Thankfully, there are still some Christian colleges that teach science from a biblical perspective, so many students don’t have to wrestle with this challenge. However, some students have determined that a secular college can be the best fit for the specific degree they want, and they must deal with evolutionary teaching. Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson, a graduate of Harvard University and a research associate here at Answers in Genesis, has experienced firsthand the challenge of learning science at a secular school. In a recent discussion with some AiG staff members, he offered some insights into how to navigate secular university as a creationist.
First he suggests getting into a lab early in your schooling to determine if you enjoy research. He says,
The first thing you need to determine is if you enjoy research. Research is not for everyone and if you’re going to get a PhD in science, you’re going to have to do research. In a small school of around 5,000 where the faculty/student ratio is really high, you could get into a lab pretty quick. And that’s where you’ll learn really fast if you like working long hours in the lab, if you don’t mind beating your head against the wall because the experiment doesn’t work for the fifteenth time you’ve tried it.
If you decide that you like research, Dr. Jeanson suggests choosing what field you’re going to specialize in so that you can gain essential research skills in that area. These skills will be vital in helping you with origins research, if you decide to go into that kind of research. He says,
If the answer is “yes, I really like research,” then I’d recommend finding the field you like. Do you like geology? Do you like palaeontology? And then pursuing a degree close to it. Geology/palaeontology is obviously deeply entrenched in origins, so there’s a challenge. You can be interested in biology and genetics and not have to focus on evolution because there’s a ton of research going on that’s medically related and you’ll get enough background where you can easily switch into something origins related after.
And I think it helps to learn research skills, an invaluable part of your degree, when there isn’t so much at stake. The origins issue is very emotionally charged, so if you learn to think clearly on an issue that’s not so emotionally charged, it’s a huge advantage, I think, so when you do get to something that’s emotionally charged it makes you so much more able to sort through different young-earth creationist hypothesis and to sort out the evolutionary ideas from the creationist ideas.
You can learn more about surviving in secular college by reading our free online book Fish out of Water or by ordering it in our store. Or you can learn more about Christian colleges that teach from a biblical creation position at CreationColleges.org.
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This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.