This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://biologos.org/blogs/chris-stump-equipping-educators/new-old-earth-astronomy-text-now-available
Is this textbook for a course on astronomy/science or a course on harmonizing faith with modern science? It seems like it mixes the two. Chapter 18 is excellent science education. Chapter 1 seems like an introductory chapter in a philosophy course. Further, it spends the first five chapters on science vs. faith and then beginning in Chapter 6 gets to astronomy.
In typical high school education, the sequence is biology, chemistry, then physics. Where would this book fit into this sequence? This science sequence is important as it tracks the required math (algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus) necessary to understand the science.
I believe the focus is astronomy, but it’s paired with some content addressing issues outside of the science. I see this as quite helpful since, for Christians, the exploration of science can come with challenges about finding the harmony between science and biblical faith. We can teach great science, but these other issues can become a hindrance if not properly understood. I know of Christian educators of science who bring this kind of content in themselves, but this text includes some of it which can be a huge help. As far as timing, from what I could tell, algebra would be needed for the course.
for some Christians this the case, but I don’t think it is much of an issue for Catholics.
I heard that in Catholic School science classes, a kid with science and faith questions could be referred to a religion teacher. It’s probably best to discuss up front what science is and what kinds of questions it is able to answer.
I don’t know if there is any disharmony between science and faith in Catholic High Schools today in this area (NJ/NY). The Catholic High Schools teach Biology, Chemistry and Physics pretty much according to the State Curriculum which is required to be secular. Students from Catholic High School are among the highest scoring in AP tests in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics and get into the top tier colleges and universities. And there don’t seem to be the controversy between the bible and science especially with regard to evolution and the Big Bang.
One of the ironies and interesting nuances we bumped into with the RE-MAKE of the COSMOS series… is
that the role the Catholic Church used to have in suppressing advances in science … has been taken over
in the MODERN ERA by many of the Evangelical protestant denominations (though not ALL Evangelical
groups have taken a position against the Evolutionary Sciences).
Today’s Roman Catholic leadership are virtually without fear about what Science might claim about
the beginnings of Earth - - because they appear to have accepted some form of Theistic Evolution
Could this “harmonizing” content possibly be elaborated on? If it’s lengthy, I’m sure it detracts from the astronomy content itself. Sometimes this faith-science debate is just a really really passionate insistence that they don’t conflict without any true intellectual discussion. This site could use a more thorough analysis of the history of science (think Herbert Butterfield’s Origins of Modern Science) along with analysis of the culture that wrote scripture (think John Walton’s Lost World of Genesis). We admit it not often enough that we ourselves are in the grip of a science culture that is extremely difficult to extract ourselves from.
As a junior high and high school science teacher (including astronomy) for three decades in both Christian (Catholic) and public schools, I am troubled by this text. I’ve checked out the table of contents and read the first sample chapter.
Science education is incredibly important in our schools – I’m sure we all agree. There is increasing pressure on both students and teachers to achieve greater learning. Many students in our country come into science classes with little understanding and little interest. The time that we educators have with our students is precious and never enough. As a great educator once said, ‘Time is the coin of learning’.
The first five chapters of this textbook, although of importance to many of us including myself, simply don’t belong in a pre-college science classroom. Most students would be bored by this. Perhaps some of the info could be placed in an appendix and referred to as needed. A religion class or a philosophy class would be a more appropriate place for these topics.
I understand that this book is directed toward a special audience. However, I believe it is inappropriate to use the precious time we science teachers have with our students to engage in the conflict between science and faith even if the desired outcome is of value. Let’s use the time in our science classrooms to teach science.
Very well stated.
Very well stated indeed!
I had one kid in public school and one in catholic school. High school Biology was pretty much the same in both schools. They both used the same textbook. Both schools were woefully inadequate in the same way: march in lockstep to Darwinism, don’t question mainstream beliefs, accept the pat answers your teacher gives you, and no mention of the numerous weaknesses and holes in modern evolutionary theory.
Hopefully, there are other schools out there who are more interested in teaching kids to think for themselves!
Teaching kids to think for themselves is one of the strong points of American education. That is why most of the technological innovation has taken place here, rather than in countries where students spend their time in rote memorization. Science never blindly accepts its conclusions as cast in stone, but the theory of evolution has been tested and verified often enough to be accepted by most scientists. “Teaching the controversy” at the high school level would give students the idea that they could flip a coin to decide if 150 years if scientific inquiry or a literal reading of Genesis is the best science.
I haven’t seen statistics, but my impression is that children whose parents let them decide for themselves on religion generally don’t turn out to have strong faith. I have seen a cartoon showing creationism as a castle supported by God, and evolution as an opposing castle supported by the devil. A teacher got in trouble for displaying this in a science classroom, but good luck to her students who need to decide for themselves on the scientific merits of evolution.
High school students have a short enough time to learn the basics of science, and don’t have the knowledge to judge the merits of scientific-sounding creationist counter-arguments to evolution.
Perhaps you can tell me some of the numerous weaknesses and holes in modern evolutionary theory so that I can research them.
Your tone sounds facetious, but if you’re serious there’s much to be studied. You could start with Stephen Meyer perhaps?
Why not start with one or two items?
29 posts were split to a new topic: Yet another conversation about how to define the Intelligent Design perspective
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