Subject: How to Quickly Increase our Teens’ Science IQ
Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Last week, protestors took to the streets on Earth Day to ‘March for Science’. Why? Martin Stratmann, president of Germany’s Max Planck Society, said “This is a march pro-science and pro-facts, not a march against Trump. Of course, in the U.S., Trump has come to symbolize how little facts and evidence are being valued, and scientific freedom is restricted in part because results are politically inconvenient.” President Trump responded to the protestors: “Rigorous science depends not on ideology, but on a spirit of honest inquiry and robust debate.” He wants open debate, not a restriction of scientific inquiry.
If we want to ‘March for Science’, let’s do it to promote our most urgent need – improving teenager Science IQ. When it comes to our teenagers’ academic prowess in Science, the news is pretty dismal. The ‘Program for International Student Assessment (PISA)’ is a worldwide exam administered every 3 years that measures high school student performance in science, math and reading. In its 2015 results, with nearly 540,000 15-year old students from 72 countries taking the exam, America came in 25th! This problem is not new – it has been going on since PISA began testing. Could it be that it is our science community, not President Trump, that needs to take most of the heat for this? What is going on?
Back in 1997, PhD Professor Richard Lewontin, a self-proclaimed Marxist and one of the world’s leading evolutionary biologists, revealed why science is in such disarray today: “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our ‘a priori’ adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that provide material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, this materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a divine foot in the door.”
Lewontin is referring to the teaching of evolution, which the science community, and our schools, define this way: You and I are descendants of ape-like ancestors, and they in turn came from still more primitive animals. And over time, evolutionary change gives rise to new species. So the reason living things are now so different from each other is that they have been modified by natural selection, or survival of the fittest.
If there is one area where scientific facts are being restricted, it’s in American classrooms in the one area that teens are interested in – life’s origins and diversity. We offer no alternative theory to evolution, claiming it’s a scientifically proven fact. So teens never critically evaluate evolution. The reason? As Lewontin says, if we allowed any of the excellent evidence that contradicts materialism and points to a ‘Divine Cause’, our students might then challenge materialism as the best explanation for life’s origins and diversity.
But things are changing in the science community. In his new book “Darwin’s House of Cards”, veteran journalist Tom Bethell explains that “Faith in evolution – and it is a faith – has declined… large holes have begun to appear in the science. Darwinism is supported by very few facts. Today, it resembles a house of cards, built out of flimsy icons rather than hard evidence, liable to blow away in the slightest breeze.”
In our verse this week, the apostle Paul writes to the growing church in Rome that to avoid conforming with the ideology of the culture, you must ‘renew your mind’. The word for ‘mind’ is ‘intellectual understanding’. Paul is telling folks they must have a renewed way of how they think if they are to understand reality. In his book ‘Basic Christianity, Pastor John Stott explains that one of most noble features God gave people when He created them was their ability to discover what is true through their God-given capacity to think critically: “Right from the beginning, God expects man to understand… and to discriminate – rationally as well as morally – between what he is permitted to do and the one thing he is prohibited from doing… commands to think, to use his mind, are still addressed to him as a human being.”
Why not offer a new course in our high schools called “The Philosophy of Science”, that allows our teens to do as Trump advises – engage in a “spirit of honest inquiry and robust debate.” This would quickly raise not only our teens’ Science IQ but also meet the Apostle Paul’s directive: to renew our minds with the truth, because then we would give our teens unrestricted freedom to follow the evidence wherever it may lead.
“The Evidence of Faith’s Substance”, Article #240