By Bob Staples
Currently in this country an effort is underway to improve science education. This entails a comprehensive rewrite of the curriculum from kindergarten to twelve grade of high school. Twenty-six states are involved in this effort and will use their guide a final document to come out this March. Textbook publishers and other resources will be heavily involved in promoting their materials for that all elusive contract. The amount of money that is involved is only superseded by the direct influence these materials will have on the developing minds of school children.
There is more to this story. Unknown to many citizens in these states is the continued push to promote Darwinian evolution in the science classroom. The overall mission is to foster a secular atheistic worldview in the culture by using the classroom to indoctrinate young minds and win them over to their cause. It seems almost diabolical, but for the most part people are onboard with this because they know our country needs help and they trust schools and elected officials to do the right thing.
Here is the concern. In the new curriculum evolution will be a major theme in the life sciences. Here is a direct quote from the foundational framework idea.
Biological evolution explains both the unity and the diversity of species and provides a unifying principle for the history and diversity of life on Earth. Biological evolution is supported by extensive scientific evidence ranging from the fossil record to genetic relationships among species. Researchers continue to use new and different techniques, including DNA and protein sequence analyses, to test and further their understanding of evolutionary relationships. Evolution, which is continuous and ongoing, occurs when natural selection acts on the genetic variation in a population and changes the distribution of traits in that population gradually over multiple generations or more rapidly after sudden changes in conditions, which can lead to the extinction of species.
In case you missed it, evolution is presented as a fact of science. It has been proven already, and continued research is being done which will confirm this position.
You should be alarmed and concerned. This text (along with others) has been used to develop the March document. Each state has agreed to certain terms about adopting this curriculum. For example Georgia was asked to adopt in whole the new material. The rest of this article gives some background and what has been done and can be done about this important matter.
Let us go back to the beginning. When our nation was founded, a belief in God was a core value. There was no separation between church and state. Many people believed the country owed its existence to the God of the Bible and recognized Christ and the Christian world and life view as the pattern for all society from the home to the government. Things went well and the nation grew and prospered. For whatever reasons, in our wealth and prosperity, leaders as well as citizens started stepping back from the commitment to this Biblical worldview. I am not saying that every American went to church, taught on mission fields, or lived unstained moral lives. But they supported and lived within the framework provided by an unyielding trust that God’s way should rule in all society including government and, yes, the schools.
What happened? The school was taken over. The efforts of Horace Mann and John Dewey made a significant impact on how our current educational system came to be. The rise of atheism in the culture through adoption of naturalism, humanism, and empiricism influence the thinking of leaders in the educational enterprise.
That is sad. The reason is that education was working well and on a solid foundation. What was taught made sense of human experience and people made direct connections with the needs of society. For example many citizens were more literate, cogent in their reasoning, and fluent in writing then many are today even with the modern university. What most people do not know is that education was being hijacked or co-opted by men and groups that wanted to insert their worldview into the culture. They tried other ways but landed on and infiltrated the educational establishment.
They are still there and in full force. Most citizens are concerned about the modern county school system. They know something is not right but cannot put their fingers on it. Johnny comes home talking about accepting homosexuality, or lack of sexual purity, or breakdown of discipline, or why they need to be involved in feeding the homeless. Most parents put up with it. Those who put more research and thought into the matter remove the child and put them in a private school or home school.
That is where we are today. Now about the textbooks. For most of this history, the textbook was the curriculum. Parents who wanted to know what was taught could just read the textbook. States that changed curriculum needed new textbooks, so publishers would work to meet this need. Larger states needed more books, and over time publishers focused on developing materials for these states. They made much money and, over time with more connections, grew in influence. Those in upper educational leadership making decisions about curriculum had a lot of power over content. How it came to be is another story, but that it is this way now is a reality people need to know.
In short, reform movements and legislation required writers and developers to make new materials. These writers were influenced by their own worldviews, the need for their product to sell, and the approval of the educational power structure. At first, public approval was important but now, sadly is not a factor in the decision making process. A good starting point would be the 1958 National Defense Education Act. A good recent example would be the 2011––A Framework of K-12 Science Education by the National Academies of Science.
Enter Christians4Science. Members of the Villa Rica church of Christ in Villa Rica, Georgia began this work as an effort to address this very issue. Somebody needed to something about what was happening in our local schools. Children of members were going to school and being taught, among other things, that the universe came about from the Big Bang and they are descendents of monkeys. Our Bibles said one thing, and they were taught the opposite. Both could not be right; any thinking person could see that.
It began in a Bible class series called “Dinosaurs and the Bible.” The preacher presented what the Bible taught and I presented what science had to say. We tried our best to do our own research including visiting museums and reading works from Apologetics Press, Institute for Creation Research, and Answers in Genesis. Needless to say much interest was generated in these classes.
It was my belief that Bible classes should always lead to actions. Christianity is a learning, doing, and teaching religion. Ezra is a good example (Ezra 7:10). We decided to confront our local school board member. She was very sympathetic and we were encouraged. We were given five minutes to speak at a local school board and did so. Enthusiastically received, we were excited. We were naive. Nothing was done––words given in place of action. We did research for them and came up with a statement they could adopt and publish. It was so clear and reasonable what we wanted done. Undaunted, we approached the board again and spoke requesting an update. A document was passed around to members and we were told, “Nothing can be done for legal reasons,” and “We must do what the State says; you will have to work at the state level.”
Now about the biology textbook. We obtained a copy of the biology textbook used in our county. We also purchased a book called Evolution Exposed that directly documented, exposed, and refuted the portions of this text teaching Darwinian evolution. This book was handed to each member of the board in person by the preacher.
Time went on with more reporting in the local paper, and nothing done. Due to my success and experience in math education, I was asked to be part of a new science team in Georgia by the head science coordinator at the department of education. In the first meeting I became aware of what is called The Next Generation of Science Standards with Georgia as a leading state, and that Darwinian evolution was going to play a major part in effort.
Since that time in November of 2011, much has been done by Christians4Science to confront this issue. We researched, documented, and wrote a critical refutation of the content. We contacted and tactfully confronted all the key people behind this effort included the President of the National Academy of Sciences. We developed a website called Christians4Science.com and branded our effort with a publishing logo. We developed an email communication tool and networked with other churches and organizations. We produced short YouTube videos to help get the message out. Atlanta channel 2 News did two stories about the work. Our effort to get Christians involved in giving public feedback was broadcast locally, statewide, and in other states as well.
Lessons learned: Evolution is bad news. Darwinism is a futile system of unbelieving thought. We were able to confront two presidents of American Atheism Inc., and they were unable to refute our Bible-based presentation. Evolution is not scientific. It never was and never will be. We have an audio file on this very topic. Evolution must be confronted at the worldview level, otherwise you will be sucked into the endless game of “Our scientists are smarter or more promising then yours are.” Find the political structure and employ citizen outcry. Get your message out. Utilize the media but do not rely on them. They do not always get the story right. Do not ask for creation to be taught. If you do, you will have to remove several Supreme Court justices and spend 1 billion in court fees and 10 years in litigation. Arm yourselves with the facts. You are intimidated mainly due to lack of accurate information and not thinking deeply or thinking through. You need help to think. Do not think you can be neutral and not use your Bible. You just gave up if you do. You are not smart enough but you know someone who is. One more lesson: The unbeliever has been at his work for a long time and has gotten much help. One effort by one church for one year is not enough. We need more people, more resources, and continued effort. With God’s blessing we can do much good. We must be engaged and in it for the long haul. Winning the culture back for God includes the school system and textbooks.
There is more that can be said. Visit Christians4Science.com to learn more. Let us pray that we all will be apologists for God (1 Peter 3:15).
Textbook Bias: Evolution in Schools and What You Can Do About it!
By Bob Staples