Monday, December 15, 2008

Somehow Appropriately Named...

My wife is part of a home schooling network that gets offers and emails from various organizations, one of which is, evidently, The reference in the Bible to this animal is Job 40:15:

"Look at the behemoth, [a]
which I made along with you
and which feeds on grass like an ox.

Anyhoo, the in line advertisement, aimed squarely at home schoolers, has, front and center, guess who?

I find it absolutely astounding how entrenched the young earth position is in home schooling curricula and private Christian schools. It is practically the only perspective. If we continue to homeschool our children, or put them in a private Christian school (which we are considering) this will become a problem later. In the early grades, the general scientific theoretical perspective is secondary to learning how things work. Eventually, it will become apparent to other home schoolers that we know that, charitably, we don't share the scientific perspective they hold. Hopefully, they will be understanding about this. My experience is that this will not be the case.


  1. Young Earth Creationism is most definitely the default position for many homeschooling families. I have had a terrible time finding Earth Science and Biology curricula for my eight grade daughter (I have her reading the DK/Smithsonian book "Earth" right now). What is most distressing is the complete lack of discussion (not polemics) on this topic within the homeschooling community. When people hear that I hold an Old Earth (seriously considering Evolutionary Creation) view, they get quite confused. The hardest thing in teaching my kids is simply finding materials and then helping them see how good people can disagree (and that they're not going to he** for accepting evolution). I've been enjoying your blog.

  2. Similar situation here. We live about 3 hours from the Creation Museum and our homeschool coop is planning a trip this Spring to see it. Our boys (3 and 4 years old) won't be going to see it. I don't want to start down that path. While I'm sure they wouldn't understand most of the exhibits at the museum, I know they would remember seeing Adam and a dinosaur together. I don't want them mistakenly thinking that that ever happened.

  3. Catherine, thanks for the kind words. I have not even brought up the subject with some of my friends. One of them gave Melanie a book by Henry Morris on the creation of the planet earth. Funny, don't know what happened to that book. It just disappeared!

  4. Homeschool "coop." I like that. We are considering sending our kids to a local Christian private school and they have said upfront that they teach creationism. They also did admit that some of the families involved had some trouble with that. I am thinking of writing a letter asking them how they can defend, on scientific grounds, the young earth position and whether it constitutes intellectual dishonesty. The problem is that they aren't scientists, they are school teachers who haven't investigated the problem. They just suck in what the evangelical position is without thinking about it.

  5. Jimpithecus,

    I've been reading your past blog posts. Fabulous! I find that I argee with you on the vast majority of issues, which is rare for me.

    My first wife and I homeschooled for three years and ran into the exact difficulty you mention.

    You and your wife may find some of the kids material on my wife's and my Great Story website useful:

    I suggest you start here:

    Keep up the great blogging!

    ~ Michael

  6. Anonymous10:30 AM

    as a homeschool Christian parent I would make sure we hold to the bible as ABSOLUTE truth, not man's view about origins. The science clearly gives us evidence for design, but we hold to the first chapters of Genesis for the foundation of Christianity. Look at it this way if evolution it true you can throw your bible in the trash. You must ask yourself - where does your absolute authority come from??? Read Genesis 1-11 and then read carefully Exodus 20. If you are not a Christian, then I understand. But so you know the homeschool movement holds to the God of Genesis being the Creator of all things in six 24 hour days. If you really would like to talk about this further with a real scientist who is also a real Christian let me know.
    Let the evidence lead you where it may . . .

  7. Anonymous10:46 AM

    two things
    1- you will be held accoutable at the end of this life for not teaching your children the full counsel of His Word.
    2- an alternative is for you to put your kids in catholic school. This will get a very little bit about the true God, but will get loads of evolution.

  8. Our kids' Christian schools are exemplary in most other respects, but when it comes to evolution they fall down. Our approach has been to tell our children to "answer the questions the way they want them answered" in order to get the grade, coupled with me ranting over the dinner table.

  9. Anonymous12:24 PM

  10. Jim,

    It seems like you're in a position to try to show that particular school that there's good evidence for evolutionary theory. Maybe you and some of the other parents that aren't comfortable with YEC could get the school to teach evolution as well. Now here's a conversation I'd like to see.

    Angry Parent: How dare you suggest we allow Darwin's theory into these hallowed halls?

    James: [Shrugs] I say, teach the controversy.

    Angry Parent: Sputters incoherently.

  11. Anonymous, I have two questions. First, what's the contact info for the real scientist? If you leave an anonymous comment with no contact info, no one can talk to him about origins.

    Second, you say "let the evidence lead where it may" and "we hold to the bible as ABSOLUTE truth, not man's view about origins." So which is it? Evidence or presupposition? And if the evidence points away from a six day special creation, do you follow the evidence or the presupposition?

  12. Michael, thank you for the kind comments and the link. I will have a look!

  13. Tell me anonymous, why didn't you leave your name? Everyone else that commented respected me enough to do so. Why not you? Especially since you felt it necessary to lambast me. Congratulations for supporting my point about many modern-day evangelicals. You are quite willing to castigate me rather than ask why I hold the views that I do. I hold Jesus as the ultimate truth and my salvation and have been saved for over twenty years. Before you go taking the first eleven chapters of Genesis literally, I suggest you go read people like St. Augustine, St. Basil, C.S. Lewis and other noted Christian authors who did nothing of the sort, rather than someone like Ken Ham, who has done ZERO work in the area of theology, not to mention science. Oh and don't lecture me about fire and brimstone about my children. We teach the Bible to our children every day.

  14. Oh and one more thing, anonymous. I have studied palaeontology and palaeoanthropology for over twenty years. I am a practicing scientist. I know the data. Do you?