Evolution, Textbooks, and Homeschooling
Day after day, week after week, year after year, an estimated 55 million U.S. public school students open their science textbooks to learn about Big Bang theory, spontaneous generation, and man’s alleged evolution from toads (“Back to School...,” 2009). Although various scientific laws defy the General Theory of Evolution (e.g., the Law of Biogenesis, the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics; see The Scientific Case..., 2004), and even though nearly half of Americans still believe God created humans in our present form (cf. “Poll: Creationism...,” 2004; see also Gallup and Lindsay, 1999, pp. 36-37), multiplied millions of tax-payer-funded textbooks espouse man’s alleged animal ancestry as fact. Christians might hold out hope for their public-schooled children having teachers who do not believe in evolution, however, the odds are stacked against them. A 2007 nationwide survey revealed that only “16% of US science teachers are creationists” (Holmes, 2008). [NOTE: Similar to how atheists are annoyed that “only” 85% of the members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences are atheists (see Brooks, 2006, p. 10), many militant evolutionists are bothered because “only” 84% of U.S. science teachers are evolutionists; see “Comments,” 2008).]
Hundreds of thousands of creationists in the U.S. have chosen to homeschool their children partly because they do not want their most precious God-given gifts (Psalm 127:3) sitting year after year at the feet of evolutionists, reading evolutionary textbooks, especially without critical analysis. These homeschooling parents still provide their children with training in Earth science, biology, chemistry, etc. In fact, many religiously motivated homeschoolers (which comprise at least 83% of homeschooling families in the U.S.; see Lovan, 2010) provide countless more hands-on, operational science experiences for their children than a lot of young people receive in public schools (where funding is limited and where classrooms are often shared with 20-30 other students). Some individuals, however, are extremely critical of the various textbooks many homeschoolers use.
Associated Press writer Dylan Lovan recently penned an article wherein he interviewed three non-religious homeschooling families and two evolutionary scientists, all who expressed disappointment over the available homeschooling science textbooks. After reviewing two of the best-selling biology textbooks homeschoolers frequently use, Virginia Tech biology professor Duncan Porter said “he would give the books an F” (Lovan, 2010). Ecology and evolutionary professor Jerry Coyne of the University of Chicago stated: “If this is the way kids are home-schooled then they’re being shortchanged, both rationally and in terms of biology” (as quoted in Lovan). “These books are promulgating lies to kids,” said Dr. Coyne (as quoted in Lovan), and allegedly are not scientifically credible. What is so terrible about the science books produced by Apologia, Bob Jones, and other publishers that frequently sell to homeschooling families? The textbooks “dispute Charles Darwin’s theory” of evolution (Lovan, 2010).
And why shouldn’t the theory of evolution be disputed? Why shouldn’t it be assessed critically and debated? Why shouldn’t students learn that all evolutionary dating methods are based upon various assumptions (see Butt and Lyons, 2009, pp. 94-100; see also DeYoung, 2005)? Why shouldn’t they be taught scientific laws that contradict evolution? Why shouldn’t they be allowed to explore the scientific case for Creation and ask whether non-intelligence can reasonably explain complex, functional design, like that in a living, human cell? As Dr. Jay Wile, textbook writer for Apologia, said: “We definitely do not lie to the students. We tell them the facts that people like Dr. Coyne would prefer to cover up.” In truth, it is evolutionists like Jerry Coyne who feel “compelled to lie in order to prop up a failing hypothesis (evolution)” (as quoted in Lovan).
Furthermore, regarding Coyne and Porter’s concerns that homeschoolers are being “shortchanged, both rationally and in terms of biology” because of their use of science textbooks that do not blindly embrace Darwinian evolution, consider how well the average homeschool student scores in standardized science tests. Two different studies (from 1998 and 2009), which included a total of more than 30,000 homeschool students from all 50 states, revealed that, on average, homeschoolers score 30 to 36 percentile points higher than the average student on standardized science tests (see Slatter, 2009). What’s more, many of these same homeschoolers go on to attend universities around the country where they excel in science classes, rather than being hindered because of their religious homeschooling heritage.
The facts speak for themselves: (1) Evolution is not a proven fact (so why should it be the only theory of origins presented to students?); (2) Studies show that, on average, homeschoolers outperform public school students by a wide margin on standardized tests, including science tests, despite most homeschoolers being taught that life on Earth was created and designed by an intelligent, infinite, eternal Mind. Evolutionists may give creationist homeschooling families an “F” on their choice of science curriculum, but in reality, it is the theory of evolution that deserves the “F.”
“Back to School: 2006-2007” (2009), U.S. Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/facts_for_ features_special_editions/007108.html.
Brooks, Michael (2006), “In Place of God,” New Scientist, 192:8-11.
Butt, Kyle and Eric Lyons (2009), Truth Be Told (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
“Comments” (2008), The Richard Dawkins Foundation, http://richarddawkins.net/articles/2609-16-of-us-science-teachers-are-creationists.
DeYoung, Donald B. (2005), Thousands...Not Billions (Green Forest, AR: Master Books).
Gallup, George Jr. and Michael Lindsay (1999), Surveying the Religious Landscape: Trends in U.S. Beliefs (Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Publishing).
Holmes, Bob (2008), “16% of US Science Teachers are Creationists,” New Scientist, May 20, http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13930-16-of-us-science-teachers-are-creationists.html.
Lovan, Dylan (2010), “Top Home-School Texts Dismiss Darwin, Evolution,” http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5h3x1DHDjafMujXt9RNwwH6ugU9NgD9E9AOV80.
“Poll: Creationism Trumps Evolution” (2004), CBS News, http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/11/22/opinion/polls/main657083.shtml.
The Scientific Case for Creation (2004), (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), http://apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/scfc.pdf.
Slatter, Ian (2009), “New Nationwide Study Confirms Homeschool Academic Achievement,” August 10, http://www.hslda.org/docs/news/200908100.asp.