Especially during this time of year we remember with eternal thankfulness that God, the Creator, loved His fallen creation so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die on its, (on our behalf,) so that we could be reconciled to Him. He continues to give us blessings of His grace, and eternity with Him is on the horizon. Meanwhile, we continue to serve Him as He leads. Mainly in discovering and communicating creation knowledge. As the year 2002 draws to a close, we can recognize some truly wonderful gifts, which seem to open the door to better communication in the public schools in regards to teaching origins.
The first gift was opened in January, when President Bush signed into law the new education bill, entitled "No Child Left Behind." It contained powerful language in the conference committee report encouraging teaching the "full range of scientific views that exist" on controversial subjects such as "biological evolution." Creationists may have wanted more, (and indeed the stipulation was originally contained in the bills main body) but the nation's schools were notified that more openness was desirable. No longer would exclusive teaching in evolution and "religious and philosophical claims made in the name of science" hold such total monopoly.
Evolution advocates deny the authority implied by the committee's language, but explanatory reports such as this give the sense of the bill and guidelines for its implementation. It has no force of law, but does contain useful and helpful information for both teacher and judge.
Even before the federal bill was passed, several states were moving to do what they could. In particular, the state of Ohio wanted better, less dogmatic education for their students. On October 15, after months of deliberation, the State Board of Education voted unanimously to adopt new science standards, which proposed that Ohio students be able to "describe how scientists continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolution theory." It left great latitude up to the individual school districts as to whether or not teachers can include scientific evidence against naturalistic evolution and/or for intelligent design, but insists that critical thinking skills be developed.
Perhaps more important it uses a new definition of science. "Science is a systematic method of continuing investigation, based on observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, and theory building, which leads to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena." This statement replaced one asserting that "Scientific knowledge is limited to natural explanations for natural phenomena." All along, ICR and other advisory groups have insisted that science is limited to observations of the nature of the universe and processes operating within it, but speculations regarding unobserved origins events are quite different. Our best understanding of scientific law indicates that other processes, evidently supernatural processes, were involved in its origin. We demonstrate that evolution is really the religion of naturalism masquerading in scientific garb, and evolution interest groups seek to maintain their exclusive position by force of law, intimidation, and false definitions. These wording changes may seem small, but they do address the core issues.
Early in the year, soon after the Federal bill had been signed, a bill was introduced in the Ohio Legislature, which goes right to the heart of the matter. Quoting from the proposed bill:
"Sec. 3313.6013. It is the intent of the general assembly that to enhance the effectiveness of science education and to promote academic freedom and the neutrality of state government with respect to teachings that touch religious and nonreligious beliefs, it is necessary and desirable that `origins science,' which seeks to explain the origins of life and its diversity, be conducted and taught objectively and without religious, naturalistic, or philosophic bias or assumption. To further this intent, the instructional program provided by any school district or educational service center shall do all of the following:
(A) Encourage the presentation of scientific evidence regarding the origins of life and its diversity objectively and without religious, naturalistic, or philosophic bias or assumption;
(B) Require that whenever explanations regarding the origins of life are presented, appropriate explanation and disclosure shall be provided regarding the historical nature of origins science and the use of any material assumption which may have provided a basis for the explanation being presented;
(C) Encourage the development of curriculum that will help students think critically, understand the full range of scientific views that exist regarding the origins of life, and understand why origins science may generate controversy."
This bill has not yet passed through the education committee, but of all proposed actions, this one should receive court approval, if and when it is passed and challenged. It strictly prohibits introduction of religious views into the classroom, including Biblical creation and evolutionary naturalism, but does allow the presentation and critical analysis of all scientific evidences related to the origins issue. We support this bill wholeheartedly.
Meanwhile, another action has traversed numerous obstacles in Cobb County, Georgia, in suburban Atlanta, the state's second largest school district. Early in the year the school district had decided to include a disclaimer in its science textbooks which reads: "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered," following similar wording adopted in several states.
Immediately the ACLU filed a lawsuit. The National Academy of Science joined the fray on the side of evolution, as did several other national organizations. This set up even more discussion and School Board deliberations, and on September 26, the School Board voted unanimously to adopt a broader policy.
As stated in Policy 1A, Philosophy, it is the educational philosophy of the Cobb County School District to provide a broad base curriculum; therefore, the Cobb School District believes that discussion of disputed views of academic subjects is a necessary element of providing a balanced education, including the study of the origin of the species. This subject remains an area of intense interest, research, and discussion among scholars. As a result, the study of this subject shall be handled in accordance with this policy and with objectivity and good judgment on the part of teachers, taking into account the age and maturity level of their students.
To further clarify their thinking, the Board adopted the following statement:
The purpose of this policy is to foster critical thinking among students, to allow academic freedom consistent with legal requirements, to promote tolerance and acceptance of diversity of opinion, and to ensure a posture of neutrality toward religion. It is the intent of the Cobb County board of education that this policy not be interpreted to restrict the teaching of evolution; to promote or require the teaching of creationism; or to discriminate for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, religion in general, or nonreligion.
The ACLU is threatening a second lawsuit, and evolutionists nationwide are putting their spin on things. Most claim this is a thinly veiled attempt to introduce religion into the public schools, but in reality, it's an attempt to introduce better teaching, and remove the religion of naturalism, which is already there.
In the May issue of Acts & Facts I wrote an article entitled "Cracks are Widening in Evolution's Dam!" predicting these very things. I pray that awful dam will completely fail in the very near future.
* Dr. Morris is President of ICR.