Ken Ham and Creation in Schools
Michael Suttkus and Warwick 'What is the World Coming to?' Finch

KEN HAM ON EDUCATION!  Creationism in schools--is it wise?
Home Education Weekly News: 17 May 2002

Ken Ham:    QUESTION:  Does AiG believe that Christians should try to force the teaching of Creation in schools?

Yes, obviously,  since they've tried to do that repeatedly.

ANSWER: While we don't support compulsion to teach the creation position (imagine how unbelieving teachers would distort our position),

Let's see, you continue trying to pass laws requiring the teaching of creationism, but then want us to believe that you aren't trying to force people to believe in creationism. 

This reminds me of a similar incident a few months ago....

A senator in Washington State introduced two bills into his states legislature, one of which would include a disclaimer in any textbook mentioning evolution, and the other -

'Finds that the teaching of the theory of evolution in the common schools of the state of Washington is repugnant to the principles of the Declaration of Independence and thereby unconstitutional and unlawful.   Provides that all textbooks and curriculum that teach the theory of evolution shall be removed from the public schools forthwith and replaced with textbooks and curriculum that teach the self-evident truth of creation.'

Why did he feel two separate bills were necessary?   Just as a guess I'd say that he thought he might get away with lying about the subject.  He told a member of the 'Yahoo' Group DebunkCreation:

'I would like to point out that I am not arguing that the teaching of evolution theory should be completely eradicated from our public schools.'

Really?  Then what's the whole bit about removing any textbook that teaches it?  Perhaps he means that the teachers can teach it, as long as textbooks don't mention it.  Or maybe he was just lying through his teeth.

It seems that the self-appointed defenders of 'God's Truth' have a great deal of trouble with more ordinary truths.  One would have thought that since lying violates one of the ten commandments we wouldn't see creationists doing it so often.  For the whole story, hop over to
DebunkCreation and search for Hochstatter.

it would be good if teachers had the legislative freedom and encouragement to present critiques of evolution and discuss alternatives.

They do.  The problem is, there are no known alternatives.  In 200 years creationists haven't offered a single critique of evolution that stands up to a moment's exposure.  Nor is there any alternative scientific theory that isn't riddled with holes and creationism is almost all holes.

For one example, consider the sorting of reefs through the fossil records.  Early reefs are purely composed of cyanobacteria (stromatolites).  In later reefs, these nearly vanish to be replaced by Archaeocyathid sponge reefs.  These vanish by the middle Cambrian and the stromatolites again become common.  These are replaced by algae/coral/stromatoporoid sponge reefs in the middle Ordovician, which vanish in the late Devonian or shortly thereafter.  For a while only the algae are major reef formers.  Algae/stromatolite
reefs persist until the end of the Permian.  There are no reefs until the Coral/algal system appears in the late Triassic.

Corals have remained dominant ever since, except for a brief collapse during the early Cretaceous when reefs almost vanished, and for a time in the late cretaceous when a group of unusual bivalves became the dominant reef builders.  Since the end of the dinosaurs it's been coral and algae all the way.

Now, what explanation do creationists have for this pattern observed in the rocks?   Faunal zonation isn't going to save them, since modern corals are found above dinosaurs!  Differential of escape?  Do tell me all about how corals can outrun clams and stromatolites to escape rising floodwaters!  Hydrological sorting?   Right!  Big rocky corals get pulled to the top, while small clams sit with the dinosaurs.

And yet, the fossil record is full of examples of sorting that creationists can't explain but which they continues to ignore.  Until creationism can start dealing with the flaws present in its 'theory', then it has no claim to being an alternative suitable for classrooms.

It would also be beneficial if students were taught the difference between 'normal (operational) science' and 'historical (or origins) science.' 

How typical of the intellectually bankrupt - if the facts don't support my position, I'll redefine the terms until they do. Science is science, there are no different flavours to play with till your own pet theory is validated.

Normal  (operational) science deals only with repeatable observable processes in the present, while origins science helps us to make educated guesses about origins in the past. 

Sorry, there's no difference.  Historical sciences operate just like all other sciences, by looking at evidence, deriving conclusions and comparing those conclusions to more evidence.

Keep in mind that what Mr Ham wants you to believe is that non-operational science includes all police forensics, all history and any attempt by anyone to determine a past event.  Did the sun rise this morning?  I didn't see it, so all I can offer is an educated guess, quite different from an operational science, in Mr Ham's world!  But then, why should seeing it be any different?  We know that human memory is fallible, so any past event becomes a historical (origins) science.  But wait, isn't that absolutely everything?

Operational science has indeed been very successful in understanding the world, and has led to many improvements in the quality of life, e.g. putting men on the moon and curing diseases.

A lot of the curing of diseases has been the direct result of our understanding of evolution.  Indeed, all of modern biology rests on evolution's back and anything derived from biology is based on evolution, the most successful theory biology has.

Creationism, on the other hand, has given us nothing, other than the 'theory' that oak trees can run faster than tree ferns.

In contrast, evolution is a speculation about the unobservable and unrepeatable past.

Actually, evolution is observed in real time, and common descent is observed by it's effects.

Thus it comes under origins science.

And creationism comes under outright nonsense. And since it contradicts so much evidence it can't be science. Science has been successful in describing the world and making it possible for technological advances to lift humanity from the Dark Ages. What a shame that there are still insane demagogues who want to drag us back into a world of fear, ignorance and superstition. By the way, Mr Ham, it doesn't matter how many times you say it, evolution isn't speculation.  It's both a fact and a theory. 

Such a position would provide true academic freedom in a public education system that currently and exclusively indoctrinates young people in the worldview of evolution.

Ah, Academic Freedom. Of course freedom is just fine as long as it pushes the fundamentalist viewpoint. Anything else is repression. Oddly there doesn't seem to be a groundswell of opinion from school teachers wanting to wind the clocks back 200 years. I wonder why!

arr01.jpg (1314 bytes)