What Children are Taught about Fossils
“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”
In the Mount St Helens Creation Center, we have a display of fossils. Now, fossils are of great interest in science education. Most science courses in public schools will explain to children that fossils are evidence for evolution. The science requirements for England and for Wales both say: "Pupils should be taught that the fossil record is evidence for evolution." Ohio's science standards say: "Modern ideas about evolution provide a natural explanation for the diversity of life on Earth as represented in the fossil record." Washington state science standards are particularly interesting. They require students to be taught that "Fossils provide evidence that many plant and animal species are extinct and that species have changed over time." Is this true?
It is certainly the case that the fossil record gives us evidence that many plant and animal species are extinct. There are many fossils of organisms that do not exist today. But in our Creation Center display, we have arranged fossils next to modern examples of creatures. The fossil record does not, in fact, give evidence of change – at least not on the macro scale. There is no evidence in the fossils of, for example, animals that are part mammal part reptile. What we do find, however, are fossils of creatures pretty similar to extant organisms. The fossil record is a record of extinction, but it is also a record of stasis – that creatures have not evolved. Adaptation within a kind is not evolution.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the enjoyment of studying fossils. They remind us, however, of Your judgment in times past, but also Your mercy in saving us. Amen.
Ref: Taylor, P.F. (2007), Truth, Lies, and Science Education (Leominster, UK: Day One Publications), pp. 107-109.