IEE: 2011 Rewind

We present a new edition of Ideological Education Essentials! (Otherwise known as 'Science' Education Essentials)

I warned you that this week of posts from Science Essentials would be boring – even despite the introduction of two new posts a week. Why? Because Dr Forlow is just regurgitating her old stuff. Paradoxically, this is quite a long post.

Admittedly, the first post of the week – 2011 Rewind – has a little more content than just a series of links to old stuff. It includes an as-yet unseen personal story, about her “first school teaching assignment.” After that:

This week, I want to take some time to do a rewind on the 2011 posts on the Science Essentials blog. As you are completing your lesson plans, your mountains of paperwork, and continuing to assess your students, take a moment, catch your breath, and look to Science Essentials blog to be a resource for you.

To get started, today I will share the top 5 viewed posts in 2011 (in no particular order):

  1.  What’s in a Number?
  2.  God’s Power on Display
  3.  What’s So Unique About Humans?
  4.  One Human Race
  5.  The Marriage of Science and Faith

As it happens, there is an order there: chronological. Not only that, but you’ll find that the first four in that list are the first four published. The fact that her top posts are dominated by the very earliest gives support to my hypothesis that her readership is not growing, but actually declining. The outlier here, The Marriage of Science and Faith, could be explained if it was linked to from elseware, causing an unusually high number of people to see the page. As evidence for that I submit a number of new comments that have appeared on that page in recent times, which we will get to soon.

At the end of this post, as always, Forlow asks a question of he readers: What helps you when you feel alone while teaching? Tell me about someone who has made a difference in your life in this regard.

There are six comments on this post, though none of them really answer the question. The first, from ‘P. Steven Ledesma’:

One thing I have found is that science books have had to change with every seemingly new discovery. The Bible hasn’t had to make any changes, so I don’t look for science to “prove the Bible,” but for the Bible to prove (post-modernism) science.

P.S.L.

If scientific accuracy worked in the same way as biblical accuracy, scientific journals would be filled with excuses like “rounding errors!”, “metaphorically speaking”, “and then a miracle happened” etc. And if that was the case we would never get anywhere – but yes, it could be done. I’m not sure what this has to do with the question, however.

The second comment is from a mysterious person called “Chris Shorey”, who merely says: “Of course, uncertainty is unavoidable.” The third comment is: “These videos are well designed and are a blessing to “read”! Thanks for the work you’re accomplishing in this most important endeavor.” The fourth, which comes closest to answering the damn question is from “Marilyn Bowdoin”, writing:

Hi! Sometimes I sat on a stool to teach. Sometimes I pictured an angel on each side of me. Sometimes I had the kids push their tables together to study. Sometimes I gave a worksheet. Sometimes I stood in a different place in the room. Sometimes I opened the door when the weather was good. I loved teaching. What an awesome privilege.

I’m glad she enjoyed it. The last two comments were from “Tracie”: “Thanks for this post. I am homeschooling my three children and appreciate the material and support.” Oh, dear – a real live homeschooler using Forlow’s stuff. Finally, “Jennifer”, who seems to be one and the same as the “Kippy Honda” we’ve seen before, says: “I too really appreciate this post – the entire blog is an incredible blessing.”


Next is the first ever ‘evidence for creation’ post from Forlow – Evidence for God:

While absolute proof of the existence of God cannot be realized by any human being, the great weight of evidence, when rationally evaluated, clearly balances the scales heavily in favor of God. We can demonstrate “beyond a reasonable doubt” that “He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Click here for more information on the evidence for God.

If there was any doubt as to what page she was pimping, three out of those four are to the ICR’s Evidence for God page. I went over all of the pages listed there when rewriting RationalWiki’s Institute for Creation Research page, and I can can tell you that, if we can ‘demonstrate “beyond a reasonable doubt”’ that there is a god of any kind, you’ll not find your evidence at the page linked.

There are two comments here. The first is from “Arthur Hellthaler”:

I wouldn’t use the title “Everything Has A Cause”. This is how an evolutionist would state the law of causality, especially those who believe in an eternally existent universe. There are those who would use this definition and then ask where did God come from. The title would be true for anything happening within our space-time continuum. However, God created this space-time continuum from outside that framework. Everyone would have to agree that the cause would have to come from outside our space-time universe whether they believe that God was the cause or something else. The most appropriate way to state the law of causality would be that every effect has a cause. The question, where did God come from would then be meaningless since we have no idea what physical laws exist or what the state of existence is outside our space-time framwork.
Best Regards,
Art Hellthaler

Well, if you’re willing to allow that cop-out, then surely you can accept that the ’cause’ of the Big Bang was also outside “our space-time continuum”, as that event is what made it? Also, “every effect has a cause” is a tautology.

Second is “Isabella Goodlett”, who says simply:

I thing god did create the universe because there are 5 reasons to prove it.

That’s nice. Moving right along…


The activity page is combined K-12. The meat:

For today’s rewind, I will share the top 3 viewed activity posts in 2011 (in no particular order), separated by elementary activities (K-5) and secondary activities (6-12):

Elementary Activities:

  1. What’s in a Number? Activities
  2. God’s Power on Display Activities
  3. What’s So Unique about Humans? Activities

Secondary Activities:

  1. What’s in a Number? Activities
  2. God’s Power on Display Activities
  3. What’s So Unique About Humans? Activities

Once again, these are in an order – chronological again – and are in fact the very first three posts. More evidence in favour of my hypothesis, I say.

There are no comments here, not even to answer the question: Which specific activity from the ones listed here did your students enjoy completing the most?


The next post is the first Ask Dr Rhonda post:

What K-12 science resources would you recommend that promote science from a literal, 6-day creationist perspective?

This suggests that it’s not a case of Dr Forlow actually being asked these questions, more that this is some sort of FAQ – and if this is anything like the FAQ on the main site the questions will just get weirder. I mean, “Is Earth Really Round“?

This is probably the question I am asked most often at conventions or through correspondence. My short answer is, “Very few!” But, knowing the frustration that answer entices, I would say this:

Christian school teachers and parents seeking science materials based upon a literal, 6-day creationist perspective are hard-pressed to find full-blown, in-depth curricula. Obviously, there are a few longstanding publishers such as Bob Jones and Abeka, to name a few, that do provide good curricula in this thread. However, there are many types of resources besides curricula that you can use to teach from a creationist perspective—resources such as ICR’s teacher supplemental materials called Science Education Essentials, books for young children such as Where Did the World Come From? by Karyn Lukasek, CDs or DVDs featuring Jonathan Park or Dr. Jobe Martin, and science activity lessons such as the Big Book of God’s Amazing Creationby Gospel Light Publishing.

What about Answers in Genesis‘ stuff? Or is she only only allowed to promote the ICR’s ‘resources’?

What I believe is more important is to provide tools and information that help you search for and review materials to find what would be appropriate for your students based upon a biblical worldview. For that reason, my husband, Dr. Brad Forlow, and I came up with Tips for Choosing Science Curriculum. This information is available at the education events ICR attends, and is now made available to you here.

That page linked there is quite interesting, and I think that it can be repurposed to the opposite point of view:

1. Look for the lingo. Understand the key points of evolutionary science and the compromise theories, along with their buzz words, before you start looking at material.

Very important – you need to be able to recognise ideas like “catastrophism” and “irreducibly complex” (or just “complex”). Creationists don’t always give themselves away easily.

2. Review thoroughly. Do the publishers/authors state their view on creation, science, or Genesis? There is no place for neutrality in creation science.

Actually, this isn’t so major. It’s nice when a textbook attacks creationists, but that’s not all that common really. Better is for that POV to be completely ignored.

3. Choose biblical, not Christian. Ensure the curriculum teaches students science from a biblical creation worldview, rather than from any mix of Christianity and evolutionary ideas

Even being Christian isn’t enough, people. I don’t think there is an analogous rule here, but tell me if you can think of one.

4. Keep science in its place. Never put science on such a high pedestal that it overshadows the authority of the Bible.

Quite the contrary. Better would be to ignore the bible completely (except when making Ussher jokes). More importantly, never let a scientist overshadow the work that they did. Science shouldn’t be ‘kept in it’s place’ – egos should.

5. Teach tough issues, but honor the Creator. At some point prior to college, students will need to be prepared with sufficient knowledge about evolutionary science. Teach it accurately, but within the context of biblical truth.

Scratch that – teach it accurately, teach the ‘tough issues’, and make sure you tie in other aspects of biology and science where relevant.

6. Avoid evolutionary ideas:

  • Big Bang Theory
  • Millions and billions of years
  • Darwinian evolution and Natural Selection
  • Animal to hominid to man evolution
  • Genesis creation account is poetic or symbolic
  • Death before sin
  • Local or Tranquil Flood theories

7. Select biblical ideas:

  • Genesis creation account (Six 24-hour days, recent creation)
  • Created Kinds
  • Man made in the image of God
  • Literal Adam and Eve
  • Death was a result of the Fall, and is judgment for sin
  • Global, catastrophic Flood of Noah’s day

And just reverse that, although ignore the last two ‘evolutionary ideas’ as irrelevant.

Enough with the digression. There is a question at the bottom of this post too:

What other K-12 science resources have you found helpful when teaching creation based science?

There are six comments here.

“BJ Hendrickson” says:

Christian Cottage Unit Studies teaches 6 day Creation science as part of their curriculum . There are 4 unit studies each taking about a school year to complete and cover the subjects of history, science, literature, composition, arts, and of course Bible. These unit studies are appropriate for primary, intermediate, and advanced students. Also, Christian Cottage unit studies are quite affordable. Our home school has been using these for several years now and not only have our 5 children benefitted from them, but my husband and I both have learned much teaching them. Betty Jo

Aha. Is this an ad, or what? Next up is “Bryan Crump”:

I teach a 1 trimester class in Creation/Evolution for all 11th/12th graders at Oakland Christian School in Auburn Hills, MI. My predecessor in teaching the course, Shelby MacFarlane, couldn’t find a text she liked, so she wrote her own, which we have continued to use. It is titled, “A Question of Origins: Created or Evolved?” There are a few copies around the internet, and they are on sale (as of this moment) in the Answers in Genesis store. The curriculum CD (worksheets, tests, etc.) is included at the Answers in Genesis site. The curriculum, I think, works best as a semester class, though it can be presented in other ways. Shelby is currently looking for a publisher for a second edition.

Somebody will have to look into that. It’s my age range too…

Then there are two comments from Forlow: “Thanks, Betty Jo.” and “Thanks, Bryan.”

“Corrie” says:

We started using Apologia this year and love it. Just yesterday we read how comets give evidence for the creation instead of dating the universe as billions of years old. I love the focus on God as the magnificent creator of all that we see around us and in us.

Argh, comets. Honestly…

And finally:

Thanks, Corrie!


The last post for the week are the discussion starters:

As we finish up the week of rewinds of the 2011 posts on the Science Essentials blog, I wanted to share my 3 most favorite discussion starters. Each week, I use my own children as the human testers for many of the discussion starters. I thought you might find it interesting which questions they found the most thought-provoking.

  1. What’s in a Number? Dinner Table Starters
  2. The Marriage of Science and Faith Classroom Starters
  3. Snowflake Bentley Classroom Starters

In this case, they’re not claimed to be the ‘most popular’, and so this is why they are not all early ones. They are still in chronological order though…

What are your favorite 2011 Discussion Starters? Do you have a great student response you could share?

There are no comments.


Finally, I said that I would go back to the comments to The Marriage of Science and Faith. I’ve already covered this before, but a bunch of new ones have cropped up lately leading me to suspect a link in from another site, which would also be responsible for the anomalous popularity of the post seen above.

The first new comment is from “antony”:

I agree that many scientists from an earlier age were equally positive about the true Cause of the observable universe and all within nature. However, I would suggest that late 19th Century and contemporary scientists are either agnostic or atheistic. Pity really since, in fact, the very force that would enable them to become ever nearer the face of God is that of Faith. This self-imposed denial stems from what Science decrees has to be the fount of “true objectivity” in their research. I have previously in other places described this null stance thus: Science investigates in this way rather as if they stumble on a retail outlet and begin to analyse the material making a suit; they are able to deduce much from this analysis and even postulate that there might be other suits made of very different materials; their excitement grows because then they consider that there might well be other far off retail outlets……that might contain suits of incredible designs unknown as yet .and they then make the assumption…no. form a conviction that all the suits are from a naturally occuring process. They hold no thought that there might bave been a designer and producer. I hope my analogy is clear. Thanks.

An interesting analogy, but in reality scientists do not reject the existance of God. Instead, in the words of Pierre-Simon Laplace: “Je n’avais pas besoin de cette hypothèse-là.” – “I had no need of that hypothesis.” God is unnecessary, and we think that because we have found no evidence for Him, and nowhere that He is needed.

The next comment is from the same person: “I left a comment on this blog some 20 minutes ago……………..it has vanished!”

Dr Forlow to the rescue! “Good morning, Antony. The comment did not vanish, it just needed approval, as do all comments. Thanks for your patience and for leaving a comment.”

Next, “Eduardo”:

If any thinking person with or without formal education after observing everything in his or her surroundings from animals, to plants, to himself/herself, comes to the honest conclusion that everything was the product of billions of years of evolution and not intelligent design, you have to seriously question his/her IQ. Since there are basically only two theories and some variations of them as to the formation of the universe and life in our planet and both have books that explain them (One being the Bible and the other being Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection”), I think that it takes an enormous amount of faith to believe in the latter simply because nobody has ever watched any macro evolution taking place but we are constant witnesses of the reproduction of everything after its kind just like it says in the Bible.

This is important to note – you should not simply call Joe Creationist stupid – he thinks you are, and we get nowhere. You need evidence to back that up, and there is none here. It is also interesting to note that he exalts Origin to the same level as the Bible, as if it was a religious book, and as if we didn’t now know much more than Darwin could have dreamed.

“zephre” says:

I find it astounding how anyone can make the claim that ‘evolution is scientific fact’ and will point to all these ‘facts’ of evolution – majority of which have been disproven, debunked, proven as fraud, or are highly, highly debatable. If evolution were true I just can’t help but believe we would see genuine evidence of it everywhere. People believe, on faith, postulations and hypotheses that have nothing to do with proven fact because the proven evidence right before their very eyes is not good enough for them. Why is it so important to believe the scientifically impossible in order to do away with a designer? Why are people so fearful of taking responsibility for their own lives and actions. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again I do not have enough faith to believe in evolution. I’ll believe in things that are reasonable, logical, and stand up to the laws of science – not something that claims to be scientific but in reality seeks to defy all the laws of science. My faith is not big enough to encompasse something as preposterous as evolution. And I find it quite repulsive when people try to marry their christianity to evolution claiming that God created through evolution “my own creation can’t possibly be intelligent enough to understand so I’ll tell this nicer fantasy story – they don’t need to know that a salvation plan was really completely irrelevant since death existed millions of years before they even came into existence. I have to give them a fairy story because they’re too stupid to understand anything else.” Really? How insulting is this to a creator God who says I am the same yesterday, today and forever? If a person decideds they want to believe in evolution – fine, be a dimwit and allow nonChristians to do your thinking for you – but don’t come up with this insulting garbage that God created through evolution and gave us a fairy story because His own creation is true stupid to understand anything else.

Some wonderful irony here… Still no facts though.

Finally, from “Tony”:

I believe that without certain assumptions (faith) it is impossible, yes even pointless to attempt scientific research. A scientist works on the basis that there is a natural order in nature which can be verified by experiments. This assumption would not make sense if there were no creator, because order and laws cannot have simply happened. The entire visible world makes no sense, could never be studied intelligently, unless we believe that it is based on order and natural laws, otherwise there would be nothing comprehensible, nothing to understand or find out. So, without faith there can be no science.
What modern ‘science’ does is to exclude the supernatural, but this is neither a necessary nor a rational decision. Obviously we must exclude the miraculous, when we experiment, otherwise our science could not be empirical or reproducible, but this in no way means that we deny God’s existence or even ridicule those who believe in intelligent design. In trying to be ‘objective’ modern science is cutting off the very branch it is sitting on.
It is a terrible offense to say a masterpiece, a work of art and magnificent design such as the Universe simply developed over eons by mere chance! What does such a theory imply? That God is no wiser than coincidence, that he tried endlessly to create something good and finally succeeded, though he failed many times! To tell the divine artist that his creation is merely a fluke is a slap in the face and the height of arrogance and sin. I therefore urge every Christian to firmly reject the evolutionary concept. It is utterly irreconcilable with what the Bible teaches about God and His creation.

This argument falls down with the statement: “This assumption would not make sense if there were no creator, because order and laws cannot have simply happened.” Why? Is it even possible for a universe to exist without laws? If things exist, then shouldn’t the abide by their properties? It is a mystery…

And that’s it. Hopefully this week will actually contain new stuff.

Thoughts?

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