I admit I didn’t expect this one …
[Erinn Cameron Warton], a scientist, says she was horrified when she opened a homeschool science textbook and found a picture of Adam and Eve putting a saddle on a dinosaur. “I nearly choked,” says the mother of three. “When researching homeschooling curricula, I found that the majority of Christian homeschool textbooks are written from this ridiculous perspective. Once I saw this, I vowed never to use them.” Instead, Warton has pulled together a curriculum inspired partly by homeschool pioneer Susan Wise Bauer and partly by the Waldorf holistic educational movement.
Her new curriculum incorporates a vastly more evidence-based perspective on issues like big bang cosmology and biological evolution. Granted, she doesn’t represent the majority of home schooling parents, and she’s getting plenty of resistance from those who feel she’s straying from the history of the world as interpreted through biblical literalism. Still, the movement to accept the consensus of the scientific community as representative of the best and most up-to-date understanding we have of the natural world is growing. That, in itself, is encouraging.
Unfortunately, there remains the almost impossible-to-shake belief that God is still involved somehow, even though science is doing just fine without invoking Him for that which we don’t yet understand.
Seurkamp, the ability to reconcile science and faith is one of the biggest advantages of homeschooling. “God knew what his creatures would need to survive and thrive when he created them,” she says. “The ability to evolve and adapt is just one example of his creativity and infinite wisdom.”
Neill deGrasse Tyson once said in an interview that God is, in some ways, this giant, ever-receding mass of scientific ignorance. We used to attribute everything we didn’t understand to the will and intervention of a divine being. Thousands of years later, we have a much more thorough understanding of the natural world, and can both explain and predict natural phenomena by way of the scientific method.
To say, in light of everything we know now, that God is still out there – but relegated to having created the laws of nature like Maxwell’s equations, the fine structure constant, and the method of natural selection to explain the diversity of life – means that He’s been pushed just about as far back as He can go without completely going away. Classic God of the Gaps. Science doesn’t say there is no God, and likely never will, but it does say that we can explain the behavior of the world around us without His involvement.
You know, at this point in our country’s long, hard slog toward non-belief, I’ll take it. To have evangelical / fundamentalist types homeschooling their kids with actual science books instead of the festering waste spewed forth from the likes of Ken Ham and Kent Hovind is the closest thing to a miracle an atheist like myself will see for a long time. As I said, the idea of God “creating” evolution is still an argument from ignorance to make sure faith still has a place in their lives, but seeing people like her embrace science at all is enough to make me happy.