Where is Dr. Mauerbry when we need her?
Thirty-seven years ago, in a freshman college course on physical anthropology, the professor required every student to write a term paper on a topic of his choice. I said I’d like to write on scientific evidences against Darwinian, naturalistic evolution.
“This is a science course, not a religion course,” she replied. “You can’t do that.”
“Who said anything about religion?” I replied. “I want to write about scientific evidences.”
She insisted that all opposition to evolutionism was religious. There were no scientific evidences against it.
“Well, then,” I replied, “I guess I’ll get an ‘F’. But I still want to do it.”
She forbade me.
Thinking she had infringed my academic freedom, I went to the faculty ombudsman to complain. He agreed and advised me to go back to her, point out her infringement, and insist on the right to write on that topic.
I did, and when I pointed out that the faculty ombudsman had said she’d infringed my academic freedom, she angrily replied, “All right, do your [expletive deleted] paper!”
I labored at it all semester, spending every available hour reading scientific journal articles in biology, genetics, paleontology, geology, and related fields. The result? A term paper over 100 pages, filled with evidences against naturalistic evolution, mostly drawn from evolutionists’ papers. It earned an ‘A’.
For all her prior blindness to scientific evidences that challenged her firm belief in Darwinism, Dr. Thais Mauerbry (not her real name) at least insisted that science not masquerade as religion, or vice versa.
We could use people like her in our educational establishment today—people who would recognize the religious nature of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) being pushed on state education departments as part of the new Common Core Curriculum.
The NGSS address religion in two ways, and in both ways they fail Constitutional tests.
First, the NGSS address religion, but not objectively.
Judicial decisions have set forth three ways the state can meet its First Amendment obligations:
- It can exclude religion entirely from public school curriculum.
- It can include it if it treats it objectively and neutrally with respect to students’, parents’, and taxpayers’ Constitutional rights.
- It can objectively consider the strengths and weaknesses of explanations that support various religious viewpoints.
The NGSS, however, address religious questions but fail to do so objectively.
Many people wouldn’t recognize this, because they think of secularism as non-religious. But the Supreme Court in McGowan v Maryland (1961) defined religion as any “activity that profoundly relates the life of man to the world in which he lives”—and that is an explicit goal of the science standards.
The specific religion promoted by the science standards is Secular Humanism. The Humanist Manifestoes define “Religious Humanism” as “an organized set of atheistic beliefs that (1) deny the supernatural, (2) claim that life arises via unguided evolutionary processes rather than as a creation made for a purpose, and (3) claim that life should be guided by naturalistic/materialistic science and reason rather than traditional theistic religious beliefs.”
The NGSS affirm each of these positions—not surprisingly, granted their authors, most of whom are members of the National Academy of Sciences, 93 percent of whom, according to a survey, deny or question the existence of God. (That’s far different from scientists at large, 33 percent of whom believe in God, and another 18 percent of whom believe in a universal spirit or higher power. Perhaps you’ll think twice, then, before you consider the NAS an objective source.)
Key to every aspect of the NGSS is insisting that all scientific questions be addressed and resolved solely in terms of Methodological Naturalism (MN), “the idea that science is not permitted to explain the cause of events within the natural world with anything other than a materialistic explanation through the use of ‘material’ or ‘natural’ causes (that is a cause resulting from the unguided interactions of matter, energy and the forces).”
Such a methodological principle excludes appeal to God or any other intelligence as the explanation for anything found in nature. Yet the standards assert it as if it were religiously neutral, exploiting children’s lack of mental preparation to recognize and question such bias.
As Citizens for Objective Public Education, an organization working to prevent adoption of NGSS, puts it, “The assumption of materialism (MN) is incompatible with science education that must respect the religious rights of children, parents and taxpayers.”
Second, the NGSS effectively rule out God not just in the laboratory but in the external world as well, again violating the standard of religious neutrality.
While Methodological Naturalism might be appropriate for experimental science, the assumption of no intelligent agency as a cause of historical events is unwarranted, and many of the world’s finest scientists, past and present, reject it. Nonetheless, the NGSS present unguided macroevolution as the sole explanation of all past cosmic, geologic, and biological events, never offering students an alternative, thus again foisting an atheistic religious worldview on them.
While they require presenting to students, through the 12 years of science curriculum, many purported evidences for naturalistic macroevolution, the standards—in contravention of the Constitutional requirement of objectivity in handling alternative religious views—fail to mention any of the evidences of purposive design in the universe, such as:
- that the discrete values of the material and energetic forces of the universe appear to be “fine tuned” to permit life—even slight alterations to many of them entailing the impossibility of life;
- the information content of the genetic code;
- the incapacity of natural causes to explain the sequencing of the four bases in DNA, which provides the intangible information content without which life would be impossible—this recognition caused renowned scientist Jacques Monod to describe this as “the ultimate mystery of life”;
- the absence of materialistic explanations for the origin of life;
- the incapacity of materialistic processes to explain “major increases in biocomplexity,” which, as COPE puts it, “require numerous additions to the information content of DNA before selectable function can arise, thereby casting doubt on the plausibility of stochastic [non-deterministic] processes to explain all of those increases”;
… and more.
In short, the NGSS are religion—atheistic religion—disguised as science. Their backers intend to use the public schools as recruitment centers for atheism.
That’s why Christian parents, educators, pastors, and political office holders need to be well informed about the NGSS and join the effort to prevent their adoption by state boards of education.
My lecture Science Standards: Political or Pure? How the Educational Establishment Threatens Americans’ Faith, Freedom, and Well Being—And How YOU Can Fight Back will equip you with the information you need to make the case against the NGSS in your state’s public schools.
For the month of July, as our expression of thanks, we’ll send a free DVD of this electrifying lecture to anyone who makes a donation of any size to the Cornwall Alliance. You can donate at our secure online website, or by phoning our office at 703-569-4653, or by mailing your check to Cornwall Alliance, 9302-C Old Keene Mill Rd., Burke, VA 22015. Whichever way you donate, be sure to ask for the free DVD “Science Standards: Political or Pure?”
E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D., Founder and National Spokesman
The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation seeks to magnify the glory of God in creation, the wisdom of His truth in environmental stewardship, the kindness of His mercy in lifting the needy out of poverty, and the wonders of His grace in the gospel of Jesus Christ. A coalition of theologians, pastors, ministry leaders, scientists, economists, policy experts, and committed laymen, the Cornwall Alliance is an evangelical voice promoting environmental stewardship and economic development built on Biblical principles. The Cornwall Alliance is a non-profit religious, charitable, and educational organization. All gifts are tax deductible