Science

Including a Christian Worldview in the Classroom

Students will not seek to preserve what they do not cherish, and they will not cherish what they do not understand. Sadly, in too many cases American students are not given the kind of education that inspires them to cherish America's Christian heritage. It is vital that each generation re-fill its tank with the cultural fuel necessary to keep running. The current generation is running on the fuel put in the tank so long ago by previous generations that they think no fuel is necessary. Students grow up taking for granted that their cultural “car” is running and have no idea that it requires a continual re-filling of the tank. Even worse, many of their teachers think they cannot re-fuel the tank and some even think it is a bad idea to re-fuel it at all.

Glasses-with-BibleAcademic Viewpoint Bias

The exclusion of a Christian worldview from the curriculum is not just limited to lessons on the history of Christianity. There is the often-unnoticed problem of excluding a Christian worldview from an academic topic. A worldview is the way in which you look at the world, not merely the bits of information you learn about the world. Regarding history textbooks for example, in his book, Religion and American Education, Warren Nord points out: “More important than the particular religious topics discussed or not discussed, and the relative amount of space they receive, is the worldview within which the historian works.”

He illustrates this by referencing a textbook account of the Hebrews from their Egyptian enslavement to the divided kingdom. All the names and dates are correct, as is the order of events. The problem Nord draws attention to is that the textbook left out “what is most important to the scriptural version: the role of God in shaping history. The meaning of the story is completely lost in the textbook; it becomes, in effect, a different story.”

Nord shows that this is a problem across the curriculum. For instance, economics is taught with the assumption that there is only a secular way to think about money. The topic of economics involves our beliefs about human nature, materialism, consumerism, social values, and charity. Yet, typically, students are taught that economic decisions only involve cost-benefit analysis, supply and demand, and fulfillment of personal gratification.

Home economics is another academic subject which Nord points out is most often taught as though secularism is the only perspective worth learning. After reviewing eight home economics textbooks, he writes:

“Each follows the same pattern, beginning with one or several chapters defining human nature, values, and decision making before moving on to discussions of dating, marriage, abortion, child rearing, the family, and what I take to be more traditional home economics fare. Needless to say, religion has had a great deal to say about such things, though one would never guess it from reading these books. ...None of the books even hints that there are religious conceptions of human nature, values, or decision making that may differ in significant ways from the views presented.” 

In most science classes, of course, evolution reigns as the only view worth studying. But there are other worldview issues at stake. Nord points out that science classes approach life from a particular perspective and lead students to assume that the scientific perspective explains all that is real. He states, “In spite of the reservations of some scientists, science is typically taught as fully adequate to explain nature.” He points out, however, that science looks only at causes, not purposes; and that its version of reality has no place for God’s intervention.

Science has affected the way history and social studies are taught in that life is seen as merely the result of cause and effect. With such an approach moral demands are not made from an eternal God. There is no Storyteller behind the story of history. Religion may be fine for some, it is thought, but it is only the manifestation of mankind’s need for fulfillment. Everything, including the yearning of our souls, can be explained naturally.

Public schools should not proselytize and this is not a call for public schools to act like Christian schools. However, there are other explanations of reality besides a purely secular worldview. Because the Bible has, in fact, impacted the way our society looks at nature, life, human relationships, history, economics, decision making, the family, government, our concepts of human rights, and other topics addressed across the curriculum, it is academically legitimate to teach about the influence of a Christian worldview.

 

 

 

Evolution Advocates Are Furious

Colorado is considering a bill protecting teachers who "help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner any scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in a given course." David Klinghoffer has an interesting article on this: (CLICK HERE)

Survival of the Fakest

"Science now knows that many of the pillars of Darwinian theory are either false or misleading. Yet biology textbooks continue to present them as factual evidence of evolution. What does this imply about their scientific standards?" - Jonathan Wells, author of "Survival of the Fakest."
 
CLICK HERE to download his article.

Teachers Are Nation Builders, Obama Reminds Us

In his State of the Union speech, President Obama made reference to the need for improving our nation’s public schools. He was right to refer to teachers, apparently borrowing a phrase from the Koreans, as “nation builders.” That is certainly what teachers are. With 50 million students in public schools, there is a window of opportunity that presents itself to culture-shapers. Ninety-four percent of young Americans sit in one institution –- the public school -- for thirteen years (K-12) before scattering throughout society.

However, I want to raise a caution about the President’s singular focus on technical skills and knowledge. Over the next ten years, he wants to see 100,000 new teachers in science, mathematics, and engineering. That’s good. But it’s not enough.

We are mistaken to think that growing a nation of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians will be our national salvation. Most “education reform” focuses on behavioral problems such as decreasing dropout rates or improving test scores. But this does not address the spiritual and moral needs of students -- the very thing that America so desperately needs.
Teachers are not only nation builders, they are Civilization Keepers. They need to pass on the moral values that are necessary to keep Western civilization alive -- and central to our civilization are our biblical values. Let’s not forget what John Adams told us:
Yes, teachers are nation builders. The question is what kind of nation are they building? Those of us who take Adams’s words to heart must join in the cause of building a nation that maintains the moral and spiritual values our Founders believed are so essential to our national health.

“Our Constitution is made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”

(I posted this originally on Breakpoint's blog site. You can read more blog posts at Breakpoint.)

A Scientist Calls for Integrity In Classrooms and Beyond

Today, I attended a luncheon and heard a presentation from Dr. Caroline Cocker. She is a scientist who was featured in Ben Stein’s movie “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.” The movie highlighted the censorship that is going on in the scientific community regarding Intelligent Design. Dr. Cocker was a victim of just such political correctness at George Mason University.
She now has written a book about her ordeal (Free to Think) and launched the American Institute for Technology and Science Education (www.aitse.org).
AITSE’s mission to promote scientific integrity in education, medicine, and research. Her presentation today highlighted the problem that lack of integrity has brought to society. She pointed out three areas in particular:

Cheating among students. Anyone involved in schools knows this a serious problem. Dr. Crocker pointed out that 80% of high school students admit to cheating and 50% of them don’t think it is wrong. In college, 70% admit to cheating. She also explained that many professors don’t penalize students for cheating because the professors’ performance evaluations are done by the students themselves!
Cheating is also a problem among medical students. One survey she highlighted indicated that 39% of med students reported that they witnessed cheating by classmates. This, of course, undermines the public’s confidence in the profession.
Skewing research on pharmaceuticals. Dr. Crocker talked, from personal experience, about how drug companies who fund scientific research suppress data that is not favorable for their marketing while using confidentiality agreements to keep the negative information from reaching the public.
Censorship in classrooms. Dr. Crocker explained how she was disciplined and eventually removed from her teaching post for merely giving one lecture in which she exposed college students to a range of scientists’ views on the issue of evolution. The student who claimed to the Dean that she was teaching “creationism” was the same student Dr. Crocker had earlier disciplined for cheating.
Students need to understand that scientists are not as objective as they are often portrayed. Because bias is a challenge in every field of science, Dr. Crocker is calling on scientists to join AITSE and challenge their profession to acknowledge and repair this growing problem. The challenge for Dr. Crocker is that the scientists who call on their colleagues to have more integrity run the risk of being “drummed out the corp” by the very people who are lacking in integrity.
For more details, visit her website at www.aitse.org.