Creationism holds America back
By Rolando Garcia
Bill Nye the Science Guy, mechanical engineer and television personality, attacked creationism in a YouTube video for being an obstacle in our youth’s development and consequently harmful to our country.
“I say to the grown-ups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world that’s completely inconsistent with the world we observe, that’s fine. But don’t make your kids do it, because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need engineers that can build stuff and solve problems,” he said.
Creationism is harmful because to deny evolution is to deny “the fundamental idea in all of life science — in all of biology,” Nye said. And such adamant denials do raise difficulties, particularly when 46 percent of Americans believe in creationism.
A 2009 poll by the Pew Research Center found that 97 percent of American scientists support evolution as the only explanation that can fully account for observations in the fields of biology, paleontology, molecular biology, genetics, anthropology, and others. The percentage of scientists who accept evolution worldwide may be greater.
When both percentages are weighed against each other, it doesn’t take a mathematician to conclude a large portion of the American population is not participating in the sciences, and this puts us in a global intellectual disadvantage.
Sure, evolution is “just a theory,” but a theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment. Just a theory is good enough.
Few other scientific theories in America have had to endure the scrutiny and attacks that evolution has received, attacks which are only motivated by a conflict between the contents of the Bible and scientists’ observations.
Because accepting and understanding evolution is crucial to expand our breadth and depth of knowledge, we have good reasons to resolve the conflict between science and religion, something which other countries’ churches have already done.
Americans, Christians particularly, have made the equivocation of reading the entire Bible literally; a form of reading for which they did not receive explicit divine instructions, and which they were only inclined to adopt for obscure reasons. The equivocation arises from the premises that the word of God is true, and the Bible is the word of God; but even if both these premises are granted, the conclusion that the Bible is literal does not necessarily follow.
The Bible need not be literal to be true: That’s what priests taught me in a private Catholic school in Mexico when we were covering the theory of evolution and the Big Bang.
Homer’s Odyssey teaches us truths about humanity without requiring us to believe Cyclops existed. There are different ways of interpreting any written work; surely we don’t read poetry in the way we read a textbook, and the Bible nowhere specifies which level of interpretation is appropriate. Opting to read the Bible literally is as justified as reading it metaphorically, though the former is a lot more harmful. By abandoning a literal interpretation of the Bible, Americans will be able to raise a scientifically literate and intellectually competitive generation.