On his show yesterday, Thom Hartmann debated Eric Hovind, the president of Creation Today, about public funding for religious education in 11 states.
At least, that’s how the debate began. After welcoming Hovind, Hartmann noted that in these 11 states, creationism is being taught in a manner that will “kneecap these children, should they ever decide to go into the sciences, or pretty much anything other than [Christian fundamentalist] Liberty University, where you can get in without even having to take a G.E.D.”
“Why would anybody want to do this to their children?” Hartmann asked Hovind. “Because it seems like — it borders on child abuse, to be teaching children science in the context of religion … or for that matter [teaching] religion as a statement of fact, when there are other religions that believe very different things? Or to be teaching kids that Jesus was a political conservative in the modern mold and that liberals are somehow evil people.”
“Obviously,” Hovind replied, “you and I come from opposing views then. Why should we let Christians teach their kids what they believe about Creation and do that in science? We find creation scientists all over the United States. It hasn’t kneecapped or handicapped them whatsoever.”
“Well, I’m sure they can find a few billionaire, right-wing Christians who can fund them,” Hartmann replied. “Particularly those who own big oil companies, who want them to promote a ‘science’ that suggests that global warming isn’t going to screw up the world … but my primary objection is that in 11 states, our tax dollars are paying for this stuff.”
“I’ll tell you what’s even worse,” Hovind shot back. “In all fifty states, tax dollars are going to tell the kids that they’re cousins of bananas, and that they all evolved from rocks. That’s being forced, down the kids’ throats, in all 50 states.”
“So you think that the minerals in your body did not start out as rocks?” Hartmann interjected.
“I’m saying that we did not evolve from a random process over billions of years, coming from the Earth, which was originally made out of rock, according to the evolution worldview,” Hovind replied.
“How do you know that?” Hartmann asked.
“Because we actually have revelation from God that tells us how it really did happen.”
“I have no problem with you believing that,” Hartmann retorted. “Or with you promoting that in a church, or in a religion class, but if that’s the way you’re going to teach science, and you’re going to do it with my tax dollars, I have a big problem with that.”
“Well,” Hovind said, “I have a big problem with your tax dollars, and my tax dollars, going to tell kids we all evolved from a rock, that the Big Bang created everything from nothing — that’s what they’re teaching.”
“No,” Hartmann said, “it was a singularity, it wasn’t nothing.”
“No, it was nothing,” Hovind replied. “A famous scientist, who has been writing about this for some time, said everything came from nothing.”
Hartmann noted that that’s “inconsistent with [his] understanding of the general theory of relativity,” and that there’s “an abundance of evidence that the universe has been expanding for 13.8 billion years.”
“The universe is only 6,000 years old,” Hovind replied, “and there’s a lot of evidence to support that. I was just talking to Bill Nye ["The Science Guy"] … and he brought up evidence that the human population is 7.1 billion today, but in 1964 when he was at the World’s Fair, it had just crossed the 3 billion mark. It’s an exponential growth curve. It’s very easy to do the math. If you average out those millions per day, it only goes back 4,400 years.”
“So this is the stuff you want to teach kids as ‘science,’” Hartmann said.
“I’m not the one advocating that the public system should teach this. It’s just science. Just do the math.”
“I’m not talking about public school systems,” Hartmann noted. “I’m talking about home-schooling that is funded by public vouchers, with money that would otherwise go to public schools.”
“Why are you refusing to see the other side?” Hovind asked. “Why don’t you say, ‘I see, I’m forcing you, Eric, to have my view to be taught?’”
“Because it’s science.”
“That’s not ‘science,’” Hovind replied. “That’s just a ‘historical idea,’ not ‘science.’”
“I hate to break it to you, Eric, but that’s science,” Hartmann said. “One of the principles of science is that you never speak in absolute certainties … whereas religion, which is not at all scientific, is all about certainty.”
“No, here’s what’s going on, Thom. Science says you should question everything, but what they don’t let you question is the evolution paradigm…the thing is, the truth is, the science — the math — they don’t support the idea that the world is millions of years old.”
“The thing is,” Hartmann countered, “the things you’re throwing out here are neither accurate nor scientific.”
“It’s very scientific,” Hovind replied. “How is it that there are 20, or 26, doctorate degree, professor-level teachers just at Liberty University alone?”
“Because Liberty University lets you in without even having a G.E.D.,” Hartmann responded.
Watch Hartmann and Hovind’s entire exchange below.
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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