Whose Orthodoxy?

Posted: November 14, 2006 in Intelligent Design, Theo/Philo


The New Scientist has an article this week entitled ‘Preach your children well’ quite a snappy title. In this article is a sorry tale of subversion using phrases such as ‘well organised movement’ ‘empowering parents to teach Creationist Biology’ ‘unorthodox’. Home schooling apparently represents ‘a new front’ in the culture war; a war between those committed to an exclusively materialist meta-narrative and those opposing this with a religious worldview, commonly evangelical.

To there credit ‘The New Scientist’ have avoided using less subtle expressions, in their attempt to unsettle and energise the scientific elite.

The gist of the article is that Home schooling within the US is now so widespread that it possibly threatens State sponsored schooling –(funny that… the article didn’t use the phrase ‘state sponsored’).

What has prompted the growth of home schooling? An article published in 2005 from fox news has this quote from a group of home schoolers:

‘We’re fighting because the institution of public schooling forces us to, by permitting only one government-sanctioned explanation of human origins. The only way for one side to have its views reflected in the official curriculum is at the expense of the other side.’

I not a homeschooler, but I can understand the motives of parents with a religious point of view to become home schoolers, especially in the light of well published frequent tirade from the priest finder general himself Richard Dawkins who has said such things as:

Parents who indoctrinate their children into a religion should be charged with child abuse. “I thank my own parents,” he writes, “for taking the view that children should be taught not so much what to think as how to think.”

Here I find myself at least partly agreeing with Dawkins as perhaps home schoolers the world over also would –we all want our children to know how to think, home schooling doesn’t mean that desire is not fulfilled.

However a note of caution, I challenge my children to test their belief, if it does not make sense, then I can’t see how we can believe in it. My Children go to state run schools that teach Evolution and quite possibly don’t even mention Intelligent design or any other competing ideas, as such the story they are taught is at best incomplete, my children have me to challenge these point of views, but I don’t prescribe what they should believe.

If naturalistic evolution is so compelling then surely competing ideas could be used as a foil to further enhance the naturalistic worldview?

I don’t think naturalistic evolution has as much explaining power as its proponents like to make out, as a narrative. Its true light is kept under a bushel.

For instance in how many state schools do teachers of Naturalistic evolution get to explain that this is a philosophy as much as a Scientific theory?

Do they explain to the students where personality comes from? Where purpose came from? Where information comes from? How life originated? Where matter, energy and movement come from?

I believe Christianity is rational as God is rational –the very basis upon which Science was founded. I also believe like Dawkins, that Children should be taught to think, my experience is that learning to think is squeezed out of the curriculum –especially in the UK. This means the ruling worldview is the default taught position, I just hope that Children are challenged to think through the implications and the body of  evidence for, against, and that which is missing or expected but  yet found for naturalism.

  1. Significantly homeschoolers outscore their public school counterparts on standard tests including those in the sciences. This stands as a clear refutation to allegations that the quality of their education is less than optimal. The biolgy tests they take are laden with standard evolutionary assumptions.

  2. Mike Godfrey says:

    Hi william,
    Strange somehow the New Scientist neglected to mention the educational standard Homeschoolers achieve.
    It seems that Homeschooling, ID and the interest it has sparked in people to suddenly realise that you can be an interlectually satisfied Christian is being treated by the media in much the same way as WMD was -as a call to arms.ID apparently equates to the death of science and democracy.Yeah Right!
    Thank goodness the Church in some small way is begining to pick its brain up off of the floor.

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