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Monday, September 15, 2014

The Midwest Homeschool Convention

Posted by jlwile on April 4, 2011

Last weekend I spoke six times at the Midwest Homeschool Convention. It was an incredible conference. It definitely had the highest attendance of any conference at which I have spoken in the past couple of years. While there were a lot of people who were upset over the fact that Ken Ham had been disinvited from the conference, that didn’t seem to affect the attendance in any significant way. There were a few people who were wearing white buttons that said “I stand with Ken Ham,” but that was really the only visible effect of the controversy. For those who were upset at Mr. Ham’s disinvitation, I thought the buttons were an appropriate way to demonstrate their displeasure. They did not demean anyone else, and they did not disrupt the convention, but they showed displeasure. My hat goes off to whoever came up with that idea!

As is typical, I spoke on two broad subjects – homeschooling and Christian apologetics. One of my homeschooling talks was on how to homeschool at the high school level, and another was on the data that show how homeschooled students compare to non-homeschooled students academically and socially. I also gave one of my favorite talks there – “Be Open Minded, but Don’t Let Your Brain Fall Out.” It stresses the need for people to investigate multiple positions and learn to think critically while doing that. My Christian apologetics talks focused on fulfilled prophecy, design in nature, and the historical reliability of the Bible.

Not surprisingly, I was asked a number of excellent questions during my talks, and I want to focus on two of them. One deals with the studies that have been done on homeschooled students, and the other deals with probability arguments in the creation/evolution debate.

In my talk about how homeschooled students compare academically and socially to their publicly- and privately-schooled peers, I show how homeschooled students truly excel academically. In general, the average homeschooled student is academically superior to the average privately-schooled student, who is (in turn) academically superior to the average publicly-schooled student. In addition, studies at the university level show that homeschool graduates are academically superior to their non-homeschooled peers. A questioner asked whether such comparisons are valid, given the fact that homeschooling parents are significantly more involved in their children’s education than are parents who send their kids to school. Given that, do these studies really show that homeschooling is superior, or do they show that the parents’ commitment to education is superior?

That is an excellent question, and it is one that any educational researcher must address when looking at such studies. Some of the studies don’t do a good job of addressing this question, but others do. For example, one of the studies I cite compares homeschooled students to publicly-schooled students based on the parents’ education level. Even for the students whose parents are not highly-educated, the homeschoolered students are still significantly superior from an academic standpoint. Since the education of the parent is correlated with the parent’s commitment to their children’s education, it seems to me that comparing students whose parents have similar levels of education also compares students whose parents have similar levels of commitment to education.

In addition, another study I cite compares homeschooled students who have always been homeschooled to those who were homeschooled for a while but then went back to school. Even in that comparison, after fifth grade, the always-homeschooled students are academically superior to the partly-homeschooled students. To me, this is another way of comparing children of parents with similar commitments to education. After all, they all started as homeschooling parents. Thus, they are at least similar in their commitment to education. Nevertheless, if their students stayed in homeschool, the students made more academic gains than those who were put back in school. Studies like these indicate to me that the academic superiority of homeschooled students is at least partly the result of the homeschool model itself.

The other question I want to review is on probability. In one of my design talks, I discuss how incredibly improbable it is to form even simple functional proteins by random chemical reactions. Given that a lot of complicated proteins are necessary for life, it is very hard to understand how such ridiculously improbable proteins could have all formed by any naturalistic process so as to produce life. A questioner pointed out that ridiculously improbable things happen all the time. For example, if you calculated the probability that exactly the people who attended my talk would show up to any given talk, the odds would be astronomically low. Nevertheless, here they all were. Doesn’t this show that low probabilities aren’t a good argument against evolution?

The answer, of course, is “no.” The problem with this line of thinking is that it ignores functionality. My talk would go on regardless of who showed up. Since any audience would result in a talk being given, the probability of a talk being given is 100%. However, if a protein is not functional, the life process it governs can’t occur. Thus, the probability of life processes occurring is dependent totally on how many possible proteins could be made and what percentage of those would actually be functional. Considering all the possible proteins that can be made from the 20 amino acids found in life, the percentage of ones that are actually functional and can promote life is absurdly small. Thus, the probability of life forming naturalistically is also absurdly low.

Comments

36 Responses to “The Midwest Homeschool Convention”
  1. Sherri says:

    Glad you had a great time at the conference! I’d love to sit in on one of your talks again. Maybe we’ll be at one of the same conferences this summer. I appreciate your continued support of homeschoolers!! You are a blessing to many!

  2. Tina Hollenbeck says:

    That’s a very good explanation of the improbability of a naturalistic start to life – thanks for sharing it.

    In regards to the attendance convention, what will truly the be the test, I think, is attendance at this same convention next year (if Ham/AiG remain “disinvited”). The controversy broke just a couple weeks before the convention, and GHC would not refund registration fees for attendees or for vendors; thus, many probably felt they should attend or risk being poor stewards of money already spent.

    My opinion is that, if the situation remains as it is now (i.e., if it’s not mediated, and if Ham/AiG don’t return), attendance will be much lower at all GHC conventions next year. Of course, that would mean much lower sales for vendors and so I would guess their attendance will plummet in two years (when they realize it’s not a good investment of their time and resources). We, of course, might have had an earlier indication of the true fallout from this situation at the PA convention that was scheduled for June, but now that that has been cancelled, we’ll have to wait until next year to really gauge people’s feelings.

    This is just supposition, of course, but it certainly wouldn’t be wise for GHC to assume they’ve dodged the bullet(s).

  3. Josiah says:

    Do you have any idea of the actual probabilities involved? Both for the original absiogenesis occurring, and for of life evolving?
    I suppose that one could argue that life evolving as it has is more like your audience coming together with the people it did, and the chance of life just evolving is generally much higher.
    I have read somewhere that it was worse than the square of the typically scientifically considered “impossible” probability, but I have no idea how they got to that figure.

    I am as always impressed and skeptical, of these research papers on HS as it is so hard to take out confounding factors. One thing that would be interesting to see is how a parent-educated student compares to a tutor-educated student. Due to my background I know for example that some people consider it their ministry to go onto a mission field and educate the senior missionary’s children, releasing the parents to work full time for God’s kingdom. I don’t know whether that happens at all in more “standard” environments, but it would make for an interesting analysis of how important a parent’s input is.

  4. Keith J. says:

    “The probability of life forming naturalistically is also absurdly low” How about the probability of life evolving supernaturally? Seems to me in your view that could be pretty high. Sort of like say, Michael Behe thinks.

    What think you of Susan Wise’s assessment of home-schooled individuals: http://www.welltrainedmind.com/preparing-for-college/what-not-to-look-for-in-an-academic-department/

    Especially poignant is the part that reads:

    “I myself have had a very frustrating time teaching students who come into William & Mary primed to resist the lies of “liberal faculty.” (That includes a lot of home educated students, who register for for my classes because they think I’m safe.) Every time I say something that strikes them as possibly “liberal,” all of their defenses go up and they tune me out. I can’t play devil’s advocate or dialogue with them–they immediately put me on the list of untrustworthy professors and stop listening.

    And at that point they become unteachable.

    I’m often asked how home educated students stack up against others in my classes. My overwhelming impression is that they’re more fragile. They’ve got little resilience; I can’t push at their presuppositions even a little bit. Maybe they’re afraid those presuppositions will shatter.”

    While I do think I was academically readied (especially in mathematics and logical areas… which ironically helped later to discern that what I had been taught about Earth’s age and evolution were incorrect) wonderfully as a home-schooled individual, there were certain areas, like those Dr. Wise mentions, that could have been better. Of course it can always be “better”, right? :o)

  5. Keith J. says:

    Don’t know how I made that smile face thing at the end there! Haha!

  6. Kathy says:

    Curious…what was your perspective and major topics under historical reliability of the Bible?

  7. jlwile says:

    Thanks Sherri. I saw your son. We had a nice visit.

  8. jlwile says:

    Tina, I don’t think “dodged the bullet” is the right characterization. GHC needs to follow its mission, which is to minister to all Christian homeschoolers, not just those someone considers “theologically pure.” The question is how many Christian homeschoolers are best served by such a mission? I expect it is a very large number, but as you say, that remains to be seen.

  9. jlwile says:

    Josiah, such probabilities are hard to pin down, but there have been some very good protein studies that indicate it is very low. For example, Axe examined the possible protein sequences that could form functional enzyme folds, and the number he came up with was somewhere between 1 in 10^64 and 1 in 10^77. These are absurdly small probabilities that could not be realized via random processes. I am not claiming that Axe’s numbers are the last word by any means. However, I think his paper lays out a pretty strong case.

    Your idea of comparing parent-educated students and tutor-educated students is an excellent one. Clearly, some of the benefits of homeschooling come from personalized attention and tailored curriculum, which would occur in a tutor situation as well. Thus, such a study would really help tease out what is special about parent-directed education.

  10. jlwile says:

    Keith J., I think the idea is that if the probability of anything is absurdly low, other possibilities need to be investigated. Even if you don’t like the other possibilities, they have to be investigated unless you can show that your idea is reasonably probable. For example, suppose you are sentenced to a firing squad. Twelve rifleman stand in front of you, aim their guns, and fire. However, you are still alive. One possibility is that all the riflemen missed, but it seems absurdly low. Most likely, another explanation is more reasonable. If nothing else, those other explanations must be investigated.

    I agree with most of what Dr. Bauer says in that post. Indeed, one of her very important points is that this closed-minded view demonstrates a misunderstanding of what higher education is all about. Higher education is about exploring new ideas, even those with which you don’t agree. I would further say that the Bible commands us to investigate other issues, even those with which we disagree (1 Thessalonians 5:19-21). I also strongly agree with her last point, that the student’s peer group is significantly more important than the university’s faculty!

  11. jlwile says:

    Kathy, I spent time evaluating the Bible as a historian would evaluate any document that claims to be a history. There are three basic tests used to evaluate the historical accuracy of a document:

    1. The internal test – Does the document contradict itself?
    2. The external test – Does the document contradict other known facts of history, especially those from archaeology.
    3. The bibliographic test – Was the document accurately transmitted so that what we have now is what was actually written?

    The Bible passes #1 as well as any other document of its time, and it passes #2 and #3 better than any other document of its time.

  12. It would be worth checking out Rothman, Stanley; Lichter, S. Robert; and Nevitte, Neil (2005) “Politics and Professional Advancement Among College Faculty“, The Forum 3(1) Article 2.
    DOI: 10.2202/1540-8884.1067

    This article first examines the ideological composition of American university faculty and then tests whether ideological homogeneity has become self-reinforcing. A randomly based national survey of 1643 faculty members from 183 four-year colleges and universities finds that liberals and Democrats outnumber conservatives and Republicans by large margins, and the differences are not limited to elite universities or to the social sciences and humanities. A multivariate analysis finds that, even after taking into account the effects of professional accomplishment, along with many other individual characteristics, conservatives and Republicans teach at lower quality schools than do liberals and Democrats. This suggests that complaints of ideologically-based discrimination in academic advancement deserve serious consideration and further study. The analysis finds similar effects based on gender and religiosity, i.e., women and practicing Christians teach at lower quality schools than their professional accomplishments would predict.

    It’s small wonder that security needs to be organized for visiting conservative speakers like David Horowitz and Ann Coulter, but never for radical liberals (many of whom are invited by the university itself), because conservatives don’t generally try to shout down the opposition. The existence of “speech codes” and a number of court-cases about viewpoint discrimination suggest that the homeschooling parents’ concern about liberal indoctrination is not so far-fetched. Remember Ruth Malhotra and Orit Sklar v Georgia Tech?

    A sufficient number of “isolated incidents” add up to a pattern ….

  13. jlwile says:

    Dr. Sarfati, I don’t think anyone is suggesting that the average university campus contains an equal representation of views. However, what I suggest is that you do not fight indoctrination with your own indoctrination. The way you fight indoctrination is to teach critical thinking skills, which requires students to honestly look at opposing views. If a student learns how to do that well, then the indoctrinators have no chance.

  14. Oh, definitely.

    Part of critical thinking skills means working out the world view that the lecturer is coming from. I think that the best book for that is The Vision of the Anointed by Dr Thomas Sowell, a former university economics professor himself.

    The Anointed vision, held by the Left, thus most university faculty, sees man as basically perfectible, providing that the Right People were to run society tightly, and remake people in their image. Such people talk loftily about goals and intentions, and tend to ignore the results as long as the intentions are good (forgetting what a certain road is paved with).

    Sowell contrasts this with the ‘Tragic vision’, which is basically conservative libertarianism, which recognizes that the world is not perfectible, and that man is flawed. That is, greed, selfishness and limited knowledge are the lot of all humans. Thus no one can be trusted with too much power. Sowell doesn’t mention the biblical Fall, but his book still explains what we would expect if this is true.

    Sowell always advises asking, “compared to what?” OK, sometimes the homeschoolers might go overboard in seeing liberal bias where there is none. But compare this to the average state-schooled kid from a Christian home when he reaches university, who readily swallows the indoctrination of the leftist professor, who might even brag, “And then they are all mine.”

    Finally, Sowell points out that “diversity” in a uni faculty means it comprises white leftists, black leftists, Asian leftists, female leftists, and maybe gay leftists, i.e. no intellectual diversity. If a uni faculty ever brags about its diversity, Sowell advises asking, “How many Republicans does it contain?”

  15. Tina Hollenbeck

    It is not as if Ken Ham and AiG are the only representatives of the young-earth position. I presented the biblical and scientific evidence for a young earth, and I am after all the author of Refuting Compromise, of which Ken Ham said:

    Well, I believe, personally, that your book, Refuting Compromise, is a classic on the same scale as The Genesis Flood. … I personally believe it’ll go down in history as a turning point in the creationist ministry worldwide. I see it as that important. I see it as that definitive. … I really see it as a modern creationist classic. And I really believe that every single person needs a copy of this book to show the positive aspects, that we can defend, logically, the book of Genesis, and that God’s word is authoritative right from the very beginning, and we can confront compromise, like Progressive Creationism … (AnswersLIVE, Refuting Compromise, live broadcast 27 April 2004)

    So by my speaking there, there was actually an opportunity to pick up a book that Ken Ham recommended, and in a brand new edition hot off the press.

  16. jlwile says:

    Thanks for your additional comments, Dr. Sarfati. I strongly agree with your statement that Ken Ham and AiG are not the only representatives of the young-earth view. I have been saying that all along. I appreciated your willingness to come in and take Mr. Ham’s place in an awkward situation, since the position needs to be represented at any Christian homeschool convention.

  17. Joy Sherfey says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for teaching at the Cincy convention this past weekend. My 14yo daughter attended a few of your sessions–this was the first time she had heard you teach. She enjoyed your teaching and was especially impressed with your session on open-mindedness.

  18. jlwile says:

    Thank you so much, Joy! I am glad that I could minister to you and your daughter!

  19. Holly says:

    Dr. Wile,

    I have sat here and wondered how to say what I’m going to say…kindly. I will do my best to be honest and sincere, without disparaging others. :)

    The reason I appreciate you and your blog is that you are kind, and respectful. You offer your views with humility. You are not arrogant. You do not seem to want to manipulate students to your viewpoint by means of fear. You are able to see that it is fully possible for people to disagree, but still LIKE each other, and still get along. Thank you for that. So many teachers and leaders within the homeschooling community do not have that humility – even some very educated men who comment here on your site do not know how to write with humility.

    I wonder when arrogance and dogmatism became a hallmark of a homeschooler? It wasn’t so apparent when I began homeschooling my 9 children 14 years ago.

    Regarding teaching our young people critical thinking and the examination of viewpoints other than our own – I think this is such an important concept to put into practice. Yes, it is scary to be a parent and even open up the door to different viewpoints. There have been times I have thought, “Oh, why have I done this? Will I cause my kids to go astray?” Four of my children are teenagers – so I am right in the middle of this.

    But I don’t believe that my children will stay at home forever. I expect most of them, boys and girls, will want to go to college. (One is already a freshman, one will take dual credit courses this fall…) They are bright, well-educated young people – they are excited to learn more and study more about how our world works. It would be naive for me to think that they will never encounter differing viewpoints. I’d rather that they begin to learn now, to lay things out, to examine them, while they are in the teen years at home. This way, they can turn things over in their minds, think things thru critically, talk to their Dad and me about them, not be afraid of learning, to learn that they “can” handle the examination of other viewpoints and still retain their core beliefs. I don’t want my children to learn to “refute” other people, I don’t want them to be the angry homeschooler in the class – I want them to be joyfully secure and confident, not afraid. I don’t want them to be fragile. I don’t want them to be brainwashed (by me) – I want them to be critical thinkers, to learn to think for themselves. That is how they will become fully mature, ready to enter society, want them to partake fully as representatives of Jesus Christ in whatever sphere God places them in…and that’s why I think it is worth doing the hard work now with them. It’s not easy, it’s not painless. It takes a LOT of time talking with them, listening, explaining (when I’d rather be doing my own thing.) But I think that if I want their faith to be their own, this is the way it must be done. And so far, the oldest ones have strong, vital relationships with the Lord, and, they know how to handle other viewpoints. We are not afraid to send them out.

    Sorry for the long windedness – in a way, it was good for me to articulate my viewpoints. :) I hope that it encourages some other parents.

  20. Holly says:

    Sorry for the grammatical error – I do wish I could edit comments. :)

  21. jlwile says:

    Holly, not only did you articulate your views in a very kind way, you encouraged me. Thank you!

  22. Mona says:

    Dr. Wile,
    In your talk at the Cincinnati convention, you gave a quote by St. Thomas Aquinas “A faith not tested by doubt is no faith at all”. I appreciated you pointing out that we should be very careful to check references. Since we’ve been studying a bit about Aquinas, we decided to look it up to see what context it was said in. His works are widely published, but we can’t find anything like that being said by him. Can you provide the source for the quote?

  23. jlwile says:

    Mona, thanks so much for pointing that out. You are correct. I cannot find that in anything from Aquinas. Indeed, I cannot find that exact quote anywhere. I wrote it in my notes from a college course I took called, “Augustine, Aquinas, and Anselm.” My notes attribute it to Aquinas, but perhaps I was quoting the professor. I am very glad you pointed that out, since I hate to pass on misinformation!

    That quote is not a part of my presentation. I must have been answering a question when I gave it.

  24. Kathy says:

    Thanks for the history info. I also think that the Bible should be taught as a historical, as well as religious, document. I thought you might somehow have a physical science slant to the topic!

    Regarding the fragile homeschool students topic…My college senior son appreciates a good discussion with someone who can defend his views, even if those views are different from his. He is a truth seeker. However, he has encountered many liberal-minded students, who don’t know why they support what they support and who get defensive and mad when he points out problems with their views. Maybe, when a liberal perspective is presented in class, the homeschool student seems fragile, but the liberal student is fine, because his views aren’t being challenged.

  25. jlwile says:

    Kathy, I don’t think the characterization is that of a “fragile” homeschool student. It is one of a closed-minded homeschool student. Of course, that can be true of any student, so I am not implying that homeschooled students are any more closed-minded than other students. The point is that regardless of how you are educated, you should be taught to be open to examining ideas that are different from your own.

  26. Pam says:

    jlwile says: “The point is that regardless of how you are educated, you should be taught to be open to examining ideas that are different from your own.”

    I went to a public school and Christian University that taught evolution as the only correct theory and I accepted it as true. In recent years because of Creation Scientists I have been challenged and have changed those views to Creationism.

    I find it funny that when one Christian dares to challenge a Liberal Theologian or Evolutionary Scientist,then they, the one person who stands against the publicly financed schools and government universities monopolies are narrow and fragile.

    I say it is quite the opposite.

    The PBS station we watch, the museums we visit, the DVDs in the public libraries, the dinosaur books in public libraries, the dinosaur books in the public book stores only support Evolution and yet we are closed minded and will not listen an opposing view when we have supported these things through taxes and museum fees.

    My question to you Dr Wile, when is an opposing view ever offered other than a Homeschool Convention?

  27. jlwile says:

    Pam, the opposing view is presented in a lot of places other than homeschool conventions. I have spoken at several creation science conventions, many of which have been well attended. I debated an evolutionist at Murray State University, another evolutionist at Ball State University, and a journalist at a public event. I have presented young-earth creationist lectures at Monroe Community College (Rochester, NY), the University of the West Indies (Barbados), Indiana University (Bloomington, IN), and IUPUFW (Fort Wayne, IN).

    I understand your frustration with the large amount of publicity for the evolutionary view, but I don’t think this indicates some massive suppression. I think it is simply a reflection of the fact that the majority of scientists believe in evolution, so when science-related matters are discussed, it is the most likely view to be encountered. Even if there was some conscious suppression of the creationist view, that doesn’t give us the right to suppress opposing views. Indeed, since I believe young-earth creationists are on the right side of the issue, I have no problem with the evolutionist view being given – because there is really little to fear from it.

  28. Pam says:

    Dr Wile said, Indeed, since I believe young-earth creationists are on the right side of the issue, I have no problem with the evolutionist view being given – because there is really little to fear from it.

    I agree with this statement. It is not fear but frustration that I feel. I have not had the opportunity to listen to young earth lectures at public or private College, Universities or Churches that I have known about or attended. I would be thrilled to get a chance.

  29. Sara EB says:

    Dr.Wile,

    First, I want you to know how blessed we are by your high school science curriculum. My husband is a family practice physician, so has been through countless science classes in his own education, and has so appreciated and respected your curriculum as coming from an entirely different perspective. He has been so very thankful to have it for teaching our children.

    The main purpose for this post is that I would like to address the comments made by Dr. Susan Wise Bauer with which you said, Dr. Wile, that you mostly agreed.

    I have been homeschooling our 6 children for 14 years now, so I have been around many homeschooling young people. However, I was raised in a family of public school educators: my mom and grandmother teachers, my father a school district superintendent and my sister is currently a public school teacher. I myself was educated in public schools and have a masters degree.

    I need to say that I have never run into such critically-thinking, culture-challenging people as homeschooled high schoolers and college students who were once homeschooled. In fact, despite my degrees, I have never been so challenged to think through my own presuppositions and beliefs as I have by these students, including my own, who regularly challenge me with well thought-out logic, strong speech and debate skills, and a determination not to go along with the cultural status quo. In addition, my family members, who at first were very concerned about my family’s decision to homeschool, seem often quite astounded at the knowledge base and thinking abilities of my children and other homeschoolers.

    Could it be that the students in Dr. Wise Bauer’s classes who are not homeschooled just go along with what she is teaching, while those who are homeschooled challenge her beliefs? And then she interprets that as close-minded and fragile? I’m aware that there certainly are students who may, for the first time in a first-hand sort of way, become anxious when being presented with perspectives and lines of thinking with which they disagree. However, could it be that they then challenge her thinking and then she becomes aware of their disagreement? Doesn’t it say something that they are willing to speak up? Could it be that her perspective that they “stop listening” is just how she has interpreted the fact that they are disagreeing with her?

    I obviously am just theorizing, and certainly we all have varying experiences and different interpretations of them. However, I was astounded not only to see homeschoolers painted in such a light, but also to see that you agreed with Dr. Wise Bauer’s comments, when my experience has been quite the opposite.

  30. jlwile says:

    Sara, thank you for your thoughtful comment. I see what you are saying, but I do think you are missing Dr. Bauer’s point. First, she is not talking about all homeschooled students. She is talking about those who have been primed to resist the liberal faculty. In other words, she is talking about the ones who are not open to hearing other views. Unfortunately, I have experienced many such homeschooled students myself over the years. Indeed, some of them have commented on my “An Opportunity for Critical Thinking” blog post! There are some homeschooled students who have been indoctrinated and specifically not taught to think critically. These are the students to which she refers.

    For those students, it is not that they are challenging Dr. Bauer’s beliefs. Indeed, she makes that clear when she says:

    Every time I say something that strikes them as possibly “liberal,” all of their defenses go up and they tune me out. I can’t play devil’s advocate or dialogue with them–they immediately put me on the list of untrustworthy professors and stop listening.

    Since they have tuned her out and are unwilling to dialogue with her, they are clearly not challenging her. They are simply redlisting her as “liberal” and then ignoring what she says, as they were taught to do.

    Now I agree with you that I have met many, many homeschooled students who are quite the opposite. They are very good critical thinkers and they are willing to listen to new ideas, consider them, and evaluate them. They are the ones who (along with their parents, I assume) take 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 very seriously. They are a joy to have as a professor, whether or not they agree with me. I wish that all homeschooled students were educated that way, but unfortunately, there are many who are not. Their parents indoctrinate instead of educate. As a result, they produce closed-minded students who cannot consider and discuss new ideas.

  31. Dr Wile,

    Re: “The point is that regardless of how you are educated, you should be taught to be open to examining ideas that are different from your own.”

    I hope you’re saying that we should be critically examining extraBiblical truth claims in light of God’s revealed Word. I certainly hope you are not saying we should be open to the idea of evolution and millions of years, because that would mean we would have to be open to the idea that Biblical [Young Earth] Creationism is wrong. And the Bible says to train up a child in the way he SHOULD go. Just sayin’.

    Rev Tony Breeden
    DefendingGenesis.org

    PS Do you have plans to publish anything new in the near future?

  32. jlwile says:

    Reverend Breedon, of course everything should be examined in light of God’s revealed Word. But in doing so with proper respect to the Word, we must try to separate human interpretations from what God’s Word actually says. The idea that young-earth creationism is the only Biblically-correct view is a human interpretation of God’s Word, and we most certainly should be open to the idea that human interpretations could be flawed. Too many cults get started when people replace a human interpretation of God’s Word for what God’s Word actually says.

    I am currently writing an elementary-level science course for homeschoolers. It follows the days of Genesis, studying the things that were created on each day. I have no idea whether or not it will be published. That depends on whether or not the Lord wants it to be used.

  33. Dr Wile,

    Actually, Biblical [Young Earth] Creationism is a rather straight-forward reading of the text; it’s the extraBiblical Creationist varieties [eg, Old earth Creationism, Progressive Creationism, etc] who try to interpret the passage to suit modern notions.

    I’ll just admit that I find all of this talk of a plurality of possible interpretations to be garbage. As Christians, we’re built on Christ and the Apostles, so we’re supposed to continue in the tradition of apostolic doctrine. Jesus and the NT authors treated Genesis as literal history and were all plainly young earth. It kills me that there’s even a debate. I understand that well-meaning Christians want to somehow make the Biblical revelation and the modern scientific notions mesh, but they always do so by re-interpreting the Bible and almost never by questioning the naturalistic presuppositions of evolutionary and uniformitarian beliefs.

    I hope you get a publisher for your science course. I tried using your Apologia science texts for my kids, but I had to do quite a bit to make it applicable to their lower grade level. It’s clearly meant for middle school and above.

    -revTony

  34. jlwile says:

    Reverend Breedon, the fact is that we don’t take the straightforward reading of many parts of the Bible. Do you require women to be silent in church? If not, you are not taking the straightforward reading of 1 Corinthians 14:34. Do you think the end times have already happened? If not, then you are not taking the straightforward reading of Matthew 24:34. So the responsible thing to do is develop a hermeneutic that tells you when to take the straightforward reading of the text and when not do. There are many orthodox hermeneutics that do not take the straightforward reading of the creation account.

    You continue to communicate the clear falsehood that non-young-earth interpretations of the creation account are the result of people trying to mesh modern notions with Genesis. That is just not true, and you know it. From the earliest days of Christendom, there were orthodox theologians who did not read the Genesis account as historical narrative, and they weren’t even exposed to our modern notions. The fact is that the church has never been unified on Genesis, and modern notions have nothing to do with that.

    You are correct that my current texts are designed for older students. The “youngest” text I have out right now is Exploring Creation with General Science, and it is for 7th grade.

  35. jdjcpa says:

    Dr. Wile,
    I read the two studies you cite, and I think a correction is in order:
    You say: “Even for the students whose parents are highly-educated, the homeschoolered students are still significantly superior from an academic standpoint.” But I think you mean: Even for the students whose parents are NOT highly-educated, the homeschoolered students are still significantly superior from an academic standpoint.
    Am I right?
    Thanks.

  36. jlwile says:

    Jdjcpa, you are quite right. Thanks for noticing that.

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