Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Creationism vs. Evolutionism, Part Two

Many of you have read my original post regarding sifting through homeschool science curriculum and how irritating it was that anything deemed "Christian" was synonymous to "Evolution is evil and the only way to look at anything is in accordance to a literal translation of the Bible."

I did go ahead and order God's Design for Science and I received the student textbook today, which necessitated a sit-down during rest time to flip through its pages. It's a very nice looking text with color graphics and the projects and experiments look interesting.

But this textbook is completely full of the "evolution is evil and downright stupid" agenda. However, it is done in a calm and factual manner; which is substantially more than I can say for some of the other rabidly religious creationist texts out there. I am thankful for the "believability" of their anti-evolution arguments.

I am starting to get frustrated. And it's not the creationism vs. evolution rhetoric that's bothering me...it's ME that's bothering me. Simply stated, I have NO CLUE what I truly believe about the dilemma.

Anything I read that says "creationist" makes my mind come up with the "evidence" I learned to support evolution; and anything I read that says "evolution" brings to mind all the stuff I believe about creationism. It's like I'm a walking dichotomy of thought. Every. Day.

The situation has enlarged my view of how impressionable a young person is to what they're taught in school and what they hear around them during their formative years. I heard both arguments and I now seemingly adhere to both arguments.

I knew that I'd learn a lot of stuff myself as I homeschooled my children, but I didn't think I'd run into such heavy topics so quickly. I feel like I shouldn't teach this topic because I don't even know where I stand on it...and then I think it's perfect to show them that it's OK to not have all the answers sometimes.

We have scripture and I believe the scriptures to be true. I've studied a lot about the scriptures, how we have come to have the scriptures we have nowadays (ie. translations) and I just do not take the scriptures at literal face-value. Christ taught in parables and I think there's a lot of symbolism in the scriptures. I don't like being labelled as having less faith simply because I cannot completely throw my weight behind the idea that the Earth is only 6,000 years old.

Is it that terribly important to completely understand the minutia of creation? At the judgment bar, will God be upset that I didn't strive to more fully understand it in mortal terms? Or is this an important issue that I should research and come to a somewhat concrete opinion about? God exists, period. Is it crucial to hammer out each detail concerning everything on Earth, or is it really just another spin-off of the age-old argument about whose interpretation of religion is the best or the most right? Is God up there right now, looking down on all this effort to prove creation or evolution and muttering to Himself, "SO missing the big picture..."?

I've remarked for years now that I'm going to supply my children with both sides of the story in any subject and let them make up their minds, letting them know along the way what I believe and why. I really think it's the best way to teach...and also makes me feel my responsibility to bring them up in light and truth all the more keenly.

Perhaps I should just scrap the whole curriculum altogether and just focus on supplying their minds with information and appreciation, waiting until their logic-stage years to introduce the idea of evolution. Perhaps this argument is creeping up too early in our homeschool adventure.

But, on the other hand, I don't want to run the risk of ignoring it and having them exposed to pro-evolution and creating a bias in them. (And really, in a time where people are allowing homosexuality to be taught as a viable option to elementary-aged children, chances are that they will be exposed to the evolution question sooner than later. Childhood is no longer respected as a haven of innocence.)

I just want to do the best job that I can. I think this matter is something that I will have to take up with God in prayer. I don't think I'll come to a content consensus on my own.

Being a parent is hard sometimes...there are so many decisions to be made that may not matter all that much or may matter very much. Occasionally, it's hard to differentiate between the two.


  1. Mrs. Brooke - I read your post and asked PJ to write he thoughts. I don't care if you post it for others but I wanted to share what he was thinking.
    ***** ***** ***** *****
    Two mistakes that I think people make when they try and compare religion and science is to forget what the point of each is.

    Religion is about describing how the world should be. Science is about describing how the world is. You should worry any time someone declares how things should be with science; you should also worry any time someone declares how things are with religion.

    In terms of evolution and the literalness of the bible, I have a couple of questions to ask. First, how many definitions can a word have? We learn in Genesis (and the PGP, and the temple) that the world took six days to create - how long is a day? Was the Day of the Dinosaurs a twenty four hour period? Is a day in December the same length as a day in June? Does a day mean 24 hours or from sunup to sundown? Can a day mean anything at all literally when light and dark hasn't been created yet?

    The prophet has told us very plainly that Adam was the first man. If we sustain him, we accept that fact. However, even there we have wiggle room for interpretation. What does 'Man' mean? Have you ever read the novel Dune? There is a very interesting discussion and scene early on when an older matron tries to discover if a boy is a man or animal. Hugh Nibley has also implied in several of his works that the simple ability to write was what made Adam into a man.

    Now, I am not trying to cast doubt anywhere, I am simply pointing out (as many others have) that there is plenty of room for compatibility between science and faith. It is perfectly logical and plain to study evolution in all it's Darwinian glory without contradicting faith. In fact, I can't help but think that it is much better to study evolution and adapt your faith to fit than it is to try and pretend that the Bible contains all the history, biology, and geology that you need to know - which is what some of those rabid texts you mention really want.

  2. Thank you so much for your thoughts PJ! I love it when I can post about something's that bothering me and a reader (or her husband!) writes in a comment that helps me to think it through so much better. Truly, I appreciate your words very much.

  3. I like this topic, and I like that you're struggling.

    The only thing I wonder is if you might be getting ahead of yourself, just a touch.

    We didn't study evolution until high school!

  4. I agree ko'. I am getting ahead of myself. Perhaps it won't matter at all to the girls and they won't even notice the issue, but I feel like I should have some sort of an idea of where I'm going with it!

    Thank you to everyone who is sharing their thoughts via comments, Facebook and email...I am really loving all the input. Sometimes it's just easier to deal with something you're not entirely sure about when lots of people pipe up and say, "Hey, I kind of don't know what's going on there also, and it's OK..." You all are great!

  5. I'm a high school science teacher. I think it's important to present both options. You should show your kids that you struggle with it too, and try to explain how you think about it. We shouldn't teach kids what to think so much as how to think. They will encounter the argument sometime in their adult lives, and they need to know the facts behind both sides and be able to make a good, reasoned decision.


Comments make me happy! Thanks for sharing!