Countering evolution in the classroom
Published: 24 January 2015 (GMT+10)
R. R. from the U.S. wrote in to ask for advice on how to counter evolutionary ideas and stand up for biblical creation in the classroom.
I’m a Christian in 10th Grade. I have just started to learn about evolution in my High School Biology class this past week. I have been writing notes throughout class trying to figure fact (real evidence that the Bible doesn’t refute) to fiction. After class, I go up to her with my questions. I would like to be able to ask my teacher questions that will stump her (help me?). The ones I have been asking were simply ones that would help me understand what exactly she’s teaching since it’s not how I have viewed Evolution in the past. She said that she doesn’t believe evolution says that we evolved from apes and such ("and that’s why so many people don’t believe") but, instead, she says it says that we just change over time. I thought that was called adaptation or natural selection. Also, will you please send me something I can use to explain that the Earth isn’t m/billions of years old but simply thousands. She presented that as fact in class and everyone seemed to agree. Thanks!
CMI’s Keaton Halley responds:
Hi R. R.,
I’m so glad that you are trying to be a good ambassador for Christ in your biology class, and that you want to learn more about how to defend your Christian convictions. We have plenty of material on creation.com that can help.
Let me encourage you to approach this with the right perspective. First, make sure you are being respectful of your teacher. Even though she does not have a biblical perspective, she is in a position of authority over you and so it’s important that you engage her from a posture of submission and humility. You can ask her challenging questions, but don’t try to embarrass her or attack her personally. I think it’s good that you are talking to her after class instead of turning it into a debate during class, for example.
Second, learn more about both sides. Study up on our website so you know the best arguments for creation (and which arguments you should avoid). Also, try to understand your teacher’s perspective. It’s good to know what your opponents actually believe so when you offer a critique it’s not misguided. Your teacher will not be persuaded if you fail to understand her point of view.
Third, recognize that there is no knockout punch that will necessarily win your teacher or your classmates over. People can fail to appreciate even good arguments because of biases, peer pressure, and all sorts of things. Remember, this is a spiritual battle as well, so pray for your teacher and fellow students.
Now to help you with the specifics. Your teacher says evolution just means “change over time”, not “that we evolved from apes”. The problem here is that the word ‘evolution’ can mean many different things. Nobody denies that things change, and it’s legitimate to call that ‘evolution’ in one sense. But then we should not confuse this with the other definitions of ‘evolution’, like the idea that all living things descended from a common ancestor—which would mean that people are related to apes. It sounds like your teacher is mixing up these definitions. Surely she is teaching you more than just the idea that things change, or even that natural selection occurs. Creationists have no problem with biological change, adaptation and natural selection, but we are opposed to the general theory of evolution which does teach that humans are descended from apes. The following articles should help to clarify: Muddy Waters, Natural selection ≠ evolution, The evolution train’s a-comin’ and Refuting Evolution chapter 2: Variation and natural selection versus evolution.
I also recommend you read through Refuting Evolution to learn how to critique evolution effectively. You might glean some questions to pose to your teacher from there, or you could use our 15 Questions for Evolutionists.
As for the age of the earth, you could choose from our list of 101 evidences for a young age of the earth and universe or the Q&A page on the same subject. But I recommend using the dinosaur soft tissue discoveries since they are simple to present and easy to understand. It may be that your teacher is not even aware of such things and you never know what kind of powerful impact this information might have.
Well, I hope that’s enough to start with. Remember, we have lots of other great resources in our webstore, and you can use the search engine or topics button on our site to find more answers and advice.