Joined: Dec. 2005
.. Emmanuel College has to a bit careful about 'toeing the line' on teaching the National Curriculum. But I'm sure some of our American friends can see the true intention behind these fine sounding words in its approach to teaching science:
Emmanuel College has been established "to the glory of God" and, from its very
name, seeks to present the Curriculum in its widest sense in terms of a Christian
viewpoint. In many ways, the World View which places as an absolute priority the
rights of the individual to choose between what is and what is not acceptable is so
prevalent in our culture that any attempt to challenge it is seen as reactionary,
sinister or risible. Emmanuel seeks to make this very challenge.
In this context, Science is intrinsically bound up within the culture in which it exists
and approaching the Curriculum from a Christian perspective offers an opportunity to
re-evaluate the implications of contemporary World Views upon scientific study. The
ultimate aim will therefore be to give a positive perspective of God's purposes in
creation and, equally importantly, to make us better scientists.
The humanistic scientific heritage
The "modern" approach to Science, originally put forward by Francis Bacon (1561 -
1626), relies upon the logic that experience generates theory that can be tested by
repeatable experiment, the results of which modify or confirm the original theory
and/or lead to further experimentation. In this light, the best scientists are the ones
who ask the right questions rather than those who generate the right answers.
Nevertheless, human nature being what it is, a 'tentative theory' often soon becomes
elevated into a 'law' around which a faith system emerges and sceptical thought is
inhibited. Boyle wrote a book called 'The Sceptical Chymist' in which he argued that
science was fundamentally about continuing to ask questions rather than simply
accepting the uncritical emergence of such 'laws'.
The 'anti scientific scientists', on the other hand, believe in the capacity of the human
mind to understand the whole of Creation and have created a 'faith system' in tune
more with humanism than with true academic scientific questioning. We seek to
distinguish between this 'scientism' and objective scientific enquiry.
The Biblical Christian perspective
All Christian thought stems from the Truths presented within the Bible and there is a
clear message throughout its pages from the first to the last page. From this source,
we read of several key Truths:
The Universe was created from nothing by God;
The Creator is separate from His Creation but is intrinsically bound up with its
support and ongoing workings;
Humanity is the crowning glory of this Creation and, although made of the same
physical substance, has been uniquely made in God's image and enlivened by His
very breath. Mankind has similarly been given a unique stewardship over the rest of
Humanity knows the difference between good and evil but the Creation is fallen from
its original perfection and
Christ is God the Son who came to earth to lead us back to God and who died to
atone for our sin. Through Him alone can we be redeemed.
Therefore, through the eyes of the Biblical Christian, Science becomes the vehicle
and the vocabulary in which the reality of God's Creation can be explored, explained
and exalted. The study of Science is not an end in itself but an academic meditation;a glimpse into the rational and powerful hand of the Almighty.
Science becomes a
privilege insofar as the full depths of reality are left open for us to glance into, aware
that, whilst we can develop an understanding of many things, the ultimate Truths of
Creation remain something which lie only in the mind of the Creator Himself.
And that is enough; for Science must never be exalted to the position of a god itself.
The implications for an approach to the study of Science
We follow in the footsteps of Newton and Einstein who, in studying Science, were
conscious of the exploration of the Creation and hoped to gain insight into the mind
of the Creator. As such the study was conducted with a sense of awe, wonder, trust
and respect. The placing of humans within the context of Creation means that any
interpretation or understanding will be limited by the extent of our senses and
intellect - a bit like the limitations placed on the approach to absolute zero and the
speed of light. It will also be important for ethical and moral issues to be explored
using Biblical Absolutes as the best starting point.
... very slippery indeed as Hannibal lecter would say - notice that Newton and Einstein are okay - but Darwin doesn't get a mention.
This was an inner-city school handed over to an evangelical used car salesman for a pittance. They immediately kicked out the difficult kids (having a 'special learning need' makes you difficult in their eyes) - and don't treat the one they have left very well.
Hey presto! their results improve and Tony Blair loves them. When questioned about the dubious nature of their teaching, and state money beinused to indoctinate kids Tony Blair says something vague about 'encouraging diversity'.
Handing over school control and power of admissions to individuals like this is the way ID and Creationism will be taught in British Schools with the taxpayers money -
if we allow it to happen that is...