Pastors weigh in on creationism, evolution in schools

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Across the nation a debate is raging about whether evolution should be taught in schools.

In Kansas, school boards are pasting disclaimers on science books to notify students that evolution is a theory, not a fact. In Craig, the debate has not reached that point, but some pastors here think the disclaimers are a good idea.

Local churches have addressed the topic of evolution with their youths and adults.

"It's not a bad idea to put a disclaimer on textbooks," said Paul Martin, pastor at Church of Christ.

Martin, like David Carrick, minister at First Christian Church, opposes the viewpoint of conventional science, which holds that the planet is billions of years old.

Both pastors read the first chapter of Genesis literally and believe young Earth theories, which state the planet is only several thousand years old.

"As far as personally, when the books are printed (writers should) simply print it as the theory of evolution," Carrick said.

Much of evolution is taught as fact, starting as early as pre-school, Martin said. He thinks it is inaccurate to teach children that dinosaurs lived millions of years ago.

Martin rejects the argument that the creation story in the Bible is a symbolic tale.

"If you take the first chapter and make it say whatever you want it to say, you can take anything else in the Bible and make it say what you want it to say," Martin said.

There exists a substantial body of research completed by accredited professors that strives to disprove evolution, he said.

"In classes, youth and adult, we all study things that negate in our minds the typical view of evolution," Martin said.

At First Christian Church, the issue has come up in adult discussion classes, and it is dealt with through articles and newsletters. Evolution has been covered in youth groups, and some of the church's home-schooled youth cover evolution as part of the curriculum, Carrick said.

But Rev. Dave Barnes at First Congregational U.C.C. Church believes schools are doing a fine job teaching science, and he sees no need to change the curriculums.

"My particular stance is how churches look at it needs to be handled in the churches," Barnes said.

"The school system needs to handle it the way it has for years -- handle it in a scientific approach. I would not be supportive of having the biblical approach in the school system," he said.

Teaching creationism in school could breach the separation of church and state, Barnes said.

"I think it's going to cause more problems that what it would solve," he said.

But schools don't necessarily need to teach creationism, Carrick said.

Some scientists recently have abandoned evolution in favor of intelligent design theory.

The theory isn't necessarily religious, but it maintains that the world is too complex to have come into existence randomly and that an intelligent being must have guided creation.

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