Sunday, 5 April 2009

Scientists call for Evolution to be taught in Sunday Schools

This is a short satirical article I wrote in a moment of whimsy. However, it’s been brought to my attention that the jovial nature of the piece is not necessarily clear. I’m choosing to take that as a compliment.

--------------------------------------------------------

In what is shaping up to be a major theological controversy, priests and ministers have hit back at the suggestion that they should include alternative ideas of species origin in their Sunday School classes.

For many years churches have taught only a traditional view of “Creation”, that the Earth and all humans, plants and animals were brought into existence over the course of 6 days some 6,000 years ago by a being referred to only as “God”.

This position has been challenged recently by the emergence of “Evolution”, a theory which maintains that the Universe and even the Earth are much older, and that humans and animals evolved over millions of years from simpler organisms.

Father Ralph McCluggage of Our Sacred Lady Church said:

“For years we’ve been happily teaching the biblical story of Creation to our children. They grow up with a clear understanding that the world began with a naked couple frolicking in a garden, a tree with fruit they weren’t supposed to eat and an evil snake. This story has everything they need to know: the origins of the universe, where all the plants and animals came from and why women shouldn’t be trusted.

This idea that we evolved over millions of years may be supported by mountains of physical evidence, but the fact remains that it says nothing about it in the Book of Genesis.”

After initial attempts failed to have Evolutionary theory taught alongside biblical Creation, scientists have taken a different tack and are now encouraging churches to “teach the controversy”.

Dr Miles Plankton of the University of Melbourne:

“It’s important to recognise that the idea that God created us in 6 days is only a theory. Evolution is another theory. What’s wrong with kids learning that there are different ideas about how the world began?”

But even this watered-down approach has been met with resistance. Father Ralph had this to say:

“This attempt to force Evolution into our curriculum is nothing more than a veiled attempt to introduce atheism into Sunday School classes.

Now I don’t care what these scientists teach in their science classes. That’s their business. But our Sunday School classes are for teaching the basis of our faith.

All this Evolution stuff may be rational and evidence-based, but the fact remains that it’s simply not religion.”

3 comments:

ZAROVE said...

This Satire has been done before.

That said, Mathew, yu make three vital errors.

1: Even though you want to look at the Scindce classroom as no palce for quesitongn Evolutiin and teaching "Crrationism" (WHich to you includes ID) because they ar einehrantly religious concepts, you forget the fact that the classroom is, in fact, a palce to learn all alternatives.

This is very different form a SUnday School, whose sole objective is to teeach the Faith.

By tryign to make teaching alternatives to Evolution ridiculosu by flippgn it and haivng Eovlution taught in Chruches, you just show how litel graps yu jave of the issue ince you htink thsi is a fair balance, when its not.


2: The other grerat problem is, you assume "Religious people " (Christians) universally reject Evlution, or at leats their CHurhces do.

But this isnt' true. Many Chruches fully accept Evolutioanry theory, and many already teach Evoluiton in their CHruhces to exoplain the conepts.

Your little caracaturte is just not working.

Matt said...

Hi Zarove,

Your third point appears to be missing. Still, I'll respond to the other two.

The science classroom is definitely a place for questioning evolution, just as it's a place for questioning every scientific theory.

You also said the classroom is a place to learn all alternatives, which is almost true. Two things wrong with this:

First, the science classroom is for teaching scientific alternatives, not just any old alternative. As has been discussed previously, Intelligent Design is not science. Based on your logic we should also be teaching numerology in Math classes and astrology in Astronomy classes.

Second, you say we should teach all alternatives, but you don't really mean that. After all, there are literally thousands of origin stories for the Earth. Are you saying we should give equal time to the Dreamtime stories of the Australian aboriginals, the creation stories of the Native Americans, and the Hindu stories of Vishnu and Brahma?

If you're being honest, Zarove, I think you'll see that you only want the ID/Creationism myths of Judaeo-Christianity included. You're not so worried about having these other ideas taught, are you?

On your final point, I'm well aware that many Christians accept evolution. I'm not sure why you felt you needed to point that out.

Laura said...

Matt,

Nice piece of satire. While I certainly disagree with your assumptions and conclusions, you've done a good job of capturing the emotions and some of the issues surrounding the teaching of the origin of life.

BTW, thanks for commenting on my post; I look forward to further conversation.