So, you’re doing a report on Creation vs. Evolution…

29 08 2008

[An excellent and helpful article from the Answers in Genesis web site]

Every school year, students wanting to do a paper on “Creation vs. Evolution” contact Answers in Genesis for our advice and insights. In reply, we share the following points with our studious enquirers.

General advice in writing your paper

  • If you are assigned a specific topic, please be sure to stick to the topic given. For example, if your set topic is “antibiotics,” then it is worth explaining antibiotic resistance and why this is not an example of particles-to-people evolution because no new information is ever generated. But it would not be appropriate to discuss religion vs. science or the age of the earth in such an essay. Or, in a report about rock formations, it is perfectly appropriate to discuss evidence of catastrophic formation of the rocks, but not the evolutionary basis of Nazism.
  • If you have not been assigned a specific topic, please be aware of the following. Because the “Creation vs. Evolution” issue covers a wide range of areas, it is too broad to be dealt with adequately in one paper. Therefore, we suggest choosing one aspect of this debate to focus on—particularly, an area you may find interesting.
  • Do not say “evolution is just a theory.” While you probably mean “evolution is unproven,” the problem with calling evolution “a theory” is that scientists use the word differently from laymen. A “theory” in science means a well-substantiated explanation of data. The evolution conjecture should not be called a “theory,” because this gives it unwarranted respectability by association with the Theory of Relativity, Newton’s Theory of Gravity, the Debye-Hückel theory of electrolytes, etc. All these theories have strong experimental support (although Newton’s theory has been augmented by Einstein’s). In contrast, evolution of life from non-living matter and from one basic type of organism to a different type has not the slightest experimental/observational support.
  • In certain essays, you may be expected to write about what you’ve been taught during the class. Also with examinations, you are being tested on your knowledge of the course. Please be aware that these are not appropriate times to “preach.” For example, if you are asked “how old is the Earth?,” then the (correct!) answer of ~6000 years will almost certainly be marked wrong, because the course would have said ~4.5 billion years. So you don’t have to lie, we recommend prefixing your answer with: “Most scientists believe that . . .” or “The general consensus among geochronologists is . . . .” Remember, an exam is not a test of your personal beliefs. Rather, it is a test of how well you have learnt and understood the course as taught.
  • Try to anticipate possible “come-backs.” E.g. if you say: “There are no transitional forms,” then your teacher may downgrade you and say: “Haven’t you heard of Archaeopteryx and Lucy?” While these examples are not convincing when looked at in depth, it would still be better to say: “While Darwin predicted that the fossil record would show numerous transitional fossils, even 140 years later, all we have are a handful of disputable examples.” Or if you say: “There are no beneficial mutations,” your teacher may suggest, however inappropriately, sickle-cell anaemia or wingless beetles as examples of mutations that can be beneficial to the organism. It would be better to say: “Mutations have been observed to destroy, delete or corrupt genetic information or to be neutral, but have not been observed to add information. This is true even of ‘beneficial’ mutations like shrivelled-eyed cave fish or flightless beetles on windswept islands, where the changes still involve loss of sight or flight. However particles to people evolution requires so many information-increasing mutations, that it should be easy to find such mutations happening today, and we have yet to observe even one.” (See also Arguments Creationists Shouldn’t Use.)



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