Continuing a tradition of Christian service
Since its inception, the ASA has served its scientist-membership and the broader community, especially the church, by helping by facilitating thoughtful discussion of modern science in Christian context. For more than 50 years, ASA members have volunteered their time and efforts to sponsor numerous publications and projects of different size and scope to serve in this way. For example, in 1986 a committee of ASA members produced “Teaching Science in a Climate of Controversy” a booklet to help Christian and public school teachers sort through issues relating to the origins debate.
Although similar topics dominate science-faith discussions today, much has changed in the past 25 years. One of the more dramatic changes is the rise in popularity of home schooling, which now accounts for the education of a sizable proportion of children in evangelical Christian families.
Science help for homeschooling parents
The Homeschool Science Resources (HSR) project (this website) is our effort to serve this important segment of our Christian community. We are passionate about our calling as scientists (to delight in the exploration of God’s creation) and wish to pass on that excitement to homeschooled children through their parent-teachers. Indeed, we are cognizant of the fact that these children represent the next generation of Christian leaders in science. In addition, as professional scientists we are intimately involved in sorting through the wondrous opportunities and difficult challenges that scientific discovery presents to our theology and worldview as Christians. Our goal for this website is to articulate these opportunities and challenges in a manner that is accessible to homeschooling families and therefore directly practical for their use.
What in particular does the ASA have to offer?
The ASA is a fellowship of Christian men and women who are committed to both rigorous scientific investigation and serious Christian reflection. We are professional researchers and educators from nearly every conceivable field of science and we belong to a diversity of Trinitarian church traditions. At our meetings and through our scholarly journal, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith (PSCF), we share about scientific advances being made in our respective fields of research and we work together to comprehend their implications for Christian theology and mission.
Indeed, we are true members of both the scientific community (the Academy) and the Christian community (the Church). Some are world-renown scientists; some are respected theologians. Many are college professors and active researchers. As such, we believe that we are uniquely qualified and positioned to inform and advise parents about the scientific content and Christian perspectives presented to them in available homeschooling curricula.
In a sense, homeschooling is “big business” nowadays. A variety of publishers (independent or denominationally-affiliated; small and large) have begun producing homeschool curricula in recent years. Secular publishers attempt to promote their science activity and encyclopedia books to the homeschool market. These publishers, although motivated by a sincere desire to deliver sound and effective learning, nonetheless compete in the marketplace for the homeschooler’s curriculum dollars.
The ASA is not here to sell anything. Although we are passionate about the quality of Christian engagement with science, we do not represent just one perspective or “corner” in the intellectual and theological landscape. We believe that this enables us to offer a relatively more balanced and objective commentary than other organizations.
Our purpose is to inform
We recognize and respect that there exists a diversity of opinions in the church and homeschooling community with regard to views about the relationship of science to scriptural interpretation and Christian belief. While we do intend to critically evaluate the scientific quality and theological coherence of published curricula, our primary goal is to inform parents about existing materials so that they are best able to identify options appropriate to their situations.
As an organization, the ASA does not make official statements about particular scientific claims. As such, we do not officially endorse any one viewpoint with regard to evolution or other “hot topics” currently discussed in scientific and popular culture. (It should be noted that many, but not all, of our members are in agreement with the general scientific community about well established theories such as big-bang cosmology, geological processes, and biological evolution. Indeed, many of us are active participants and contributors to current scientific consensus in our respective fields.)
This means that we regard these areas of scientific investigation as legitimate parts of the “conversation” and do not dismiss them as necessarily unchristian and irreconcilable with the teaching of scripture. Reflecting who we are, this website will do likewise. In fact, these areas of science are under-represented and largely misrepresented in the existing Christian homeschool curriculum market. A growing number of parents are searching for resources to help them teach with a broader, yet thoroughly Christian, perspective. In order to fill the void and meet this need, some emphasis on this website will be given to identifying and promoting resources that offer these alternative perspectives.
Nevertheless, we intend for the style and form of presentation throughout this website to be descriptive and informational rather than prescriptive and dogmatic. We want to help Christian parents of all denominational stripes and scientific training to make informed decisions about the curriculum choices available to them. We will attempt to clearly identify the scientific and theological perspectives of the curricula that we review and the resources that we put forward for consideration. You decide which ones are right for you.
What to expect from this HSR website
We hope that you will find help answering these kinds of questions:
- Are there any foundational principles of creation theology and natural science that all Christians can agree on?
- How do different Christian views of biblical interpretation affect the manner in which science is practiced and understood?
- Which secular textbooks and resources promote atheistic or anti-Christian worldviews?
- Which homeschool science curricula and textbooks contain scientific errors?
- Does my homeschool science curriculum or textbook promote an internally consistent and coherent theology of creation?
- At what ages is it appropriate to study different theories, theological perspectives and ethical issues raised by modern science?
- Where can I find a homeschool science curriculum that doesn’t teach exclusively young-earth creationism (YEC) yet also presents a thoroughly Christian worldview?
Who is the primary moderator of this forum?
My name is Douglas Hayworth. I am a homeschooling father of three and a biologist by training. I have an undergraduate degree in botany from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, a masters degree in biology from the University of Texas in Arlington, and a PhD in evolutionary biology from Washington University in St. Louis. Currently I work as a technical writer for a biotechnology company that makes reagents for protein research. I grew up in an evangelical Christian home and have trusted and sought to follow Christ since I was five years old.