|Helping Students Think About Creation
In the ongoing struggle to free students from hearing only about evolution as the explanation for life's origin, we must think about ways to creatively and legitimately expose students to the weaknesses of the theory and alternatives to it.
Creation and Social Studies
Believe it or not, the California Department of Education has made the academic case that exposing students to creationists' ideas is legitimate for public schools to do. The California Science Framework states: "Discussions of divine creation, ultimate purposes, or ultimate causes (the why) are appropriate to the history-social science and English-language arts curricula."
This means that the topic of creation can be taught in two classes in California and the case can be made for its academic legitimacy in other states as well. In a social studies class, the Creation story itself could be read and discussed when learning about ancient civilizations, Hebrew culture, and Middle Eastern history.
It is equally valid to read and discuss the Creation story while studying the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, and Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech. America's founding fathers believed that "all men are created equal" and "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights."
In the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln stated: "Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."
Dr. King based his famous speech on the understanding that a Creator made men equal: "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'"
Our nation's view of life's origin has been central to our liberty! It is legitimate to teach about it and to expose students to more recent understandings of scientists who hold to ideas of creation. A teacher could teach a few of the main points about creationism and give the students some tough questions to ask their biology teacher!
Intelligent Design & Environmental Lessons
There are legitimate and appropriate ways to expose students to a Christian worldview without teaching them directly about creationism. For example, in teaching about weather and clouds, a teacher can point out the difference between random chance (clouds looking like animals) and intelligent design (sky writing); or when studying rock formations or geography, a teacher could, again, point out the difference between random chance and intelligent design by contrasting cliffs that look like faces and the faces on Mt. Rushmore. As Percival Davis and Dean Kenyon point out in their textbook, Of Pandas and People: The Central Question of Biological Origins:
"Whenever we recognize a sequence as meaningful symbols, we assume it is the handiwork of some intelligent cause. We make the assumption even if we cannot decipher the symbols, as when an archaeologist discovers some ancient inscription on stone. If science is based upon experience, then science tells us the message encoded in DNA must have originated from an intelligent cause."
Creation and Mathematics
A math teacher can help students think about the improbability of evolution when teaching about exponents. Without ever going into a refutation of evolution, nor ever mentioning the Bible, God, or creationism, the teacher can simply use the improbability of evolution as one example of a very large number expressed in exponents.
Francis Crick, the scientist who was a co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, once wrote: "If a particular amino acid sequence was selected by chance, how rare an event would this be?
"This is an easy exercise in combinatorials. Suppose the chain is about two hundred amino acids long; this is, if anything, rather less than the average length of proteins of all types. Since we have just twenty possibilities at each place, the number of possibilities is twenty multiplied by itself some two hundred times. This is conveniently written 20200 and is approximately equal to 10260, that is, a one followed by 260 zeros.
"...Moreover, we have only considered a polypeptide chain of rather modest length. Had we considered longer ones as well, the figure would have been even more immense.... The great majority of sequences can never have been synthesized at all, at any time."
(Life Itself: Its Origin and Nature (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1981) p. 51-2; As quoted by Henry M. Morris, That Their Words May Be Used Against Them, (Institute for Creation Research, 1997) p. 52)
This simple illustration may stick with students through all their biology teacher's lectures on the "certainty" of evolution.
Fishing For Evolution
Warren Nord, in his book, Religion and American Education, points out that when it comes to teaching about evolution, science classes today are like a fisherman who only uses a net with a three-inch mesh, and concludes that there are no fish smaller than three inches since he's never caught any.
Nord remarks that the "net" science uses doesn't catch everything there is to explain life, yet only what is caught in the "three-inch net" of science is considered real. For example, science requires natural explanations of events; it has no room for miracles or God.
Teachers can remind students that science, by definition, cannot explain all that is real or important.
Becoming An Influencer
It is important that Christians at every level within the public schools have more confidence to be people of influence in their spheres of activity. Throughout the public school system there are Christian educators, administrators, school board members, and parents – millions of people! As they begin influencing people around them, they can create an environment that allows the academic freedom to explore alternatives to evolution.
Creating Academic Freedom
There are 97,000 public schools in America and I believe there are not only Christians in every school, but there are Christians in every classroom. Imagine their impact as they gain greater confidence that voicing Christian perspectives on academic subjects is culturally relevant, academically legitimate, legally permitted, and morally imperative!
Rather than looking at schools as battlefields (since nothing much grows on a battlefield), it would be more productive to look at them as gardens – places where God has put each of us to appropriately and lawfully plant seeds of truth in the lives of those within our immediate sphere of activity. Your garden may involve a small number of people – maybe between four and eight. It may include teachers, parents, administrators, school board members, and students.
To begin gardening in your school, visit our home page and sign up to receive our free E-Newsletter. This will provide you with encouraging stories of others who are gardening, plus informative articles and gardening ideas you can easily use to bring a Christian influence to your school.