Creationist Tells Parents: Science Textbooks Must Acknowledge God's Word

The Texas Home School Coalition (THSC), run by religious-right activist Tim Lambert, is promoting arch-creationist Ken Ham‘s speech at the group’s convention in The Woodlands near Houston next month. An email to the group’s supporters today includes a link to a revealing essay on Ham’s Answers in Genesis website: “Should Homeschoolers Let Children Decide on Evolution?”

It’s revealing because it demonstrates the lengths to which anti-science extremists will go in undermining the education of children and handicapping their ability to succeed in the 21st century. That’s important to keep in mind as the State Board of Education prepares to adopt new science textbooks this year for Texas public schools. What those textbooks teach about evolution will be at the center of the adoption debate.

The author of the essay THSC is promoting, Elizabeth Mitchell, doesn’t argue that home-schooled students should learn about creationism as an alternative to evolution. She goes much further, arguing that students should simply be taught to reject evolution altogether and accept creationism:

“It is particularly important for science textbooks to acknowledge that God’s Word is trustworthy. Observable, scientific facts will never violate God’s Word when properly understood but rather affirm it. In fact, the history of creation and the global Flood are not only consistent with scientific observations, but they also can help explain what we observe in the world.”

In addition, she argues, teaching that evolution and faith need not be in conflict actually endangers children:

“When Christian parents compromise on scriptural truth by twisting it to make it fit with the claims of evolution regarding abiogenesis, the rise of biological complexity, and the age of the earth and universe, they risk causing irreparable, faith-damaging harm to their own children.”

Students should learn what scientists say about evolution, Mitchell writes, but only so that those students can pass the tests needed to get into college:

“Children should also not be sheltered from evolutionary claims but rather taught discernment. Genuine scientific truth will never violate biblical truth when properly understood. Parents need to teach their children what evolutionists claim. Standard tests such as the Advanced Placement exams and the Medical College Admissions Test do not test what students believe about evolution but only their knowledge of evolutionary assertions. They can be equipped to answer these questions without embracing them as truth.”

None of this is terribly surprising. But it’s distressing to see Mitchell deny that her approach will handicap the future success of those children. She writes:

“(W)ill children fail in life if they aren’t taught to accept the claims of mainstream scientists? Bill Nye ‘the Science Guy’ says so. The popular mantra claiming that ‘nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution,’ though easily refuted, is practically proverbial among evolutionary educators. Will our kids be unfit as the leaders of tomorrow if they don’t accept evolutionary dogma?

To illustrate how unnecessary it is for a student to actually believe evolution in order to be successful, one need look no farther than the local doctor’s office. For decades, evolutionists have attempted to get medical schools to implement evolutionary courses for medical students. They have made some inroads, and the 2015 version of the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) will include more questions about evolution. Nevertheless, most medical doctors and most medical schools continue to consider evolution to be fairly irrelevant and useless to their practice. The objective facts of biology make perfect sense without any evolutionary overlay.”

This is nonsense, of course. For example, how is resistance to medications understood other than through the science of evolution? Does she not realize that understanding evolution is also important in cancer research? (See here and here.) There are many similar examples, but Mitchell promotes a strategy of defiant ignorance.

People who don’t understand or accept evolution aren’t necessarily stupid or can’t succeed in careers that have little to do with science. But scientific ignorance certainly limits their options, and it can’t be good for a society. Teaching children to reject science means that there will be fewer people to support the research and discoveries that help society progress.

At next month’s Texas Home School Coalition convention, parents will be encouraged to promote ignorance. We are working to make sure that similar efforts don’t succeed when the State Board of Education decides this fall which science textbooks millions of students should use in their public school classrooms in Texas. Stay tuned for how you can help.

41 thoughts on “Creationist Tells Parents: Science Textbooks Must Acknowledge God's Word

    1. They are working to tear that concept apart too! This kind of thinking is what brought the Arab world from where it was in the fifteenth century to where it is today. What makes these people thing that a sectarian Christian state will work any better than a sectarian Muslim state has worked?

  1. By all means… and while they are at it, please present “both sides” of the round Earth theory vs. flat Earth theory and let seven and eight year olds decide that, too… That will prepare them to compete in the twenty-first century with the kids in Asia and Europe.

  2. First of all, Ham is an a..hole. Second of all, there is no second of all. Anybody who goes as far as he does to keep people ignorant so they can be controlled is an a..hole. A scary, dangerous a..hole, but an a..hole never the less.

  3. Isn’t this exactly what evolutionists are doing on the other side of this issue?? I mean it is like calling the kettle black to prosecute one side of the issue for doing exactly what the other side is doing … My opinion is that both should be taught or neither should be taught … forcing things one way or the other is just not good. Kids need to have all the information given to them and be allowed to make their OWN conclusions of what they believe… jus sayin

    1. There are several reasons to teach only evolution and not teach Creationism at all. First, society has decided that some knowledge of science is an important part of every student’s education. Since evolution is a fundamental part of modern biology, it should be taught in biology class, while Creationism–a religious concept with no scientific value–is a form of pseudoscience when typically presented in science classrooms and only serves to mislead and confuse students about the true nature of science. Second, since Creationism is religious, it cannot be taught in our secular public school system as a body of knowledge in a science class, but can only be taught ABOUT in a philosophy or comparative religion class. Third, the Creationist equivalency argument (“both should be taught and let students make up their mind”) is invalid, since teaching both Creationism and evolution in biology class whould then also necessitate teaching both a flat-Earth and spherical-Earth planetary geology in geography class, both voodoo and faith-healing folk medicine and modern medical-based public and personal health in health science class, both Divine Creation of the universe and the Big Bang Theory in astronomy, both Noah’s Flood Catastrophism and modern sedimentology and stratigraphy in Earth science class, the Biblical claim that the Earth and Universe are 6,000 years old with the modern physics and chemistry measurement that they are 4.55 and 13.7 billion years old, the Biblical assertion that pi = 3 and the accepted mathematical assertion that pi = 3.1416, and so forth. Not only would students be misled and confused, this sort of thing would constitute child abuse.

    2. Sorry Laura. When it comes to science, evolutionary theory qualifies as science, but creationism does not. If public schools want to offer classes in religious believes that would include creationism as part of the believe system of certain Christian sects, it is Constitutional to do so as long as the approach is non-sectarian. That is where discussion of creationism belongs if you want it in public schools. Anything more than that can be taught is your church.

    3. Creationism is in NO way, or form, to be considered as equal to science. It is merely mythology and superstition! The teaching of creationism, whether in a religious school or at home, leads to ignorance about the world, about life, and about reality. And, to learn more about this ignorance read, and study, your bible.

  4. Yes, there is a large Creationist literature with the theme that knowledge of evolution is unnecessary or irrelevant to useful or practical biological applications, such as medicine. This argument is, as would be expected considering the source, specious, misleading, and thus false. If TFN will allow some URLs to be published, here are some great review articles that document the usefulness of an evolutionary perspective for success in medical science:

    Evolution by Any Other Name: Antibiotic Resistance and Avoidance of the E-Word
    http://bit.ly/1bGalHb

    Evolutionary Medicine: A Powerful Tool for Improving Human Health
    http://bit.ly/13roUGP

    The great opportunity: Evolutionary applications to medicine and public health
    http://bit.ly/14afbe6

    Since modern medicine is today heavily dependent on knowledge of genetics, it can be argued that ALL modern medicine has some evolutionary basis.

  5. Home Schools by definition are responsible for dumbing down education in Texas. The entire system is made up of arrogant people who think they are more intelligent about matters of education than education professionals and are too cheap to enroll their kids in private religious schools.

    1. Normally I would agree but I know families that were in essence forced to homeschool because the Kristians(TM) had taken over all public schools in the region. That meant that they could not get the proper school education from there. Additionally the kids were targets of constant bullying because their parents were both liberal (=> godless) and Jewish (=> god-murderers). In the end they moved to Canada during the Bush/Cheney era (and got regularly bullied by ‘patriotic’ border guards when crossing the border e.g. for business trips).

  6. I’m not defending the creationists, but when you think about it, Genesis 1 is the first great scientific theory. Ever since it was written, we have been applying the scientific method to disproving everything it contains. It actually holds up pretty well except where science has obviously proved otherwise. It is actually a pretty amazing piece of scientific writing when you come right down to it. Why can the religious knuckle draggers simply accept that?

  7. No, the public school system of Texas does NOT have to acknowledge God, that’s just good ol boy Religious right wing thinking that He should be included. If the Texas Public Schools were supposed to teach about God, then it would be Texas Religious Public Schools. The actual Texas Public Schools are where ALL children are equal, and that includes children of all faiths/non faiths. The Religious right again takes Bullying to a whole new level of STUPIDITY!

    1. And one more point…if these “religious nuts” want to teach about God, do so in their churches and their schools. NOT the public schools.

  8. Ms. Mitchell – if you are reading:

    “The popular mantra claiming that ‘nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution,’ though easily refuted….”

    Would you bring some ‘refuting’ here? I don’t think you have some.

  9. Wow. As a medical sciences teacher who adamantly supports the separation of church and state, I say, keep religious ideology in the private, parochial and HOME School systems and OUT of the public schools. Home school “teachers” can indoctrinate (excuse me, educate?) about creationism without a BOOK. Wait. Isn’t there a BOOK called the Bible that does just that? Hmmmm. I consistently teach in adherence to the TEKS (TEA mandated curriculum) without forcing students to work from a textbook. I am flexible and creative enough to utilize multiple resources. I use the state adopted texts (on occasion), but, moreover, utilize a wide variety of alternative teaching materials and methods. I integrate technology (soft media), supportive articles from leading scientific journals and publications, and real world/hands-on experience (clinicals), etc. to enrich my students’ educational experience. I suppose Tim Lambert is saying that those who teach creationism, via the the home school system, are UNABLE to do so without a state adopted text that supports/outlines their religious beliefs. He is implying, then, that this is beyond the home school instructor’s scope of practice or his/her own teaching ability. OK, Tim, thanks for reinforcing that supposition.

  10. Who’s god must we acknowledge?

    I spent 26 years in this country’s military to guarantee that my countrymen had freedom and liberty.

    I didn’t do it for Christians or Jews or Hindu’s or Muslims. I did it for my countrymen, whatever their belief system.

    This is America. No religion is required and none should be paramount. Read you Constitution and keep your belief system to yourself.

  11. Wow. As a medical sciences teacher who adamantly supports the separation of church and state, I say, keep religious ideology in the private, parochial and HOME School systems and OUT of the public schools. Home school “teachers” can indoctrinate (excuse me, educate?) about creationism without a BOOK. Wait. Isn’t there a BOOK called the Bible that does just that? Hmmm.I suppose Tim Lambert is saying that those who teach creationism, via the the home school system, are UNABLE to do so without relying on a state adopted text that supports/outlines their religious beliefs. He is implying, then, that integrating multiple educational resources is beyond the home school instructor’s scope of practice or his/her own teaching ability. OK, Tim, thanks for reinforcing that supposition.

  12. Lana Roberts Crowley The fairness argument sounds only fair. But, as many have pointed out it just doesn’t make any sense. Teaching the Earth is supported by a turtle, that Thor is the cause of thunder and so on and on would be a huge waste of time in a science classroom.

    Should we then expect the churches to be fair and teach evolution? How many churches are fair and teach Islam, Baha’i, or even different interpretations of scripture? Do the Baptists explain that infant baptism is considered valid by the majority of Christians and has scriptural roots. Do they have readings from the Gita or Book of the Dead at their services? If you are U/U, but then most fundamentalists don’t consider them Christians.

  13. Ken Ham is one of the worst offenders of the idea of the separation of state and church. It is apparent to all who have ears to hear that these far right wing squirrel nut jobs mean only to change our government from one based on the rule of law to a government based on the buy bull. It makes no sense to teach children tales at the expense of truth and reality.

    When we start to see the inevitable brain drain, America will change its own tune and prevent the inoculation of any children into the misbelief of creationism.

  14. Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism are dying in the United States. The struggle to take over schools is an act of desperation for a religious system that does not get any respect—primarily because it does not offer any itself. I will be so glad when it is gone so the true gospel of Jesus Christ in the New Testament will be the only thing left standing in their miserable ashes.

    1. Charles,

      There is NO SUCH THING as a “true gospel of Jesus Christ”; he was a fabrication of Saul/Paul. Surely you knew that.
      BTW: Jesus was, supposedly, a Jew but, “Jesus” was not/is not a Jewish name. It’s Greek, as was Saul/Paul. Apparently, you know very little, if anything, about your bible!
      PS I’m a 78-year-old Atheist and became one fifty plus years ago by reading the bible.

        1. @ Don & Charles: Thanks to both of you. It is my understanding that apostle Paul was what we might call a marketing genius. If not for him Jesus of Nazareth would have been a little know historical figure. Much of the holy bible was first written in Greek – at a time when wheel barrels were emerging technologies. How much has been “lost in translation?” God only knows ‘n she’s not tellin’.

  15. Are’nt these the same people that scream about shria law and madrassa’s and brain washing by the taliban and how evil that religion is??? what dammed diffrence between the taliban and its brain washing of young people and these so called christians?? not a dammed thing

  16. Someone needs to get a camera for this Cargill-Ken Ham photo op.
    Nothing says arrogant, stupid and ignorant like Ken Ham.
    It would be great if TFN covered this event and took photos of the SBOE members who attend this idiots ball.

  17. Geez, yall, she’s talking about homeschoolers, not every person in the godforsaken world. Besides, many creationists DO believe in evolution, just not that it is the origin of humanity. They believe in the evolution of bacteria and things; they write about it in their magazines.
    Maybe yall should do more research on Creationism and the different kinds and then come argue, rather than make false propositions or poisoning the well?
    And on the subject of homeschoolers, the smartest people I know are homeschoolers. They are far ahead of me in science and math and reading and english and in learning various languages AND most are younger than I am. I can’t even explain how many times I’ve wished I could have been homeschooled just so I could learn more and at my own pace. Geez.

    1. “…the smartest people I know are home-schoolers” ?? Children are home-schooled just so they can be brainwashed into a particular religion. Are they able to socialize with children of differing philosophies?

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