How Good Are Those Young-Earth Arguments?
A Close Look at Dr. Hovind's List of Young-Earth Arguments and Other Claims
by Dave E. Matson
Copyright © 1994-2002
Dr. Hovind (I): The burden of proof is on the evolutionists if they expect all taxpayers to fund the teaching of their religion in the school system.
The topics of evolution (descent of life with modification) and the old age of the Earth are not scientific controversies begging for proof! They are facts of life. If you look at the last 50 issues of any of the world's leading scientific journals, such as Nature or Science, you will not find any debates in progress about the fact of evolution or the old age of the Earth! You might find a debate over the explanation of those facts, or of specific dates or rates, but never over the facts themselves. If you look into our best universities, you will not find any scientific debates in progress on those subjects. Standard reference works, such as the Encyclopaedia Britannica, treat them as facts. They are regarded as facts by knowledgeable people who are not fettered with extreme religious prejudice.
We taxpayers owe it to our children to expose them to the best that science offers. Of course, philosophical speculation should be clearly labeled as such. On that point I would agree with Dr. Hovind. Jumping from the facts of evolution to a non-theistic universe is not a proper conclusion of science. Science does not speculate on the supernatural.
That some religious groups aren't living in the real world should not be allowed to dumb down our public schools. If you want to believe that the Earth is 6000 years old, that's your business. If it becomes your religion and you teach it to your children, that's your error and their injury. If you turn it into a crusade and try to force it into the science classrooms, that will be your Waterloo!
Try to understand. Suppose that a flat-Earth religion became very popular and books appeared defending the flat-Earth hypothesis. Flat-Earth parents, of course, would be very unhappy to find that the public schools were teaching a round Earth. Some of them would move their children into private schools that taught flat-Earth theory. Others would campaign against the "brainwashing" of their children in the public schools. They might demand equal time for their flat-Earth views. How would you handle that potato?
It would be irresponsible, of course, for you to allow the flat-Earth view into the geography curriculum. Time spent on the evidences for a flat-Earth is time robbed from serious learning. There are many excellent subjects that could (or should) be covered in a geography class, subjects that get left out for lack of time. Furthermore, it would be intellectually dishonest to leave the impressionable student with the idea that the flat-Earth view is a serious contender. It isn't. The student is there to learn, not to be confused or to defend some home-spun version of geography.
Education is much more than learning and memorizing facts. An education, a wise man once said, is what you have left after you have forgotten all those little facts. Students must learn to think by wrestling with subjects where many legitimate positions can be defended and criticized, where no easy answers exist. That some of this material may offend certain groups is to be expected. An educational system that seeks to accommodate the feelings of every group will wind up dumbing down its material to the lowest denominator. Just the reverse is needed. We must raise students to the highest levels that can be reached. They must learn by exploring the unknown, by designing and participating in scientific experiments. However, they must first have a foundation of solid facts.
Your choice to teach the round-Earth hypothesis would surely not depend on popularity polls! Nor would you allow the flat-Earth view to be injected into the geography classroom under the premises that it would be fair to present all sides of the issue. It is not a valid "side" of geography no matter how popular it might be among flat-Earth believers. Such clear thinking on your part would make those flat-Earth folks very unhappy, and they might even get you fired. But there is no other responsible choice.