I would like to make a list of the *three* strongest arguments from a evolutionist and the same for a creationist as to why each thinks his/her point of view is correct about how life forms came into being and are the variety we see now.
Please note that each of the three points needs to be simple to understand and expressed in just a couple of sentences. I will give further explanation during class time if I think it is needed.
There are many versions of creation, and I hope you cover each one of them as well, if your goal is to present the subject with an open minded approach. Some versions of creation are quite interesting and markedly different from the Judeo-Christian matrix.
This means that your question is not properly formed if you only consider one version of creation.
Personally I am a Deist, and a simple version of creation according to deism is that god/s created the universe at the beginning of time, complete with the natural laws that make stars and planets behave as they do, and forming a universe with elements of chaos to ensure the most diverse environments are provided, salting that mixture with pre-biotic molecules that then find root in the soils of planets where the development of life is possible.
There is no conflict between this type of creation and the scientific view of things progressing alonge natural means, as the natural means are the tools of creation.
This means that your question is not properly formed if you consider that it is either creation OR evolution.
Now let's look at what evolution means: evolution is the change in hereditary traits in populations from generation to generation.
There is nothing there about origins.
The best argument for evolution is the evidence: evolution is all around us, populations are constantly changing the mixtures of hereditary traits from generation to generation. The process of evolution is an observed fact. In addition, such evolutionary processes have been observed to operate in isolated populations in different ways: evolution is a response mechanism to select variations within a population for the ecology they live in, so different ecologies will result in different selections. This differential evolution in isolated populations has been observed to result in speciation events - where a parent population gives birth to daughter populations that are reproductively isolated and thus are no longer in the same species. This shows that diversity of life forms can be developed by evolutionary processes in an ongoing manner, and that species can be linked by common ancestors, some recent.
The second best argument for evolution is that there is no evidence that contradicts it: there is no evidence of changes in populations that are not related to changes in hereditary traits.
The third best argument for evolution is that it is sufficient to explain the evidence of the past life of this planet. Here we see the process of common ancestry forms a tree of heredity from parent populations, such that all related species share common traits while still having traits that identify them as distinct species, with the non-shared traits being developed after the shared traits.
Again, you will note that there is no mention of origins here.
Rather what science is doing is working backwards from what we know - the life around us, and the fossil evidence of past life - to determine what happened in the past.
There currently is no evidence of the development of life on earth, and thus the mystery of origins is shrouded, hidden, unknown at this time. What we know is that the earliest known fossil bearing rocks show life fully formed. What we know is that when the earth formed it was not hospitable to life as we know it. What happened in between is not known.
Sorry to see you go when there is still so much to discuss. Perhaps you will learn from your students eh? I find this comment rather humorous:
(Message ): Thanks for telling me how to do my job!
Because you came here asking for help in doing your job. I also wonder what techniques you use in your classroom discussions:
(Message ): Modulous, adversarial techniques are a very good way of looking at issues- I have used it for class discussions and it is certainly a better way of teaching than telling children what to think. If the arguments are strong, they will hold up to scrutiny.
This sounds like the old Aristotelian method of debate, where the best argument wins irrespective of truth. What kind of scrutiny is used? Do you cover the basics of logic, so that AT LEAST properly formed arguements are learned?
Your comment that my question is not properly formed ... look at the name of this website: EVOLUTION VERSES CREATION forum- are you of the opinion that the website name itself is not properly formed either? Doesn't the name itself IMPLY that it is either creation or evolution? Nevertheless your point is taken, even if it is a bit pedantic.
Which is a logical fallacy, and it doesn't make your question any better formed.
Hmmm, it seems that I have opened a can of worms by simply suggesting that a topic is discussed at school. I must say that I am surprised by the comments posted here. I came sincerely looking for opinions on a topic which I admittedly have sparse knowledge of ...
So you readily admit to pretend to teach something you understand poorly, and then blast us for having a negative reaction to your proposed course of action?
The evidence will speak for itself, one way or another- *Who* should decide if anything is worth discussing? Why shouldn't it be discussed?
The evidence does speak for itself, but there are also people who misunderstand it or misrepresent it through ignorance, and as a teacher one should take extra precaution about that problem. This is normally done by learning the subjects one teaches, so that they do know how to do their job. One of the biggest problems in schools in the US today is having teachers that don't know their subjects, especially science topics.
Don't mistake a "balanced" approach for a "fair" approach.
I hope to increase my knowledge of the issue of evolution/creation over time. Maybe I will return to this forum if I have further questions.
Please do - then you can tell us the results from using the information provided.
If you do want to learn more (and assist others in learning) I can recommend the Berkeley Evolution Website Evolution 101: it is well laid out, uses simple language to explain the points, breaks things down into easy blocks of information, and provides a wealth of information about the basics of evolution as it is taught by biologists.