Teaching Creation Science or ID? A formula for putting your child’s Christian faith at risk.

In my last post I kind of poked at those who use ridiculous notions of socialization to criticize homeschooling. Today, I’m going to sharpen my stick and point it in the direction of some of my fellow homeschoolers. It is my firm belief that an unfortunate number of Christian homeschoolers are putting their child’s future spiritual walk at risk in service to an idea which is not even necessary to the faith. I am talking, of course, about those who are teaching their children a from a creationist, anti-evolutionary POV. (Of course there are parents and churches who are teaching kids who aren’t being homeschooled the same things, but for the purposes of this discussion, I’m going to focus on homeschoolers who are doing this.)

Of course, one of the primary reasons some Christian homeschoolers teach their children that evolution, the big bang and such are wrong, is because they feel an obligation to inculcate a strong faith in their children. However, it is my very strong opinion, backed up by the experiences of many people who have been down this road themselves, that these parents are actually sowing the seeds of the destruction of their children’s faith in the future.

Those who are teaching their children using creationist curriculum are in particular danger of setting their children up for this fall. To see why, I’d like to offer a challenge. Take your child’s creationist materials and look at whatever footnotes and references are provided. Now take an evening and look up the names of the authors cited. Odds are excellent that virtually all of the authors are creationist scientists. Now, take the names of any mainstream scientists who are quoted or whose work is referenced and attempt to track down their work. Specifically, see if you can find the particular quotes used in your child’s materials. Google books can be a great way of doing this. Now, read through whatever you can find with an eye towards evaluating the accuracy of the quotes provided (ie are words changed, relevant sections replaced by “. . .”). Also try and honestly evaluate if the author of your child’s materials has accurately conveyed the substance of what the author is saying.

If you drink, you may want to keep some strong drink nearby to sustain yourself during this process, because I promise you, you will not be happy with what you find. Unfortunately, the only way creationist materials are able to create the appearance of validity is by only referring to the work of “creation scientists” (who don’t do research, BTW. Their work is limited to analyzing the work of others to look for potential holes which might be able to be seen as supporting a creationist perspective. This is not science.). When creationist materials do refer to the work of mainstream scientists, conducting actual research, they almost uniformly misquote and misrepresent them. If you do not believe me, then take a weekend or two and do the research yourself. The internet is a wonderful tool.

Now, if you take the time to actually look at the methods used to source creationist materials, you should already be disturbed by the idea that these purportedly Christian groups who produce such materials indulge in such blatant dishonesty to sustain their ideas. An idea which is true should not depend on deception. And if you can bring yourself to this point, perhaps the danger this teaching poses to your child will start to become clearer to you.

All to often, not only do creationist materials rely on deception, but they set up a dangerous and false dichotomy; one is either a Christian who embraces literal biblical creationism and rejects evolution or one is a fake Christian or atheist. Even if you are absolutely certain that biblical creationism is scientific fact, I think it would be foolish not to consider for a moment what would happen if your child, presented with the evidence which has been uniformly accepted by mainstream science, begins to question the veracity of creationist science. Are you setting your child up to experience a crisis, not only of trust in a particular set of beliefs about how God created the world, but in his or her faith in Christianity, the bible and God altogether? If you are educating your child to think that biblical creationism is the only acceptable opinion for a Christian to hold, then odds are pretty good that you are sowing the seeds of their spiritual destruction. Today, you may be able to teach your child creation science, as told from the perspective of creation scientist, but as they move out into the wider world, especially as science becomes more and more important to our everyday lives, this belief system will not be able to continue unchallenged. Even Christian colleges teach evolution, the big bang and old earth creation as scientific fact.

This has happened to many people.

Glen Morton who published more than twenty articles in the Creation Science Research Quarterly in the 80s says:

The data I was seeing at work was not agreeing with what I had been taught as a Christian. Doubts about what I was writing and teaching began to grow. . . day after day, my job forced me to confront that awful data. . . Eventually, by 1994 I was through with young-earth creationism. Nothing that young-earth creationists had taught me about geology had turned out to be true. I took a poll of all eight of the graduates from ICR’s school who had gone into the oil industry and were working for various companies. I asked them one question, “From your oil industry experience, did any fact that you were taught at ICR, which challenged current geological thinking, turn out in the long run to be true?” That is a very simple question. One man, who worked for a major oil company, grew very silent on the phone, sighed, and softly said, “No!” A very close friend that I had hired, after hearing the question, exclaimed, “Wait a minute. There has to be one!” But he could not name one. No one else could either.
Being through with creationism, I was almost through with Christianity. I was thoroughly indoctrinated to believe that if the earth were not young and the flood not global, then the Bible was false. I was on the very verge of becoming an atheist. [Emphasis mine]

Unfortunately, there are many who experienced the same thing who ended up leaving the faith altogether. Now, if you are a parent who is teaching your child creation science, are you prepared to say that insisting that they accept creation science as a essential belief of Christianity is really worth running the risk them of losing their faith altogether? It sure isn’t for me and this is one the primary reasons I will not even allow my children to be exposed to creationist teachings until they have a sound enough grounding in real science not to be tempted by these ideas out of a misplaced sense of Christian duty.

Now what I want to be clear about is that it is not learning about or accepting evolution and such which puts a person’s faith at risk. There are many faithful Christians who have no problem maintaining their faith while still accepting scientific findings. This includes a good number of scientists who see their work as uncovering the methods by which God chooses to work. What puts people’s faith at risk is creating the false dichotomy that one is either a Christian who accepts the biblical account of creation as being literally true (an odd idea in itself given that there are two biblical accounts of creation) or you accept science and are an atheist or weak Christian. By creating this false dichotomy, too many people are handing off to their children a faith built not on Christ alone, but on a particular interpretation of the Christian faith. A faith built on Christ alone will stand up to anything. A faith built on adherence to a particular set of ideas will fall when those ideas do.

Now, some who read this may not be teaching their kids strict biblical creationism, but instead are putting faith in Intelligent Design. Let me be clear that you to, are putting your child’s spiritual well being at risk. One of the main justifications for Intelligent Design is the idea that there are certain parts of creation which are too complex to have developed incrementally. Some cells, for example are seen to be so complex that if they were altered at all, they would not function, therefore these must be evidence for the intervention of a creator. However, as science advances, more and more of these things are being explained. And if you have been pointing to the gaps and telling your child, “see? That’s where God intervened”, then each time one of these gaps is closed, God is diminished. At some point, the gaps will become few and far enough apart as to render God irrelevant. Surely this is not your intention, but when one looks at how quickly science has been filling in the seemingly unexplainable gaps in our knowledge over the last 100 years, it is fool hardy to think the next hundred years won’t hold more of the same.

As a homeschooling mom, I fully support the right of parents to teach their children as they see fit, even if they are teaching their kids something which I find objectionable or false. However, I am quite alarmed that so many Christian homeschoolers, who in my opinion are raising a generation of kids who can really be salt in light in our culture, are putting their children’s faith life – the foundation on which we would like to see a better world built – in such danger. If you are teaching your children creation science or intelligent design theory, I’m not saying you need to stop, although I vehemently disagree with what you are doing. What I would say is that if you are going to teach these things to your children, it is imperative that you not teach them that this is what “good Christians” believe. If this theory of how God created the world is true, then it will stand. If your children come to the conclusion that it is not, then it is wise to leave room for them to reject this one teaching without endangering their entire faith walk.

For a little bit on how the ancient Hebrews probably understood the creations stories in Genesis, see here.

55 thoughts on “Teaching Creation Science or ID? A formula for putting your child’s Christian faith at risk.

  1. Amen. There’s so much to say about Christians not thinking. It would be good exercize to see what CONSERVATIVE Christian scholars have said about these issues in the last century. And how they have interpreted Genesis 1 and 2 for the last several centuries. From what I understand, the 24×7 day view of Creation has by no means been the dominant view for most of church history.

  2. Well said. I take it we won’t be seeing the Upside Down World Homeschool Van in the Creation Museum parking lot anytime in the near future?

  3. Rebecca,

    I urge you to submit this blog entry in essay form to Newsweek magazine’s “My Turn” column.

    You have singlehandedly debunked the complete nonsense of “creationism” in such a common-sense manner that maybe, just maybe, some parents immersed in this “stuff” will realize that they are doing permanent harm to their kids, both academically (including ravaging their ability to think independently) as well as unwittingly setting them up for shock and quite possibly atheism when they discover the truth.

    and read the Submission Guidlines “for the magazine” at the bottom.

    I do hope you will consider this.

  4. If the parents are teaching this form of creationism without thought, then they are likely teaching their children a form of Christianity that will be harmful in and of itself. The teaching is just one aspect of a worldview that seems Biblical, but isn’t. A column in Newsweek won’t help. The question is, how can we help the church in America start to THINK!

  5. Bravo.

    It happened to me, though I was not homeschooled. (My dad subscribed to the ICR newsletter in the 80’s — he probably read all of Glen Morton’s columns. ) Though it’s not totally fair to say that I *rejected* my faith. I just came to a much different understanding of it, and it started with being confronted with the overwhelming evidence in favor of evolution and against young-earth creationism. Now I’m a liberal Quaker — an outcome creationism-teaching parents would find totally unacceptable! My dad is coping quite well, though, I must say. ;o)

    I have to add that in addition to creationism seudo-science, the ridicule I heard from adults in my church directed toward mainstream science took me aback even as a child. One adult at church camp likened believing in evolution to believing that the parts of an airplane would assemble themselves. I saw the ridiculousness of that analogy even at age 10, and it made me embarrassed for the adults who were saying these things, and worse, embarrassed to admit I was a Christian outside certain circles.

  6. I wonder if you are familiar with this Catholic resource on the Creator and Creation? http://www.hedgeschool.com/Creation.html

    “What do you say to your creationist friends? What do you think when they insist that you join them in defending the Bible by defending its first chapter as a science text? Is there really good scientific evidence for creationism?

    What do you say to your scientific friends? Is belief in God reasonable? Is belief in Genesis reasonable?

    And what about Noah? Was there ever a flood that really changed human history as a whole?

    The Catholic Church has wisely refrained from endorsing any particular scientific theory about these matters. At the same time, Her love of truth has made the Church the natural home of good scientists all through history… including astronomers, who find the universe so old… including geologists who find the earth so old.

    This resource addresses the creationist cosmology from a unified doctrinal, scriptural, scientific and philosophical perspective. …”

  7. Hi Rebecca,
    Found this through your quote on current Jesus Creed post. Excellent critique. Unfortunately, most people don’t have the time to wade through references and we are stuck with a majority of Evangelical Christians believing a lie. If you have the time you may want to check out Stephen Matheson’s blog “Quintessence of Dust” at http://sfmatheson.blogspot.com/ . Matheson is a biologist at an Evangelical College (Calvin) who very effectively debunks creationist (I prefer the term anti-evolutionist) arguments. Incidentally, he & his wife also homeschool.

  8. Wow.. that is so not true. Everything you said here is exactly what the evolutionists are doing not the creationists. No wonder u also want people to drink while they read your bullshit so they can accept it more easily. The only good advice here is to do your own research on the internet.

  9. Thanks for this great post! Since she was 7, my daughter has brought her doubts about the existence of God to me, based on what she imagines is a conflict between science and religion. Honestly, I don’t know where she gets it — we are Catholic, so it’s not our church, and it’s not from friends. I was shocked to learn that this divide between science and religion is so powerful that it infiltrated our family and our daughter’s mind, even when she was so young.
    Now I actively encourage her to learn about the history of the earth, the Big Bang, and early humans. I want her to know that learning, reason, and curiosity are all totally compatible with faith!

  10. Thomas,
    for future reference, please do not come onto my blog and curse.
    Normally I would delete a response with cursing, but I will leave yours up as it’s a good demonstration of the quality of dialogue which comes into this conversation from the creationist side.

  11. [… found a post called Teaching Creation Science or ID? A Formula For Putting Your Child’s Christian Faith At Risk from Rebecca at The Upside Down World.]

  12. I found that incredibly interesting and well-written. The only thing missing, that I would love to have, is some examples to back up your points about mainstream scientists being represented, or creationist materials using mainly creationist scientists. Did you try this experiment yourself on a particular curriculum? Or several?

  13. Hi, I just stopped in via the carnival of homeschooling. This is an interesting take, and I agree that some homeschooling materials may be dogmatic or fallacious. But I wanted to recommend the book ‘Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity’ by Nancy Pearcey. She does an excellent, thorough job of evaluating the so-called “mainstream scientists” you are citing. The book also would challenge the idea that how you view creation isn’t one of the most significant questions in developing a Christian worldview.

    1. Nancy Pearcy is a well-known right wing extremist who sits on the board of The Discovery Institute, which is one of the primary proponents of so-called creation science. She tries to look and dress like a lawyer for personal effect—to make people think she is smart—but in reality—she believes in a lot of stupid stuff. I had just as soon listen to Donald Duck.

    1. As a Christian, I would recommend against reading anything by Nancy Pearcy. Best I have been able to determine to my own satisfaction, she is a reformed Calvinist with highly probable Christian Reconstructionist/Dominionist tendencies and would probably disagree with a very high percentage of the posts on Rebecca’s blog. Furthermore, she is a member of the board at The Discovery Institute, which is the primary organization pushing for acceptance of Creationism/ID/Teach the Controversy throughout the United States. In my opinion, she has within her hands everything else BUT her so-called Total Truth.

      The Bible tells us to be careful about who we accept as our teachers. I would be careful with this one—very careful.

  14. It’s interesting that commenters above are calling your argument so “open-minded” when what you are really doing is being very close-minded and intolerant of Christians who hold a Creationist view.

    Have you considered the opposite effect? That indoctrinating your child in evolutionary theory and “mainstream” science may turn your child away from Christianity just as easily?

  15. Penny – You can try it with Answersingenesis.org which is a very ‘respectable’ creationist site and you can use Talkorigins.org as a comparison. Whereas sources cited in Talkorigins.org articles directly support the points being made the AIG articles citations often do not. One I read recently (this was a recent issue in my blog comments) cited a book by a prominent palaeontologist, Phil Currie. The problem is that the quote was an out of context line regarding the finding of diseases like cancer in donosaur bones that the article then used in an argument about sin in the world. I can guarentee you Dr. Currie said nothing in his book about those diseases that was remotely related to a christian notion of sin. The citation did nothing to support the argument presented.

    I suspect the same is true of curriculum.

  16. This is a very interesting article indeed.

    I am Jewish (and therefore not Christian) and I hold graduate degrees in Geology and Biology. In Biology my emphasis was in Ecology (the science not the political movement) and Evolution, so it is fair to so that I am an evolutionary biologist.

    You are correct on all counts–I have taught students at the college level who were confronted with the scientific evidence for evolution and had crises of faith. Once, I held the hand of a young woman as she cried because she felt that she had been “lied to” by her parents and pastor. For her, as well as for others, the solution seemed to be to throw out the baby with the bathwater, rather than re-evaluate the particular issue.

    Sigh. I was of little help there, not being Christian myself. Do you mind if I link?

  17. I think the fact that you’re Jewish should make you a key part of this discussion. After all, when we Christians are talking about Genesis we’re talking about something written by ancient Hebrews. Jewish interpretation of that scripture should be essential to our understanding of it.

    But then I find that teaching creationism doesn’t simply require deception in terms of science but also on matters of scripture, theology and Christian history.

  18. This is an interesting question. I think that there are many issues of dogma that we learn (or think we have learned) as children that as adults we challenge. Prohibitions on drinking or dancing come to mind.
    But I think that there are plenty of examples of evolution being used to disprove a God in general and Christianity in particular.
    I’m curious what you do teach your kids about the origin of the universe and life. I’m not asking in a snarky way, but am actually curious what middle ground you have found between the Christian teaching that God is the creator and the conclusions drawn by scientists.

  19. This is interesting and very timely for me. Have you seen anything on Ben Stein’s movie that’s about to come out – “Expelled”? I have put a press release type thing for it on my blog and am currently trying to form a response to one poster who questions “can there be randomness with purpose”…
    Tammy :):):)

  20. So often we see these self-fulfilling prophecies. Preachers say you have to choose between God and evolution. If someone actually encounters the evidence and not the spin of pseudoscientists, they may lose their faith. Preachers say either the Bible is perfect or it is worthless. When one find a problem that can’t be solved, they do what they were told and scrap the Bible altogether.

    We need stronger voices for moderate versions of the faith!


  21. I can’t understand people that claim to have FAITH in God and His word but then fall back to man’s opinions. If you believe in the God of the bible, then follow the bible, all of it. That would mean that Creation and a young earth is correct. That is what I was taught growing up and I’m still rolling along just fine in this life. My childen are doing OK as well. I have no worries at all. Evolution and and old earth make no sense to me but I realize that the masses have this kind of faith. No biggie. Now how in the world did I get to this blog. Let me try that Google search again.

  22. “If you believe in the God of the bible, then follow the bible, all of it. That would mean that Creation and a young earth is correct.”

    Believing in the validity of evolution and an old earth does not mean you aren’t following the Bible–yes, all of it. It means you don’t interpret the Genesis creation account LITERALLY…but reading it literally isn’t required to “follow” the bible.

  23. I was brought up in a Christian home with an attitude much like yours. My brother left Christianity in college and I became a young earth creationist.

    Now, I would never teach my children that young earth creationism is necessary for Christianity. I believe in a young earth because it is the simplest Biblical explanation and because I can. There are objections to both sides of the issue and our scientific understanding of the earth is highly imperfect. The fact that evolutionists can ask legitimate questions about creation science that creation science can’t answer does not mean they’ve disproved a young earth.

    And the sinful actions of creation scientists, evolutionists or anyone are a very flimsy grounds on which to oppose their ideas.

    There is no magic formula for making sure your children are Christians, but having grown up with yours I’m not inclined to try it on my own children.

  24. I happen to be one of those who was raised in a fundamentalist church, who was taught young earth creationism based on Genesis 1, 5, and 11, and who seriously read and studied some of the “creation science” literature at the time (this was in the 1970s), such as Duane Gish’s Evolution: The Fossils Say No! I did exactly what you describe, looked up the original sources where I could, because I wanted to see how scientists could be so blind to their own problems that the young earth creationists were talking about. I have to say that reading articles and books by real scientists who actually do real science research was an enlightening experience, and I became personally aware of how deceitful creationist literature really was.

    However, what I also learned on that personal journey was that people could cling to their religious beliefs by the method of increasingly disassociating their beliefs from reality, modifying their their religious beliefs in precisely such a way as to progressively remove such beliefs from empirical connection so that they could keep their general religious belief even while becoming increasingly aware of lack of any empirical support for such belief. I came to see religious belief, in my particular case my own Christian belief, as nothing more than “I believe this because this is how I was raised to believe (tradition) and so I choose to believe regardless of having any real world evidence of its reality.” While I can perceive that many people find such belief to be pragmatically valuable to them, to me I didn’t see any more reason to accept Christian religious beliefs than Hindu religious beliefs or any others. It was merely a matter of personal choice and preference based on cultural background, which I found to be rather hollow and unsatisfying.

    So I happen to have been brought to the position of seriously questioning my religious beliefs through the particular conduit of discovering the pervasive deceitfulness (and anti-scientific irrationality) of creationist literature. But then after having been brought to the point of looking at my own religious beliefs in a manner of critical thinking, my exploration of how my religious beliefs might have a basis on empirical evidence came up wanting anyway.

  25. You are deeply mistaken both about the Bible and what it teaches, and about Creation scientists and what they do. There are plenty of research Creation scientists, who do field work, work in labs, write original research papers, etc. We cannot repeat the past in a lab. Evolution or creation are outside of operational science. They both are origins (or historical) science. That means that they are not open to scientific inquiry, the way that chemistry and physics are. Both evolution and creation are stories about the past that explain the present. One is history given to us from God in His Word (and attested to in many more places than just Genesis 1). The other (evolution) is man trying to explain how we got here without reference to a God. I’ll believe God’s Word over man’s fallible ideas.

    You really need to do more research on the topic; your comments reflect the fact that you are not current on the creation movement, nor the recent scientific research and theories. And I would venture that there have been many more Christians who have lost their faith due to the supposed “proof” of evolution and millions of years, since anybody with a grade school education can see that those concepts are totally incompatible with the Bible and Christianity. Evolution undermines the gospel message itself.

    Denying creation guts the Bible of all authority, undermines the gospel itself, and leaves one with no foundation for their faith.

    Can one be a Christian and an evolutionist? Yes. Is that person being biblical or consistent? No.

    1. Just remember Gary. We worship a God who does not tolerate even the slightest error, regardless of the excuse. If you are wrong about the Christian fundamentalist understanding of creationism, you know from the teachings of your own church that you will be the last in the Kingdom of Heaven, and there is great danger that he may roast you alive for all eternity as a punishment for your failure to properly perceive the truth. God is angry at all of mankind and extremely dangerous.

  26. Gary, so a few years ago I was looking into this more intensely and the creationist literature was filled with lies, misrepresentations, inaccurate quotes and outright deception. But TODAY, it’s all brand new and worth considering seriously? Sorry, I don’t think so. If creation “science” were able to establish a track record of honesty, actual science and lab work which is as long and extensive as their history of deception, then I might be willing to reconsider. Otherwise, it’s insane to think that saying, “well you aren’t up on the latest stuff which, contrary to our past record, is actually good science, so you don’t know what you’re talking about”.

    And funny, but contrary to your unilateral assertion, I still view the bible as authoritative, the gospel as essential and have a faith on extremely solid footing. And I don’t view Genesis as a history book. Heck, if the best the great and Living God can give us is a history book, then I wouldn’t be interested in signing up. There are millions of history books out there, for heaven’s sake! Why pick on which requires me to turn my life upside down if it’s just a history book?

    No thank you. I seriously challenge you to take some time to look around my blog and then come back and tell me that a person who doesn’t believe in the historical accuracy of the creation STORIES (note multiple) cannot have a strong, vibrant and living faith and relationship with the Living God through Jesus the Christ. Through the grace of God, you can consider me living proof that your theory on the necessity of belief in the creation story (pick which one) for a biblical, solid faith is utterly wrong.

    It is the insistence that evolution undermines the gospel message (it does not), and that the bible cannot be authoritative if it isn’t a history book (it is still authoritative) and that Christianity is not compatible with modern scientific findings (it indeed is) that drives people from the faith. If you believe that the most faithful belief for you is to understand the creation stories as history, that’s fine. I won’t even argue or really challenge that. If you want to extend that out to say that your belief is required for true, biblical faith, I will fight you tooth and nail. I truly view people who insist on peddling these lies as a serious threat to the faith which my life is shaped by and lived through. I am proud and grateful that God allows me to stand as proof that such teachings are lies down to their core.

  27. Rebecca,

    I read your level-headed, unusually sound debunking of “creationism” aka “intelligent design” and posted a reply at that time (see #5).

    I searched for it again after immediately recalling this posting after reading an ABC News article today reporting that a survey found that 16% of science teachers surveyed are…creationists. And of course, since you originally posted this blog entry, Ben Stein released his screed against evolution in his laughingstock movie.

    Once upon a time, Christians felt no conflict between their kids’ science class and church on Sunday. No more. Our nation is suffering from a pernicious fundamentalism which must stop. I have not read a better, more compelling article, blog entry, etc. than yours anywhere online on this issue.

    That said, I again urge you with the utmost respect to please seriously consider submitting your posting to Newsweek’s “My Turn” feature, and/or any other magazine/web news sites you deem appropriate. Your especially well-reasoned article needs to be widely read.

    If you hesitant to do so because you have never had anything you have written published before, I have, and trust me, this is an excellent article. 🙂

    and read the Submission Guidlines “for the magazine” at the bottom.

    Best wishes to you and please accept my compliments again for an exceptionally written and very even-handed, well-reasoned article. I have this bookmarked now!

    Best Regards,

  28. Wow – I just found this blog — excellent writeup. I’m working on a PowerPoint on young earth creationism and I think I’ll include a link to this on my slide about YEC and the homeschool movement.

    I was wondering – should we be linking YEC and intelligent design together as suggested in the title for this blog? It seems like ID focuses on biology, while YEC is much broader and includes ridiculous things like flood geology. I know linking ID and creationism was a tactic of the plaintiffs in the Dover case, and the judge bought it, but wasn’t that committing the fallacy of poisoning the well?

    1. Way late on this, but I should respond because there is a good answer. The reason that the judge in the Dover case bought the idea of an equivalency or at least a very strong link between creationism and ID is because the plaintiffs were able to demonstrate the connection clearly. They were able to show that the text being put forward by the ID people was in large part simply a creationist text wherein the explicitly religious words had been replaced by more neutral “actor” sort of language. I’ve looked at the material and it is literally word-for-word copied from creationist materials, with a few adjustments. Extremely deceptive and dishonest stuff. The biology which ID proponents claim to base their ideas on is really not much different in substance or scholarship from what creationists use to try and discredit evolution. In any case, one of the main components of intelligent design ideology is the concept of irreducible complexity. The idea is that some parts of biology are so complex that even the smallest changes would render them useless. Therefor, the thinking goes, these parts could not have arisen through evolution since any form of the component which is less complex than the form currently in existence would have been useless or even harmful. However, recent research into the matter has found that these complex components are able to arise because the individual components are often found in different forms in difference organisms and at different points in evolution. IOW, our genes are like a tool kit which organisms can use to build different things. The genes responsible for a structure in one organism may be used to help build a different, but in some way related structure in another organism. The apparent irreducible complexity of certain structures is possible because it represents the tools available being put together in different ways, which is, in fact, the mechanism through which evolution occurs. (This isn’t the best explanation, but hopefully it makes some sense.)

      At any rate, I do think that it is fair to link ID and creationism, because ID materials so often depend on creationist materials. Also, the scholarship behind both is similar in substance and quality. And finally, because both create a situation where a child’s entire faith journey can be put at risk should he or she come to believe that what they have been taught about the matter is false. I hope that helps and that your presentation went well!

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  30. I understand that this post is quite old, but the topic is forever fresh.
    I truly appreciate well-supported conclusions. These comes only from learned people who have taken time to research outcomes. Therefore, I wonder why such an apparently deep-thinking individual as the original poster wrote a thesis statement and then never proved it.

    “It is my firm belief that an unfortunate number of Christian homeschoolers are putting their child’s future spiritual walk at risk in service to an idea which is not even necessary to the faith. I am talking, of course, about those who are teaching their children a from a creationist, anti-evolutionary POV.”

    This dynamic thesis statement and the explanation that followed made me want to read the entire post even though I disagree with the supposition. Well written thought demands attention. Kudos are expected when risks stated are clearly explained and and facts were are sighted.
    The trouble is that the author’s thesis statement was not strongly supported. The author did say, “All to often, not only do creationist materials rely on deception, but they set up a dangerous and false dichotomy; one is either a Christian who embraces literal biblical creationism and rejects evolution or one is a fake Christian or atheist.” This was very well written, but in correlation with other comments, it seems that the author is assuming that Young-Earth Theology is the only belief held that supports creationism. The author omits the opinions of Christian Old-Earth advocates like Ross Hugh (I do hope I have the man’s name correct) entirely. The author’s contempt for those who ascribe to a literal interpretation of the Bible results in tunnel vision that omits other perspective from the equation.
    Ah, but the author still has a chance to sight logical risks. The presence of opposing beliefs taught in college is mentioned. However, the reader is left with no information about the faith of true believers in Christ. Instead of proving that children are at risk, the author went on to make generalizations about young-earth supporters vs. evolutionists.
    It would have been better for the writter to come out with her bias in the beginning. Perhaps a more honest statement could have been if the writter had said,

    “I am talking, of course, about those who are teaching their children a from a literal biblical interpretation POV.”

    This, I do believe, is the true issue at the heart of the writter’s discontent.

    Proof as to how a literal interpretation of the Bible can destroy the faith of a believer would then be needed. As in any good debate, antectedotes are not good sources of data. I would love for this writter to reform her thoughts and attack her true struggles in another entry.
    Before doing so, perhaps the author will want to become more well-rounded. Instead of focusing on X curricula, I would hope the author would first read Refuting Evolution 1 and 2. I would challenge the author to learn the scientfic method and see how its priciples are ignored by the conception of evolution. Likewise, I would concur that all religious thought is unable to stand against the scientific method, which logically (if one is willing to swallow that medicine) classifies evolution as a form of religious thought. If the author would like to focus on materials that can be shown directly to children, I will offer another suggestion. Granted, my oldest home schooled student has read both books and debated with atheists and evolutionists with gentle resolve and solid points; his faith is unwavering still. For those who wish to not read such meaty materials as already sighted, there are a series of videos called Animals That Defy Evolution for your consumption. Eat up.
    As for any proof that literal Bible interpretation shakes one’s faith, I see no proof. Still, I am ready for the author to try again to prove how literal iterpretation in hisorical books (Genesis is a history book as much as it is an explanation of Who God is and How much He loves His creation) can damage the faith of a home schooler. That is the true argument here, even though you wouldn’t know that from the thesis statement.


    1. Might as well keep this thread alive, since the topic is not going to go away. Sharon – if you’re still out there — an example of how “a literal interpretation of the Bible can destroy the faith of a believer” would be to look at the sediment transport problem and the young earth/flood geology view that the large majority of earth’s fossil-bearing rock layers were deposited by Noah’s flood. The required sediment transport rates that are beyond absurd clearly show how the YEC position is forcing believers to make an unfair choice between Biblical authority and straightforward reasoning from God’s created world. See Were Most of Earths Fossil-Bearing Sedimentary Rock Layers Really Deposited by Noahs Flood?.

    2. Excuse me please. Do you always write with the tone of a Thurston Howell III intellectual snob, or are you just having a posh day at the club. I think you are also making the mistake of thinking that some sort of debate is occurring here. I see people presenting assorted opinions, but I would hardly call it a debate.

      P.S. I am a scientist, and evolution happened. If you do not agree, then I would kindly ask you to present in excruciating detail (on our side university libraries are chocked full of it), the correct alternative body of peer-reviewed science that explains how God created the Heavens and Earth in a different way. If the astronomers evolutionary biologists, geneticists, physical anthropologists, etc. got their science all wrong, show us the alternative science that explains HOW God REALLY DID IT. Surely someone as intellectually elite as you has all of the answers right at your thumbs?

  31. I have just found your blog via someone sharing one of your posts on FB.

    This post resonates so much with me.

    As a homeschooling mum, I have had my fair share of exposure to YEC materials and the warnings and admonitions to be wary of ‘secular, humanistic, evolutionary’ ones. I tried to toe the line, but when I read the YEC materials, the information presented seemed juvenile and the arguments weak.

    Then someone shared about an audio series put out by Vision Foum (yes, THAT Vision Forum!) about a family that goes on adventures proving Creationism and disproving evolution.

    I got a hold of them and decided to research the claims made by the series. What I found was exactly what you described in your post here. Actually, it was more difficult. For starters, NO sources were quoted — in fact, even the voice actors were not credited anywhere — so trying to track down the source of the information was a huge task.

    I wrote reviews for each episode I could lay my hands on and tried to show where they went wrong with their information.

    Guess what?

    No. One. Cares.

    In fact, I was asked why I was attacking an organisation that was doing such good work promoting a sorely-needed message of YECism that is such a blessing to so many families?

    “But the information in it is wrong!”

    “They are upholding the Creation message and that is a good thing.”


  32. Aw, this was an exceptionally nice post.
    Finding the time and actual effort to make a good
    article… but what can I say… I hesitate a
    lot and don’t manage to get anything done.

  33. Excellent, raising thinkers, examiners without harming their faith. Viewing the glass from all sides is awesome. Good job!

    Have a questions relating to the flood as there are several ancient tribes through out the world that have the same or near same story of the Flood, would love to hear your thoughts and research if any on this. Loving your site!

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