Monthly Archives: June 2017

Evolution, Intelligent Design, and the Death of Science

Intelligent Design

This post started out to be about the debate between evolution and intelligent design. I soon realized that it would end up a blank page. Proponents of the theory of evolution will not debate. They are right—everyone else is wrong.

Chapter 2 of my book Who’s Got Dibs on Your Kids? discusses that viewpoint plus creationism. I firmly believe that God created the universe and all in it in six days. However, in a manner of speaking, I am also a believer in the Intelligent Design (ID) concept. In its purest sense, ID does not take religious views into account. Its approach is strictly scientific, using the (up to this point) scientific method to go from hypothesis through experimentation to conclusion.

I used parentheses to call attention to the fact that the tried and true “scientific method” may have gasped its last breath. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) that decide what and how your kids will be taught about science has decided that we need new “practices” to determine how we understand the world. The website Celebrate Science says, “These practices replace the antiquated idea that there is a single scientific method that involves developing a hypothesis and then testing it with an experiment.” (Emphasis added.)

Let’s look at the NGSS new practices that provide a more complete description of the scientific process.

The eight practices of science and engineering that the [NGSS} Framework identifies as essential for all students to learn and describes in detail are listed below:

1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
2. Developing and using models
3. Planning and carrying out investigations
4. Analyzing and interpreting data
5. Using mathematics and computational thinking
6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
7. Engaging in argument from evidence
8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

At first glance these may seem to be innocuous changes. A closer look may raise some red flags. I can’t go into all of the eight practices here, but think about the second one: Developing and using models. Models are often used as tools of forecasting. They are used extensively with studying climate change—and those models are consistently proved wrong! Using models is only as valid as the information input and the possible agenda of the model creator. The old saying about computers stands well here: Garbage in—garbage out.

Practice eight instructs the students to obtain, evaluate, and communicate information. Evaluating may be a scientific process, or it may be based entirely on a preconceived idea or attitude. What will the students be encouraged to state as their evaluations to get a satisfactory grade on their work?

Now, back to the theory of intelligent design. All states that participate in Common Core are required to teach evolution, and to teach it as fact. Except in a few states, the intelligent design concept may not be taught. So, we immediately have some problems. How do students ask probing questions if they are not allowed to discuss intelligent design (Practice 1)? How do they investigate alternative theories (Practice 3)? How do they engage in argument when there is only one side presented, and it is “fact” (Practice 7)? What is there to argue about?

Adherents to the theory of evolution say they will not permit intelligent design to be taught because it is just another name for creationism. Just as vehement in their opinion are some Christians who do not want it taught because it does not identify the “intelligent designer” as our God of the Bible. Proponents of intelligent design say it is strictly science based without bringing in a religious perspective at all. I agree with the latter.

I feel the scientific evidence for intelligent design can stand on its own. Permit our kids to have the debate! As far as not identifying God, those students certainly would not be led to a belief in the scriptures if all they heard in class was the theory/fact of evolution. At least if they learned there was another option to be considered, the Holy Spirit might lead them at some point to be more willing to listen to the Bible’s account of creation.

The Discovery Institute has produced an excellent paper titled, “The College Student’s Back to School Guide to Intelligent Design.” I recommend you download it. Read it with discernment, however, as there are some statements with which I personally do not agree; perhaps they are poorly stated. Nevertheless, as I have often said, please don’t wait until your kids are heading off to college to discuss evolution, intelligent design, and what God tells us about the origin of everything. Don’t throw them into the ocean of education rudderless, as fish without fins. Teach them how to navigate their way to the truth. When they are old enough, advance them from Genesis to Job 38–42, and let them stand in awe of our almighty God.

He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named

I just read about another high school student who was refused permission to include thanks to

Do Not Say “In the Name of Jesus”

God for His many blessings in her graduation speech.

Moriah Bridges’ Beaver Area School District principal Steven Wellendorf said, “The selected

students may still address their class and indicate the things that they wish/hope for their class, but they may not do it in the style of a prayer and most certainly may not recite a prayer that excludes other religions (by ending ‘in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” or “in the matchless name of Jesus.’” [sic]

I couldn’t help but think of Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter novels. Nearly every witch or wizard dared not utter his unmentionable name, and referred to him instead as “You-Know-Who”, “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named” or “the Dark Lord”.

Wordless symbol – Ichthus

Of course, in those novels He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is a villain, which is the antithesis of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, but it seems that some are trying to convey the idea that terrible things will happen if the name of Jesus is mentioned.

Continuing with the Harry Potter analogy, the Unspeakables were not permitted to talk about their work. They were also unable to remove prophecies from the Hall of Prophecy or even take them off their shelves. Sounds like what some are trying to do with our Bible.

Perhaps this is making too light of what is becoming an issue that Christians need to confront directly whenever it occurs, as Moriah is doing. She did leave the prayer out of her remarks, but she subsequently contacted First Liberty Institute, one of the nation’s top religious liberty law firms.

“The last lesson this school district taught its students is that they should hide their religious beliefs from public view,” said First Liberty Institute attorney Jeremy Dys. “That fails the test of the First Amendment. It wasn’t Moriah who broke the law, it was the school district.”

You can read Todd Barnes entire article “School: You may not recite prayer in the name of Jesus Christ,”  but I’d like to finish with some of the words Moriah Bridges didn’t get to speak aloud at her graduation ceremony.

Lord, surround us with grace and favor everywhere we go. Soften our hearts to teach us love and compassion, to show mercy and grace to others the way that you showed mercy and grace to us, even to the ultimate sacrifice. Help us love our brothers and our sisters deeply. Lead us to bless them. Make us selfless. Make us just. Make us successful people, but more than that, make us good people.

In the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Watch Moriah Bridges revised speech.

 

Who Do You Trust?

Total trust

Unless you’re not a cat enthusiast, this photo can’t help but draw an “Aw-w-w-w” from you. This little 18-month old girl, pacifier in place, sound asleep with her arm comfortingly across a cat as big, or bigger, than she is—I can’t think of a more perfect picture of “trust.” The cat knows the girl will not squeeze the life out of it, or pull its whiskers. The girl has no fear of being hurt by the cat’s claws. They trust each other—trusting so completely they can sleep soundly.

But where did this trust come from? It wouldn’t have developed if the little girl did things to the cat that hurt it. It wouldn’t have developed if the cat hissed and bared its claws every time the child invaded its perceived territory. Trust is built on knowledge and experiences. I’m sure the little girl’s mother and father watched closely as this relationship of trust developed to make certain no harm occurred.

So who do you trust with your kids? Their hockey or soccer coach? Their school teachers? Their circle of friends? Those who produce TV shows and develop other media they indulge in? The list goes on. But perhaps the question shouldn’t be who do you trust to influence your kids, but why do you trust them? Do you know their personal lives, the language used in the locker room, the political views, and most of all their belief in God? Do you watch closely as those relationships of trust between your kids and others in their lives develop to make certain no harm will occur?

Is that possible, or even desirable? We can’t go looking in closets and under beds of everyone our kids associate with! Does God want to turn us all into helicopter parents? Of course not. However, he does say in Psalm 118:8, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.” The one place to put all your trust about any issue in your kids’ lives is the Bible. That’s where we know whom to trust; God’s Word never fails. He tells us in Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

I can hear our kids now: “Mom, don’t you dare ask my coach/teacher/friends questions. They’ll make fun of me and it’ll ruin my life forever.” I get it. But God, in his wisdom knew that would be coming, so he tells us in Psalm 119:42, “. . . I can answer anyone who taunts me, for I trust in your word.”

The clue to making this work is letting your kids know about trust—who to trust, why to trust, how far to trust—early on in their lives. Then they grow up with the understanding that the only one they can trust completely is God (followed by you, of course), and that anyone or anything else must earn their trust. Even if your kids are already past the “tell it early and tell it often” stage, it’s not too late to start. You’ll probably have to take some grief in the process, but your kids’ lives—their eternal lives—are at stake. That’s worth a little grief, don’t’ you think?

I have a whole chapter on trust in my book Who’s Got Dibs on Your Kids? You can read it online using Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature. Get more information about the ways Pied Pipers are leading our kids on paths away from God at the book’s website DibsOnYourKids.com. Let me know what you think.

The Remnants

Walk in a fabric store. You’ll find bolt after bolt of cloth—an amazing array of fabrics and colors. But as you wander through the aisles, one sign draws you to it. It is irresistible. REMNANTS. There you will find great bargains because there is only a small bit of fabric left. Some call them “leftovers” but that diminishes their importance. There’s not enough usually for a dress or a skirt; maybe not even enough for a blouse. Not even what you went into the store for. Nevertheless, soon you will be making your way to the cutting table with an armload to get it all priced for checkout.

Once you get your remnants home, what are you going to do with them? The thought that comes immediately to mind is a quilt. You can cut squares from all the different patterns and scatter them about.

Or you could cut flowers, leaves, words, and applique them on a backing.

I’ve seen an absolutely delightful jacket made of a variety of fabrics: a denim here, a flower pattern there, a scrap of faux fur as a divider. Pieces you would never think of buying from a whole bolt of cloth when you walked in the store, but your remnants all work together to make something beautiful.

Did you know God calls his faithful believers “remnants?” In Isaiah 10:21 we read: “A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God.” And in Isaiah 28:5, “In that day the LORD Almighty will be a glorious crown, a beautiful wreath for the remnant of his people.”

I often write of the Pied Pipers who are leading our kids on paths away from God, and encouraging you to warn them in advance of what they will face. God knows it will not be easy; not for you, and not for your kids. Teach them that the jeers and rejection they will face will all be worthwhile as they stand before God a part of the REMNANT—those believers who made it through all the trials and stood firm in their faith. Not leftovers, but wearing a glorious crown, a beautiful wreath of the LORD Almighty.

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” (Isaiah 43:1-2).