- Parent Category: Upper-Intermediate News Lessons
- Category: Culture Lessons
- Written by Chris Cotter
How old is the Earth? Most people believe it's billions of years old, but more and more people think it's much younger. They believe that the Earth was created a mere few thousand years ago. These different viewpoints make up the debate between the theory of evolution and creationism. It's a hot topic in the US, fueled by politics, cultural differences, and religion.
The theory of evolution states that plants and animals changed slowly over many generations, which took billions of years. Helpful traits were passed onto offspring, and harmful ones grew rare. Creationism, however, declares that God created the Earth in six days, exactly as indicated in the Bible, only a few thousand years ago. A slightly different form of creationism is known as intelligent design. Because some animals are so complex, it demonstrates that God influenced their development.
In the US, numerous conservative leaders have opposed the teaching of evolution in the classroom. Others have pushed to get creationism taught side-by-side with evolution, because they hope more people will then see it as a valid theory. But courts have repeatedly ruled that creationism, as well as intelligent design, is a brand of religious teaching. It should have no place in the public classroom.
Although creationism in Europe doesn't have the same number of followers as it has in the US, numbers are increasing. Therefore, the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly will debate a statement which will declare creationism is a form of religious extremism. An Assembly member said that different religious views exist. But creationism isn't science, so it shouldn't be taught in the classroom. Furthermore, creationism attacks science and human rights.
Preview some of the lesson material:
Brainstorm: Brainstorm with a partner(s) words and ideas associated with "evolution" for 2 minutes. Spend another 5 minutes or less discussing the words and ideas together.
True or False? : Guess (before the article) or answer (after the article) whether the sentence is true or false. If false, correct the sentence.
- According to the article, the Earth is billions of years old.
- Creationism explains that plants and animals changed slowly, from generation to generation.
- Intelligent design is a type of creationism.
- US courts regularly decide that religion shouldn't be taught in the classroom.
- According to the article, evolution is an attack on science and human rights.
post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!
- Which do you believe is right, evolution or creationism? Why?
- Is it possible that God(s) created the universe, and plants and animals have evolved since then? Why/not?
- Is creationism a threat? Why/not?
- Why do you think more and more people in Europe believe in creationism?
- Should creationism and evolution be taught side-by-side in the classroom? Why/not?
Google Search: Type "creationism" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.