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Understanding the scientific origins of the universe is way overrated. Or is it? Let the parents decide.

Posted by Chance on June 8, 2007

There is an interesting discussion over at Glen Dean‘s blog about school choice. One of his money quotes is

Christians who believe that God created the heavens and the earth, and want their children to be taught that, are not necessarily the enemies of science. All they really ask is that they have a little say in what their children are taught. After all, the children do belong to them, not the state.

. Another commenter made a reasonable point in the second paragraph

I disagree that the topic is freedom. I really am frightened by the prospect of millions of ignorant kids growing into adulthood completely lacking some basic knowledge about how the world works. Furthermore, the South and pockets of the midwest, seem to be havens for this sort of thinking. Left unchecked, the day will come when we’ll have pockets of ignorance–sorta like how things were in the last century.

Parents can teach their kids whatever they want, but there should still be certain standards of education. Kids need to at least be exposed to real science. What they choose to do with that knowledge is their own business.

I wanted to raise a couple of points.

I agree with Glen in that parents should have the primary role in what their children are taught. If a central federal office or court has the power to enforce teaching with which we agree, it has the same power to do so when we don’t disagree. Liberals may think they have more to gain with a centralized school system, but there could still be governors or courts that think creationism is the way to go.

Additionally, let’s say evolution does provide a sufficient framework for explaining the universe. Okay, fine, but is someone really going to miss out and not be able to function in society if they don’t learn about it? From a scientific perspective, people give the origins of the universe too much credit. I went through a whole set of college coursework without touching a biology class, as it was not necessary or related to my major. But even in high school, when I did take a biology class, we didn’t really touch on evolution too much, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t learn (and quickly forgot) the processes of mitosis, meiosis, photosynthesis, and all that other stuff. Not only is an understanding of evolution unnecessary to basic functioning in society, but someone can still have a good grasp of the sciences without going into the subject. In the case that someone wanted to go into academia in the life sciences,the desired college program can determine if evolutionary understanding is necessary. Already, college programs decide on entry requirements typically beyond high school graduation requirements anyway.

But I’m only looking at it from a purely utilitarian point of view. After all, reading classic works or learning the finer details of our American government are not things I apply everyday in my particular line of work, but I am still glad I learned those things, and I hope my children do as well.

The point is, I, as a parent, should determine if learning the scientific origins of the universe is even that important in the first place. The same should go for other areas of education as well.

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6 Responses to “Understanding the scientific origins of the universe is way overrated. Or is it? Let the parents decide.”

  1. Glen said

    How the earth was formed really is only a small part of science teaching. It certainly is a small part of Darwin’s teachings. Some people over dramatize this stuff, as if children who are taught creationism are somehow ignorant. That isn’t true. How many days are spent on the origin of the universe in 12 years of school and four years of college? What is it, one?

  2. preacherman said

    Chance,
    I first want to say that I am sorry that it has been a long time since I have made a comment on your blog. I am doing much better. I have good days and bad days. Today is a good day and I praise God. I am going to add your blog brother to my favorites and do what I can when I have a good day to add to discussion.

    My dad is a Chemistry teacher and my mother is a Trigonomity and Calculous teacher. So Science and mathmatics was big deal in my house. We are Christians. I understand that God created the heavens and the earth. What power! Creationism powerful! Almight God spoke everything into existance. Evolution is a theory. A theory. The big band a theory. Science isn’t saying that it isn’t fact. Science it is a theory of how they earth began. Chance… If you look at how the creationism is in Genesis 1. flows with evolution. Does evolution take away the deity of God? I would say no. I would say otherwise. I would say it shows the glory of God. 1 day is but thousand year and a thousand years is but a day according to Almighty God.

    If conservative Christians don’t want their kids being taught evolution then teach them at home the truth and tell them what a theory is or if they don’t understand theories which is usually the case. I don’t know write a note like you did in P.E. when your kid is sick and have them sit in the hall during the teaching and make them look stupid.

    I know because it wasn’t a big deal in our family. Again great post brother.

  3. Chance said

    preacherman,
    Thanks for your comments.

    I do agree that evolution does not necessarily take away from the creation account. The thing is “evolution” is a really broad term. Does it mean we all evolved from a common cell, that we evolved from apes, or that there was an existing set of species, and it just diversified. So I think you are right in saying that evolution is not necessarily a dirty word.

    I think perhaps the number of separate species may be more than what there was originally, but again, I’m no biologist.

  4. Chance said

    Or preacherman, I should say, God did it, the rest is just details.

  5. preacherman said

    Chance,
    Well said!

  6. Josh said

    Good post, Chance.

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