What’s the problem with Young Earth Creationists?

David Attenborough, the darling of the BBC is the latest person I have come across who is demanding that creationism must not be taught in schools.

Apparently he means young earth creationism.

I am not quite sure which schools he has come across where YEC gets so much as a look in among the banalities of the National Curriculum, so where’s the problem? I assume he is terrified that a Free School might be set up in which YEC gets taught. Well, I suppose that’s possible. But frankly when you look at the appalling quality of science in schools, perhaps there is a massively bigger problem dear ol’Dave could be getting in a fuss about.

The thing that I am becoming more interested in is, why are so many people getting into such a state over those who are YEC believers? What are these people doing that is so awful? I have even seen some pretty nasty and pompous comments from Home Educators over YECs and I am at a loss to see why they are so up in arms over such a small and harmless group of people.

But it has occurred to me, that it could be people like me who are the real cause of fear and consternation from those on the Anti-YEC side. You see I have found a lot of science books to be just dreadful. Badly written, full of grossly unscientific assumptions and often just plain outdated. So, I confess I have bought and used a couple of well written, solid science books from Apologia – and they are YEC book producers. So, how can I say they are better written than some other science books I’ve had the misfortune to own? Well, the botany book is really well set out, has plenty of experiments and  studies for the children to do and frankly doesn’t have much YECiness to it. The astronomy book had more YEC science in it, but the author was very clear about her view and put forward just as clearly what mainstream scientists have to say on the matter. She then does something far more respectful of learners than David Attenborough – she leaves us to do further study and make up our own minds.

Obviously the underbelly of the beast is scienstism that newish superstition that tries to insist that only material science can show us anything. It’s a narrow and assumption laden view and because it is anything but scientific – and certainly does not come out of what real science should – the search for truth no matter where that truth might lead.

I wonder if the behaviour of these pseudo-scientists who are more wrapped up in the importance of their own opinions, careers and massive financial rewards is actually causing people to look more towards the YEC scientists? Are more people becoming YECs because of the very obvious corruption and dishonesty within so much “mainstream” and (worse still) “popular” science?

Attenborough himself is guilty of selective evidence delivery himself as Ian Maxwell so easily and expertly fisked. I think there is a much more pressing problem with science in both our schools and the media and that is so much of it isn’t science. It’s politics and opinion – nothing to do with science at all.

Lets get the huge log out of the eye of mainstream science before trying to go after that spec in the yec.

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17 responses to “What’s the problem with Young Earth Creationists?

  1. Pingback: Another reason why YEC is dangerous: People leaving the Church | Unsettled Christianity

  2. I think you need to examine the reasons why YEC books are glossy, bright and full of interesting experiments – their content is lacking with anything legitimate and is the bewildered outpourings of those who don’t understand how science works and think ‘I don’t know, therefore God did it’ is an acceptable conclusion to a line of investigation.

    You probably have a lot of respect for plumbers, electricians, lawyers and engineers. You most likely wouldn’t attempt anything that requires specialist skills unless you actually had them. Why then is science so different? Why do you think that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to judge what is legitimate science and what isn’t? You wouldn’t think the same if your pipes burst, or you found yourself in court. If my car breaks down, I don’t take it to a bricklayer, baker and then a mechanic, and base my decision on an average evaluation of them all. In the same way, leave the content of science education to those with the necessary knowledge base to decide. There is no Young Earth Creationist with relevant scientific credentials; education in relevant fields eliminates the cancer of YEC thinking.

    The problem with YECers is a base problem with how people perceive science. It’s complex, technical and, as its supposed to, changes regulary as evidence and observations are made and collected. Yes, it’s possible for pop science to put it across in a simplistic manner, but pop science is not a true reflection of the hard science behind it. If people start thinking that YECers have a valid position, that ending a line of thinking with ‘Goddidit’ is acceptable, then the foundations of what gives science its legitimacy; the scientific method and the ability of science to give repeatable, consistent results, is eroded. That is dangerous, as it effects nearly everything that our modern culture is built on, from medical research, to weather prediction, to mobile phone technology.

    That you can’t see that, that you think science is something you, as a non-scientist, can pick and choose what is true and what isn’t, is why YEC is so dangerous.

  3. There is rather a lot wrong with YEC science and science books the main one being it is not science! Science really doesn’t allow you the luxury of choosing what to believe and making up your own mind. Science is not the whim of a few scientists pitted against the whims of a few other scientists it is hard graft to search for and understand data and evidence. Science is dictated by what the evidence shows not by what any scientist would like it to show, and currently it shows evolution and an ancient Earth and universe. And despite what YECers tell you to the contrary, there is no alternative way to interpret much of that evidence unless you disengage your brain or pretend that 90% of the evidence we have does not exist. You cannot choose an altenative any more than you could choose an alternative date for the battle of Hastings. But YECers are very skilled at muddying the distinctions between opinion and fact.

    I’m amazed you find real science books dull as they actually contain real science, the fantastically awe inspiring real science that you could believe your God was responsible for. The glossy, attractive YEC books contain only lies, half truths and trite and vacous nonsense. Suggesting God would favour the creationists version of events over what real science is uncovering daily in reality diminishes Him to the level of cheap conjuror.

    People are getting in a state over the activities of YEC activists because they impact on the right of a child to an education. And the job of education is to pass on the cumulative knowledge we have built up over centuries so children can understand the world they live in and make informed decisions. It is not to confuse children with any old unsubstantiated opinions or propaganda. YECers are demanding their pseudoscience be taught as if it were equally valid science. It is not, but children do not yet have the knowledge to see through such deceits. Teaching YEC ‘scientific’ claims would be no different to teaching children that the claims of astrologers are scientifically valid.

    YECers are as free as anyone else to present their research and findings to real and qualified scientists for evaluation. If it passes then it becomes science and will be taught. They choose not to present their work to educated experts however, because even I can see that their claims are both nonsensical and dishonest.

    As for calling real science corrupt! Yes there are corrupt scientists, just as there are corrupt and immoral priest, bankers, doctors, nurses etc, but that is not representative-the majority are not. However I have yet to find a creationist who is not dishonest, corrupt and immoral. As for scientists being financially motivated-are you joking? The skills and training required by science makes them incredibly employable in many very well paid areas such as accountancy and finance. Science on the other hand is relatively poorly paid. The very clever people choosing to find solutions to global warming or to the problem of feeding an expanding population do so for very little reward indeed.

  4. WOW, Perhaps you both need to read what I wrote before commenting. Also, your very aggressive and angry response is EXACTLY what worries me. WHY are you so worried about YEC science? Is it because the aggressive anti-faith scientism that isn’t science is making more people head that way? Then why not attack the problem? Pretending that Scienstism is science isn’t helping. YECers are very few and far between, but the more the “other side” behave badly and the more “scientism” is put across as science when it plainly isn’t, the more people will head the other way.
    I agree that a lot of YEC scince stuff is very very dubious. Apologia books however are accredited simply because the science in them is science and the YEC bits are explained as an opposing view with mainstream science. We have discussed the problems with this.
    As neither of you have an example of bad science in a YEC book – I suspect you have read them either not at all or about as accurately as you read my post, but here’s an example:
    The sun is getting hotter therefore it must not be very old.
    There are obvious holes in this YEC argument and my children were very quick to pick up on them. THAT is good learning.

    Meanwhile the books I used with my older children – “mainstream” for want of a better word had grossly inaccurate opinions and not science data to present. For example the view that mammoths were made extint by hunting, pushing the Malthus overpopulation agenda even for the stone age. This opinion (and that’s all it ever was), has long been sidelined by actual scientific investigation and yet is still touted in books with a scientism and political agenda.
    And the Pop-science is pushed as real science as an attack on people of Faith. They need to remember that empirical evidence is science and ranting against other people isn’t.
    And perhaps you should talk to some good science teachers and hear what they have to say about the dumbed down banality of science books.
    I might add here that one of my children was forced, at school, to write inaccuracies about the basics of human organs just because his science teacher- I don’t know which book she was using – had it wrong!

    And just to clarify, as you didn’t read what I wrote I use good “mainstream” science books and curriculum a lot thanks. in fact I just posted a whole LIST of them!!!

  5. Pingback: The return of the YEC | Thinking Love, No Twaddle

  6. Just because someone disagrees with you does not make their reply “very aggressive and angry”. I felt the need to word my toning in the way I did as you seemed to be giving YEC materials a favourable light.

    To correct the error in your reply (which, incidently, thank you for) – you wrote “a lot of YEC scince stuff is very very dubious”. -ALL- YEC stuff is dubious. YEC is not science, YEC proponents are not scientists and YEC is not an alternative viewpoint that should be given any consideration in science, even as a sidenote to legitimate ideas and concepts.

    If you consider the science books and eduction given to your children to be dull and banal, then perhaps you should source some better ‘mainstream’ (nice use of scare quotes to describe 250 years of collected scientific thought) books. Or perhaps it’s that you yourself find science hard to portray in an exciting manner, a little uninteresting and not full of the explosions, colours and experiments that your rose-tinted view of the past recollects from your own science lessons.

    Finally, you accuse both myself and the other commentor as having not properly read your post, however, at the very start of your rebuttal you ask, very aggressively and angrily, “WHY are you so worried about YEC science?” I answered that in my post, explaining about the erosion of scienctific legitimacy that giving YEC ideas consideration can do. It’s clear that you yourself didn’t read my comment.

    Science works so well, has retained its position as the best and most useful tool mankind has ever created for understanding the universe, because it follows a certain guideline. YEC does not. By entertaining the notions that YEC proponents put across as ‘science’, you undermine the scientific method. You may as well teach that homeopathy works, that astrology predicts the future and that the Earth is flat.

  7. Nathan I DO source mainstream science books. I HAVE told you that already. Science comes in many different disciplines and from many many different areas and even univsersties. To lump it all as one thing is, well, unscientific really. The stuff that I use in our home is from mixed sources and I edit or discuss depending on accuracy. So, for example a science curriculum I am using at the moment from an American Museum (mainstream) is very good but I am editing out the silly stuff about feelings, partly because it’s unhealthy and partly because the way it is written is not at all based on proper science.
    You are being aggressive and I am very interested in this. So many people get so cross about a small tiny proportion of people who believe the YEC view and yet completely ignore the shocking banality and poor standard of science taught in school.
    I am teaching my children not just about science but how to do ir in various forms. They will get all the facts not just the ones politics and the aggressive “Do it my way” people insist on.
    I have even written a number of science workbooks which are availble free on various scientists and what they did and how they did it.
    I STILL don’t get the big deal over YECs. Why not simply put the empirical evidence out there and let it speak for itself? It seems really pompous to assume that most people are too stupid to investigate the truth; and it’s deeply naive to think that “mainstream” science is always science. It very frequently is politics dressed up as science.
    Why not fight to ensure the sciences are not tainted by poor funding, political pushing and appalling ethics? These are real problems in whole areas of science – not least in medical research, which I have more knowledge of.
    BTW the idea that all science research is hard work done by good honest research is just wrong. I have seen and know plenty of research and researchers who did six months on the work and did a poor meta-analysis just to get through to the next thing. It gets put out there as research, when frankly it barely meets basic standards.
    Getting mistakes corrected is very difficult indeed and so science books republish stuff that is plain wrong. Surely this is a real problem with far worse effects that anything a few YEC people could come up with.
    You might also consider that getting hold of YEC science is very difficult. I have tried to research it simply because I wondered how it happened and where it came from, but everything is quite expensive so I’ve essentially shrugged and walked away. I don’t care enough I suppose to be bothered. YECS aren’t causing wholesale damage the way the pop science and politics pretending to be sciene is.
    Fighting an ant when there’s a herd of bufallo destroying everything seems odd to me. Why are you doing that? Do you write to schools complaining about the standards there? Have you written to Universities pointing out the dishonesty on funding? Yet you are here on my blog over something even I don’t follow. Why?

  8. One more thing Nathan, You obviously have the fire in your belly to fight on this. If you aimed it where it was needed think of what you might achieve. If you are really interested in making sure true sciences are taught – fight that. I’d support you to the hilt.

  9. My comment was not aggressive either. You asked why people were getting in such a state and both myself and the other contributor merely pointed out that it was because YEC ‘science’ is not science at all. Not only that but those claiming that YEC ‘science’ is science are amongst the most dishonest and corrupt people I have ever come across, and I really don’t like saying it as it sounds malicious but unfortunately I have found it to be a very sad fact of life. And if you just look at a couple of their websites you will find quite a lot of genuine nastiness about anyone, Christian or atheist, that disagrees with them. In fact you’ll find they have a special and very unchristian dislike of Christians who disagree with them. As for aggression, your tone towards current science and scientists did come across as far more aggressive than either response.

    And yes I did read what you wrote. You wrote that mainstream science books were dreadful and full of grossly unscientific assumptions, though you did not clarify at that time which assumptions you felt were unscientific and you have not stated which mainstream science books you used. I have found them to be fine, often stuff is simplified to teach children in a structured way and assist understanding. For example using simple orbital models of atoms which give an explanation of their behaviour until higher level information is necessary, rather than hitting them with incredibly complicated wave equations before they have the understanding to cope. I’m not sure how you can get round that, but it won’t be by recourse to YEC ‘science’ books.

    I have yet to find a mainstream text where the science has been compromised in any way by politics or opinion. The ones I have seen contain just the science as we currently understand it, admittedly in a simplified form, and where that understanding is tentative, for example the origin of life or composition of the early atmosphere, they clearly state that. Could you please supply specific examples of where the science books have used science to bolster a political agenda so I can understand where you are coming from? Could you also please let me know which mainstream school science depts you know of that are focusing more on politics and opinion than science, as they need to be complained about? If you don’t like the current gcse science, and I would agree that year 10 is less interesting, than you can go through it quickly and spend more time on the more interesting year 11 stuff, or do what teachers have to do, find ways to make it more interesting.

    The briefest glimpse at any YEC book, and I have read a fair few and looked on a lot of their websites just to see what they are saying, would show it to be full of grossly unscientific lies and attempts to mislead people. For example attempting to throw doubts on things like radiometric dating by suggesting scientists are making assumptions about things like the ammounts of the initial isotopes or rate of decay, when in fact those are not random assumptions at all but based on well validated science. I’ve seen adults taken in by that argument. Just because your kids have seen through doesn’t mean that others will be so lucky.

    As for you not being taken in by YEC arguments, you did quote a few of their favourite ones in your final three paragraphs. Much of what you say there about materialistic science, narrow assumptions and opinions could have been lifted from any ID or creationist website. The science we currently have is the best we have available at this moment to study the natural world in which we live. It makes no claims to tell us about anything else because that is currently beyond science. Scientists do search for truth but only within that narrow scientific remit. What else are you expecting of science if not material evidence of our material natural world? And if the evidence does not lead them where they like there is very little they can do about it because unlike many other areas in life, science relies solely on what is actually observed and what it tells us.

    Many devoutly Christian scientists like Ken Miller or Francis Collins who devote a lot of time to opposing YECism and ID would be the first to defend existing science. If a valid and reliable non materialistic way to study the world can be found and presented then science will change to incorporate it, as it has with other advances. However nobody has yet managed to achieve or even begin to conceive of how it could be done, .

    Hopefully I have not come across as aggressive this time and apologise if I have. However may I just say that in your second post you also have come across as aggressive, though I’m sure you also didn’t mean to, I look forward to hearing your response here.

  10. I have just seen your reply to Nathan in which you mention empirical evidence. One of the problems with YEC science is that they make very convincing claims about having empirical evidence yet when pushed do not provide it. They do not present their work for scrutiny by real scientists and when it is dragged into the public domain it is found to be at best, rubbish. In short they make confident and plausible claims for which they have not a single piece of evidence.

    Having a problem with the way science is taugth in school does not make YECism an acceptable alternative.. Whatever you think about mainstream science education YECism is a million times worse-and is not science. And like anyone with a very narrow and specific agenda, I think they are dangerous. Teaching people to understand how science is done, how to interpret evidence and to look at all evidence before making a decision is one thing. Confusing children by introducing fictious doubts about well established science, teaching to distrust all science and teaching them that all scientists have some kind of agenda is sinister propaganda.

  11. Kate, who are the real scientists? How do you know the YEC scientists haven’t put their findings forward. Please let me know because I have looked and can’t find any information on this at all. I probably haven’t looked very hard mind – I am too busy being a mum.
    I really do want to know names of what you consider real scientists and why they are more real than others.
    Who decides? Why do they decide? Who pays?
    To my mind having bad science taught in all the schools in this country (UK) thanks to the National Curriculum, is far worse than a few people with a YEC view. From what I can discover – and it’s hard to find much – YECs think the world is 6ooo odd years old. Apart from that they follow the same scientific norms as anyone else. I have only met a couple of people who claim a YEC view and their children are lovely, well educated and in the family with adult children are all studying at university without a problem, so what’s your concern? Have you met YECs who are dangerous in some way?
    The book I have on botony for example teaches exactly the same stuff as a couple of mainstream books we have on the same subject. It’s good science so when Nathan says all that the YECs teach is false, he’s talking to someone who has read the stuff and can see it isn’t. Why make stuff up? I am of the belief that truth will stand for itself.
    I am also aware how lies work. It is much better to pepper lies with truth to confuse. I’ve seen that done so often, especially in history of science books.
    I am increasingly coming to the view that the fight against YECs is not about YECs at all – it’s about scientism, that superstition that says science is infallible in all it’s ways and we must all bow to the great gnosis even though science is done by fallible men who have careers and grants and power bases to protect. In this “you must believe” all discernment gets thrown out. In fact that’s one of my major concerns about the NC that there is no chance for the children to work through anything and think it through. It’s all to the test. They must believe.
    I have never been at all interested in YEC science until I saw the massive angry and completely out of proportion attacks on it. It doesn’t make sense. I have only ever met a YEC very recently. I must ask them more questions.
    To say YEC is worse than teaching children not to think, discover and experiment as is done in schools, – I can’t agree with at all.
    To teach children that initial research findings are facts is very dangerous to my mind. When further research contradicts it, what then? How will they know what to trust and what not to trust? Isn’t that kind of teaching more likely to lead to bad science in the future – or as is the case now, no science at all most of the time.
    Go and fight the real problem.
    I think you and Nathan and others like you are handing people over to the YECs by attacking them in such a way as to give them kudos, especially as people like me can see all the shambles in science done today. In fact is we are really honest science has always been a shambles in some areas simply because it’s done by fallible people with things they might not want to be proved wrong about.
    So often protocols are not followed;)eg the utter shambles over the XMRV research) mistakes stuck by because someone’ job is more important than the truth. Making the media side with one person when the other scientist has just as valid a point (Hockey Stick analysis for example) Hiding evidence on drugs so as not to cause loss of money to powerful people (I have seen this first hand in not being allowed to complet the yellow form).
    You say YECs are more dangerous than bad science in schools. Explain exactly how. YEC has been around since that vicar whose name I can’t remember added up ages in the OT and said that’s the age of the world must be 6k. So about 100 years of YEC dangerousness. I can’t see what they’ve done that’s dangerous (and as science in history is my personal hobby horse I have read a lot) But you must have some knowledge and empirical data on it. Please share, I am genuinely interested.

    My views about the presentation of scientific data btw hasn’t come from creationist websites as I haven’t found any yet. Well I found one, but couldn’t get info without paying so I didn’t. What sites?
    My post was about why David Attenborough, a journalist with the BBC is so up in arms about YEC schools – which don’t exist in this country yet – while ignoring the NC. It’s weird frankly.
    As for the YEC special on radio carbon dating; it has been admitted now that it isn’t all that accurate at times and that in certain cases protocols have not been followed and mistakes made.I even saw a pop science program with some red faces when the rc dating went very wrong. It happens, that’s life. Unfortunately the YECs were fed meat by scientists who arrogantly and unscientifically insisted on data because they couldn’t bare to be wrong and have careers to protect. I am hoping this far down the line and with newer methods of measuring isotopes as well a C14 that lessons have been learned. But I am not going to accept something unless it’s part of a package of research that all backs it up. The classic ‘media and arrogance’ trumps science fiasco was the dating of the Shroud. Fortunately the science on that can continue and there’s hope for isotope dating at some point. Although even at the most recent conference there was some reluctance to hope for it, thanks to the behaviour of those men.
    It seems to me we should be fighting for honesty and basic common sense such as “follow the protocols” in ALL science. Why is there such a stony silence on that?

  12. If you wish to find out what creation science claims, try the websites of Creation Ministries Interantional or Answers in Genesis as they are the main peddlers of such stuff and free though with lots of stuff to buy. You will find very little in the way of real science being done beyond an attempt to claim that the helium in zircons is evidence that the Earth is 6000 years old, despite the fact they’ve ignored the diffusion of helium through rocks, ignored extraneous helium that isn’t from decay and about a thousand other mistakes and deceits.You will also find that they rarely present any of the creationist claims they make in the scietific arena, because when they do they are tron to shreds within seconds. The helium nonsense was only published in creationist literature.

    If you wish to see the scientific debunking of creationist claims try the TalkOrigins website. Including a fair bit on carbon 14 dating. If you wish to see why they are dangerous check their total denial of climate change (which couldn’t happen because God created the atmosphere 6000 years ago and it cannot change). Check the Truth In Science website which has made attempts to introduce creationism into UK schools via the lets let the yet to be fully educated children decide line. Or check the attempt by the Everyday Champions Church to open a free school where ‘creationism would permeate every lesson and evolution would be taught badly (though they now have desperately changed their story). The relevant articles about that can be found in TES magazine. Just type Gareth Morgan into their search engine. If you want to see Christian real scientists fighting against creationism and ID and proving in court that it is not real science check out the Kitzmiller v Dover trial. Transcripts of which you can easily access via google.

    And my argument is that if you don’t like the way science is taught the answer is not to replace it with something that is not science and is built solely on deceiving people who have yet to gain the skills that would equip them to see through though deceits. If you have issues with real science and the teaching of real science, and I suspect I would agree with you on many points as I am a science teacher, then fight to improve real science and the teaching of real science not to replace it with something that is only not science but anti intellectual, anti learning and anti giving people skills of discrimintation. If something is flawed the answer is to try and improve it, or point it out the flaws to your children honestly (and I can guarentee you will never find an 100% honest claim that does not attempt to facts on a creationist site) not replace it with something that is far worse and basically a dishonest con trick.

    And as for the actual science that you found in creationist textbooks that didn’t qualify as creationism-well that is real science, taken from real science books and done by the same real scientists that are doing the mainstream science you are unhappy with. Try to separate big corporate science, which is not taught anyway, with the well established theories that are and are backed up by reams of data and years of research. And may I add, I am only alive because of the large corporate drug companies and their ‘immoral; clinical trials.

    Having seen the detrimental effects that creationism has had on education, politics and religion (yes it is also destroying the credibility of religion over there) in the US, I think Attenborough and others are right to keep it out of British schools before it has a chance to become an issue. If you disagree that is fine. But I think you may be at the point that I was at before I knew to much about creationism and assumed it wasn’t all bad. It is and I suspect that you will be far too intelligent to remain in favour of it after you’ve seen just a little bit more of it.

    • Thank you for that info Kate I will check it all out.
      I don’t support YEC at all, accept for my tendancy to fight for the small underdog, but I am seeing how it might become more popular because of the attacks. I learned that last yearish when the UK Gov attacked us home edders with such vitriol and dishonesty. The BBC and other media came out in support of the Gov and HE families were rushing around fighting or our rights and putting out fires.
      This year it has emerged that HE has gone up on some areas by over 52%. Now as it happens HE is a very good thing with massively good outcomes. It seems that the bad press actually helped us.
      I worry that the way the attack on YEC is being orchastrated will do just the same thing.
      As it happens I wrote science history workbooks things and I am hoping gradually to show how the science worked. Blessed Nicholas Steno is the father of earth strat and its dating. I know some fellow Catholics think YEC is often based on a bias either against Catholics or Jesuits in particular. I can’t answer that as I haven’t seen it. But perhaps it’s time I did a booklet on Steno.

      I have found using the two YEC books very interesting. The Botony one doesn’t have anything YEC in it (so far) but the Astronomy one had some stuff. At first I just skipped it but then decided to go through it with the children and get them to really think things through. There’s a fascinating part in the book about the age of starlight by the time we see it. She admits it’s age and then kind of skims over it. The kids spotted that immediately.
      There’s an old saying that the devil sends things out in pairs. I think the twins of scientistm (in the NC too often) and YECism are sent as fogs against the truths that science either has discovered over it’s many discaiplines or could discover if people were more interested in the truth and could lay aside personal egos and fear of losing money and kudos.
      I suppose we can never hope for a truly universal scientific approach, human nature being what it is, but if we are ever going to find it then it’s that which must be highlighed. It doesn’t help when Attenborough and others like him are silent about the much bigger problem in the UK of fake science in schools, and then come out so strongly about YEC. Why not start with the bigger problem and try to help people find the middle ground where truth lies? One thing one YEC friend said to me, that sent her that way, was the stronly athiest view being forced on her children in school. That’s not science, it’s just nasty.Dishonesty never leads to anything good (although as a Catholic I know God can make straight with crooked lines lol)
      Thanks for your great arguements.

  13. There is no fake science being taught in any school I have ever been in or my chidren have attended. Our experiences are clearly very different so I’m unclear how to respond as I don’t have access to the specifics. The science I’ve seen presented is just established science presented as honestly as our current knowledge allows, sometimes presented well sometimes not but that is not the issue. Nor have I ever found strong atheist views being forced upon children in either science or RE,, and I work in a non denominational school and have children attending both non denominational and RC schools. I have only ever heard respect for all religious and non religious views that are honestly held and not based on lying about reality-which excludes YECism. That doesn’t mean there aren’t teachers who abuse their position, but that would be just as true of non atheist teachers, and I have heard of YEC science teachers lying to children and attempting ot use science to push a religious view.

    There isn’t a middle ground between YECism and science because YECism is not science and it is definitely not honest. I’m not sure what you mean by where the truth lies. Science only deals with the natural world. If you believe in God than that is the natural world he created, if you don’t it isn’t. But the actual natural world and the science revealing it are exactly the same for both groups. I’m not sure what you mean by scientism. Science is just science, whether done well or badly it can only reveal scientific truths. Anything else is beyond its scope. For both christian and atheist real scientists the universe is 13 billion years old and we evolved, they agree completely on that. YEC can only disagree by misleading people. The catholic church by the way is not YEC and never has been and many of the particular YEC sects are very anti catholic indeed. The catholic church learnt its lesson with Gallileo and I have been impressed with the stance it has taken on science ever since, ie to just accept it as it is presented-religiously neutral..

    I have no gripe against HE for many children it is the absolutely the right thing, but I do worry about the children of YECers as I know their science education will be distorted by the narrow focus of their parents religion. YECism does not aim for the truth and it certainly does not aim to equip children with the knowledge and skills to make informed decision in later life. It only aims to support that narrow focus and to do so it will happily confuse issues. If the science reveals we evolved and the earth is ancient than a lot of YEC material will disguise or downplay that evidence and will make spurious claims about the motives of those finding it. Just as there are good and bad schools and good teachers and those that abuse their positions to push agendas there are good and bad home schooling parents. You seem to be a respected HE that people listen to so I was worried that you seemed to be supporting YEC materials. Not everyone will see through the problems you were able to identifiy in them, because not everyone will have the background skills and for some they simply will not want to. I think YEC attempts to hijack education, and especially HE is an abuse of a childs right to learn about the world and a far more insidious threat than anything in the existing NC.

    • I too have never experienced athiesm thrust onto my children but they went to RC schools until I started HE. The family I told you of had a different experience.(in America)
      The two families I know well who are YECers are lovely good, holy people. The one mother has finished HE and all her children are in Uni. We did try and discuss YEC once but our views on Scripture let alone science are so far apart that we didn’t get very far.
      I think the massive advantage we who HE can give our children in both science and faith is the tools for making their own discoveries and learning to really look, read and investigate. Sadly, my experience in school and then in FE collage, and my children’s school experience and their friends has been that children are fed mistaken views and then can’t think for themselves as science has been presented in a box with “done” on the lid. My favourite moment of exasperation was an anatomy question where it was insisted that the liver is the biggest organ in the body. When my son wrote “skin”, which is the correct answer he was marked wrong. The teacher said he was wrong because everyone else thought it was the liver! LOL.

      I agree with you about the problems some parents face who have no science background and I do agree that this can lead to accepting things that aren’t true. I also worry that this has a detrimental effect on their understanding of their faith. I strongly believe that by presenting the facts, all of them, and allowing people to really look at it works. Not for everyone, because as you rightly point out, some just don’t want to see. We see that in many areas of life.

      I think your response to my post has actually made me pay more attention. I am finding, as you suggested, that there are more people asking YEC type questions, especially from America. That is worrying, although thankfully they are still asking and not deciding.
      I am sorry I wont be able to discuss anything next week – it’s full on HE without a free moment!
      Thank you though. I think it’s been interesting and you’ve certainly made me pay more attention.

  14. I too shall have to leave and stop haranguing you, after this though it has been interesting. I’d be interesting in knowing exactly what ‘atheist’ views had been presented in school to your YEC friend tho, as I’ve found they do have a tendency to see atheism everywhere and what you or I would consider a neutral fact, which says absolutely nothing about religion, like the age of the Earth or the date of any fossil older than 6000 years old, will be interpreted as pushing a atheist line to them. If you check the Kitzmiller Dover trial (wikkipaedia is actually an accurate summary tho the full transcripts are available on line) you find that despite the fact that it was a devout catholic scientist that was called as an expert witness for the plaintiffs, the fact that a biblical scholar was called as a witness for the plaintiffs, the decision that creationism/ID was NOT science was welcomed by the evangelical Christian scientist Francis Collins and the judge was a conservative, Republican churchgoer YECers still claim that it was an atheist, Democrat plot. And Tammy Kitzmiller and Judge Jones did (and still do) receive hate mail from creationists afterwards.

    They also seem to selectively ignore the fact that things like the Attenborough letter and various other campaigns all have had the support of Ekklesia which is a Christian think tank and many signatures from Christans. Of their many opponents, Ekklesia and biologos are both Christian, ncse in the US) and bcse are religiously neutral and have many Christian members and the Clergy Letter Project to reconcils evolution and faith has many churches on board. YEC are very selective with facts indeed. A friend who is a vicar says that on many issues most Christians have far more in common with atheists than they do with the fundamentalist extremes of their own religion-the prime example being creationism.

    Atheism is not pushed in non denominational schoosl either despite what YECer say, non dom does not mean atheist it means religiously neutral. I think sometimes YECs mistake secular, which basically means religiously neutral, with atheism. I’ve found no difference at all in the science presented to my child at an RC school and those in secular one. Nor have I ever found atheist views pushed anywhere.

    I’ve also met nice YECers (which doesn’t include any of those pushing the stuff, you can be nice and still part of an ideology that isnt’) and it was talking to them that made me aware of how dangerous it was. Engage them in science or theology and it you almost get an impression of brainwashing a fear of thinking too much and a definite reluctance to look at facts and evidence..

    I’m interested that you see it as the underdog as i see it as a cult. I think sometime the fact it is sort of Christian makes people think it is somehow more benign or wholesome or valid than other cults like scientology, I don’t anymore tho used to. I suspect you were lucky with the botany book, a lot of their stuff is simply wrong. When they do present correct facts they are not creationist but just general real science that you’d find anywhere. Creationist ‘facts’ on the other hand are NOT facts at all but propaganda, and certainly not science nor true. So no matter how badly taught science is (and you should have complained about the liver/skin incident) or how dull the mainstream books, creationist resources are really not a scientific alternative but a con trick.

    Anyhow it has been interesting talking to you. Good luck with the home ed.

  15. Pingback: Stellar Proof of an Old Universe « Confessions Of A YEC

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