|"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank
Joined: Feb. 2005
Sorry for the length of this:
OK. On the first page of the preface of "Explore Evolution", in the second paragraph, we find the sentence " “This makes for exciting viewing, but is not always helpful in finding answers to the real questions in the origins debate”.
That phrase "origins debate" is significant -- it (along with its companion phrase "origins science") ties this book directly not only to the creationist/ID movement, but specifically to previous legal attempts to push religiously-motivated criticisms of evolution into classrooms.
The phrase "origins science" or "origins debate" or "origins model" does not occur in scientific papers, or in scientific textbooks. But it appears extensively in creation "science" and intelligent design "theory" literature, a history that goes back over 30 years -- in ICR Impact June 1, 1973, Duane Gish writes, “To restrict the teaching concerning origins to a single theory, that of organic evolution, and to teach it as an established scientific fact, constitutes indoctrination in a humanistic religious philosophy. Such a procedure violates the Constitutional prohibition against the teaching of sectarian religious views just as clearly as if the teaching concerning origins were restricted to the Book of Genesis.”
The phrase has a very specific meanign to creationists -- a meaning that is used by them alone, and by no other education or sciecne group. That meaning is explained by creationsit Jonathan Sarfati at the Answers In Genesis website:
“This fails to note the distinction between normal (operational) science, and origins or historical science. Normal (operational) science deals only with repeatable observable processes in the present, while origins science helps us to make educated guesses about origins in the past.”
“In contrast, evolution is a speculation about the unobservable and unrepeatable past. Thus it comes under origins science. Rather than observation, origins science uses the principles of causality (everything that has a beginning has a cause) and analogy (e.g. we observe that intelligence is needed to generate complex coded information in the present, so we can reasonably assume the same for the past). And because there was no material intelligent designer for life, it is legitimate to invoke a non-material designer for life. Creationists invoke the miraculous only for origins science, and as shown, this does not mean they will invoke it for operational science.” (Jonathan Sarfati, “Who’s Really Pushing ‘Bad Science’?”)
As used by creationists, "origins science" ties directly to the standard creationist "were you there?" argument, as well as to the "evolution and creation are just different interpretations of the same evidence" argument. And, as Sarfati notes, the concept ties directly to their religious beliefs ("Creationists invoke the miraculous only for origins science").
For creationists, "origins science" and the "origins debate" mean far more than just explanations of previous earth history -- it ties directly to their religious and moral worldview, and their religious and moral rejection of evolutionary biology:
| “Does what one believes about creation and evolution affect his or her worldview? Do origin assumptions provide a foundation upon which important moral questions are answered? Creationists have advanced the idea that what one believes about creation and evolution affects his or her worldview. For example, Morris  stated in the "When Two Worldviews Collide" videotape, "wrong thinking always begets wrong behavior and evolution is wrong thinking." Ham [14, p. 41] said, "there is a connection between origins and issues affecting society such as marriage, clothing, abortion, sexual deviancy, parental authority, etc." More directly, Barnes [5, p. 21] claims, "not only have many given away institutions of higher learning to the evolutionary establishment, but they are also giving away their own children to be trained in an evolutionary mind set. This is causing our children to abandon the traditional Judeo-Christian values upon which our society is founded." Morris and Morris [22, p. 12] state, "a person's philosophy of origins will inevitably determine sooner or later what he believes concerning his destiny, and even what he believes about the meaning and purpose of his life and actions right now in the present world" (emphasis added).” (COMPARING ORIGINS BELIEF AND MORAL VIEWS , RICHARD L. OVERMAN, M.S., Presented at the Fourth International Conference on Creationism, Pittsburgh, PA, August 3-8, 1998) |
ICR still declares today that consideration of "origins" is vital to its religious message: “The creation record is factual, historical and perspicuous; thus all theories of origins or development which involve evolution in any form are false.” (http://www.icr.org/home/faq/)
Given the religious importance of the idea of "origins", and the religious implications of the "origins debate", it's no surprise that this terminology is found in ICR's earliest attempts to legislate the inclusion of "origins science" in public school classrooms as creation "science":
"Evolution is science, creation is religion, we cannot have religion in the classroom." All too often this is the rule when it comes to the manner in which teachers perceive their role in the instruction of origins in the classroom. Fortunately, this type of thinking does not prevail in the majority of cases.”
“A Two-Model Approach to Origins should not include sectarian religion for the public schools; the approach should base its emphasis on the interpretation of scientific data presently available. It is conceivable, even, desirable, that sectarian schools will embellish the scientific limits of the model by making open reference to biblical history. A Two-Model Approach, in essence, is significant only when students have had an opportunity to hear, see, or read, all pertinent data on topics relating to origins.” A Two-Model Approach to Origins: A Curriculum Imperative, by Richard Bliss, Ph.D., ICR Impact June 1, 1976)
“Proposal To Anderson School District #5
Board Of Trustees
by Paul Ellwanger
Whereas, the Constitution prohibits government from infringing upon free exercise of an individual's religion, and
Whereas, an infringement occurs when a state program has content contrary to religious precepts, and
Whereas, exclusive instruction by public secondary and elementary schools in the general theory of evolution infringes upon the free exercise of creationist students and parents, and
Whereas, many citizens of this community believe in the special creation concept of origins and are convinced that exclusive indoctrination of their children in the evolutionary concept is inimical to their religious faith and to their moral and civic teachings, as well as to scientific objectivity, academic freedom, and civil rights, and
Whereas, even most citizens who are not opposed to the evolution concept at least favor a balanced treatment of these two alternative views of origins in their schools, so as to allow students to consider all of the evidences favoring each concept before deciding which to believe, and
Whereas, instruction in creation in a scientific context without use of the Bible would not violate the establishment clause of the Constitution, and
Whereas, there are now available, though quite limited in options, instructional material which do not expound the Bible in presenting creation science, but instead, employ scientific discussion by authors highly trained in science,
I hereby propose that the Board of Trustees of Anderson School District #5 take whatever steps necessary to have objectively presented in the public classrooms of District #5 a balanced treatment of evolution and creation in all courses and library materials dealing in any way with the subject of origins, such treatment to be limited to the scientific, rather than the religious aspects of the two concepts.
In the event this Board goes on record in favor of this proposal, I respectfully suggest ...
1. That only those instructional materials be considered which would supplement current State-adopted texts in providing unbiased information about these two explanations for origins.
2. That only instructional materials be considered for selection which give an objective and nondogmatic treatment of the creation model, so as not to violate the establishment clause of our Constitution.
The following resource/reference items are immediately available, upon request, and offered as a courtesy/convenience, from Paul Ellwanger, 2820 LeConte Road, Anderson, either as a complimentary copy or loan-item (as indicated): [This section is summarized as follows]
- article by Bird6
- an unpublished article by Gish, "Creation, Evolution and Public Education" (available from ICR)
- a news article about Dr. John N. Moore and one of his Impact articles (No. 52, published October, 1977).
- Impact article No. 51, September, 1977, by Henry Morris.
- Impact article No. 36, June, 1976, by Richard Bliss.
- the student's book, teacher’s guide, and transparencies entitled Origins: Two Models, Creation/Evolution by Richard Bliss.
- Scientific Creationism, Public School Edition, by Henry Morris.” (ICR Impact, January 1, 1979, "Creation Science and the Local School District")
“[T]hose of creationist persuasion could maintain church-state separation in the same manner as an evolutionist teacher might, so long as they teach both views of origins and limit their approach to empirical evidence?” (ICR Impact, March 1, 1981, Establishing Scientific Guidelines for Origins-Instruction in the Public Education, by Judith Tarr Harding)
Given the pervasive presence of "origins" language in ICR's effort to introduce creation 'science', it is no surprise that Act 590, the Arkansas law that introduced "balanced treatment" for "evolution science" and "creation science", was permeated by the same "origins" language:
Act 590 of 1981
"AN ACT TO REQUIRE BALANCED TREATMENT OF CREATION-SCIENCE AND EVOLUTION- SCIENCE IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS; TO PROTECT ACADEMIC FREEDOM BY PROVIDING STUDENT CHOICE; TO ENSURE FREEDOM OF RELIGIOUS EXERCISE; TO GUARANTEE FREEDOM OF BELIEF AND SPEECH; TO PREVENT ESTABLISHMENT OF RELIGION; TO PROHIBIT RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION CONCERNING ORIGINS
This Act does not require or permit instruction in any religious doctrine or materials. This Act does not require any instruction in the subject of origins, but simply requires instruction in both scientific models (of evolution-science and creation-science) if public schools choose to teach either.
Only evolution-science is presented to students in virtually all of those courses that discuss the subject of origins. Public schools generally censor creation-science and evidence contrary to evolution.
Public school presentation of only evolution-science without any alternative model of origins abridges the United States Constitution's protections of freedom of religious exercise and of freedom of belief and speech for students and parents, because it undermines their religious convictions and moral or philosophical values, compels their unconscionable professions of belief, and hinders religious training and moral training by parents.
Presentation of only one model rather than alternative scientific models of origins is not required by any compelling interest of the State
Creation-science is an alternative scientific model of origins and can be presented from a strictly scientific standpoint without any religious doctrine just as evolution-science can, because there are scientists who conclude that scientific data best support creation-science and because scientific evidences and inferences have been presented for creation-science.
Most citizens, whatever their religious beliefs about origins, favor balanced treatment in public schools of alternative scientific models of origins for better guiding students in their search for knowledge, and they favor a neutral approach toward subjects affecting the religious and moral and philosophical convictions of students."
And indeed ICR still uses this same "origins science" language to refer to bills requiring that the "controversy over evolution" be taught:
“Earlier this year House Bill 481 was submitted to the Ohio State Assembly. The bill addresses the issue of teaching "origins science" in the Ohio public schools. The carefully crafted bill scrupulously follows the intent of recent Supreme Court decisions and attempts to implement the 2002 U.S. Education Bill, specifically its Santorum Amendment.
Quoting directly from HB 481:
It is the intent of the general assembly that to enhance the effectiveness of science education and to promote academic freedom and the neutrality of state government with respect to teachings that touch religious and non-religious beliefs, it is necessary and desirable that "origins science," which seeks to explain the origins of life and its diversity, be conducted and taught objectively and without religious, naturalistic, or philosophic bias or assumption. To further this intent, the instructional program provided by any school district or educational service center shall do all of the following:
(A) Encourage the presentation of scientific evidence regarding the origins of life and its diversity objectively and without religious, naturalistic, or philosophic bias or assumption;
(B) Require that whenever explanations regarding the origins of life are presented, appropriate explanation and disclosure shall be provided regarding the historical nature of origins science and the use of any material assumption which may have provided a basis for the explanation being presented;
© Encourage the development of curriculum that will help students think critically, understand the full range of scientific views that exist regarding the origins of life, and understand why origins science may generate controversy. “ (ICR Impact, Oct 1, 2002, Who Could Argue with Teaching Good Science? by John Morris, Ph.D.)
This same "origins debate" language was also quickly adopted by the Intelligent Design movement. It is found on many existing ID websites:
Welcome to Origins. This site features scholarly and popular
resources concerning intelligent design and philosophical theism.
| “The TrueOrigin Archive comprises an intellectually honest response to what in fairness can only be described as evolutionism—the doctrine of strict philosophical naturalism as a necessary presupposition in matters of science history (i.e., origins). This doctrine is abundantly evident in much material advocating the Neo-Darwinian macro-evolution origins model, including—but not limited to—the “Talk.Origins” newsgroup and the “Talk.Origins Archive” website. “|
“The question of origins is plainly a matter of science history—not the domain of applied science. Contrary to the unilateral denials of many evolutionists, one’s worldview does indeed play heavily on one’s interpretation of scientific data, a phenomenon that is magnified in matters concerning origins, where neither repeatability, nor observation, nor measurement—the three immutable elements of the scientific method—may be employed. “
Intelligent Design Network: “Seeking Objectivity in Origins Science”
Intelligent Design Network, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that seeks institutional objectivity in origins science.
And finally, the very same "origins" language is found in legal arguments for the teaching of Intelligent Design 'theory' in schools:
Utah Law Review, 2000 39:1
“Teaching the Origins Controversy:
Science, Or Religion, Or Speech?”
David K. DeWolf
Stephen C. Meyer
Mark Edward DeForrest
Teaching Origins Science In Public Schools
John H. Calvert, J.D.
William S. Harris, Ph.D.
Published by Intelligent Design network, inc
Copyright © 2001 by Intelligent Design network, inc..
Subject: Legal Opinion Regarding the Teaching of Origins Science in Public Schools
John H. Calvert, Esq.
Attorney at Law
460 Lake Shore Drive West 913-268-3778
Lake Quivira, Kansas 66217
March 21, 2001
Intelligent Design network, inc.
P.O. Box 14702,
Shawnee Mission, Kansas 66285-4702
Ladies and Gentlemen,
You have requested my opinion as to how public schools may develop science curriculum regarding the teaching of biological origins (the origin of life and the origin of the diversity of life) in a way that is consistent with the Constitution of the United States. I will refer to this area of science as "origins science."
So it's no surprise at all to see the same "origins" language re-appearing in EE. It's the same meaning as before. And, in the case of Meyer, it's the very same guy making the arguments.
Editor, Red and Black Publishers