How old is the Earth? Is it billions of years old, or a significantly younger several thousand? The debate between the theory of evolution and creationism continues, primarily in the US. It's a dispute fueled by politics, cultural differences, and religion.
The theory of evolution holds that plants and animals changed slowly, generation after generation, over billions of years. Helpful traits were passed onto offspring, while harmful ones grew rare. Creationism, however, supposes that God created the Earth in six days, exactly as depicted in the Bible, only a few thousand years ago. Intelligent design, which has been labeled as a form of neo-creationism, points to the complexity of some animals as an indication that God guided their development.
In the US, numerous conservative leaders have opposed the teaching of evolution in the classroom. Others have striven to get creationism taught side-by-side with evolution, as an alternative and equally-valid theory. Kansas, for example, has flip-flopped on the issue several times over the past few years. Courts, however, have repeatedly ruled creationism, as well as intelligent design, a form of religious teachings. It should have no place in the public classroom.
Although creationism in Europe hasn't achieved the number of adherents as it has in the US, numbers are increasing. Therefore, the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly will debate a resolution to declare creationism a form of religious extremism. An Assembly member commented that different religious views exist, yet creationism isn't science. It shouldn't be presented as such in the classroom. Furthermore, the resolution views creationism as an attack on science and human rights.
Preview some of the lesson material:
Brainstorm: Brainstorm with a partner(s) words and ideas associated with "evolution" for 2 minutes. Spend another 5 minutes or less discussing the words and ideas together.
True or False? : Guess (before the article) or answer (after the article) whether the sentence is true or false. If false, correct the sentence.
- According to the article, the Earth is billions of years old.
- Creationism explains that plants and animals changed slowly, from generation to generation.
- Intelligent design is a type of creationism.
- US courts regularly decide that religion shouldn't be taught in the classroom.
- According to the article, evolution is an attack on science and human rights.
post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!
- Which do you believe is right, evolution or creationism? Why?
- Is it possible that God(s) created the universe, and plants and animals have evolved since then? Why/not?
- Is creationism a threat? Why/not?
- Why do you think more and more people in Europe believe in creationism?
- Should creationism and evolution be taught side-by-side in the classroom? Why/not?
Google Search: Type "creationism" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.