Rewording origins/science sentences

Hi! I’m new to this forum but the things I have read and studied lately have really resonated with me (Language of God, Coming to Peace with Science) and I appreciate the work of BioLogos and having this space to discuss and learn more. I’m still learning and would love some input/feedback on how to reword some things that are part of my kids’ curriculum (elementary aged). We’re part of a national Christian homeschool co-op in which the children learn weekly memory phrases for history, science, math, English, etc. Coming up in a few weeks are phrases related to origins that aren’t sitting right with me. They seem to present a skewed perspective of evolution and to create a false dichotomy between intelligent design/evolution.
The phrases are in Q/A format and are as follows:
Q: What does the theory of evolution rely on?
A: The theory of evolution relies on the belief that life began as a chance combination of non-living things.
Q: What does the theory of intelligent design rely on?
A: The theory of intelligent design relies on the belief that life began as a result of intention and purpose.
I’d appreciate any thoughts as far as how to reword these to make them more accurate and a better representation of the EC perspective. At this point, this is just for my own family’s benefit and for how I present the info to my kids. Thank you!

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Hello! Welcome to the forum. I’m glad you’re learning and finding places that welcome discussions about faith and science.

I sympathize about needing to find a different way to word things for kids… so many homeschool curricula simply assume a young-earth viewpoint.

The intelligent design one seems okay, although maybe “idea” would be a better word than “theory.” But the evolution one is kind of a mess. Evolution has to do with how life changes over time – it has nothing to do with how life began – that would be abiogenesis. But it’s pretty common for YEC materials to conflate the two things. So I don’t think it’s accurate to say that evolution “relies” on any particular method of life forming.

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I will leave the specific EC views to others, but I can offer a general scientific answer which is compatible with EC.

The theory of evolution has nothing to say about where the first life came from. The theory of evolution is a model for how life changed over time once life did appear. If God created the first simple replicators and all life evolved from that point we wouldn’t have to change anything about the theory of evolution.

More generally, no theory in science (including evolution) relies on belief. All theories rely on observations and scientific testing.

You may also want to check out this BioLogos essay that deals with abiogenesis:

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Welcome to our little corner of the internet!

Here would be my suggestions:

Q: What does the theory of evolution rely on?

The theory of evolution relies on observations and collected evidence from biology, geology, and genetics. The evolutionary model makes testable predictions that can be confirmed or disproven with new evidence and discoveries.

(These observations involve the similarities between species in their anatomy, in their DNA, and in the way embryos develop. Other evidence comes from the way fossils are arranged in layers of rocks, where different species are found on earth, predicable patterns of traits found in related species, and observed evolution today.)

Here’s a good video to go through too for your own information.

Q: What does the theory of intelligent design rely on?

The theory of intelligent design relies on the idea that God’s creative activity in nature can be scientifically demonstrated. Many scientists dispute this because the tools of science can only describe the natural world and cannot prove supernatural causes.

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Good points and a very interesting article-- thank you!!

Thank you! That is tremendously helpful to see how you would rephrase those in a more accurate way. Also, Stated Clearly looks like a great resource for a lot of things!

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Yes, it has been very helpful to me in filling in some gaps in my own education.

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