Over the last five years I have been visiting high schools pre-university colleges, and degree colleges in Bangalore with a program called Our Origins: Retrieving Mankind’s Lost Heritage.
The program’s aim is to bring to students an accurate understanding about the origins of the natural world. This is a crucial area of knowledge for young people whose ethical foundation is beginning to form at this impressionable stage of life. How they are taught to perceive mankind’s background heritage will influence their philosophical attitudes later in life. Unfortunately, most science textbooks are pointing our young people in the wrong direction. This problem exists, not in Karnataka State only, but in many nations of today’s world.
Let us take, for example, the origin of man. The usual teaching is that he gradually evolved from ape into human form. From an ethical point of view, such teaching is unhelpful: if I think my ancestors were apes, and survival-of-the-fittest is the process by which humans evolved, then why shouldn’t I act like an animal driven by instinct? No need to concern myself with right or wrong; just live for myself and forget about taking care of my fellow-man or trying to make the world a better place to live. (It was this kind of evolutionary teaching that Hitler used to justify his policy of extermination of “inferior races”.)
If I’m being taught that the Creator is so distant, having little or no role in the formation of the natural world, then it is easy to conclude that He must also be very distant from me personally and unconcerned with what I’m doing. There is no accounting for my behavior in this life, so what difference does it make whether or not my actions are harming others? Or if I am feeling depressed or aimless, what assurance do I have that there is a Higher Power that is concerned about me and can give me purpose in life? Are we sending our young people adrift into a sea of aimlessness and moral uncertainty? We do, when we mislead them into thinking there is no God. But if we can teach students to appreciate the Creator’s role in the formation of the natural world, then we provide them with a solid background from which their future ethical development can mature in a positive direction.
But aside from ethical considerations, from the scientific point of view also, evolutionary teaching is losing its credibility. Recent discoveries about intricate DNA structures, for example, demonstrate the handiwork of an Intelligent Designer and prove that life cannot emerge from non-life, nor can a species evolve into another species, i.e. ape to man evolution. (There is such a thing as micro-evolution however – genetic variation within species.) In light of what modern science has discovered, the old theories taught nowadays in textboooks about Darwinism and evolution are outdated and confusing. To understand why this is so, there is more information on the “Content” page of this website.
Besides biological history, Earth’s geological history also is misunderstood. Rock and fossil formations provide abundant evidence that our present physical environment was shaped by the Flood of long ago. This event is mentioned in our sacred histories: the Mahabharata, the Quran, and the Book of Genesis. But alas! Not a word in our textbooks about this important historical event.
Educationalists are justifiably concerned about avoiding “superstitious” viewpoints in science teaching. In the process, however, “the baby often gets thrown out with the bathwater,” as the old saying goes. Throw out superstition, yes, but keep a proper understanding of the Creator’s role in the formation of the natural world – not just for ethical considerations, but also, because such understanding is genuinely scientific. Regrettably, our textbooks have it backwards. God’s role in Creation is treated as superstition. And evolution theory is treated as scientific. A more balanced approach is sorely needed.
– John Lyall, Director, Edu-Origins educational service (14 Oct 2013)