DENTON, Texas, May 2, 2012 — As of last month, teachers in Tennessee classrooms are legally protected when they encourage critical thought and even criticism of such hot-button issues as evolution and global warming. Tennessee joined a growing number of states trying to safeguard academic freedom when House Bill 368, which enjoyed strong support in the legislature, became law without Gov. Bill Haslam’s signature.
The new law says, “teachers shall be permitted to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught.” Predictably, evolutionists are up in arms, begging this question: Just what are they afraid of — objectivity?
For too long the Darwinian camp has monopolized impressionable young minds, telling each new generation that evolution is settled scientific fact, when it is anything but. Feelings on the issue run high because we all have a stake in the game. What we believe on human origins is foundational to the worldview we adopt, which has lifelong implications. What we believe about human nature, right and wrong, the earth’s future, and man’s future are directly connected to what we believe about human origins. Did man mindlessly evolve by chance, or was he intelligently created on purpose?
Staunch evolutionists are glad to undermine a theistic worldview at every turn, but quite adamant that nothing be allowed to undermine their own. They berate efforts to grant legitimacy to an opposing viewpoint. To evolution’s true believers, there is no other side worth mentioning. They have much to lose if God were ever allowed a foot in the door. Evidence notwithstanding, they would like nothing better than to rule every science class as a Darwinian dictatorship.
So here’s how the argument goes. They say any view that might suggest an intelligent design in nature implies a Creator, and that any talk of a Creator transforms the discussion from scientific into religious. Evolutionists have defined the issue so that a criticism of evolution in science class is painted as a sneaky promotion of religion and, since we cannot be promoting religion as science, therefore we cannot be criticizing evolution in the classroom. Win-win for them.
In fact, the limitations of science are significant. The scientific method involves observing, theorizing about observed phenomena, experimenting, and refining the theory based on further observation and experimentation. No one alive today saw the beginning of the universe (or the first man). No one today can recreate the scenario or experiment on it. Unique events are outside the scope of science’s methodology, and that includes the matter of origins. Asking science to tell us where we came from is like asking medicine to tell us whether it is wrong to lie, or asking mathematics to explain world history.
The new Warren Christian Apologetics Center in Vienna, West Virginia is named after the late Thomas B. Warren, a first-rate philosopher and theologian who earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from Vanderbilt University, and defended the existence of God in numerous books and public debates with such skeptical luminaries as Antony Flew (who eventually abandoned atheism for theism).
Years ago, in an essay on “Responses to Evolution,” Dr. Warren sounded a warning about the proper role of science: “We must be very careful not to give natural scientists the status of authority in realms where they are not authorities. Scientists — strictly on the basis that they are scientists — are not authorities in the fields of philosophy and religion. And it should be noted that, as a matter of fact, the question of the origin of man is not basically a scientific question; it is rather a question of revelation (Bible teaching) or if one wishes — as some men do — to ignore the teaching of the Scriptures, philosophy.”
In the same essay, Dr. Warren observed, “the question of the origin of man is basically a philosophical question (in that it utilizes the synthesis of information from a number of disciplines within the general realm of the natural sciences — and such synthesis is not, strictly speaking, a function of natural science; rather, it is a function of philosophy) and/or a question of revelation.”
The study of human origins is not proper science and, if we want to stick to what is, then evolution has no place in a science classroom. Evolution’s current dominance there does not make it right. God was in the classroom before Darwin and was booted out. Science was practically anointed a god, and allowed to far overreach any sensible boundaries of the discipline.
Today, we bow before science, not because it has all the answers, but because we have been taught to believe that the latest scientific theory is the best explanation, even if that theory is not supported by the actual scientific method. Evolutionary dogma has become so hallowed that criticism is off-limits, bringing harsh repercussions unless there is a law protecting the poor science teacher who dares admit a piece of evidence at odds with the dogma.
Can anyone imagine a new law being needed to protect a teacher who criticizes America’s Founders in a public school? Can anyone fathom a new law being necessary before a teacher says anything critical about the Bible, Christianity or capitalism? Academia has made a profession of undermining God and the Constitution under the guise of academic freedom. Just don’t bring academic freedom into a science class.
Objections to Tennessee’s new law (and similar laws in other states) are less a reflection of evolution having been proven (it hasn’t) than of the irrational intolerance that characterizes many in evolution’s camp. The wonder is not that evolution should be criticized in the classroom, but rather that it requires a law to make criticism possible. “For every house is builded by some one; but he that built all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4).
Weylan Deaver earned a B.A. degree (Bible/Philosophy) from Freed-Hardeman University, and an M.B.S. degree from the Bear Valley Bible Institute. He serves on the distance learning faculty of Tennessee Bible College and is a minister for the church of Christ. He and his wife have four homeschooled children. Find him on Twitter @wdeaver.
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