Friday, July 15, 2011

Understanding Science as a Christian

I recently wrote of my desire to understand science from a Christian perspective.  I had read a nature book that bothered me because of how it portrayed evolutionary views.  I disagree with evolution, but it was how the authors spoke of evolutionists that bothered me.  I had the opportunity to read another book on a similar subject, Building Blocks in Life Science:  From Genes & Genesis to Science & Scripture by Gary Parker.

When I opened up the book and read this paragraph, I was intrigued...
            "All that changed in 1859.  Evolutionists used Darwin's popular new book, Origin of Species, as the basis for both attacking the Bible and reinterpreting the scientific evidence supporting the creationist model.  Variability within kind was replaced with change from one species to others; boundaries between kinds with missing links between species; ecological cooperation with competition; common plan with common ancestor; struggle and death as problems to overcome with struggle and death as pathways to progress.  Finally, evolutionists made Darwin's "war of nature" a substitute god, an alternate religion, and the authority of God's Word was replaced with the supremacy of human opinion." p.5

I really liked that quote and the first few lessons.  Today I was flipping through the book, though and found several statements that concerned me.
"evolutionary theory is worse than worthless as a basis for biological classification." p. 79
"Abortionists often talk about a mother's right over her own body, but the baby inside her (unlike a wart!) is not part of her body." p. 85

There is a lot of great information in this book--I just wish it wasn't marred by the author's tone that seems intent on insulting the opposite viewpoint.  What good does that do?  The author could have been constructive and simply explained life science from a creationist perspective.  It stands on its own.  I appreciated how detailed the first few lessons are about genes and the progression of the discussion through the book.  I also like the worksheet at the end of each lesson.  But, because of the underlying tone in the book, I don't plan on using it as part of our curriculum when my children are in middle school.

My search remains--to find a book that helps me understand science from a creationist perspective, believing in God--that does not insult people who believe differently.  It is one thing to say someone is wrong, it is another to be deprecating towards them and insult them.

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book from New Leaf Publishing.


Randy said...

I'm not sure if this is exactly what you're looking for, but I recommend "Creation & Evolution 101: A Guide to Science and the Bible in Plain Language".

becky.onelittle said...

I read those two examples you used, but I don't view them as deprecating words towards a person. I have a small problem with 'evolution is worse than worthless'- I mean on it's on, this statement really is just an opinion, so it's probably not necessary, but the other statement? Just because a baby is in the womb doesn't make it part of your body- like a wart or a kidney or any other part of you that is you, and I think the example would definitely help my kids understand the difference. Is there ever a place for refuting unbiblical, ungodly beliefs? Just simply stating the truth is offensive to anyone attached to the Father of Lies. I'm really just curious as to your thoughts- is it just in a text book that you don't want these statements? Or you don't want to see them/hear them ever?
On another note- it's my birthday and I refuse to go to bed :) So I'm sitting up late contemplating how to get expo marker off my walls so I can paint my playroom. I'm out of magic eraser and primer and I'm too tired to use a lot of elbow grease. I'm going to try rubbing alcohol tomorrow.

I've decided to throw caution to the wind and jump into a new curriculum. I've been too disorganized and busy to keep up with all my responsibilities in life this past 6 months. I bought Sonlight because it is very well thought out and organized and open and go, which is what I need in this season. We will start up on August 1st this year doing 4 day weeks till July again- but we're taking several weeks off to visit Ian's family.

I've been so exhausted I actually considered public school- for about 2 days.

I got a big pick me up, though, by receiving Micaela's 3rd grade standardized test scores this week (we are required to test every three years beginning in third grade). She did very well- in fact extremely well in most areas. There were some subcatagories she scored very low in- in two she got 0%. I decided those were the fault of her teacher :) and I'm glad to see that Sonlight will address these areas for us this year, and I can start now to teach them to my boys. Some I just had no idea were taught in elementary schools- like probability and statistics.

Have you/will you use standardized tests? If so, which ones? I had no idea which test to choose or for what reasons I should choose one- so I went for the first available that she could take out of the home in a 'classroom' setting. It was the ITBS. Penny for your thoughts?

Anne said...

I think what bothered me is that the statements are meant to be inflammatory and this is a textbook. I would understand if it were a book that was propaganda or an opinion based book. The language didn't seem "professional". I think he could have used other words instead.

I do think there is definitely a place for refuting lies! And the bulk of this book did that without being inflammatory. I want my children to know the truth and we talk about it already because of the interest my children have in dinosaurs and science--that's why I'm trying to figure out a way to explain it to them that is grounded and not inflammatory. When my girls are in the later years of high school, I want to read Unplanned with them. I think that is a vivid story of how Satan deceives! Abby Johnson had the right motives, but made the wrong choices. It also addresses abortion specifically.

I'm glad you ordered Sonlight. I look forward to hearing about how it works for you! It is a very thorough curriculum and does have all the plans laid out for you. I suspect we will probably choose Sonlight for literature when our kids are in Middle and High School. I read one of the 10th grade lit books last week (Hope Was Here) and really enjoyed it.

That's awesome that Micaela did so well! I think we will opt to test our children, but not through the county (which would be free to us). I will probably choose to become a tester through BJU and administer the ITBS to my kids for 5th and 8th grades. I talked with Chris about it and he thought this would be a good idea just to make sure that our kids are on track to go to college and will enter with a comparable education/study/knowledge set. BJU allows you to order the Stanford or ITBS tests. I haven't researched it much and I just saw that there's several options for each test. It's quite complicated, isn't it?! As far as testing goes and how they compare, I found this brief description: I think the determiner for me will be whether I want them to take a timed test (ITBS) or untimed (Stanford).