On the face of it these two should not even be argued in the same breath. After all “creationism” as the name suggests should focus on how life was created or the origins of life if you will. “Evolution” on the other hand is the study of change over successive generations of any living organism or the origin of species as Darwin referred to it and does not contemplate its actual creation.
Yet somehow heated debate continues to rage and swirl between the two schools of thought like an uncontrollable tornado heading in no particular direction. Why?
Creationists have a fallback answer (though perhaps they are not always aware of it) when driven into a corner by evolutionists and that is that God created life and that this cannot be disproved, which as I have pointed out is a different argument altogether. Let us however address this topic and before the atheists and skeptics start grinding Tinkerbelle into dust the creationists have fairly good footing here primarily because scientists have not yet made the Frankenstein leap and created life, despite numerous attempts. Yes they can manipulate it, clone it and even design new ones but they cannot create it from nothing and it is ironically referred to as the holy grail of science. So, scientists have many theories and as any self respecting creationist will let you know they have one of their own and it is that a divine being created life and the universe etc (God as he is better known). They also have churches and synagogues and mosques dedicated to serving their belief and unifying their faith. They have a couple of thousand years at least in head start when it comes to refining their arguments for His existence through anecdotal records, catalogued miracles and of course their compiled history book called the Old Testament. Science by comparison as an alternative study to the creationist theory is relatively young and demands absolute proof of existence to further its agenda. Scientific endeavor into the universe and its origins has also been actively persecuted by the Roman Catholic Church to begin with and its subsequent derivatives subsequently. For astronomers to suggest that the world was round in the Middle Ages would almost guarantee them a visit from the local family inquisitor who through ingeniously contrived contraptions would drive the demons from them. If this failed then the good old stake was always handy to remove that type of evil thinking from the earth and spare the good people God’s wrath and anger. In short, and even considering the way the Church so poorly treated valid science in the past, a balanced view determines that scientific theory/argument as to the origins of life has no more weight than the belief/faith in God the creator and seeing as scientific exploration is but a young upstart when compared to God’s existence in mankind’s consciousness it is doubtful that any significant number of followers will abandon God to pursue scientific theories and conjecture as to their own existence.
Evolutionists similarly forget or ignore the distinction between origin of species and origin of life and some like nothing more than to provoke the more narrow minded and hoodwinked followers of God with scientific proof of evolution which again is comparing apples and pears but is almost certain to get their motors revving. Let me also make it quite clear, evolution has been proven and observed, albeit in microorganisms, but proven and observed none the less. In fact evolved/mutated species of bacteria and viruses are appearing quicker than the latest handheld gadgets and the best way to end a debate is to ask the non believer if they will take a 20 year old anti-biotic to treat a modern day infection. Invariably they will say no because it is common knowledge that bacteria/viruses have mutated (a cornerstone in evolution) and drug companies know this because their success depends on it, if they ignored evolution/mutation they would be out of business, if anti-evolutionists ignored this they would be dead. Based on observable and reproducible phenomenon and tons of data excavated yearly from our planet, evolution is a given. Granted, scientists cannot always connect the dots and discovering exactly when in history evolutionary leaps were made is difficult given the infrequent discovery of new or evolved life forms that once roamed our earth, but this should not be used in an argument- especially in the face of observable facts- to debunk evolutionary science. Also, no one who has observed and studied it at length will easily be persuaded to the contrary whether they are faithful or atheist.
Without exploring why some religious folk feel threatened by evolution and its implications on their faith or why atheists go on Christian bashing crusades I think that both religion and science are in fact co-dependent, and like any cohabiting couple they fight furiously from time to time come to blows and even commit murder. For, although man can observe and manipulate nature, he cannot create it from nothing and as science requires absolute proof of concept they are by their own standards without argument or at the very least they cannot produce evidence to contradict creation by intelligent design. In this vacuum religion offers a place of sanctuary for most, a place where prayer and meditation can be directed to a higher power that has all the answers, that provides hope in the face of adversity and trouble. On the flip side science is equally important as are the questions scientists ask for they ultimately lead to greater understanding and appreciation of our world and universe. Scientists eventually used the knowledge that the world was round to better navigate it without fear of falling off and discovered new and wonderful life forms, technology has provided us with tools to communicate with like minded individuals across the globe and share our joys and troubles or form groups of shared opinion. Yes, scientists will question God, it is in their nature to do so but this should not be seen as a threat to the faithful rather an opportunity to better understand their faith and what it is that makes it so important to them. Anyone who is reading this and furiously typing a rebuttal on their latest iPad would merely serve to prove my point. For scientists, the religious are a constant reminder that they do not have all the answers, that there is still much work to be done and that faith and belief in the impossible or even a vivid imagination if you will is as important a part of the scientists mindset as it is to those of religious persuasion. After all, mankind’s scientific inventions and discoveries were dreamt or imagined long before they came into being or could be observed.
And to answer that raging question, where should creationism and science be taught? Simple:
Religion and creationism should be taught in the Church/synagogue/mosque, science in the classroom and the politics in between should be discussed with the help of some inebriation around the braai. Kids should be exposed to all of these at a young age without fear or favor and certainly without pressure or demands because eventually they will ask questions or at the very least questions will be asked of them, they will grow up and become the future generations who must in turn impart their wisdom in the hope that one day we as humans will have evolved (emotionally at least) to the point where peace and harmony between the faiths and their nemesis siblings science actually exist.