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One of the hottest and most volatile topics in public education today is the theory of biological evolution, and a constant debate is raging about whether or not it ought to be taught in American classrooms. On one side of the debate you'll find professional biologists who point to a mountain of scientific evidence in favor of evolutionary common descent. On the other side you'll find religious fundamentalists who point to time-honored Scriptures and holes in biology's current understanding of evolution. In between, you'll find lots of moderate folks who find no conflict at all between religious tradition and modern science, but they are not nearly controversial enough for Adequacy.org.
I have weighed all of the evidence, examined all of the arguments, and pored over all of the statistics. All of this leads me to believe that there can be only one acceptable solution to this controversy: We need creationism in our schools.
Now, before I get any further, allow me to make a couple of observations.
Allow me to expand on this a little bit. Think back to when you were a child. When Christmas rolled around, how many of you honestly believed that a fat man in a red suit would squeeze his ass down your chimney and shower you with gifts .. provided that you had behaved well over the course of the previous year? Come on, let's see a show of hands. Is your hand up? Mine is. And how many of you made a conscious effort to behave well in an attempt to maximize your gift-receiving potential? Again, I find that my hand is up. Do you see where I'm going with this?
Sometimes truth can be irrelevant when the final result is a desired set of behaviors. Sure, we all now know that there is no such thing as Santa Claus, but didn't this belief help keep us on the "straight and narrow" during those formative years when we were most susceptible to misbehavior and general naughtiness? I would submit that the answer to this question is a resounding "yes", and I believe that we can formulate a more general principle from this: There is nothing wrong with lying to children so long as it keeps them docile. There can be little doubt that biological evolution is true, but the fact of the matter remains that most junior high and high school-aged children are ill-equipped to deal with its ramifications.
Fine. The solution is obvious.
Teach them creationism.
Now, I am fully aware of the standard criticisms to this idea. Yes, I concede that it probably violates the First Amendment. Yes, it probably tramples on the rights of non-Christian children. And yes, there's that whole issue about none of it being true. However, I am a "results-oriented" person, and I am willing to dismiss these problems as long as we can clean up some of the behavior in our schools. Our children are shooting and screwing each other at unprecedented levels, and if a belief in a 6,000 year-old Universe and a vengeful Creator can help turn these statistics around, then I'm all for it. Evolution was not taught in classrooms in the year 1800, and I can guarantee you that there were no violent incidents involving mass-shootings or body piercings or Marilyn Manson. Who cares if it's wrong? We can still teach it, can't we?
There is, I think, a scientific precedent to this as well. Almost all high school physics students are required to learn Newton's three "laws" of gravitation. These "laws" are presented as Absolute Truth, and many former students can still recite them from memory. However, we have known since the beginning of the 20th Century that these "laws" are nothing of the kind; Einstein's theory of general relativity is not at all compatible with Newton's "laws", and relativity has been experimentally demonstrated to be correct on numerous occasions. Newton's "laws" break down at large-scale levels (for instance, Newtonian mechanics cannot be used to accurately describe the orbit of the planet Mercury.) Relativity, on the other hand, is consistent and measurably correct on virtually all levels, with the possible exception of situations involving extreme mass and energy where quantum effects can no longer be ignored.
Newton's defenders say "well, okay .. perhaps Newtonian mechanics is not universally correct, but it works very well for situations here on Earth, and in that context it is very accurate." That is all well and good, but the fact remains that Newton was wrong, but physics instructors teach his "laws" anyway. And they are 100% justified in doing so. There is no way in hell that we should expect high school students to be able to understand the ramifications of general relativity. It's weird, wacky, and difficult stuff. Why can't we do the same thing with creationism? Why should we expect these impressionable children to be able to deal with the cold reality that is biological evolution?
So does this mean that we shouldn't teach evolution at all? Of course not; evolution should be part of the standard curriculum at every college in this nation. But my point is that by the time that children go off to college, they are (by and large) mentally ready to handle the theory. They are 18 years old, they are living on their own, and for the first time in their lives, they find themselves in a position of real responsibility. They learn that the world is a bit different than their sheltered illusions have led them to believe, and they grow up quickly. Then (and only then) are they prepared to accept the reality .. so let's wait until then to give it to them.
Of course, you might point out that not all children end up going to college. This is true, but of what use is biology to people who pump gas or dig ditches? These people are inherently ill-prepared to deal with the truth, and they have about as much use for biological evolution as a cat has for pajamas. Here again, society benefits from allowing these folks to have their delusions. When my wife and I go to eat at our favorite restaurant, it makes little difference to me if the guy who parks my car thinks that the Universe is 6,000 years old. So long as my car doesn't get any scratches, I'm not bothered.
As far as the rest of our children are concerned, evolution can wait. Let's hold the theory back until they're ready for it, and in the meantime let's teach them whatever it takes to keep them from killing each other. More now than at any time in our history, we need creationism in our schools. You can disagree with me, but only if you are a certified lunatic that ignores the nightly news. There are times that we have to recognize that the truth is not the most important virtue, and I would submit to you that we are living in one of those times.