Anticipating a year-long dust up occasioned by the 150th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, consider this. The author of The Origin of Species wrote “I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term Natural Selection.” The scientific conclusions of Darwin regarding our ancestry doesn't satisfy the spiritual teachings of many. If, as has happened quite often recently, public school boards around the country are inserting a particular faith-based version of The Origin of Species into the curriculum, a plea for fairness is needed. Since we are a democratic nation, let's put to a vote which faith-based version is used.
Now if the criterion for inclusion in any curriculum in a public school is to be determined in juxtaposition to scientific consensus, let us begin with the time factor. Age over rhetoric for this discussion. Science agrees that the Earth was formed about 4.5 billion years ago. That figure is the result of many branches of science reaching common agreement.
So in selecting a faith-based estimate of how much time has elapsed since the Creation, let us examine the tenets of a few contenders.
Christians, Moslems, and Jews set the time of Creation about the same at 4000 B.C. (Yes, they actually agree on something!) Okay, since we all mostly cut our teeth on Genesis, I won't give it much space. So the position of roughly one-third of everybody is that it all started about 6,000 years ago.
The Zoroastrians posit the transition from the infinite to the finite we are familiar with to have occurred in the span of 12,000 years. We have a doubling of time here already.
Now the Chinese, traditionally, had a different take on how it was in the beginning and all that. They teach that the Creator woke from a sleep of 18,000 years and began to create. This took another 18,000 so they are in for 36,000 years. Hmmm, big difference.
The Japanese version of creation has the heavy and opaque cosmos slowly condensing into Earth and attribute millions and millions of years to the process. Now we have some big numbers.
Our last candidate, the Hindus, from the Vedas put it thusly: a day of Brahma lasts 4.2 billion years. Whoa, that's incredibly close to the science position. But a night of Brahma also lasts 4.2 billion years. During the day of Brahma, life exists, but no life during a Brahma night. The cycle goes on and on for a hundred Brahma years.
These are among the candidates whose cosmogony mentions a time frame in connection with Creation. If we are to allow a Creationist position opposing the scientific one in the public schools, which is the most plausible story? Be fair now and cast your vote.