Christian Education: Science  

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I am continuing my posts on Christian Education with Science. If you missed my first post on History or want to know the background behind these post you can find more information at Christian Education: History.

Science is the study of God's order, provision, and reasonableness as revealed in His physical creation.

While secular science textbooks present modern science as the opposite of faith, the A Beka Book science texts teach that modern science is the product of Western man's return to the Scriptures after the Protestant Reformation, leading to his desire to understand and subdue the earth, which he saw as the orderly, law-abiding creation of the God of the Bible.
The earth is anything but an orderly, law-abiding creation. We may be able to detect patterns in nature and theorize about what causes them, but that doesn't mean that nature obeys us or can ever be made to obey us even as we try to "subdue" it. Besides, if nature is an orderly, law-abiding creation, why would we need to subdue it anyway? Shouldn't it just obey us as the highest of God's creations. But even though I sense a wrongness with this philosophy, especially when in the context of environmentalism, it is a philosophy, not science itself.
The A Beka Book Science and Health Program presents the universe as the direct creation of God and refutes the man-made idea of evolution. Further, the books present God as the Great Designer and Lawgiver, without Whom the evident design and laws of nature would be inexplicable. They give a solid foundation in all areas of science -- a foundation firmly anchored to Scriptural truth. Teachability is assured through accurate, interesting writing, carefully planned demonstrations that can be performed with a minimum of equipment, chapter terms and questions, full-color illustrations, consideration of the interests and comprehension skills of students at each grade level, and detailed Curriculum / Lesson Plans.
In other words science becomes the memorization of the dogma that the religion purports. Why would you want a science curriculum that can be performed with "a minimum of equipment?" Isn't that one of the points of science, to be able to learn in a practical way in the lab, to experiment, blow stuff up (safely), see the material unfold in example?

I didn't expect evolution to be part of the curriculum. When I was in school learning under the Beka curriculum we had an English teacher who dared say that she believed evolution was a tool used by God for creation. She was fired for it. And now that I think back on the event I realize it was probably the fault of students like me who found her line of reasoning heretical because I'd been indoctrinated to a point that I couldn't even imagine anything apart from the literal interpretation of the Bible (when it suited the church).

However, I did expect science to be taught in a fuller context. My objection isn't with the religion itself so much, though there is objection, but not in personal belief. My objection is in the ignorance it perpetuates.

Related Posts
Christian Education: History
Christian Education: Mathematics
Christian Education: English
Christian Education: My Conclusions

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8 comments: to “ Christian Education: Science

  • Keith Sader
    Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 7:35:00 PM CST  

    There's a reason the fundamentalist universities aren't doing cutting edge science research.

  • John Evo
    Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 10:44:00 PM CST  

    OK, now THIS REALLY pisses me off!

    Just thought I'd say that so Ex could say he told me so.

    Keith makes a valid point. Nearly all of the biological sciences are based on Darwinian Evolution and you really would be unable to makes heads or tails of anything we see in nature without it as the starting assumption. This, obviously, includes medical science.

    You can, however, make sense of mathematics without using evolution as your base point of understanding! :)

  • The Exterminator
    Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 1:47:00 AM CST  

    This is a great series of posts, OG. I wish I could say I'm surprised at the extent of ignorance embodied in the A Beka Book approach -- but, sadly, I'm not.

    I just checked the A Beka Book Web site, and it's equally horrifying -- although just as non-surprising. What really got me, though, was not only the religion but the jingoism. I don't think you emphasized this in your first post.

    Anyway, here's something I found: Second graders learn the history of our flag and of patriotic songs and holidays and study lives of groups of people that made valuable contributions to our American heritage.

    Rah-rah. Sis-boom-bah.

    I'll bet they don't mention that "God Bless America" was written by a skeptic Jew.

  • The Exterminator
    Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 1:56:00 AM CST  

    And, not to make Evo feel left out:
    You can, however, make sense of mathematics without using evolution as your base point of understanding!

    Well, perhaps you're right about evolution as a base point. But if you're in the habit of accepting biblical accounts over science, it spills over into math, too. I should have mentioned this in OG's last post, where it would have been more appropriate, but did you know that pi is equal to 3 if you use the computations in Genesis?

    OG: How did your math teachers get around that one?

  • Anonymous
    Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 8:14:00 AM CST  

    This is a good series. You may have answered these questions when you introduced the series, but I'll ask anyway: Do you know how widely used this series is? Is it used in Christian schools, home schools or both?

    If you've already answered these, feel free to direct me to the initial post instead of rehashing everything again.

  • ordinary girl
    Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 8:54:00 AM CST  

    Ex, I didn't want to make the assumption that jingoism wasn't the norm. My experience with public schools is limited. But definitely patriotism was a huge part of what we were taught. I'll add that in my conclusion post.

    As far as pi, I think I was taught the normal value (or the approximation of 3.14159). I don't ever remember being equated to 3. I didn't even know the Old Testament stated it was 3 until later in my life. It's another thing that was "covered up" when it didn't match the dogma.

    Chaplain, I went to two Christian schools where the curriculum was used: Assemblies of God and Baptist. My impression is that they're mostly used in small church schools. I think Catholic schools use more secular, academic curriculum, but I don't have much experience in that area.

    The company has been around a long time though, so they must be either backed well financially or at least minimally successful. I'll see what I can find on how many schools use their books.

    On their website they sell kits for both classrooms and home-schooling.

  • PhillyChief
    Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 12:09:00 PM CST  

    Well the creation institute in Dallas is working to get their "science" degrees accredited so their graduates can be let loose on the country to become science teachers. Scary. They're already in place in private schools obviously. It seems they will get accredited, but not for science. Still, you shouldn't get a masters in nonsense. Where's the astrology school?

  • EnoNomi
    Sunday, January 20, 2008 at 11:41:00 AM CST  

    Excellent series. You should submit them to Skeptical Inquirer or the like. Really, or maybe sadly, this kind of thing should be covered by "mainstream" journalism.


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