Skip to comments.Russia: Creationism Finds Support Among Young
Posted on 03/13/2006 10:10:03 AM PST by SirLinksalot
By Claire Bigg
A 15-year-old Russian schoolgirl has filed a court action to demand that creationism feature in the school biology curriculum, alongside Darwin's evolutionary theory of the origins of life. The idea of introducing creationist views into the classroom seems to find sympathy among a number of Russians, particularly young people. Religious zeal, scientific ignorance, or simple bravado -- what makes young people reject the long-enshrined theory of evolution?
MOSCOW, March 10, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Maria, a schoolgirl from St. Petersburg, is demanding that the Russian Education Ministry rewrite biology textbooks to include the view of creationism -- the belief that God created the universe and all living beings as described in the Bible.
Teaching only the theory of evolution, she says, violates freedom of conscience and religious rights, and therefore runs counter to the constitution.
Tired Of A Secular Curriculum
Schraiber is assisted in her lawsuit by her father, Kirill, and by three lawyers representing the Russian Orthodox, Muslim, and Jewish faiths.
Like in Western countries, the curriculum taught in state schools in Russia is strictly secular. A number of young Russians, however, are not opposed to seeing that change.
Aleksandr, a 19-year-old Moscow student, fully backs Schraiber's initiative. "It seems like a very good thing to me," he said. "Inner spiritual development should definitely have its place in education. I think notions such as ethics should also be included [in the school curriculum]. These are very useful things."
Sergei, a 22-year-old working for a construction firm, does not believe in evolution theories. He says schools should teach children more about religion, without however falling into proselytizing. "I think that God exists," Sergei said. "It is 100 percent clear that we do not descend from the ape, according to Darwin's theory. I am in favor of teaching topics in school that would enable people to choose themselves what religion they will adhere to, without leaning towards one religion in particular."
And Anastasiya, a 17-year-old student, agrees that the theory of divine creation should be added to the theory of evolution in the school program. "Yes, so that children can have a choice, so that they have the possibility of deciding what is closer to them, so that they make this choice themselves," she told RFE/RL.
Not all young people agreed, however. Some thought that creationism had no place in schools.
Darwin In Decline?
At Moscow's imposing Darwin Museum, creationist theories are not an option.
Schoolchildren come here to learn about how species evolved and adapted to their natural environment. On weekends and holidays, the museum, which has three floors teeming with stuffed animals and skeletons, receives about 3,000 visitors a day.
Richard Dawkins, an eminent British ethnologist, famously said that one had to be either "ignorant, stupid, or insane" to deny the theory of evolution.
The director of the Darwin Museum, Anna Klukina, is more diplomatic. But she agrees that those rejecting Darwinism do so out of gross ignorance. It seems like a very good thing to me. Inner spiritual development should definitely have its place in education -- Aleksandr, 19.
"The masses understand neither the theory of evolution nor Darwinism itself. I witness this on a regular basis. The theory of evolution is based on three postulates that cannot be called into question," she says. "The first postulate is the existence of mutability. The second postulate is the existence of the fight for survival. The third is natural selection. But for the masses, Darwinism equates to man descending from apes, and that's all. Darwin, however, never said this, that's the whole tragedy."
Contrary to the common belief that Charles Darwin's theories boil down to the descent of man from the ape, his theory of evolution stipulates that all life forms are related and have descended from a common ancestor.
Darwinism Vs. God
Klukina also firmly rejects the claim that Darwinism precludes the existence of God.
She argues that the late Pope John Paul II publicly recognized evolutionist theories, and that Darwin himself, who studied theology at Cambridge University, was a deeply religious man.
Sociologists, however, say scientific ignorance is not the only factor behind the rejection of evolution theories in Russia.
Some say the spiritual vacuum left by the collapse of the Soviet Union and its atheist ideology is at the root of this trend.
I think that God exists. It is 100 percent clear that we do not descend from the ape, according to Darwin's theory -- Sergei, 22.
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels admired Darwin's theory of evolution, which they thought supported their own theory of social evolution. A simplified and somewhat "Sovietized" version of Darwinism therefore occupied pride of place in the biology curriculum of Soviet schools.
According to Lev Gudkov, a sociologist who heads the department of social and political studies at the Yuri Levada Center, creationism signals a desire to reject anything associated with Soviet times: "It is definitely a post-Soviet, exaggerated, insistence on pre-Soviet traditional views. This is observed mostly among young people and among the elderly. We discern an overall tendency towards imitational traditionalism that emerged as a reaction to the vacuum of ideas and beliefs that followed the disintegration of Soviet ideology."
A poll conducted by the Yuri Levada Center last September showed that only 26 percent of those surveyed supported the theory of evolution, while 49 percent of respondents said they believed man was created by God.
Gudkov, however, warns against taking initiatives such as Maria Schraiber's too seriously.
Since the most fervent advocates of creationism in schools seem to be teenagers and young adults, Gudkov says that efforts to publicly reject the theory of evolution is likely to be partly driven by a desire to challenge the established order.
"But that discussion doesn't belong in a science class."
As it is a competitve theory of origins it does belong right beside evolution.
"(although I am curious where Christ spoke directly about Adam and Eve as historical people -- please provide a citation)."
Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.
But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female.' 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two but one flesh.
"So you made him up."
You would like to believe that. He is very real. And I will not post his name or any other personal info. I wouldn't post my own name on this board.
"And it still has nothing to do with the subject at hand."
That is your opinion. I disagree.
> As it is a competitve theory of origins it does belong right beside evolution.
Creationism is *not* a scientific theory, and ID is no better. And theology, fine... but it belongs in science class as much as "Bush sure sounded like Hitler last night" belongs in geography class.
God is not superstition. I am really surprised at the number of atheists on here.
Creation myths are NOT competitive theories, any more than angels holding airplanes aloft in their hands is a "competitive theory of aerodynamics."
Luke 3:38 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.
You should be ashamed of yourself for misusing/misquiting scripture! That is NOT Jesus talking, it is tracking back Jesus' lineage. And as I have said, many believe the Bible to be more allegorical than factual. This passage links the Old and New Testemant and is important Biblically. It does not establish some sort of rule that says that one cannot be a Chrisitan Evo (although one must ask what kind of Christian misquotes scripture to make a point)
The Mark quote also doesn't say Adam and Eve by name
I will leave your imaginary friend out of it.
"And it still has nothing to do with the subject at hand."
That is your opinion. I disagree.
You can disagree until the cows come home. You can also assert the sky is green or that Liberals have brains. Your opinion changes facts not a whit.
We are talking about CRIDers/Evos and he was talking about his specific desire to make sure those who work on him to have the proper scientific tools. That is the fact. Your opinion doesn't change it at all.
What an excellent, thoughtful reply! Much appreciated.
Nice try. The fact remains that belief in (a) God is a form of mythology. Whether I believe it (I do) is not germain to a discussion of strict science.
Science eschews the "and here a miracle happened" school of thought. That thinking belongs in philosophy/theology/religion etc.
Too bad I ripped it apart in post #31, et. seq.
It's the new Dark Ages. C. P. Snow was right.
It may come as a shock to you, but students and teachers do discuss creationism in biology class - mine did. And everyone survived! What are you all so afraid of????
Aha, just what I suspected!
Damn those parents anyway! Who do they think they are, anyway? Who do they think those children belong to?
I'm really surprised that all those addled fools have sense enough to reproduce! Maybe they'll die off or get eaten by predators or something.
More funding is needed, that's for sure.
Yeah, well the battle is far from over so don't get too confident that you can brainwash all the students. As our Russian friends have shown, even young adults are able to make up their own minds.
We are afraid that choldren will get confused about what a theory is and what a belief is. The CRIDers on these threads PROVE there is something to fear.
There is nothing that says a biology teacher can't wax philosophical -- especially if it increases the interest. But as a matter of public policy, science should be taught in science class and religion taught in philosophy class.
When you combine this with your #50, you answer your own question.
No one on here will have his/her mind changed about evolution. All of us who learned about evolution in school had the choice to believe or toss - quite a few of us decided we didn't believe it and tossed it. Those who decided to believe were perfectly free to do so. Why do you have a problem with that? We don't ask you to believe in God.
Well, that pretty much wraps things up here. We have mythology posted as Truth. We can't go any further. I will bookmark this so that everyone knows when you are "arguing" that your real "argument" is "because I said so" or rather "because I said God said so."
Thanks for permanently marginalizing yourself. It leaves more energy for me to get the NEXT CRIDer to admit defeat.
Say "Hi" to your imaginary friend for me.
PH, CGM, B666 -- you may want to join me in keeping this one on file to save yourself time in arguing with this holy roller. If appropriate, you might want to mention it to Icheumon (I can never spell his name right!)
"Well, that pretty much wraps things up here. We have mythology posted as Truth. We can't go any further."
And how do you know that what I posted is "myth"?
No need. I never argue with creationists. It generates ill will, and it doesn't change anyone's mind. All I do is provide information, which they are free to ignore.
It can't be proven. Your Creation Myth is no more valid than the Cherokee Indian, Hindu, Buddhist or any others.
Your paticular myth has no special status in the world of science and argument.
But since you have made it a foundation of your argumentation, your argumentation is rendered meaningless.