What is the task of a teacher? The teacher is given the tremendous responsibility of encouraging students to pursue academic excellence, to develop critical thinking, and to improve reasoning skills. The ultimate goal is for a student to be a self-governing, lifelong learner who, with his talents, skills and critical thinking, makes a positive contribution to his family, community and society.
A part of this teaching process involves the review of opposing viewpoints. If a student were to propose a differing viewpoint, what am I to do as a teacher? Do I ignore the question/viewpoint? Should I simply silence the student?
Neither choice is acceptable, for this is contrary to academic freedom or free inquiry. Even secular humanism recognizes this and therefore includes the following statement:
“The first principle of democratic secular humanism is its commitment to free inquiry. We oppose any tyranny over the mind of man, any efforts by ecclesiastical, political, ideological, or social institutions to shackle free thought … Though we may tolerate contrasting points of view, this does not mean that they are immune to critical scrutiny. The guiding premise of those who believe in free inquiry is that truth is more likely to be discovered if the opportunity exists for the free exchange of opposing opinions; the process of interchange is frequently as important as the result.”
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Therefore, the teacher has the obligation to encourage the student to examine the opposing viewpoints, in this context, of creation science and evolution.
For an educational body or individual to deny the student or teacher the chance to research and discuss these conflicting viewpoints in a classroom setting is a denial of academic freedom.
We will ultimately cripple the student’s learning experience by denying him the occasion to interact with the opposing views. If only one view is allowed, the teaching process simply becomes one of indoctrination and not education.
In my own teaching experience, I have challenged students to question my teaching or propositions. The questions or comments made by students cause me to clarify and validate my position. The discussion process sharpens the critical thinking of both the teacher and the student. It verifies the strengths and exposes the weaknesses of theories or of presented data.
If educational institutions desire that every student attain the highest level of scholarship, they must allow the academic freedom to discuss the opposing viewpoints of various thoughts, including creation science. To deny this opportunity is contrary to true scholarship.
I do believe that schools should include the teaching of creation science within their present curriculum, for the process would enrich the learning experience of both the teacher and the student.
If the following scholarship principles were applied by those of either viewpoint, this would greatly advance scholastic achievement.
1. Conversancy with an area of scientific knowledge should be remarkably broad, deeply intensive, and ever searching for more. Depth and thoroughness are the chief qualities.
2. Objectivity should mark his conversancy. One should let the scientific facts say what they wish to say. He should be open-minded and not cling to his first impressions. He should not be so wedded to his views as to muffle the voice of new scientific data. He should have the courage to follow the facts wherever they lead but should be certain that he has facts, not mere theories.
3. Humility toward his attainments should be demonstrated. He sees that what he knows is a small island while what he does not know is a vast continent. He who knows all knows too much.
4. Courtesy should be extended toward other scholars who agree or disagree with his scientific research. Scholarship embraces knowledge, regardless of its publisher.
If evolutionists are so confident with their scientific data, then why are they so opposed to those who adhere to creation science? Do they fear that the public discussion in the arena of academia will expose the weaknesses of their acclaimed position?
Galileo stated: “All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.” I say, let the discussions begin. May we embark on the lifelong journey of discovering the truth.