Why not frankly admit the Creation Story to be a Hebrew myth, a work
of imagination, a production of fancy before the birth of knowledge.
And when we look beyond our solar system into the mighty universe of other suns and planets, we see that the cosmogony of Genesis is a dream of childish ignorance.
George William Foote: Bible Romances -1900
To me, one of the stupidest things religion does is to demand the acceptance of the ridiculous biblical creationism fairy tale (RBCFT). It serves to highlight the differences between Science and scripture. Creationism is the most visible manifestation of the natural anti-intellectual bias of religion. Worse, creationism is not merely a quaint tradition - it serves to undermine the educational system in this country.
What is both sad and alarming is that over 40 years after 12 Americans walked on the moon, the RBCFT continues to have sympathetic supporters in positions of responsibility, ranging from school boards to, unbelievably, Presidents, Senators, Representatives, Justices, and others in positions of responsibility in the US Government. On school boards, these uninformed mythophiles are actually buying the argument that the RBCFT is a valid and plausible competing theory which should be taught in Science curricula on an equal footing with Evolution, while Evolution, ironically, is false and should not be taught at all.
On one side of the debate we have biblical creationism, which is indistinguishable from all the other beginning-of-the-world myths that were invented in pre-history by people who had no clue regarding the workings of the universe and for whom a sharp rock was the height of technology. Creationism is exactly as scientific as witchcraft, astrology, or the reading of chicken entrails. It is clearly mythological, clearly false, and clearly bullshit. One thing it ain't, is Science.
On the other side we have Evolution, which is real science, practiced and acknowledged by real scientists doing real science. Evolution is supported by reason and experimentation, and by the fossil record of an entire planet. It is factual, testable, and falsifiable. It is the underlying and unifying foundation for the biological sciences. It is not even remotely in dispute among real scientists on this planet.
It is worth pointing out that Evolution is NOT a theory. Many biblers get a lot of mileage off the misnomer ("Theory of Evolution") and even more when supporters of evolution use the phrase. Only certain aspects of evolution are "theoretical", such as sequentiation, or specific details of underlying mechanisms. Beyond that, the fact of evolution - that it can and has and does happen - is beyond question. The facts of Evolution are demonstrable and as well documented as anything on the planet. To put it in perspective, Evolution is exactly as theoretical as gravity or electricity.
E v o l u t i o n I s N o t A T h e o r y !
What puzzles me is how creationists can be so sophisticated in their arguments and still be so dumb. They just don't seem to get the concept of Scientific Methodology: hypothesis, experimentation, observation, analysis, and verification using reason, evidence, and a rigorous set of rules. Science must question and test everything. That which is proven false must be thrown out no matter how right it seems or whose sacred cow gets gored. Religion, on the other hand, already has the answers it wants and will throw out any evidence which contradicts its desired results (the image that always comes to mind is a scene where a group of Cardinals refuse to look through Galileo's telescope). This is the height of intellectual perversion and pretty much makes it the opposite of Science.
That is why it is out of place in Science classrooms. As the Supreme Court found in 1987, in Edwards v. Aguillard, creationism is not science, it is religion, and it was a thinly veiled attempt to impose religion into public school science curricula.
Creationism persists largely out of momentum; it was held to be absolute truth throughout most of history - part of an integrated set of fables which were questioned only at risk of life or limb. Not only was criticism poorly tolerated, but there were few left alive who had the intellectual tools and courage to question the church on such matters. Creationism continues to persist because, even today, we are not that far removed from the days when belief in such nonsense was mandatory. For many people it is still an understandable, graspable, comforting explanation of our origin. And for those people, surviving without curiosity and accepting without questioning, that is enough - never mind that it is completely wrong.
But it is not as simple as merely being wrong. The RBCFT is not a valid competing theory - it is not technically a theory at all - it is pure, flagrant religious proselytization thinly veiled in just enough quasi-scientific terminology to entertain the credulous. Its placement next to serious scientific works and validated knowledge is meant to confuse and to lend credence to the Bible account of magical creation. One of many ironies is that creationism covets the credibility of real Science, cloaking itself in quasi-scientific terminologies while failing to submit itself to reasonable, minimal requirements of the scientific validation process, and at the same time, seeking to confuse, undermine, and prevent the funding and study of real science.
What is a theory? If you get your Science at church you are probably under the impression that a theory is just a wild-assed guess which is probably wrong. Actually, a Theory is a Scientific explanation which accounts for all the evidence and is contradicted by none. A Theory is a higher order of knowledge than a fact.
Creationism is still battled over for one very important reason: If Evolution is true - if a dinosaur ever existed - it spells the death of the literal bible, and all that that implies. Without the RBCFT, the very foundation of xianity crumbles - there can be no Original Sin, no Fall, and no need for Atonement and Resurrection.
If Evolution is universally accepted, it will have some very negative consequences for professional religion. It will be the end of a very lucrative ride for some high-powered literalist preachers who have an obvious vested interest in keeping people misinformed on the subject. These people are not without power and will not go down easily. Also, a lot of people are faced with the unpleasantness of discovering that what they have always believed to be true is actually pure crap. And all that that implies. Neither are these people easily swayed by facts. Don't imagine that the fight is over yet.
Science is the method by which knowledge is acquired. Religion is the method by which knowledge is ignored, reviled, rejected, and destroyed. Creationism puts people in the business of arguing against evidence, reason, Science, human intellect, and education. It is an intellectually bankrupt belief and is a prime example of what is wrong with religion. It is simply evil.
In the end, if you believe in creationism, you are just plain wrong, both morally and intellectually. You believe in fairy tales and you wouldn't know a fact if it bit you on the ass. You are behaving irresponsibly and you are perpetuating a lie. Science classes are not bible classes - they are for serious study. Feel free to believe any dumbass thing you like, but be aware that the Discovery Channel and PBS are doing more to kill off the RBCFT than the Supreme Court and a handful of atheists have ever been able to do. And that's a fact.
ID is nothing more than the ridiculous biblical creationism fairy tale renamed and wrapped in deceptive packaging.
The proponents of ID try to maintain the charade that it is Science and that Evolution has fatal flaws. They are wrong on both counts. They also maintain that whatever it is, it ain't religion. This is, of course, a fucking lie.
ID is not Science because it offers no testable hypotheses. It is also not Science because it demands the right to insert magic as a solution when the facts aren't going their way. It ain't Science, because in Science, you don't get to start with an unchallengeable answer.
Evolution is not even in a little bit of trouble despite the quivering wet dreams of the chronically mal-informed. There is not a single fact or bit of evidence which brings the underlying principles of Evolution into question. Apoplectic rants and faith-based ignorance do not count as cogent arguments against Evolution, no matter how sincere the convictions or how adamant the protestations.
And if you think that ID is not about religion, follow the money. Who supports it? The same despicable pack of the usual suspects who, until they got the memo that the word "creationism" was Kryptonite, were the chief purveyors of the biblical creationism obscenity. Pat Robertson's incendiary feelings on the subject are enough to put the lie to the denials of many of the more artful creationistas. I am talking about the ones who claim ID is 'science' and to prove their point, are unable, when pressed on the point, to come up with a single suggestion as to whom this "intelligent Designer" might be. Trust me when I tell you that you can find most of these people with their ass planted in some pew every Sunday listening to some guy tell them what to think.
In 2005, a group of xian fundamentalists who had taken over the Dover, PA school board, attempted to ignore Supreme Court precedent (Edwards v. Aguillard, 1987) and sneak an endorsement of biblical creationism, under the guise of "Intelligent Design", into the public schools Science Curriculum.
The school board was sued by a group of parents. In the end, all but one member of the school board were removed from office, but only after squandering hundreds of thousands of dollars from the school budget.
More importantly, in December of 2005, the forces of this dishonest and anti-constitutional effort were dealt a brutal, stinging, humiliating, and far-reaching defeat from a Republican judge in the US District Court in Pennsylvania.
In the decision, the judge essentially called the creationists liars and called ID a "breathtaking inanity".
The decision (Kitzmiller v. Dover) is 139 pages long and is a thorough dismantling of the idiots who wasted public funds trying to push thinly disguised religion as Science in the public schools. It is long but it is a great read and will certainly be cited in future cases against the liars and religious thugs who remain undeterred in their efforts to cripple Science education in this country.