was actually shared by our founding fathers?

Yes, I agree that the founding fathers were men of various degrees of faith.


4)Would an open debate, and compromise, among scientific and religious scholars (to reach a lesson plan) change your mind about that indoctrination you claim to fear?

No. Religion and science don’t mix.


5) Can you raise the level of this debate so that it mocks no persons beliefs, and understands the intrinsic value of ones own faith in their life?

The level of the debate stands on its own merit. Nor, will I treat this debate with kid gloves.

Socratic Questions addressed to my opponent:

1. Do you think that religious beliefs ought to be taught to children without the express consent of their parents?

2. Do you think any form of Creationism can be taught without referencing God, the Bible or a higher power?


[edit on 1-7-2008 by MemoryShock]



posted on Jun, 28 2008 @ 01:18 AM
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My apologies for the late post, as I had a late work day today, and I type fairly slow.


Rebuttal

As my opponent pointed out, and did a fair amount of research to prove, there is a group of ultra conservative religious groups who propose teaching creationism based on the Christian bible, which is exactly my point.

By not bringing a valid discussion to the mainstream table for debate, there will only be those who seek no compromise in their presentation. Fringe groups present a doctrine that neither promotes individual thought, nor dissent from their view of what is right.

I do not want to butcher the content of other websites, so I will only link them.
www.clarifyingchristianity.com...

The above website at least attempts to connect the teaching of the bible with relative scientific data, however they merely do a passable job at discrediting the theory of evolution. There are other websites from varying faiths that present what they believe to be the truth, but this only proves what my point is in this whole debate.

You see, my opponent has enlightened us to her view that this is a christian conspiracy. however, the question of the debate is ""Creationism should be taught alongside Evolution in the public school system."

I see nowhere in this question where it asks us to prove that Christian views on creationism belongs in the classroom next to evolution.

But , you see, my opponent refuses the possibility of gathering scientists and theological scholars together to hammer out a clear theory of intelligent design that promotes no specific religion or faith; Ergo I am forced to carry forward with the idea that my opponent believes that no other theory other than evolution is acceptable to her as a means of teaching the creation of life on this planet.

So therefore I am going to illustrate two points;

As I mentioned in my introduction, I question the role of our school system. Is the decline of our educational level a sign of outcome based education, as opposed to studying and comprehension?

Evolution may not be the answer anyway.



A science and math, American students trail those in other advanced democracies. The longer students are in school, the worse things get. Among fourth graders, U.S. students rank high on the International Test of Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Despite this head start, by eighth grade, American adolescents have slipped to the midpoint on the TIMSS; by age 17, their scores trail all but those in a few developing countries.
Perhaps this is “just” math and science, something American schools have never been good at. Besides, apologists say, Asian students (who score at the top on the TIMSS) are inexplicable math and science geniuses.

Yet low performance is not limited to these more challenging subjects. Americans barely reach the international literacy average set by advanced democracies, according to a report issued by the Educational Testing Service after looking at the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS). Unlike the math and science surveys, the IALS was given to a cross section of adults aged 16 to 65. Despite the high expenditures on education in the United States—and the large numbers of students enrolled in colleges and universities—the United States ranked 12th on the test.

www.hoover.org...

Following a rapid growth of schools, with the intent to educate all americans, the 60's and 70's began to challenge the role of the student as well as the educator. With the mandate that all schools reached certain standards, it was only a matter of time before OBE began to take flight. In the early nineties, there were many who felt that this type of education was manipulative, and no longer taught, but spent valuable time focusing on making adults out of children, as opposed to students who could apply their knowledge, and come to logical and factual conclusions.
source

Therefore, no longer can a theory be dispelled or argued, as students are being taught evolution as fact, as opposed to a theory with no empirical data. Their ability to understand why one would come to a conclusion has been removed, and replaced with the answers that a standardized test want them to know. I argue that in our current model, and without current debate, our students fall behind.

Why should the merits of evolution be argued?

For one, there have been no breakthroughs in that field since Darwin created his first theory. All subsequent posturing is based on a book that, again, provides no empirical data.

Evolution in no way explains, and cannot explain the spawning of life, from inorganic material. This is necessary, otherwise it negates all other parts of evolution, in relation to the development of all species from one single celled organism.

Although evolution, or adaptation, can be proven, (and is quite obvious) there is no proof of any split at or above a species level. All "evidence" is conjecture, again based on Darwins original premise. Basically, it's like me trying to prove creationism by only quoting the bible. (pick any one)

So why is Evolution presented as the only model for our creation? Are we dooming our students by forcing them to follow blind "facts", as opposed to encouraging the application of the scientific method, and open speculation about our place in the universe? I think that evolution is the only current model, because people are too afraid to realize the flaws in the theory, for fear that they may not have another.

I again stand by my point, that the merging of the two theories,evolutionism and creationism, you actually get a more complete picture. (except the obvious monkey to person tree) That is the roles of schools, by the way. To inspire kids to think about EVERY possibility, and teach them the fundamental FACTS. THEORIES falls under the former, I believe.


1. Do you think that religious beliefs ought to be taught to children without the express consent of their parents?


Actually, educating people about Islam is happening all over the world under the guise of "Tolerance". Do I think that My children should learn about many cultures and beliefs, including the beliefs the Billions who have faith? I think that you might call that important, yes.

But who ever said anything about a specific religious teaching? Ummm, that would be you.


2. Do you think any form of Creationism can be taught without referencing God, the Bible or a higher power?


Yes. Though I believe that a higher power is a reference that you should reconsider. To think that the Universe, or Earth, or Man was not created, but just happened is the biggest cop out of all time. And I cannot assume that my views are correct. But to teach that it is possible that some.... "Thing", created this universe can be done with and without religious examples. But how does hearing about both matter?


So here are some questions for you;

1. Can you provide empirical evidence that evolution on a species to species level happened? (fish to ape)

2. Can you answer me why the theory of a creator is impossible? How about improbable?



posted on Jun, 28 2008 @ 09:16 AM
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I need to ask for a 24-hour extenstion. Real life calls at the moment.



posted on Jun, 29 2008 @ 06:52 PM
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It is interesting to see that my esteemed opponent is attempting to take a more centrist stance on Creationism, and intelligent design. However, I hold that such a stance cannot be made in regards to science education, as science and religion are analogous to oil and water. You can shake these two issues together until you're blue in the face, and they still won't mix.


Originally posted by jasonjnelson
I see nowhere in this question where it asks us to prove that Christian views on creationism belongs in the classroom next to evolution.


Currently, it is intelligent design which is being touted as the next big thing in the Creationist movement. Under this belief intelligent design takes evolution, biology and other branches of science under its' wing, by declaring that perhaps all things were designed by a higher power.

By viewing science from this perspective, you don't have to attribute anything to God, but to some unknown higher power. This is a flimsy attempt to circumvent any religious issue. It can be God, or Pangu, or even a couple of pandimensional white mice. In short, it's whatever happens to float your boat.

It's a very attractive argument. Sexy, even. Now everyone's a winner! Or, are they?

Intelligent design is not science. It is a philosophical view of science. In other words, it requires a leap of faith. There is no empirical data for intelligent design, nor can it be subjected to any type of verification by observation or experiment. These are necessary components of science, and scientific research. How does one go about proving or disproving the existance of a higher power? It can't be done.


Originally posted by jasonjnelson
But , you see, my opponent refuses the possibility of gathering scientists and theological scholars together to hammer out a clear theory of intelligent design that promotes no specific religion or faith...


Ah, but this is already being attempted, as I previously pointed out, by The Discovery Institute.


Discovery Institute is a secular think tank, and its Board members and Fellows represent a variety of religious traditions, including mainline Protestant, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Jewish, and agnostic. Until recently the Chairman of Discovery's Board of Directors was former Congressman John Miller, who is Jewish. Although it is not a religious organization, the Institute has a long record of supporting religious liberty and the legitimate role of faith-based institutions in a pluralistic society.


The Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture is strictly devoted to promoting intelligent design as a legitimate scientific theory.


The Center for Science and Culture is a Discovery Institute program that encourages schools to improve science education by teaching students more fully about the theory of evolution, as well as supporting the work of scholars who challenge various aspects of neo-Darwinian theory and scholars who are working on the scientific theory known as intelligent design. Discovery's Center for Science and Culture has more than 40 Fellows, including biologists, biochemists, chemists, physicists, philosophers and historians of science, and public policy and legal experts, many of whom also have affiliations with colleges and universities.


So, you see, there is a very real collaboration taking place in the realm of science and religion in respect to intelligent design and evolution. Although it's quite new, it's not exactly virgin territory.

The bleak state of education...

My opponent has painted a rather bleak picture in regards to the current state of our public education system. Yes, it is true that our students trail behind other countries in the subjects of math and science. True, our education system is in need of reform to better educate our youth. There is room for improvement. But at the moment it is the best that we have.


Originally posted by jasonjnelson
And with schools unable to fill basic educational needs in an outcome based educational system, one would begin to wonder if they are actually capable of framing creationism in the proper light anyway.


Excellent point, indeed! The subject of Creationism and intelligent design are philosophical concepts that fall under the realm of metaphysics. It is simply not possible to test philosophical concepts through the scientific method. Which begs the obvious question: How would one successfully interject Creationism or intelligent design into a science class, if it is not an actual science?

The theory of evolution is grounded in bona fide science, not philosophical conjecture.

That whole Separation of Church and Science thingy...

Mention the separation of Church and State, and the first thing that comes up is that this phrase does not appear within the Constitution. Technically, this is true. However,this noble ideal is most certainly implied. Our founding fathers conscientiously went to great lengths to ensure that the Constitution remain a secular document.

The Establishment Clause was created to prevent the government from establishing a government-sanctioned church. It also prevents the government from prohibiting citizens from exercising their right to religious freedom of beliefs. It is the separation of Church and State that allows religious freedom to exist.

By the same token, religious freedom does not mean that one religious group can infringe upon the religious freedom of others. In other words, one group can not force its' religious beliefs upon others. Which is essentially what Creationism and intelligent design proponents are attempting to do.

The public education system is for all children, regardless of creed or race. The schools are supported by all taxpayers, and therefore should be free of religious observances and coercion. It is the duty of parents and churches to instill religious beliefs, free from government dictation. Institutionalizing concepts such as Creationism and intelligent design in public schools usurps the rights of parents.

Creationist proponents mistake government neutrality toward religion as hostility. This is simply not the case. If anything, the history shows that religion has flourished in this country, not in spite of, but because of the constitutional separation of Church and State.

Answers to Socratic Questions


1. Can you provide empirical evidence that evolution on a species to species level happened? (fish to ape)


Nice strategic move. But, you already know what the answer to that trick question. Of course not. You might as well have asked me to make a key lime pie out of rocks.

Evolution does suggest that all organisms and species are descended from a common ancestral gene pool. It would be foolish for me to try to prove evolution on a species to species level, when evolutionary changes occur on a generational level within a species.


2. Can you answer me why the theory of a creator is impossible? How about improbable?


Ah, now we're getting somewhere. All arguments concerning the existance of a creator or an unknown higher power falls under the philosophical realm of metaphysics. Particularly the branches of ontology and cosmology. So, it isn't necessarily a matter of whether a discussion concerning the possible existance of a higher power can be had. It is whether that discussion is suited for a science classroom in the public school system.

Socratic questions for my opponent
1. Can you provide empirical data necessary to validate the teaching of Creationism or intelligent design within the confines of a public science classroom?

2. Do you think that perhaps the issues of Creationism and intelligent design are better suited for philosophical debate?



posted on Jun, 30 2008 @ 10:14 PM
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And now we have finally arrived somewhere...


Rebuttal

My esteemed opponent has brought forth some interesting points. However, once again, I believe that she has made my point for me.

As I have pointed out, there is a fundamental problem in the way that our school system conducts the teaching of many basic subjects. With test scores dropping radically after the 5th grade, in comparison to other first world nations, one would begin to question the emphasis placed on certain subjects. So lets take a look at science for a moment.

(I will use california as a basis for my comparison, as I live in that state.)

In order to graduate in California...

Science requirements: Two years, including biological and physical sciences.

www.cde.ca.gov...

In order to transfer to a UC state school... (a top level state school)


Two years with lab required, chosen from biology, chemistry, and physics.
Three years recommended.

(same source as above)

These are labeled in detail by the UC schools as being;

d) Laboratory Science
2 YEARS REQUIRED,
3 YEARS RECOMMENDED
Two years of laboratory science providing fundamental knowledge in at least two of these three core disciplines: biology, chemistry, and physics. Advanced laboratory science classes that have biology, chemistry, or physics as prerequisites and offer substantial additional material may be used to fulfill this requirement, as can the final two years of an approved three-year integrated science program.

www.californiacolleges.edu...

Why am I bringing up this information? Well, let us look at these courses, shall we?


How do we define science? According to Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, the definition of science is "knowledge attained through study or practice," or "knowledge covering general truths of the operation of general laws, esp. as obtained and tested through scientific method [and] concerned with the physical world."

What does that really mean? Science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge. This system uses observation and experimentation to describe and explain natural phenomena. The term science also refers to the organized body of knowledge people have gained using that system. Less formally, the word science often describes any systematic field of study or the knowledge gained from it.

What is the purpose of science? Perhaps the most general description is that the purpose of science is to produce useful models of reality.

Most scientific investigations use some form of the scientific method. You can find out more about the scientific method here.

Science as defined above is sometimes called pure science to differentiate it from applied science, which is the application of research to human needs. Fields of science are commonly classified along two major lines:
- Natural sciences, the study of the natural world, and
- Social sciences, the systematic study of human behavior and society.

www.sciencemadesimple.com...

In the above link, you will find that Evolution (evolutionary biology) is listed under biological sciences. However, you will not, and have not, heard me argue the fact of microevolution,. There is fundamental and empirical data to support this science.

Yet there is NO empirical data to support macroevolution, and it is only linked in our mind to micro due to assumptions made by the scientific community. Therefore, doesn't macroevolution, which states that in the beginning, organic material all came from the same source, which is basically saying that the organic material was spawned from inorganic material. Even if you were to argue that the single celled organisms supposedly landed here on a rock from outer space, you are implying that it came from somewhere.

Therefore, macroevolution should not be taught in the biology classes either. Not only does it misrepresent real scientific data, it raises a myriad of issues within itself. Where does the material come from? Why is it not spread throughout the galaxy, seeing the odds of it actually landing here?
Macroevolution has no sound fact, and is blended liberally with the "Big Bang" theory, to complete the picture. Both of these THEORIES do not belong in their current classes anymore than creationism belongs in a biology class. All three actually belong in a different field, which my opponent has so kindly pointed out.
So therefore, yes, there should be a lesson centered around a non-religious foundation that includes the idea of an agreed theory of Intelligent Design (for lack of a better word). This Theory would be in the same class that discusses the BB and Macroevolutionary theories. Let us not forget that the leap of faith required for both does not surpass or fall below the faith needed to believe biblical creationism, much less a compromised and newer theory that I proposed.

There should also be a concise theory of creationism for each of the major religions as a part of the social sciences. If we are going to allow access by the whole of pop-culture and agnostics, then mention should be made of the faiths that guide so very many of the worlds population.

1. Can you provide empirical data necessary to validate the teaching of Creationism or intelligent design within the confines of a public science classroom?

I can quote a number of websites I found, including some that state some sort of chemical is present in our upper earth's crust that could not exist there unless it was "flash" created. However, I am not a scientist, and posting others work seems a little "cheap" to me.(seeing as I cannot prove them myself) What I can say, is that seeing as NO theory of the creation of the universe, and the life that populates it, can be empirically proven, then maybe neither belongs in the "factual" sciences. At best, they are just theories that say more about the person who spouts them than anything else. As for the other theoretical sciences, I see no reason why these theories would not be taught, (all of them) and why they shouldn't.

2. Do you think that perhaps the issues of Creationism and intelligent design are better suited for philosophical debate?

I believe I have answered this already, but here goes;

Creationism as a religious idea? Yes, in a social sciences classroom.

A modified version of Intelligent Design, as we have mentioned before?
Yes, in a theoretical sciences classroom. Let's stop the type of thinking and teaching that is based on "best guess" concepts. I laugh at the things that were taught in the 50's and 60's that have long been overruled.

Creationism by an all powerful God? This does not belong in anything other than a social sciences or philosophical classroom. However it does not negate the necessity for it to be mentioned as a possibility when teaching ANY theory that has Life spawning from Non-life.

Remember, most of us approach these issues with one sided presumptions, which disables learning anything properly anyway.

My Socratic Question:

I have looked up the facts, but find them too extensive to cite. But It has presented a question.

Can you find evidence that shows; Those that complete faith based schools which teach creationism to be any less scientifically inclined? Do they produce less doctors, scientists (of any type), or science based researchers than schools that do not teach creationism?

Please remember when making these comparisons, to take into account geographical and socioeconomic backgrounds.



posted on Jul, 1 2008 @ 09:54 PM
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Do my eyes deceive me? It seems that my opponent is heck-bent on completely removing the science of evolution out of the science class, on the basis of the big bang theory, which interestingly enough is rooted in astronomy and cosmology, not biology, like evolution.

But that’s not enough, evolution, the big bang theory, and Creationism should all be removed from the standard science curriculum and taught together as a whole under some aspect of the social sciences. It doesn’t matter that there is legitimate science to validate the theory of evolution (and the big bang theory, for that matter). If some form of Creationism or intelligent design, which lacks scientific merit, cannot be taught as a bona fide science, then wipe evolution and big bang completely off the table.

That doesn’t sound like any type of acceptable compromise. It comes across more like a temper tantrum befitting of a sleep-deprived toddler who doesn’t want to take his nappy.

Analogies aside…


Originally posted by jasonjnelson
There should also be a concise theory of creationism for each of the major religions as a part of the social sciences. If we are going to allow access by the whole of pop-culture and agnostics, then mention should be made of the faiths that guide so very many of the worlds population.


So you want to introduce Creationism on the social sciences level to offset pop-culture and agnostics that our youth face in everyday life. In other words, acknowledgement of various religious faiths via Creationism will some how magically balance our public school children. Because, you know, pop-culture and agnostics are bad, while Creationism is good. Riiiight…

Of course, this line of logic fails to show how either evolution or the big bang theory will offset the evils of pop-culture or agnostics. Unless, my opponent views these two theories as one and the same.

I’ll just leave it at that.

The many flavors of Creationism

There are almost as many variants of Creationism as there are flavors of Baskin-Robbins ice cream. The list is quite exhausting, so I'll give a brief overview of the most touted versions, as well as a look at a few of the more exotic ones.

Here is a quick list from our friends at CreationWiki. (Who knew?)


  • universal creationism
  • biological creationism
  • human creationism
  • religious creationism
  • philosophical creationism
  • scientific creationism
  • intelligent design


Universal creationism basically states that the universe was created by God per biblical references. It also stresses that the age of the universe, as well as the Earth, are one and the same. That is both came to existence simultaneously "in the beginning..."

Biological creationism, goes hand-in-hand with universal creationism, in that God created all life forms.

Human creationism is the belief that the human soul/spirit is created by God.

Religious creationism falls under the umbrella of universal creationism. In addition to the biblical account found in Genesis, it also includes the Islamic version of creationism based on the Qur'an.

There are also a two different schools of thought in relation to biblical creationism: Young Earth and Old Earth (also known as Progressive) creationism.

Young Earth creationism takes a literal biblical interpretation that God created the heavens, Earth and all natural life in six 24-hour days. This version of creationism also states that the actual age of the Earth falls anywhere from 6,000 to 10,000 years old.

Old Earth (Progressive) creationism holds that the Earth is roughly 4.6 million years old and that the universe is 13.7 billion years old. Their premise is that “the days of creation in Genesis represent long periods of time, not literal 24-hour days.”

Philosophical creationism is precisely just that. Creationism studied from a philosophical viewpoint.

Scientific creationism is "the defense of creationism on scientific grounds." Apparently this is mostly based on the work of scriptural geologists who attempt to decipher evidence of Noah's Great Flood as scientific evidence for the biblical version of creation.


Genesis is read as a historically accurate record from which a geologic history of the earth can be derived. ...The concept of the global flood is the assumption within which flood geologists work. It is taken as an established historical fact, not as a hypothesis to be tested by science. Therefore, the flood cannot be falsified by any scientific data.


I could have a field day with this concept, but alas, I am limited by space and time constraits within this debate. However, I will say that scriptural geologists take great liberties as how they treat their version of science. It is simply a means to fit their end.

As an interesting sidenote, this particular wiki page contains a disclaimer at the top of the page which states "This article contains content that requires citations to credible sources." Just saying...

Intelligent design is the most vigorously touted forms of Creationism, and with good reason. It allows for a one-size-fits-all version of events. It only alludes to a higher power for the design of "all natural phenomena." It is especially creative way to circumvent any and all religious beliefs, since no specific "claims about who the creator" was has been made.

There are even variants of intelligent design:


ID uses no religious texts when forming theories about the history of the world. ID simply postulates that the universe possesses evidence that it was intelligently designed.

*Restricted Intelligent Design seeks evidence of design by comparing it to human design.
*General Intelligent Design states that every natural process is intelligently designed.
*Extraterrestrial creationism is the view that life on Earth was created by a race of extraterrestrials which came to be worshipped by men as gods and described in ancient religious texts.


I am especially fond of the last one, as it shows the Creationist movement has a sense of humor, and is more than happy to fully embrace the lunatic fringe of alien enthusiasts.


Although it's not specifically addressed in any form on CreationWiki, it is only fitting that I at least mention that there are several alternative versions of Creationism found throughout the world. Here you can find creation myths ranging from the Chinese Pangu to the Mesopotamian Enuma Elish.

Answer to Socratic question


I have looked up the facts, but find them too extensive to cite. But It has presented a question.

Can you find evidence that shows; Those that complete faith based schools which teach creationism to be any less scientifically inclined? Do they produce less doctors, scientists (of any type), or science based researchers than schools that do not teach creationism?


I fail to see how this questions relates to a primary and secondary public education. It is a question that is better suited for higher education institutions such as colleges and universities. Be that as it may, I am honestly not sure where to begin to research such a request as it relates to the public school system. Perhaps you could be so kind as to point me in the right direction since you apparently have a wealth of resources readily available from which to peruse.

However, I can state that I was able to draw information comparing the performance of school districts, charter and non-charter schools for 2007 in Harris County regarding the federally required No Child Left Behind Law. Please note that I am only using the data available for Harris County, as it is the largest in the greater Houston area that has a fair representation of public schools, charter and non-charter schools. Also, I am unable to differentiate between the charter and non-charter schools.

Harris County lists a total of 20 public school districts, of which 18 met federal standards, while two failed. There are also 29 charter and non-charter schools in the county, of which 19 met federal standards, while ten failed.

Based on this assessment , it would seem that the public school districts outperformed the charter and non-charter schools by a fairly wide margin.

As far as higher education goes, it should be noted that Baylor University is considered to be one of the leading private Baptist universities in the nation. From 1999-2000 Baylor was host to the short-lived Michael Polanyi Center for Complexity, Information and Design. This center proved to be quite controversial in that its’ studies focused upon the scientific study of intelligent design. This created a bit of an uproar, as several of Baylor’s professors, staff members and students objected to equating intelligent design with legitimate science. Hence, the center was eventually closed.

Socratic questions for my opponent

1. What do you consider to be a modified version of intelligent design that would allow it to taught in a science class alongside evolution in the public education system?

2. Would you agree that there is more scientific validity for the theory of evolution than there is for intelligent design? Why or why not?

3. Can you please define what you consider to be a "theoretical" science class?

I look forward to reading your closing statement.



posted on Jul, 3 2008 @ 03:48 PM
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Note; I lost power and was forced out of my home due to some nasty wildfires. I apologize to our moderator and my opponent, as it was never my intention to delay this debate. Thanks to maria_stardust for accepting my late response.

Rebuttal

In order to conclude this debate, I wanted to first highlight some points brought up in this debate.


Originally posted by jasonjnelson
5) Can you raise the level of this debate so that it mocks no persons beliefs, and understands the intrinsic value of ones own faith in their life?



Response from maria_stardust
The level of the debate stands on its own merit. Nor, will I treat this debate with kid gloves.



Later response from maria_stardust
That doesn’t sound like any type of acceptable compromise. It comes across more like a temper tantrum befitting of a sleep-deprived toddler who doesn’t want to take his nappy.


Now that that's out of the way,


Originally posted by jasonjnelson
1. Can you provide empirical evidence that evolution on a species to species level happened? (fish to ape)



Response from maria_stardust
Nice strategic move. But, you already know what the answer to that trick question. Of course not. You might as well have asked me to make a key lime pie out of rocks.

Evolution does suggest that all organisms and species are descended from a common ancestral gene pool. It would be foolish for me to try to prove evolution on a species to species level, when evolutionary changes occur on a generational level within a species.


Ahhhh, but you cannot assume that what happens on a micro level is the same at a macro level, a point you concede with a lack of evidence. Any Evidence.


Later response from maria_stardust
It doesn’t matter that there is legitimate science to validate the theory of evolution (and the big bang theory, for that matter).


I'll take my key lime pie now.

But you see, I never said that creationism belongs in the same classroom as Micro evolution.



Originally posted by jasonjnelson
Well, the first problem, is that who decided which version of creation is taught? Was the time taken to consult the religious scholars that represent the local peoples faiths? Were there debates to decide the best way to teach this topic?
Unfortunately, no, there haven't been properly structured debates on this. I will get back to that in a second.
Secondly, who said that the choice was ever between those two? It would seem to me that the logical choice would be creationism versus the big bang.


You see, I never claimed that, as my opponent says I have,


Originally posted by maria_stardust
Do my eyes deceive me? It seems that my opponent is heck-bent on completely removing the science of evolution out of the science class, on the basis of the big bang theory, which interestingly enough is rooted in astronomy and cosmology, not biology, like evolution.


I only claimed that maybe because the theory of Macroevolution is just that, an unprovable theory, and does not belong in the same class as the factual Microevolution. It takes one argument, and makes assumptions about a much more complex issue. But all I ever advocated, was that the question should be rephrased. That, and the fact that the limits that our O.B.E. places on education would prevent the ability to discuss such theories as Creationism in a proper light. A point my opponent agreed with.

Lastly, I had asked my opponent,


Originally posted by jasonjnelson
4)Would an open debate, and compromise, among scientific and religious scholars (to reach a lesson plan) change your mind about that indoctrination you claim to fear?




Response from maria_stardust
No. Religion and science don’t mix.



Response from jasonjnelson
But , you see, my opponent refuses the possibility of gathering scientists and theological scholars together to hammer out a clear theory of intelligent design that promotes no specific religion or faith; Ergo I am forced to carry forward with the idea that my opponent believes that no other theory other than evolution is acceptable to her as a means of teaching the creation of life on this planet.



Response from maria_stardust

Ah, but this is already being attempted, as I previously pointed out, by The Discovery Institute.
The Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture is strictly devoted to promoting intelligent design as a legitimate scientific theory.
So, you see, there is a very real collaboration taking place in the realm of science and religion in respect to intelligent design and evolution. Although it's quite new, it's not exactly virgin territory.


So which is it? Are you in support, as I am, of this group and its methods, or aren't you?

What this debate has highlighted to me, is that there is a group of people who have decided to go with a form of science that is unprovable, and lash out at the religious, who in their eye's have a similarly unprovable theory.

Although I feel as though microevolution and creationism have no place in biology together, there are many reasons to include Macro evolution, and creationism in the same theoretical class. Although I admit that the bigbang is also of another scientific base, it could also have a place in a class designed to explain the varying theories many have in regards to the start of life.

This, in my eyes, would be a more complete education.

To answer my opponents questions;


1. What do you consider to be a modified version of intelligent design that would allow it to taught in a science class alongside evolution in the public education system?


I am not a person that is qualified to begin to hazard a guess at this. However, I stand by my previous points regarding the issue. It would also depend on my view that macro evolution is just a theory, with even you admitting that there was no empirical data to support.



2. Would you agree that there is more scientific validity for the theory of evolution than there is for intelligent design? Why or why not?


No, see above, and all of my and your answers as to the level of proof concerning the BEGINNING of life on this earth and this universe.



3. Can you please define what you consider to be a "theoretical" science class?


Sure, any class that discusses what is known to have little fact, and mostly theory. Does it matter the subject that spawns the theory? Not if it were taught properly. Again, just grab a science text book from the 60's.

My final question for my opponent.



21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; 22 and the rib which the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." 24 Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.


Book of Genesis

If the bible has no merit, then why is something in here that it took modern science until recently to discover?
That, if it was up to a woman's egg, she would produce only females. It is up to the man 's sperm to decide the sex of a baby.



posted on Jul, 4 2008 @ 12:34 AM
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At last we arrive to the end of our debate. I would once again like to thank my opponent jasonjnelson, Chissler, MemoryShock and our panel of judges. It has certainly been a good fight!

The controversy…

As I have demonstrated, there is indeed an organized effort within the Christian community to bring the pulpit into the classroom via Creationism. I still hold forth that the effort to teach Creationism in tandem with evolution in the public school system is nothing more than a blatant attempt to proselytize to our youth in what should be a neutral and secular environment.

I have also shown the validity of the separation of Church and State as it is implied in the Constitution. It is with great irony that the Creationist movement would attempt to exploit the very document that ensures religious freedom. The right to religious freedom, as well as, the right to freedom from religion is analogous to two sides of the same coin.

Lastly, I have explored the many variants of Creationist schools-of-thought. It is through this discovery process that we realize exactly what this movement is attempting to accomplish in our public education system. The ultimate goal is to allow students the opportunity to acknowledge the presence of a supreme creator – God.

Examining the role of science…

Simply stated, the goal of science is the attainment and expansion of knowledge. It seeks nothing more and nothing less. Science has a stringent set of checks and balances in place to prevent bias or prejudice from polluting conclusions. Through the application of the scientific method, and subsequent peer-review, science is able to maintain a bona fide sense of neutrality.

As it would be virtually impossible to introduce a religiously-referenced form of Creationism into the public school system without sidestepping the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, I will mostly focus on intelligent design.

At the very minimum, intelligent design can only be taught as a part of a science curriculum if it can adhere to the basic tenets of the scientific method. This would include a testable model with supporting evidence, and ample peer-review by mainstream science to weed out bias. To date, this has yet to occur, nor does it seem that it will anytime soon. It takes much more than a nudge, a wink and an old-fashioned, “just take my word on this” (a.k.a. leap of faith) to pass the scientific smell test.

I conceded what now?!


Originally posted by jasonjnelson
Ahhhh, but you cannot assume that what happens on a micro level is the same at a macro level, a point you concede with a lack of evidence. Any Evidence.


What my opponent deems as lack of evidence on my part, I deem as lack of previous posting space.
However, I’ll play his little game and present to you, dear reader, 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution: The Scientific Case for Common Descent. This article consists of an introduction and five parts: the phylogenetic tree, past history, evolutionary opportunism, molecular evidence, and change.

As I am pressed for space once again, I will offer as a prime example of macroevolution’s common descent, transitional reptile-to-bird fossils.


In the case just mentioned, we have found a quite complete set of dinosaur-to-bird transitional fossils with no morphological "gaps," represented by Eoraptor, Herrerasaurus, Ceratosaurus, Allosaurus, Compsognathus, Sinosauropteryx, Protarchaeopteryx, Caudipteryx, Velociraptor, Sinovenator, Beipiaosaurus, Sinornithosaurus, Microraptor, Achaeoptery, Rahonavis,Confuciusornis, Sinornis, Patagopteryx, Hesperornis, Apsaravis, Ichthyornis, and Columba, among many others. All have the expected possible morphologies (see Figure 3.1.1 from Prediction 3.1 for a few examples), including organisms such as Protarchaeopteryx, Caudipteryx and the famous "BPM 1 3-13" (a dromaeosaur from China now named Cryptovolans pauli; which are flightless bipedal dinosaurs with modern-style feathers. Additionally, several similar flightless dinosaurs have been found covered with nascent evolutionary precursors to modern feathers (branched feather-like integument indistinguishable from the contour feathers of true birds), including Sinornithosaurus ("Bambiraptor”), Sinosauropteryx, Beipiaosaurus, Microraptor, and an unnamed dromaeosaur specimen, NGMC91, informally called "Dave”.


Back to the issue of public education…


Originally posted by jasonjnelson
Yet there is NO empirical data to support macroevolution, and it is only linked in our mind to micro due to assumptions made by the scientific community. …Therefore, macroevolution should not be taught in the biology classes either.


As much as it might chagrin my esteemed opponent, and Creationists alike, there is ample empirical evidence to support not only microevolution, but macroevolution, as well. Despite this fact, the Creationist movement continues to beat this mortally wounded horse with a twig. Moving along…

My opponent has emphatically stated the public education system is in poor health and in need of reform. He points to statistics which state that our nation’s students are trailing behind other countries in the subjects of science and math. This being the case, it astounds me that he is even willing to suggest watering down the science curriculum by paring down evolution and completely excluding the big bang theory. One would think that removing science from the science class would only result in less educated students. Such a move is unwarranted and should be deemed as highly suspicious.


Originally posted by jasonjnelson
So why is Evolution presented as the only model for our creation? Are we dooming our students by forcing them to follow blind "facts", as opposed to encouraging the application of the scientific method, and open speculation about our place in the universe?


As I stated earlier, intelligent design is not science. It is a philosophical view of science. In other words, it requires a leap of faith. There is no empirical data for intelligent design, nor can it be subjected to any type of verification by observation or experiment. These are necessary components of science, and scientific research. How does one go about proving or disproving the existence of a higher power? It can't be done.

As I have also previously stated, arguments concerning the existence of a creator or higher power falls under the philosophical realm of metaphysics, not mainstream science.

Unless proponents of intelligent design are willing to further substantiate claims of a creative entity, it cannot be studied. If the central premise of intelligent design cannot be studied, then it obviously lacks any real scientific substance. It is painfully obvious that the scientific method cannot be applied to the theory of intelligent design because of the lack of this scientific substance. This in and of itself is an irrefutable fact. Hence, it is not a suitable alternative model for the theory of evolution.

Science, schmience. What’s the big deal?


Originally posted by jasonjnelson
I believe the laws of science to be just modern words applied to the same concept as "God's Law" (old school words). That it is a disservice to both fields of study to try and eliminate the other.


My opponent would have you believe that biblical references and scientific evidence can and should be freely interchanged and reconciled. Also, he indirectly hints that science has a hidden agenda to “eliminate” religion. Yet he offers no basis to back either claim. Contrarily, it is the Creationist movement that seeks to discredit and eliminate the science surrounding the theory of evolution.

What is a disservice is intelligent design’s attempt to adopt evolution with the preface that infers evolution was set in motion by an unknown higher power. So, it would seem to be that the Creationist movement is offering one of two choices: either accept intelligent design’s embraced version of evolution; or discredit evolution altogether. It’s all a little too self-serving, in my humble opinion.

It would seem that the only reason Creationists seek to reduce the role evolution in the science class is because it does not adhere to their personal belief system – or more precisely – thinly veiled religious views.

Is it truly necessary to interject theology into science? No. The only purpose the Creationist movement has in promoting intelligent design is to force recognition of an unidentified higher power. The intelligent design argument centers on a claim that an entity intentionally designed and created the universe, Earth and all life forms. However, they steadfastly refuse to even discuss this mysterious higher power.

The reason intelligent design proponents refuse to discuss the nature of this entity is because they will run afoul of the Establishment Clause set forth in Constitution. Yet without this entity their entire argument will fall apart, as this is its entire premise.

As it currently stands, there is no form of Creationism or intelligent design that can be feasibly taught alongside the theory of evolution in the science classrooms of the public school system. In short, intelligent design proponents would like their version of creation treated and taught on par with evolution. However, they are not willing to test the validity of their claims with the same scrutiny and process as mainstream science dictates. They cannot eat their cake (or key lime pie) and have it too.



posted on Jul, 4 2008 @ 07:03 PM
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We're off to the judges.

Results will be posted as soon as I have them.



posted on Jul, 24 2008 @ 03:42 PM
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So, um, it's been three weeks. (I mean nothing rude by that, I know you are all volunteers)

Any chance I can just get ranked last and concede this to my opponent? Just let me know how I did overall, as GAO is going to trample me without some help...

(although my opponent went on to do very well in her next match)

[edit on 24-7-2008 by jasonjnelson]



posted on Jul, 24 2008 @ 05:32 PM
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This one has been a pain to get results on. Our two judges split, so we've been in search of a third. Given the time of the year and people being on vacations, it's been an effort to get this one finalized.

Someone has taken it on and is looking into it, and I'm hoping to have the results soon.



posted on Jul, 29 2008 @ 10:06 PM
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Wow, that was a tough debate and a very close call, but in the end, I have to go for maria stardust, as this member seemed to have a better grip on what they wanted to say, and also made a good job of rebuttal, neatly answering the points brought up by nelsonjnelson and in some instances turning them around very effectively.

Very, very close, but I take maria_stardust as the winner by a narrow margin.




How successful the Fighter is at presenting their proposition

Maria built her argument on the idea that Creationism has no scientific merit, by today's standard "scientific method". She makes it clear that science belongs in science class, and religion belongs in church. No doubt, not too many would argue this. She gives us multiple examples of what makes Creationism a "non-science". Her case seems to depend on the notion that evolution is science and creationism is not.

Jason gives us his main argument for why creationism should be taught along side evolution in a very sound statement:

This system has disallowed what once would have been considered necessary for growth; the teaching of many ideas in order to stimulate thought, and the openness to embrace another's cultural desires and beliefs as more than just a sidebar.

No doubt – not too many people would disagree with that.

His case seems to depend on the idea that throwing away creationism in favor of evolution is no different than throwing away evolution in favor of creationism. In other words: You should present both, and let the audience make up their mind.

I believe both debaters did a fantastic job setting up their arguments.

This was a very hard debate to be a judge for. Leaving out personal feelings on this one was key for a fair and equal decision.

How successful the Fighter is at rebuking the opponent's points.

Maria tried to show us that creationism should not be allowed because its not a science. I believe Maria then shifted her argument and focused more on minor groups of people who embrace various forms of Creationism. Its easy in a discussion like this to try and debunk one theory because of a few radicals who share said theory (much like some people believe all of Islam is "bad" because of the extremist Islam terrorists from the 9/11 attacks)
No doubt, it is unfair to do so. I see no problem with mentioning various groups briefly, but to me, the body of her argument became such that it should not be taught because there are whacko people who believe in it.

Jason's assault on Maria's stance was the deciding factor for this debate

Jason offers a question for Maria:
Can you provide empirical evidence that evolution on a species to species level happened?

and Maria's response was:
you already know what the answer to that trick question. Of course not. You might as well have asked me to make a key lime pie out of rocks.

Since Maria's argument rested upon the idea that Evolution is OK because its science, and creationism is not OK, because its theory, this is the moment that her argument crumbled.

What I take from this moment, and Jason is able to give us a glimpse of, is that Evolution is no different than Creationism in the sense that they're both theories. If one belongs, why can't the other. Science neither proves nor disproves either ideal, so which one belongs?

The typical "fair" way of doing things with these circumstances if you would throw out both arguments in favor of undeniable facts.

But as the question of our creation contains one of the most sought after answers in all of human thought – it is important to have theories as to where we came from, and theories is all we have to go off of, without a "missing link" specimen or the appearance of God him(her)self.

And since this debate is about Creationism should be taught alongside Evolution in the public school system I award my decision for victory to JasonJNelson.

As a few side notes on this debate:

I would like to have seen Jason give us more examples of other forms of creationism that is shared with people of different religions and backgrounds.

I believe this would have strengthened his case even more.

I would like to have seen Maria attack some of the most common fallacies in the ideals of creationism, instead of attacking the specifics of religion and groups of people who believe in them.

All in all, this was a very good debate. For me, the decision came down to one thing, and that was the moment Jason was able to show us evolution is not science, by the standards we have for science today.

My hat goes off to both competitors. Very... VERY Good job




Judging a debate like this is the same as putting two steak dinners before a hungry man and asking him to choose just one. It's almost impossible to decide. And you know whatever decision you make is a solid one.

It is refreshing to see well read, excellent writers, with thought provoking ideas backed by careful research. Your personalities shine thorugh with so many superb points, expressed in unique ways, it makes one want to keep reading. And everybody should because it is a wonderful debate. Kudos to you both!

Personal notes:

jasonjnelson - Good points - "pop culture" and science can be seen as attempting to usurp the influence of parents and churches; (There is a division in) the roles that schools are actually intended to fill, versus the roles that they are attempting to fill; schools (which) are unable to fill basic educational needs in an outcome based educational system, leave one to to wonder if they are actually capable of framing creationism in the proper light anyway.

1. who decides
2. are there only two choices?

Creationism, has a place in the classroom, as a theory, just as much as other theories.It has a significant impact on enough peoples lives.

maria_stardust - Good points - (This) is a battle to control the minds of our children; Education is the cornerstone upon which we raise our children; the safety net for our children faces undue polarization from special interest groups.

1. There is a concerted effort within the Christian movement to bring the pulpit into the classroom.
2. (Will show) the political and legal issues, as well as the ramifications, surrounding religion and the separation of Church and State.

Wants to compare the categories of creationism side-by-side with evolution.


jasonjnelson - Creationism is not a Christian idea. It is common in all religions...

Religion..from being respected and common belief, to attacked and questioned...

...the zeal to eliminate religion from what is essentially public domain, has created a greater chasm, sending kids to private schools as well as home schooling (and) creating an even deeper divide within our communities..

The book of Genesis is the same (as) evolution.

maria_stardust - feels it is presumptuous to assume that it is merely the non-religious who are concerned with the issue at hand.

Points out the Constitution itself retains a neutral stance in regards to religion (and is) intentionally secular in nature.

I like the way she answers questions. Short direct, response with nothing extraneous that could be used against her. Smart!

jasonjnelson - (This guys personality really comes through and he uses it to his advantage.)

Very good source on Creation vs Evolution. (Extremely long read without following all the links)

...my opponent has enlightened us to her view that this is a christian conspiracy - Nice move to get us back on (his) track.

...standardized test - OOooooh! I hear about this every year. My wife still teaches math. Every teacher we know complains they are now teaching how to pass the test, not how to solve the problems.

Very nice - merging the two extremes to find a complete picture offering more (than either of the two extremes). Great concept - inspiring students to think!

Didn't see that coming...Islam being taught under the guise of tolerance. Great point!

maria_stardust - I really like the style she uses coming right back insisting Creationism should not be taught as a science. She picked a strong place to stand.

Intelligent design is a philosophical view of science requiring a leap of faith. (Great point!)
And offers no empirical data...nice finish

I like the choice of the Discovery institute (her source).

She stole my thought. I was looking for someone to say metaphysics. She did!

Good knowledge of the constitutional reasons for the separation of church and state and explains the necessary neutrality. (Wonderful)

What? She can't make key lime pie out of rocks? She had me fooled!

I really enjoy watching her answer these questions. She doesn't try to BS. She's straight up on the issue of macro- and micro-evolution which impresses me.

jasonjnelson - He comes back with the very thinking on macro and micro-evolution and does a superb job in explaining it. I like the way he picks up on the point 'it had to come from somewhere. (I'm guilty of using the same point)

He points out the fallacy of macro-evolution having any empirical evidence and questions it as a true science.

He uses the leap of faith argument in reverse. (I'll remember that one.)

The answer of Creationism as a social science is a good one. He's right. Before we teach it as true, we need to prove it true.

maria_stardust - She really picks up on the subtleties! (Do my eyes deceive me?)

Amazing job of breaking down and explaining the different ideas of creationism. I never gave that a second thought.

I am surprised she tackled the question of faith-based schools and science. She did a wonderful job on it too.

jasonjnelson - He's done a remarkable job showing some inconsistencies in her postings. That is a credit to his analytical skills. I'm impressed.

Very straightforward answers to the questions leaving little room for dissention.

maria_stardust - It has certainly been a good fight! (I agree wholeheartedly. Intere


My vote goes to maria_stardust



Maria via split decision



posted on Jul, 30 2008 @ 03:07 AM
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A HUGE offer of Congratulations to my opponent!


I want to thank the judges for their enlightening answers, as I really wanted great feedback for this next debate, as well as the tourney, and you all truly responded.

Maria? We will meet again; and the next time, I will expect other pastry type miracles.
Congratulations again, I knew you had me at your closing!


Thank you all for reading this thread, and good night!

-JasonJNelson



posted on Jul, 30 2008 @ 10:18 AM
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I would like to extend a huge thanks to my opponent, jasonjnelson! He certainly kept me on toes throughout this challenge. This was a great debut debate for both of us.

I look forward to sparring with you again! (Perhaps in the very near future!)





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