Teaching Creationism Is ‘Child Abuse,’ Says Prominent Physicist Lawrence Krauss (VIDEO)

images-1Big Think, the online knowledge forum, released a video on Tuesday of theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss speaking on the idea of teaching creationism. In it, Krauss asserts that the notion of creationism defies reality and teaching it to children is tantamount to child abuse. The video is in reaction to Senator Marco Rubio who, in December, declared in an interview with GQ┬áthat he didn’t know how old the earth is. In Rubio’s words:

“I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians… I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.”

Wrong, says Krauss. Evolution is accepted reality, the basis for all biological sciences. For someone like Rubio, who is presumably both intelligent and educated, to take the stand that anything goes in education–that it’s okay for any belief to be taught regardless of reality–is a terrible error. In the following video, Krauss says:

“Allowing the notion that the Earth is 6,000 years old to be promulgated in schools is like teaching kids that the distance across the United States is 17 feet. That’s how big an error it is… The purpose of education is not to validate ignorance but to overcome it… To overcome a situation where a United States Senator can speak such manifest nonsense with impunity is vitally important to the healthy future of our society.”

Here’s the video:

Krauss isn’t the first person to insist that teaching creationism is a form of child abuse. Various atheist and rationalist groups have maintained the same thing. But people of faith, like Anglican priest and theologian David Jennings, of Leichester Cathedral, have taken that stand also. Last fall, when asked whether creationism should be taught in the schools, Jennings said in an open forum:

“There are some people who believe the earth is actually flat… But do we teach that, do we actually suggest that to young people?… Whatever people want to believe in the privacy of their own home, in the privacy of whatever religion they practice, they’re free to do that. But to teach young people things that we know are not true is tantamount to an abuse of young people.”

Last August, Bill Nye the Science Guy weighed in on the subject, also for Big Think:

“Denial of evolution is unique to the United States…I say to the grown-ups, If you want to deny evolution and live in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we’ve observed in the universe, that’s fine. But don’t make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future…we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.”

Here’s the video:

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All of these men underline the point that we Americans are not only unique in our denial of science, but also in the degree to which that denial holds back our young people. As a society, we’re jeopardizing both our future and theirs. We battle over religious ideology–which seems to lurk behind every issue these days–rather than uniting to educate our young and insure that they maintain an edge when it comes to innovation and leadership in the world.

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