FW: Creationists' age for the earth

Tue Sep 10 15:18:35 EST 1996

     What a rotten choice:  Teach a false and corrupt view of science 
(creationism) to put bread on the table, or fall on your sword by teaching 
the real story (evolution, ancient earth and universe, etc.).  I do not 
think there is any hope of changing the views of the people within this 
school.  Both the commitment the group has to a literal interpretation of 
every word of the Bible and group dynamics are against it (if one person 
started to reexamine their views, they would be slapped back in line by the 
group).  I also do not think any views departing from the narrow dogma of 
the school will be tolerated.  Deviations will probably be seen as grounds 
for dismissal, and often teachers in such schools are forced to sign papers 
affirming their belief in the Bible as the absolute authority in all 
matters.  The best thing to do is to start hunting for another job (no small 
task) and get out of there.

     Setting the age of the earth at 6,000 to 12,000 years is derived by 
counting the generations back to Adam, as the generations are recorded in 
the Bible.  Therefore any scientific method of dating is discounted if it 
does not agree with the Biblical estimate.  Since all of the scientific 
methods agree on an age for the earth of about 4.5 billion years, all 
scientific methods for determining age are discounted.  In essence, science 
is discounted as irrelevant in answering a scientific question.  It is 
difficult to see why they teach science at all, or whether teaching science 
in such a setting has an meaning at all.

     Leonard said, "BTW, this *teacher* does seem to accept Galileo and 
doesn't appear to believe in crystalline spheres, a geocentric universe, or 
a flat earth, so I suppose there is hope after all."  What this statement 
does is identify which branch of the so called "Bible Science" movement this 
teacher belong to.  The "liberal branch" believes in the literal 7 day 
creation, and the story of Adam and Eve as set out in the Bible.  The 
"moderate branch" not only believes this, but also that the earth is the 
center of the universe, as described in the 7 day creation story and 
elsewhere (Joshua stopped the sun in the sky, not the spinning of the earth 
...).  The "conservative branch" of the "Bible science" movement believes 
all this, AND that the earth is flat, as described in the 7 day creation 
story an as alluded to in Daniel ("I will raise a tree that can be seen from 
all the earth..."  Well, how can that be literally true unless the earth is 
flat?  And since we know it is literally true, then the earth must be flat.) 

     The Flat Earth Society is not a joke, but is actually alive and well 
and living in Lancaster, California.  It is made up of conservative 
Christians who believe the earth is flat because that is what it says in the 
Bible.  The Flat Earthers think believing anything else shows one is not a 
true believer in the Bible and subject to damnation!  In the end, there is 
probably little to no hope this teacher will open his mind in the least to 
the science of evolution, or anything else that disagrees with his 
creationist views.  The danger and mistake we biologist often make is not 
that we try to educate the committed creationist such as him.  That is 
probably a lost cause.  The mistake is that we often fail to educate the 
people in the vast middle ground of America, who are open to different 
ideas, and who, because they are open to other ideas, are all to often 
convinced by the efforts of creationist while we scientists sit idly by.

     I wish Leonard and his wife, Dr. ???? good luck in their decisions and 
future.  She has landed in a difficult dilemma:  Paycheck or science 

Steve Edinger
EdingerS at Mail.OUCOM.OhioU.EDU

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