What is your child’s authority?
‘Science’ camp undermines creation
Recently, the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) published a series of blogs1 about a science camp they held for children, and what they wrote could be instructive for creationist parents.
First, it should surprise precisely no one that the NCSE is openly evolutionist. What was surprising to me is that multiple creationist families allowed their 9-to-11-year-olds to be in such an environment where they would obviously face challenges from authoritative adults challenging what their parents had taught them. Clearly at some point children will face evolutionist tests to their faith, but a 9-year-old child will likely see an evolutionist Ph.D. geneticist as having great authority. And it has been shown multiple times that science organizations like the NCSE are not neutral regarding religion.
Second, the evolutionary teaching at the camp was full of what we call ‘bait and switch’ argumentation. For instance, the blog2 talks about how the kids learned about DNA and evolution by extracting DNA from strawberries. Well, what those kids did was very interesting operational science. But the fact that strawberries have DNA does not explain how such a complex code could arise from an unintelligent source, or how mutations, which are errors in the copying process, could give rise to more complexity instead of simply breaking what already exists. In fact, the camp itself is a bit of a ‘bait and switch’, because it was called a ‘science’ camp, but it really turned out to be more of an ‘evolution’ camp.
Third, one of the most powerful tools the camp leaders used was insisting that the dialogue was always respectful, and this is something we can wholeheartedly agree with. We have always advocated for creationist students in public schools to always engage with their teachers in a respectful manner.
Fourth, evolutionist scientists were consistently presented as ‘authorities’ to the students to counter creationist objections.3 While it is tempting to dwell on the growing number of creationist scientists who have invented things like the gene gun and the MRI scanner, there is a more important lesson to parents: a warning to be careful with who is presented as an authority in your children’s lives. Scripture tells us to be respectful to and pray for our authorities, and while civil authorities are in view in that passage, we can see how that would apply to teachers and professors as well.
We have argued before that parents have the ultimate authority for managing their children’s education, and that is the case no matter what educational choices a family makes for their children. Biblically, the most important element of a child’s education is ensuring that they know Scripture and are encouraged to believe it in all areas of their life. Many parents feel overwhelmed when it comes to teaching their children about a biblical worldview, but the great news is that there are more resources teaching biblical creation than perhaps at any other time in history. For instance, Refuting Evolution 2 was written specifically to refute a book that NCSE sent out to every science teacher in America.
The people who ran this camp genuinely believe that it would be best if those creationist children believed in evolution. But biblically, it’s not their call. If you are a parent, what are you doing now to ensure that when (not if) your children are presented with evolution, they’re standing strong on the authority of Scripture?
References and notes
- Schoerning, E., NCSE runs a camp: part 1, 27 July 2016, ncse.com/blog/2016/07/ncse-runs-camp-part-1-0018318. Return to text.
- Schoerning, E., NCSE runs a camp: part 2, 28 July 2016, ncse.com/blog/2016/07/ncse-runs-camp-part-2-0018319. Return to text.
- Schoerning, E., NCSE runs a camp: part 3, 29 July 2016, ncse.com/blog/2016/07/ncse-runs-camp-part-3-0018320. Return to text.