Why I teach my kids evolution
A homeschooling mother’s approach to ‘immunizing’ her children against humanism in science
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.