The priests of Darwin want your children
This is how they try to convert them and how you can respond
Published: 11 June 2020 (GMT+10)
Trends in evolutionary beliefs
Over the past few decades, dozens of science education papers have been published detailing how evolutionists are trying to convince Christian college students into accepting evolution.1 College educators have already gotten this down to a science.2 Polling information shows that they have also been quite successful in achieving this.
In general, a little less than half of Americans disbelieve evolution. And among those who do, a large portion believe that some god guided the process. On the other hand, these statistics are not the same for young people under the age of 30. Polls report that the percentage of young people who believe in evolution has increased since 2009 from 61% to 73%, and the percentage of young people who do not believe that God/a god guided the process has also increased, from 40% in 2009 to 51% in 2020 (figure 1).3 The bottom line is that secularists are becoming increasingly effective at convincing students of evolution.
These trends should be very worrisome to Christian parents and church leaders alike. We should also ask, how are the secularists achieving their goal? What does it mean for us? What should we do?
How your college children’s faith is being undermined
Dr. David Warmflash, former NASA astrobiologist and science writer, recently wrote an article on the Genetic Literacy Project’s (GLP) website on how to teach evolution to college students with creationist perspectives.4 In this and other articles linked from it, he summarizes those methods which are employed at college universities using your taxpayer money.
Religious role models
One of the most influential ways secularists attempt to change Christian students’ views on evolution is to have a ‘religious role model’ teach them evolution, or to talk about a notable religious figure who accepts evolution, under the guise of ‘culturally competent evolution education’. This would be a scientist who believes in God, just like the students do, but also believes in evolution.5 Whereas this method is different from outright ridicule, hostility and dismissiveness, it has the potential to be even more effective.6 Thus, we should be all the more vigilant about who is teaching what kind of material to our children.
In a 2016 study by Barnes and Brownell, college biology instructors in Arizona were polled. They found that 69% of instructors believed that God/god(s) had nothing to do with the process of evolution, 22% were unsure, and only 3% believed that evolution was supernaturally guided.7 If this is the religious background of those who are instructing our children, what might we expect of the sort of attitudes they will be passing along to their students (consciously or otherwise)? According to one college instructor, “If you believe in creationism, you can’t believe in any of the foundations of science and that will destroy America. You will destroy America.” (emphasis added).7
What this presupposes is that Christians cannot be sure as to what the Bible really teaches about creation. They portray compromising theistic evolutionary positions as one among a plurality of equally legitimate viewpoints. Many fall for this trick. Some of these theistic evolutionists, such as Francis Collins (the founder of BioLogos) and Ken Miller, call themselves Christian, but their attitudes and beliefs are totally unbiblical.
Teaching about science
Another method that secularists employ is to portray evolution as scientific and creation as an irrational myth—an anti-scientific superstition—where ideology directs research. It is ironic that GLP, whose motto is “Science not ideology”, would consider publishing Warmflash’s article, which states that evolutionary theory is the only acceptable view of origins. The stated purpose and intent of these specialized courses is to increase students’ acceptance of evolutionary theory. The success of these courses is measured as to what percent of students could be converted to evolutionary thinking, and not whether they can form their own opinion based on the evidence.
According to Brownell and Barnes, two science education researchers who established a method which tries to convince evolution doubters of the truth of evolutionary theory, their method is aimed at increasing acceptance of evolution and debunking the idea that students must choose a side [between evolution and religion].8 Brownell and Barnes’ method sounds exactly like a religious catechism class, where Darwinism is taught by college instructors acting as the priests of evolution. If the point is to teach students how to think scientifically, then they must think and evaluate the evidence for themselves, instead of trying to shepherd students to a predetermined ideology.
It is amusing to read about how evolutionists complain that evolutionary theory is poorly understood, yet it is the only theory being taught at public schools, even at kindergarten level, after federal and state courts have barred creationism from the schools. If evolution is the only theory being taught from such an early level, then perhaps the reason so many people disbelieve it is precisely because they do understand it and reject it. As one such evolutionary instructor, Nathan Lents of John Jay College of the City University of New York put it,
“The field of biology education is under threat in the United States from select school boards, religious institutions, elected civic leaders, and parents of school children regarding the proper teaching of evolution, the grand unifying theory of all of biology. Although federal and state courts have generally sided with the scientific community when the issue of the teaching of evolution has been litigated, science educators can play an important role by addressing the root cause of this ongoing controversy: poor understanding of the theory and mechanisms of evolution by the general public.”9 (emphasis added)
In this very same study Lents describes a different study where evolution was taught to two sets of students to measure the rate of acceptance of evolutionary theory. In the first course (a majors-level introductory biology course) evolution was taught explicitly. In the second course (a gender study) evolution was taught, but only implicitly. The study results showed that the acceptance of evolutionary theory was greater in the second course, not the first. Lents’ explanation was that the students attending the gender study were more open-minded, whereas the students in the first course became resistant once they knew what they were facing. An alternative interpretation is that the gender studies students could have merely been more impressionable, whereas the biology course students may have simply rejected evolutionary theory outright after critically evaluating it because it lacks evidence.
All this said, is evolution really science? What about creation? Is it more than just a myth?
Creation and evolution, science and religion
Simply stated, evolution is not science. It is only a theory, embedded into the philosophy of naturalism. Science didn’t begin with Darwin, which may be surprising to some evolutionists. Creationists had been thinking scientifically about origins before Darwin came out with the Origin of Species. In fact, it was a creation scientist, Edward Blyth, who discussed the idea of natural selection in his own day as a contemporary of Darwin. Science involves demonstration, and not just imagination. Universal common descent cannot be demonstrated, much less experimentally repeated, since it deals with events in the distant past that we don’t have direct access to.
As opposed to this, we must stress that creationism is a valid scientific approach to origins. Note that creation science does not study the hand of God at work during creation, rather, science studies the handiwork of God’s created universe. Even Warmflash admits to this in his article: “After all, one can function as a perfectly competent physician, dentist, or allied health professional without giving a thought to evolution” (emphasis added). There are at least hundreds of scientists who are literal, young earth, biblical creationists (though many are forced to keep silent in order to retain their jobs).
The various attempts to convert Christian students into loyal Darwinian evolutionists demonstrate one thing very clearly: Western pluralism is a myth. There will always be a dominant religion in society, and right now in the United States and many other western nations, this religion is secular humanism. The secular universities in our country are merely temples dedicated to the propagation of atheism and materialism. Biology classes are the scene of instruction and catechizing in the faith of evolution. The deck is so heavily stacked against Christianity, which over a century ago used to be the dominant religion, that it is virtually excluded from all levels of public education. Woefully, some college educators who call themselves Christians, even at Christian universities, also assist in this very process.3
Navigating the halls of secular institutions can be difficult, especially for those who study the life sciences, or other areas of study directly related to origins. Thus, it is indispensable to train and equip our children in the faith—to make sure that they can meet the challenge of evolutionary ideology while they are away at college. It is for exactly this purpose that the Creation Survival Guide was written, which has already proved to be a powerful resource in equipping people for these situations.10 There is reason to take heart, however. According to interviews conducted by our own ministry, we found that those students who were shown evidence for creation were much more likely to stay in the faith. This highlights the importance of being equipped with creation resources to help train our children before college.
Let us heed the words of the apostle Paul found in Ephesians 5:15–16: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”
References and notes
- Dunk, R.D.P., Barnes, M.E., Reiss, M.J., Alters, B., Asghar, A., Carter, B.E., et al., Evolution education is a complex landscape, Nat Ecol Evol. 3(3):327–329, 2019. Return to text.
- Metzger, K.J., Montplaisir, D., Haines, D., Nickodem, K., Investigating undergraduate health sciences students’ acceptance of evolution using MATE and GAENE, Evo Edu Outreach 11:10, 2018. Return to text.
- Finally, Most Young Americans Now Accept Evolution Over Creationism, iflscience.com/editors-blog/finally-more-young-americans-accept-evolution-over-creationism/ Return to text.
- Warmflash, D. Teaching evolution to college students with creationist views requires innovative approaches. geneticliteracyproject.org/2020/01/10/teaching-evolution-to-college-students-with-creationist-views-requires-innovative-approaches, 10 January, 2020. Return to text.
- Barnes, M.E., and Brownell, S.E., Experiences and practices of evolution instructors at Christian universities that can inform culturally competent evolution education, Sci Educ. 102(1):36–59, 2018. Return to text.
- Barnes, M.E., Truong, J.M., and Brownell, S.E., Experiences of Judeo-Christian Students in Undergraduate Biology, CBE Life Sci Educ. 16(1), 2017. Return to text.
- Barnes, M.E., and Brownell, S.E., Practices and Perspectives of College Instructors on Addressing Religious Beliefs When Teaching Evolution, CBE Life Sci Educ. 15(2), 2016. Return to text.
- Leander, S., Evolution and religion: Finding middle ground in the biology classroom, asunow.asu.edu/20170327-evolution-and-religion-finding-middle-ground-biology-classroom, 27 March, 2017. Return to text.
- Lents, N.H., Teaching the Biology of Gender, Sex, and Sexuality Leads to a Marked Increase in Acceptance of the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection, J Phylogen Evolution Biol 1:105, 2013. Return to text.
- Price, P. and Bates, G., The Creation Survival Guide, Creation Book Publishers, Powder Springs, 2019. Return to text.