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Teach the controversy (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Teach the controversy (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.

Claim CA041:

Students should be taught all sides of a controversial issue. Evolution should not be taught without teaching the controversy that surrounds it.

Source: Meyer, Stephen C., Teach the controversy on origins. Cincinnati Enquirer, 30 March, 2002.

CreationWiki response:

(Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

On the fundamental issues of the theory of evolution, such as the facts of common descent and natural selection, there is no scientific controversy.

On the issue of the fact that natural selection exists, there is no controversy. The controversy is over what it can do and whether it, along with random mutation, can cause increase in genetic information and the genetic change from one sort of organism to another, for example, a bacteria to a fish, something which has never been observed and can never be observed.

"The central question of the [1980] Chicago Conference was whether the mechanisms of microevolution (mutations and natural selection) could be extrapolated to explain the phenomenon of macroevolution. At the risk of doing violence to the positions of some people at the meeting, the answer can be given as a clear 'NO'!" Written by science writer and evolutionist, Roger Lewin, in the article "Evolutionary Theory Under Fire", in Science, Vol. 210, No. 4472, November 1980 p:883-887

There are scientists who still feel the same way, based on modern evidence, which is why there is a creation science movement, and an independent intelligent design movement, and other scientists who just see the evolutionary mechanisms as inadequate, like Michael Denton.

The idea of common descent is not a fact, but a belief in something unobservable and ultimately untestable. The arguments for common descent have flaws, and there are scientific and rational arguments against it. This common ancestor isn't even known. The fact that there are scientists using scientific evidence to counter the idea of common descent make it a scientific controversy. [1]

The interpretation of the circumstantial evidence about an unobservable past is definitely a scientific controversy.

The "teach the controversy" campaign is an attempt to get pseudoscience taught in classrooms. Lessons about the sociological issues of the evolution-creation controversy may be appropriate in history or other nonscience classes. If the object is to keep bad science from the classroom, the same standards should be applied to the counterarguments from creationists, which are all bad science.

Unfortunately, but repeatedly, Talk.Origins has to refer to insults to advocate its faith. Although it is true that many creationists and other scientists against the dogmatic teaching of evolution are honest about their philosophical assumptions, which include theism, the evidences and arguments they promote are scientific. You simply need to look at their sites to see this.[2][3][4] This group of websites doesn't even include the Access Research Network of the ID movement, or Creation Ministries International, Answers in Genesis, and Institute for Creation Research, all of whom use scientific evidence to support their views and do scientific research. Yet these endeavours are called pseudoscience, not because they don't do real science, but because they disagree with the naturalistic interpretations within the theory of evolution, and, for scientifically observable reasons, see the inadequacies in the mechanisms posited and the problems with the "fact" of evolution.

Talk.Origins main aim appears to be to smear all creation scientists and anti-evolutionists with the same brush of not being scientific and bearing bad science. This shows a philosophy that says "only people that believe the same as us have it right", and this is more of a religious point of view, than a proper scientific one.

There are controversies over details of evolutionary theory, such as the relative contributions of symmetric versus elliptic speciation. These controversies require a great deal of background in biology even to understand what they are about. They should not be taught to beginning students. They should be taught to graduate-level students in biology, and they are.

These are controversies among people who believe in evolution, and can be quite complicated. But the problems with evolution as the whole Darwinian theory are at the simple fundamentals, a place where a lot of students can understand those problems and have informed discussions about them rather than just being taught the dogmatic belief of evolutionists alone. If natural selection can be understood by students, then its observable limits can be taught as well. If mutation can be taught to students, then its limitations can be taught as well. If evolution can be taught to students then scientific problems with it can be taught as well.

By informing the students properly at a younger age, then informed scientific and philosophical arguments can be done at college and graduate level, rather than everyone having the evolution dogma imposed on them (the "fact" of evolution) and only being able to argue within the dogma at higher levels.

The main point is this: students should be fairly taught the difference between the scientific evidence and the philosophical explanations and logic in arguments for and against the theory of evolution for teaching to be truly fair in a philosophically diverse democracy.


  1. A Critique of Douglas Theobald’s “29 Evidences for Macroevolution”
  2. The Emperor Has No Clothes - Naturalism and The Theory of Evolution
  3. The Darwin Papers
  4. A Creation Perspective

See Also