Why I teach my kids evolution
A homeschooling mother’s approach to ‘immunizing’ her children against humanism in science
Published: 3 June 2014 (GMT+10)
It was Summer, 2012. I’d just started writing about kids and creation science when a prominent media ‘science guy’ came out with a video claiming you can’t do science without evolution. I couldn’t wait to respond, and knew just whom to interview. My brother was now an engineer and had been homeschooled from the beginning. It would take a simple phone call to collect the proof I needed.
Before I dialled the number, though, my heart quailed: years ago, my brother had adopted the world’s priorities and standards instead of God’s.
What if he had accepted evolutionary thinking along the way? I had to ask anyway. Sure enough, he is now a theistic evolutionist, seeing no difficulty between Jesus as his Savior and evolution as the way He created. But, he was careful to inform me this hadn’t happened in college. It had happened in his late teens already, when he read a fascinating article in a popular-level science magazine.
Good intentions, but…
My parents started homeschooling us in ’82 with the barest of resources. We used the only curriculum we knew of and were pretty happy with it.
I remember being taught about Lamarckian acquired traits,1 which no one believes in today, and the inaccuracy of the peppered moth story, but that seems to have been the bulk of what they covered about evolution.
Later, we found a new program which taught us some amazing science and medicine, but it did not address creation/evolution at all.
This was done on purpose. The idea was to train us in the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so thoroughly that we would recognize a lie as soon as we heard it. It sounded reasonable. But, far too often, this approach has ended in disaster.
Many young people from Christian homes, only exposed to things they were expected to accept as truth, have later applied the same trust to the secular things they encountered.
The world is well-versed in packaging its ideas in attractive, reasonable, and compelling ways. Without tools to recognize and counter the lies, they were left dangerously exposed.
Now I’m on the other side, homeschooling my own children. I know I won’t be able to shield my kids forever from the tsunami of ungodly thinking and assumptions ‘out there’. So how am I to prepare them for this onslaught? Here’s the way I look at it. Hebrews 5:13–14 says:
For everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
Our ability to discern is a lot like our immune system’s ability to recognize an invader.
So, I train my kids like we do our bodies: exposing them to what they will face, in a way designed to disarm the danger. This slowly and carefully helps them build the spiritual muscles they will need to discern between the good and the bad.
We don’t expose our kids to feathered dinosaur characters at two and three years old, but we do watch other programs with more subtle messages beginning soon after.
And we talk about it. A big part of this training is teaching kids more than the evolutionists want them to know. If kids learn the assumptions up front that scientists have to accept, they are far less likely to just take their word for it.
One of my sons is beginning to learn world history. We use colorful secular materials available anywhere. When the book claimed people lived 10,000+ years ago, I gave a brief explanation of carbon dating methods. The next time such a big number came up, I asked him how they ‘know’, and what the Bible says.
(By the way, when we read how people ‘may have discovered’ farming, metallurgy, music, etc., I love to take my kids to the early chapters of Genesis. We don’t have to guess like the secular world does, we can trust the historical account God preserved for us!)
I recently taught my kids earth science. The book had a double-page spread of the ‘Timeline of Life’ starting with the ‘first cells’. We stopped and pushed the story back further than most evolutionists want kids to go: Spontaneous Generation, today relabelled Abiogenesis.2 Then we discussed how their series of developing organisms is based on how deeply each creature was buried.
None of the evolutionary kids’ books I’ve seen explain why they believe what they teach. They just state the end conclusions as if they are undeniable facts. This is also true of most materials for adults. In fact, to find the basis for their claims, you often have to go to publications designed to be read by scientists—the initiated, who can be trusted to protect the fragile secrets of their assumptions.5
The last area we cover in our training concerns the worldview consequences of evolutionary thinking. Like every mindset, evolutionism and creationism have to answer the big questions of life:
- Who am I?
- Why am I here?
- Where am I going?
- What really matters in life?
The Bible is full of answers to these questions. Evolution has them, too, but they are normally only communicated subtly because the answers are so unappealing. Consider:
- A random collection of matter
- No reason (unless it is to perpetuate your DNA, which is for no other reason anyway)
It’s hard to imagine a person wanting to choose the emptiness of naturalism until sin and pride have a huge hold on them. Most children from Christian homes haven’t sunk to such levels—yet.
Do I think this will guarantee my children stick close to God their whole lives? No, but I’m not afraid for them either. My part is to pray, live out my life devoted to Jesus, and invite them to join their father and me in His kingdom.
Changing hearts isn’t any human being’s job—it’s God’s. My desire is to give the Holy Spirit the most tools to work with.
So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. (Matthew 18:14).
PS: Have you found that your children are facing evolution at their school? The same principles work here. Take the time to keep a step or two ahead of the textbooks. Focus on the underlying thinking they use to come to their conclusions. Teach them more than ‘they’ (evolutionists) want them to know. Lastly, help them think through how to be the best witness possible. You can find out more about school interaction online at creation.com/education-questions-and-answers.
References and notes
- This is the largely discredited idea that an organism can acquire heritable characteristics from its environment; e.g. a giraffe stretching its neck to reach more leaves giving rise to longer-necked offspring. Named after its originator, Jean-Baptiste Chevalier de Lamarck. Return to text.
- See Origin of life: an explanation of what is needed for abiogenesis; at creation.com/origin-of-life. Return to text.
- See creation.com/beetle; also check out mutations under the Q&A section. Return to text.
- See e.g. creation.com/muddy, also creation.com/train; plus check out natural selection under the Q&A section. Return to text.
- If overwhelmed with the number of subjects to cover, consider these four important ones: Spontaneous Generation, Radiometric/Carbon Dating, the Geologic Column, and Mutations. Throw in evidence that people have always been smart and you’re doing great! Return to text.
@J.M. What do computers have to do with evolution? Evolution has no correlation to the breakthroughs in modern science. I would indeed agree that the search engine on this site would be your friend.
Cheri presents a dilemma that most home school parents face: preparing Christian children for an evo-believing world. I'm a bit further down the road than she is; the youngest of my five children is shortly graduating from a Christian high school. We homeschooled all of our children thru 8th grade, all attended our local Christian high school, and our high school, thankfully, teaches biblical creation. The problem is the Christian universities. And that is where many begin to lose their faith.
All of the "alternative" positions--theistic evo, progressive creation, gap, etc., do serious damage to the issue of sin and death. Since sin and death are what Jesus saves us from, this ends up knocking out a major foundation block of our theology, and ultimately makes Jesus more of a nice moral fellow than the God Incarnate risen-from-the-dead Savior that He really is. Virtually all of our Christian colleges/unis are compromised on this. And after we've prepared them, we're left with one thing--we pray for them. And that's what I do. I pray that my children will not be deceived.
Maybe you could start by explaining to your students how intelligent an ant is. But that it is only intelligent in its own circle. Then move on to higher forms of life and end with scientists are very smart but only in their own circle; some knowledge is outside human comprehension. So we have to guess. Start planting the seed that historical science is speculative. Let's face it, if our minds could comprehend how God created everything. God would explain it to us.
Now I don't want to throw myself into arguments, but I think, and I'm sure it can be agreed, that healthy debate is, well, healthy. I'd love to just be able to get perspective from both sides of the intelligent design/ evolution argument for an article I'm writing, so it would really help me if you could put forward some of the arguments that you face, and maybe you could answer some of my questions, all in the spirit of healthy debate.
So to kick the ball rolling, without our understanding of evolution, and indeed modern science, we wouldn't have the computers that we sit behind to write these comments and articles. How does creationism respond to this?
An interested party
The search engine is your friend. You will find answers in the several thousand articles on our website.
I learned a long time ago that the best way to refute evolution is to explain it clearly. Also, I like the foundational way she suggests teaching. Challenging the basic assumptions of evolution is effective and powerful logically and biblically.
Great article! Imagine having a doctor that only studies healthy bodies, and never diseased ones. We need to study truth as well as error to make the right distinctions/diagnoses as we train up our children to give an answer to themselves and others for the hope that is within them.
The problem with Christianity and Bible-believers is that far too many of us do not know what is in our Bible. I consider myself one of the fortunate ones, having had the news that the truth is hidden, said Jesus, from the wise and prudent. God’s revelation of this world and the world to come is dispersed throughout the Bible. I was freed from trying to squeeze all of what I believed and accepted as truth in Genesis chapters one and two. I was shocked to find that scientists have much truth that the Word of God substantiates, and vice versa! Conclusively, I found that true science and God’s Word go hand in hand.
"Replace the Modern Synthesis (Neo-Darwinism): An Interview With Denis Noble" puts forward the scientific truth in no uncertain terms:
"[W]hat Haldane, Fisher, Sewell Wright, Hardy, Weinberg et al. did was invent.... The anglophone tradition was taught. I was taught, and so were my contemporaries, and so were the younger scientists. Evolution was defined as "changes in gene frequencies in natural populations." The accumulation of genetic mutations was touted to be enough to change one species to another.... No, it wasn't dishonesty. I think it was wish fulfillment and social momentum. Assumptions, made but not verified, were taught as fact." [Website deleted as per feedback rules]
Denis Noble is the president of the International Union of Physiological Sciences who states: "I would certainly go along with the view that gradual mutation followed by selection has not, as a matter of fact, been demonstrated to be necessarily a cause of speciation."
Those who attempt to teach children about mutations and natural selection still try to teach the pseudoscientific nonsense touted by the inventors of neo-Darwinism by eliminating Darwin's 'conditions of life.'
That's how they eliminate our Creator. And, after eliminating the Creator of the 'conditions of life' evolutionary theorists continue to tout theories that have become more ridiculous with every bit of experimental evidence that's ever been published.
This, after Dobzhansky (1964) clearly labeled the theorists: "... the only worthwhile biology is molecular biology. All else is "bird watching" or "butterfly collecting." Bird watching and butterfly collecting are occupations manifestly unworthy of serious scientists!" [Website deleted as per feedback rules]
Thank you CMI for yet another encouraging and challenging article.
As a father of 4 children it is a real encouragement to read of Christ-centred families who also seek to immunise their children against the philosophies of man that seek to eradicate God from curriculums. Whilst our inherited sinful nature will always rebel against our Creator, the means of rebellion can take different forms. One contemporary form is the UK education system. The ostensibly 'free', open and objective education system is really humanist indoctrination for the young in which dissent is not tolerated.
Praise the Lord that we are free to teach our children the truth revealed through the Word of God. However, new UK laws are being proposed to make the emotional abuse of children an offense equal to physical abuse. Genuine physical and emotional abuse should rightly be stopped (a notion only truly consistent under a Christian world view). The potential but very real threat is the increasingly aggressive secular/humanist education pressure groups which equivocate the teaching of Creation Science with emotional child abuse. CMI has documented such claims with articles in recent years. As far as I am aware, no connection between Creation Science and emotional child abuse has been made in relation to the proposed changes to the law. However, we should not be surprised if, say in 10 years time, this law is used to try and suppress the education of our children in Creation Science.
CMI (as well as other Bible based ministries) provide a wealth of information for which my family and I are very grateful. May the Lord continue to bless your ministry and those it touches.
"Then we discussed how their series of developing organisms is based on how deeply each creature was buried."
Not even true, as far as I have managed to find out.
In Karoo, the Permian layers are not below the Triassic ones. They are beside them in different large "assemblage zones".
Permian assemblage zones are not beneath Triassic ones, but assumed to be older because containing Permian fauna which is supposedly older than Triassic fauna.
I am an American living in the Philippines for the past five years as a self-supporting missionary. At first working with evangelism but became more passionate about immunizing not just Christians, but the culture from the compassionate and intellectual sounding arguments for evolution, abortion, equality of religions, separation of church and state and the constant lowering of wholesome values from year to year as I witnessed in America from the 1950's to present day. It is so difficult to rally most Filipinos here to see the need because most do not believe evolution, even the teachers. Yet it is required teaching in all public school textbooks.
I have a daily radio program (2 minutes) on the classical station for a small but educated audience. I have a book published here also and neither focus on God or the scriptures. We perpetuate the losing battle if we make it religion vs science rather than science vs evolution. I also believe vindication for Christians will come when perceived in pursuit of truth rather than religion. A sunset makes us worship God without a sermon or scripture. It is the same with all of nature and all truth. I whole-heartedly endorse the thinking of the author to teach her children a DIRECTION of thinking that sees the flaws of reason in evolution's argument rather than bashing it as anti-Christ. I don't disagree with evolution because I am a Christian but because I hate being lied to. I am not a Christian because I was raised Christian. I am Christian because I love the truth.
1 Peter 3:15
One fabulous advantage of homeschooling is that we can teach our how to think from a biblical worldview, not so much fill their minds with information. Having confidence in the Word of God helps them to look at the 'arguments' of evolution with a discerning eye. We have so appreciated the input of the wonderful materials put out by CMI. They have helped our family to see the errors and blatant lies that secular education is teaching regarding origins, and they are equipping us to have sensible answers.