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Science Evolution and Creationism
sedimentary rocks (where deposits of oil and natural gas are found) as having resulted from a single flood, they would certainly favor the idea of such a flood, but they do not. Instead, petroleum geologists agree with other geologists that sedimentary rocks are the products of billions of years of Earth’s history. Indeed, petroleum geologists have been pioneers in the recognition of fossil deposits that were formed over millions of years in such environments as meandering rivers, deltas, sandy barrier beaches, and coral reefs.
The arguments of creationists reverse the scientific process. They begin with an explanation that they are unwilling to alter — that supernatural forces have shaped biological or Earth systems — rejecting the basic requirements of science that hypotheses must be restricted to testable natural explanations. Their beliefs cannot be tested, modified, or rejected by scientific means and thus cannot be a part of the processes of science.
The pressure to downplay evolution or emphasizenonscientific alternatives in public schoolscompromises science education.
Despite the lack of scientific evidence for creationist positions, some advocates continue to demand that various forms of creationism be taught together with or in place of evolution in science classes. Many teachers are under considerable pressure from policy makers, school administrators, parents, and students to downplay or eliminate the teaching of evolution. As a result, many U.S. students lack access to information and ideas that are both integral to modern science and essential for making informed, evidence-based decisions about their own lives and our collective future.
Regardless of the careers that they ultimately select, to succeed in today’s scientifically and technologically sophisticated world, all students need a sound education in science. Many of today’s fast-growing and high-paying jobs require a familiarity with the core concepts, applications, and implications of science. To make informed decisions about public policies, people need to know how scientific evidence supports those policies and whether that evidence was gathered using well-established scientific practice and principles. Learning about evolution is an excellent way to help students understand the nature, processes, and limits of science in addition to concepts about this fundamentally important contribution to scientific knowledge.
Given the importance of science in all aspects of modern life, the science curriculum should not be undermined with nonscientific material. Teaching creationist ideas in science classes confuses what constitutes science and what does not. It compromises the objectives of public education and the goal of a high-quality science education.