I felt compelled to write and complain to you about your article "How to build a bomb in the public school system" which blames the teaching of evolution for the disaffected state of American schoolchildren.

I live in the UK and we don't have these levels of extreme violence to anything like the same extent in schools, despite our secular tendencies. I was taught evolution unapologetically and it never filled me with any sense of futility or nihilism. I don't know of anyone that it did affect in this way. When evolution is taught correctly it is taught that as well as cut-throat competition within nature there is also altruism and that this benefits the survival of social animals immensely, yet I never hear this inconvenient fact mentioned by creationists. Is it ignorance or dishonesty that causes them to omit this?

The US is the only western country I know of which has such a level of violence in schools, the population generally or in terms of exporting its violence against nations overseas. It can't even be blamed on gun ownership because Canada also has huge numbers of guns in circulation and has far fewer problems with violence.


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I felt compelled to write and complain to you about your article "How to build a bomb in the public school system" which blames the teaching of evolution for the disaffected state of American schoolchildren.

An important distinction is made many times in our articles, which I am afraid you have failed to pick up. We try to make it clear that it is not inevitable that someone who believes in evolution will go out and commit violence. However, if an education system proposes that there are no moral absolutes, then, logically, the one who commits violence has some justification for their actions. If everybody has their own truth and their own standards, then why should anyone obey the Ten Commandments, including the injunction not to kill?

I live in the UK

So do I.

… and we don't have these levels of extreme violence to anything like the same extent in schools, despite our secular tendencies.

Then all I can say is that you must have been out of the country for a while! The news has been filled, over the last week or two, with the gangland-style shooting of a number of London teenagers. I also have to tell you that only the worst cases of school violence ever get reported in the media. One relative of mine was a headteacher of a comprehensive in a rural area, when his school was caught up in a firearms incident. Prior to that, he had been a deputy headteacher in an urban school, at which a pupil was brutally murdered with a machete. I was a schoolteacher for 17 years, and incidents of violence in the schools in which I taught were common. One teachers’ union actually told its members that they should expect to be attacked at least once in their careers.

It was a source of frustration to most teachers that it was no longer possible to tell pupils that some things were right and other things were wrong. The concept of right and wrong is even now being written out of Citizenship syllabuses. Pupils are never guilty of bad behaviour … it is always “inappropriate behaviour.” The clear implication was that Wayne’s decision to hit Darren on the head might be inappropriate in the classroom, but there might be somewhere else where such behaviour could be appropriate. Most teachers would tell you off the record that such liberal, politically correct views, without reference to absolute standards, contribute considerably to school violence in UK schools—violence, which I submit is endemic and is causing teachers to leave the profession in droves.

I was taught evolution unapologetically and it never filled me with any sense of futility or nihilism.

I am pleased to hear it. Nor should evolution be taught apologetically. We do not seek to ban the teaching of evolution from state schools—we merely object to pupils being indoctrinated by being told something is a proven fact, when it quite clearly is not.

I don't know of anyone that it did affect in this way.

You will have to take my word for it that I know a great many. Our AiG–UK CEO, Dr. Monty White, relates that when he was growing up as an atheist, he most certainly got the strong impression, reinforced through his science lessons, that life was of no point and completely meaningless.

When evolution is taught correctly it is taught that as well as cut-throat competition within nature there is also altruism and that this benefits the survival of social animals immensely,

The existence of altruism has nothing to do with evolution. On the contrary, within a “survival of the fittest” mode, why bother to expend energy helping those who need help (and are likely less “fit”), when you could instead be expending that energy ensuring your genes are passed on? And what about those many examples in nature of true altruistic behavior that offers no advantage to the individual? This presents a bit of a conundrum for evolutionists.

Interestingly, you’ve tacitly borrowed from biblical Christianity’s morality in pitting cut-throat (i.e., “bad”) against altruism (“good”). Within the evolutionary worldview that you hold, you have no consistent basis upon which to declare one action good and another bad. One action isn’t better than the other; it all boils down to survival and reproduction.

…yet I never hear this inconvenient fact mentioned by creationists. Is it ignorance or dishonesty that causes them to omit this?

It has been addressed, such as in the “Helpful animals” article mentioned above. If you could give me one example of where altruism has led to an increase in the genetic information, then it might prove your point. Your problem here is a common problem of poor logic in evolutionary postulation. You assume that a desirable trait (in this case, altruism) has arisen by evolution, because you cannot accept any other mechanism. You then use the existence of that trait to prove that evolution is correct. So you assume evolution to prove evolution. This is a form of the logical fallacy known as “begging the question.”

The US is the only western country I know of which has such a level of violence in schools, the population generally or in terms of exporting its violence against nations overseas. It can't even be blamed on gun ownership because Canada also has huge numbers of guns in circulation and has far fewer problems with violence.

Your anti-Americanism does you no favours. In my opinion, as someone British-born and bred, the current trends in anti-Americanism in UK society are a form of racism. You will observe that creationists have strong, rational, and biblical arguments against all forms of racism.

It is my understanding that Canada does not allow citizens to carry arms. That is certainly the case in the UK—which has the strictest firearms legislation of any democratic country. Nevertheless, guns would appear to be readily available for criminals in the UK. Nor would the UK seem to be actually less violent than the US—it is well-known in the UK now that you are more likely to be shot in Nottingham than in New York.

None of this excuses any of the violence that occurs in the US. The issue in both countries is a movement away from moral absolutes. In both countries, but particularly in the UK, concern is being expressed by politicians that violence and anger amongst young men is directly linked to the breakdown of family life, whereby too many young people grow up in an environment where there is no male role model. That these discussions are occurring in arenas other than the church shows the general level of acceptance of the problem. If we are taught that we are no higher than the animals, then there is no incentive for young people to follow higher ideals. As we realise the moral and intellectual paucity of evolutionary theory, we need to underpin our societies with a solid foundation of the moral absolutes from the Bible.

Paul Taylor, AiG–UK

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