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Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

educating Darwin(s)


There has been some good activity at the Comments level around Charles Darwin (he may be “dead” – but not forgotten indeed) on this Blog the past few weeks.

While SOME homeschool children are taught by their parents (we Home school Haley Anne until next year) about Darwin, they don’t usually get lectures about how his theory of natural selection can be considered one (as in alternative) reasonable foundation of modern biology.

Nope… They (well… many) are taught something much different.

For example, Mr. Doug Phillips is the President of Vision Forum Ministries, a popular fundamentalist Christian organization that appears to advocate patriarchy, creationism, and homeschooling. He has eight children – and, encourages couples to breed like Kentucky trailer trash have as many children as God might give them. He apparently thinks birth control is a sin (see “quiverfull“).

NOTE: I need to make it clear that I am not on their mailing list. This information was shared with me by a local Pastor wanting my thoughts for an upcoming sermon.

forging ahead…

In a recent newsletter, Phillips tells his readers what he teaches his children about Darwin:

  1. Darwin was bitter.
  2. Darwin worshipped a false god (materialism).
  3. Darwin was sloppy and he was not a scientist.
  4. Darwin trained his children to hate the God of the Bible.
  5. Darwin trained others to be hateful toward their fellow man.
  6. Darwin’s legacy could be the legacy of anyone who worships the creature more than the Creator.

Aside from the (documented) absurdity of most of these claims, what concerns me is the potential for brain washing misunderstanding. When you are raised in a family like this and are surrounded by people who think similarly, it is very difficult to break free from this kind of downward spiral.

It also has the potential to feed the negative perception of Home Schooling (and, I suppose Christians – who are, often enough, viewed as a determined and assertive lot, to be sure).

For the record, Haley Anne is developing a broad view of the world that includes travel, tolerance, open-mindedness, curiosity, abstract thought, the classics and logic (and, she happens to be a rather formidable Defender on her Shockers soccer team [despite her coach]).

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

8 Comments to

“educating Darwin(s)”

  1. Avatar March 15th, 2009 at 6:51 am homeschoolnewbie Says:

    1. Darwin was bitter.
    He chose to turn away from Christianity after the death of his daughter. That could be called bitterness? Outrage perhaps?
    2. Darwin worshipped a false god (materialism).
    He was an extremely wealthy man from an extremely wealthy family. People forget that he was related to royalty. I don’t know if that makes him a worshipper of materialism, but I would say it gave him a certain worldview that he could not afford to have had he been less well-off.
    3. Darwin was sloppy and he was not a scientist.
    I think he got most of his attention because of his wealth and influential contacts.(my opinion)
    4. Darwin trained his children to hate the God of the Bible.
    Debatable. His wife was actually rather devout so her beliefs would have infiltrated the children.
    5. Darwin trained others to be hateful toward their fellow man.
    I don’t think he “trained others”. I do think that he did give some groups the tools they needed to spout out what they believed in their hearts already. I think, again opinion, that his findings furthered his own bitterness against God.
    6. Darwin’s legacy could be the legacy of anyone who worships the creature more than the Creator.
    I don’t take him that seriously. I don’t think anyone should. Its a theory, like most of my post. I chose to believe in the creator that is where my faith lies. I think that Darwin is a fun read, but in the end he’s just guessing…… like most scientists today.

  2. Avatar March 16th, 2009 at 2:35 am Nicholas Johnson Says:

    —–“I think that Darwin is a fun read, but in the end he’s just guessing…… like most scientists today.”

    We’re all just guessing. He’s no different from anyone else, in that regard – every scientist, philosopher, paster or average Joe. And, because we’re all just guessing, I’d say he’s gained his popularity due, in large part, to the fact that his “guesses” seem so plausible. Much more plausible, in fact, than the idea that the great expanses of the universe and every creature therein were created in a week.

    As a Christian myself, I am able to reconcile my disbelief of the idea of near instant (in cosmic time) creation with much of Darwin’s work. Creationism and evolution need not be at odds; it is not one or the other. Evolution, in my opinion, was devised by God as a tool to carry out his goal of creating the heavens and the earth (not an original opinion, mind you, but my opinion none the less). Whats more, with a logical mind seemingly incapable of believing anything “just ’cause that’s how it is,” I’ve found comfort in connecting many scientific theories with other unbelievable biblical events.

    In short, the question is not whether you are a man of science or a man of faith. The original men of science became so to prove their beliefs in God. They thought God must exist in the laws of nature, and they set out to more clearly understand those laws.

    If someone dismisses Darwin as simply another “dead” scientist, I’d say they are either incredibly obtuse or incredibly ignorant, and if they are reading Brian’s blog, it is, more than likely, the former.

  3. Avatar March 16th, 2009 at 2:29 pm Brian Patrick Cork Says:

    Look at Thomas Jefferson. He was affluent. His pedigree allowed for him to be educated and influential. Ultimately he used his education and influence, and the discernment God gave him to architect a Constitution that allows (and leverages) for free will and competition.

    I like the notion – we can keep calling it a theory, of natural selection. Luck and timing aside, the understanding that we have a God that gives us tools, and only expects us to use them adroitly, in order to keep progressing, is very appealing to me.

    It’s fascinating to me that it’s always Christians that feel they need to challenge Darwin.

    NOTE: This is a broad stroke, and possibly better served within it’s own focused post, but look what has been happening in Sub Sahara Africa.

    Christians have poured billions of charitable dollars into many of those countries. Yet they continue to spiral themselves (often fighting [literally]) into the abyss (for example, some cultures prohibit men from having sex with women that breast feed. So, those men forbid their wives to breast feed their infants. Those infants starve to death. Missionaries hand those men copies of the Bible and other books on abstinence. But, these men pride themselves, above most other things, on their virility). Is this an argument for natural selection? It can be argued that in the next 20 years, much of the African population will have killed itself off – due mostly to ignorance.


  4. Avatar March 19th, 2009 at 5:07 am homeschoolnewbie Says:

    “If someone dismisses Darwin as simply another “dead” scientist, I’d say they are either incredibly obtuse or incredibly ignorant, and if they are reading Brian’s blog, it is, more than likely, the former.”
    Obtuse it is!
    I’m sorry but as a christian and a scientist… in that order; I just don’t think his “discoveries were all that spectacular”. I think anyone with time and money and decent observation skills would have made similar deductions… um, they did in fact. He had to rush to get his theory published because already many other scientists were making similar discoveries, if my memory serves me correctly, I think his last name was Wallace? I would much rather celebrate Alexander Fleming.. penicillin is NO theory… it works!

  5. Avatar March 19th, 2009 at 12:07 pm Brian Patrick Cork Says:

    Good morning homeschoolnewbie.

    I had to go look up “obtuse” and only then decided you were paying me a compliment.

    Thanks for the comparative contrast. Darwin was not original in his thinking. Few are – look at at Aristotle and Socrates. But, they prove we can advance thinking. And, so can we.

    I am holding true to my position that God gave us tools like discernment. People like Darwin shed light and (alternative) truths. In the end, it’s how we use the tools that dictate (demonstrate?) if we dive, survive or thrive.


  6. Avatar March 21st, 2009 at 5:17 am surviving Darwin « The Unsinkable brian cork Says:

    […] March 21, 2009 in Culture, Darwin, Education, God, History, Natural Selection, Philosophy, Thomas Jefferson | Tags: Aristotle, Darwin, Education, God, homeschoolnewbie, Obtuse, Socrates, Thomas Jefferson, Truth | by Brian Patrick Cork I appreciate the exchange around my recent post educating Darwin(s). […]

  7. Avatar July 19th, 2009 at 4:52 pm Catherine Says:

    The Phillips article is beyond stupid. He criticizes Darwin for everything except the merits of his theory. Darwin is not famous for rejecting religion. Rather, he is famous for publishing a testable theory to explain speciation.

    By the way, scientists aren’t just guessing. They form testable hypotheses and then they look at the evidence.

  8. Avatar July 19th, 2009 at 6:49 pm Brian Patrick Cork Says:

    Hello Catherine.

    The biologist Orator F. Cook was the first, I believe to coin the phrase spciation.

    Meanwhile, it is widely taken for granted that there are two, and only two, mutually exclusive ways of understanding the origin of the natural world: you accept either the Bible’s account of creation by God, literally in six days, or Science’s account of the gradual development of different species according to the principle of “natural selection”. But it is an oversimplification to suggest that these are the only possible accounts for the world as we know it, or that they completely contradict each other. Charles Darwin, it is true, came to doubt the existence of God, but that was for personal reasons unconnected with his scientific work on evolution.


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