March 12, 2013
Do More Christian Homeschoolers Want Evolution in Textbooks?
Magazine finds examples. And at least one Reformed publisher is responding.
The Atlantic offers an interesting look at the growing number of evangelical parents who homeschool their children but want their textbooks to teach evolution instead of young earth creationism (YEC).
Being one of many factors that have swelled the ranks of Christian homeschoolers, YEC certainly has and retains a strong foothold among existing religious curriculum. But the magazine finds a few families and one Reformed publisher to serve as counter-examples (albeit anecdotal):
The rising number of homeschool families striving to reconcile belief in God with today's scientific consensus has attracted the attention of at least one publisher -- Christian Schools International in Grand Rapids, Michigan. "Most science textbooks that attempt to present the content from a Christian perspective also attempt to discredit the theory of evolution," says Ken Bergwerff, a science curriculum specialist at Christian Schools International. "Some do it discreetly; others are quite blatant. The CSI science curriculum clearly presents science from a Christian perspective, but does not attempt to discredit the theory of evolution. The content presents God as the author of all of creation, no matter how he did it or when he did it."
The article also quotes biology professors at Gordon College and George Fox University:
Meanwhile, professors at evangelical colleges that attract homeschoolers often have to deal with objections from Young Earth proponents. "We do have to address some one-sided perspectives in biological science that some of our freshman biology majors come pre-loaded with," says Jeffrey Duerr, a biology professor at George Fox University, a Christian university in Oregon. "But we do this by first addressing why science and Christian faith are compatible and then by teaching biology to them."
CT reported how Creation Museum founder Ken Ham, a leading proponent of Young Earth Creationism through his Answers in Genesis curriculum, was disinvited from homeschooling conferences in 2011 for making 'unnecessary, ungodly, and mean-spirited' comments about Biologos's Peter Enns. The fact that Enns was even invited to speak at a homeschooling conference which upholds YEC was "significant" and suggests "a sign of greater openness in the future to more diverse Christian perspectives regarding creation-evolution issues," noted the American Scientific Affiliation, an association of Christian scientists that offers homeschooling resources of its own.
CT also reported from last year's Biologos conference in New York City, where attendees noted that "few Christian colleges or seminaries teach young earth creationism (YEC)" today but discussed plans to counter how "less formal, grassroots educational [YEC] initiatives, often centered on homeschooling, have won over the majority of evangelicals."
CT has also regularly reported on evolution, creationism, intelligent design, and human origins, including an infographic on current views, a Village Green on how intelligent design can gain credibility, and how it's time for a difficult, grace-filled family meeting. Recent CT cover stories have examined the search for a historical Adam and a tale of two evangelical scientists—one a young-earth creationist, the other an evolutionary creationist.