Shades of Nye in Attack on Australian Homeschoolers

by on
Share:

Homeschooling and the debate on origins are in the news in Australia. To understand the background to what is happening, here is an excerpt from an article by the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA):

With over 30,000 homeschooling families, Australia has one of the larger homeschooling populations in the world. Currently, homeschooling is legal in all states and territories, where regulations vary. One of the largest states is New South Wales with a population of about 7 million. Homeschoolers in New South Wales must submit lengthy applications and are then subject to an intrusive “home inspection” to confirm that they measure up to standards. Since parents must reapply annually and go through the same process it’s no wonder that many homeschooling parents simply choose not to comply. As a result of a protest against more regulation, a petition of over 10,000 signatures was submitted to the New South Wales parliament, resulting in the initiation of a “parliamentary inquiry.”1

A Battle of Worldviews

This inquiry has received headline news in the Sydney Morning Herald. The headline reads, “Home schoolers teaching creationism and evolution as equal theories.”2

Because of this inquiry, the secular media immediately jumps on the issue of origins—creation, evolution, and the age of the earth! So why single out the origins issue? It’s because this subject really deals with the foundational battle of two worldviews—a secular worldview founded in man’s word on evolutionary naturalism versus a Christian worldview founded in God’s Word.

John Kaye, one very vocal opponent responding to this inquiry, is from the Australian Greens political party. This parliamentarian was quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald:

Greens NSW MP John Kaye, the committee's deputy chairman, said he was concerned a cohort of home-schooled children would not be able to tell the difference between religious belief and scientific theory. "Their ignorance will impose costs not only on themselves but also on the society they will grow up in," he said.2

The Australian Greens claims to be the third largest political force in Australia. As their name implies, they are very much involved in environmental issues. But as is usual for such groups, they really put the environment first over the welfare of humans.

John Kaye, an electrical engineer, was elected as a Greens member of the NSW Legislative Council in March 2007. He is described on the Australian Greens website as “a strong advocate for public education, renewable energy , effective public services, consumer rights and securing a sustainable water supply. . . . John is committed to the core principles of the Greens—social justice, grassroots democracy, ecological sustainability and non-violence.”3

Interesting that he is committed to non-violence—I assume then he would be against abortion?

Well, back in 2010 we read in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper:

The NSW Greens have renewed calls for the decriminalisation of abortion after a poll found broad support for such a move. Greens MP Lee Rhiannon said on Monday the results should act as a reminder to the government that NSW laws were out of step with community opinion and in need of change. "It's a human rights issue, it's an issue of dignity in terms of managing one's own reproductive health," Ms Rhiannon told AAP.2

And as expected, the Australian Greens support Euthanasia:

On Thursday Lead Senate Candidate Cate Faehrmann stood alongside Australian Greens health spokesperson Senator Richard Di Natale to announce the Greens’ intention to introduce national Dying with Dignity laws into the next Parliament.4

In 2009, “a same-sex marriage bill is introduced by the Australian Greens in the Senate.”5

John Kaye really made similar statements to Bill Nye in his attack on homeschoolers that teach the creation account in Genesis to their children.

Creationism Hindering Scientific Progress?

The above is just meant to document that the reason this Member of Parliament in Australia has so vocally attacked homeschooling is because this is a battle of worldviews. This is why I detailed this issue so carefully in my recent debate with Bill Nye. In fact, John Kaye really made similar statements to Bill Nye in his attack on homeschoolers that teach the creation account in Genesis to their children. On the Australian Greens website, we read this:

Dr Kaye said: “A cohort of home-schooled children will not be able to tell the difference between religious belief and scientific theory.

“Their ignorance will impose costs not only on themselves but also on the society they will grow up in.”

“These children will be excluded from a comprehensive understanding of the biological sciences.”

“They are at risk of becoming intellectual fringe dwellers.”

“The public policy challenge is to regulate thousands of home schoolers to stop them corrupting the curriculum and leaving their children with a very loose grip on the scientific process.”

“Education Minister Adrian Piccoli should move to tighten regulations on home schooling to ensure that the teaching of science is not undermined by young earth creationism and other myths,” Dr Kaye said.6

Yes—definitely shades of Bill Nye!

Remember, Bill Nye in his attempts to denigrate Christianity has claimed over and over again that if children are taught creation, it will hinder scientific progress. In fact, it was the Bill Nye video where he claimed “Creationism is inappropriate for children” (now over six million views) that resulted in the debate between Bill Nye and me at the Creation Museum this past February. Our conservative estimate is that the debate has now been viewed by upwards of 15 million people.

Now, what I did in that debate with Bill Nye is really what needs to be said to John Kaye and to all those involved in this inquiry into homeschooling in Australia.

I opened by pointing out that biblical creationists can practice observational science, which enables one to build technology, and that an evolutionary worldview is not required to do such a thing. I showed some scientists who explained that very thing in video clips in their own words (e.g., Dr. Raymond Damadian who invented the MRI scanner, for example).

I used this definition of “science”:

the state of knowing : knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding7

Both creation and evolution involve historical science . . . and observational science.

Then I discussed the dual nature of science, pointing out that science needs to be broken into two parts: experimental (observable or operational) science and origins (historical) science. Both creation and evolution involve historical science (beliefs) and observational science (such as the study of genetics and so on).

Experimental science, which builds technology, is accomplished based on the scientific method. And origins or historical science is the non-repeatable, non-observable science (knowledge) dealing with the past—which then enters the realm of beliefs (really, religion).

I used this definition of the scientific method:

a method of procedure . . . consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.8

I summed up with the point that the debate is actually a religious debate over two different worldviews based on two different starting points (God’s Word or man’s word). This is the essence of the debate in Australia now in regard to homeschooling.

Evolution Comes from a Naturalistic Worldview

You see, if John Kaye (or Mr. Nye, for that matter) were to admit that historical science is not observable and repeatable, then he would be opening the door to let the public become aware that evolution is a religion that makes religious claims about the past, and not the type of science that builds technology (observable and repeatable science).

Students . . . are brainwashed into thinking that molecules-to-man evolution is the same science as that which built technology—but it is not.

Here is why this is so significant. In today’s education system, the religion of secular humanism with its foundation of naturalistic evolution based on mans’ word or man’s beliefs about the past (molecules-to-man evolution), is guised in textbooks, secular museums, and so on by being called “science.” But the same word science is also used for experimental science that builds technology. Because students aren’t taught the difference between historical and observational science, they are brainwashed into thinking that molecules-to-man evolution is the same science as that which built technology—but it is not. It is a bait-and-switch fallacy (a fallacy in logic).

Here is how I explained it during the debate:

Public school [government school] textbooks are using the same word science for observational and historical science. They arbitrarily define science as naturalism and outlaw the supernatural. They present molecules-to-man evolution as fact. They are imposing the religion of naturalism/atheism on generations of students.

I went on to state the following:

The word science has been hijacked by secularists in teaching evolution to force the religion of naturalism on generations of kids. . . . The creation/evolution debate is really a conflict between two philosophical worldviews based on two different accounts of origins or historical science beliefs.

Naturalism is a vital aspect for the religion of secular humanism, which teaches that autonomous man is the one who determines truth.

Observational science is certainly a wonderful, observable, and experimentally methodological tool used to build cars, trains, computers, and the other great technology we use today. Sadly though, so many people are duped into believing that evolution (molecules to man) is also science in the same way (bait-and-switch) and that it therefore can remain in the classroom when religion was supposed to be kicked out. Secularists basically renamed the religious aspect of evolution called “naturalism” as “science,” knowing that most people would not understand that the bait-and-switch used to indoctrinate people in the religion of naturalism or atheism. Naturalism is a vital aspect for the religion of secular humanism, which teaches that autonomous man is the one who determines truth.

I put it this way in my debate presentation:

The word evolution has been hijacked using a bait-and-switch. . . . The word evolution is used for observable changes and then used for unobservable changes such as molecules to man.

By delineating between experimental/observational and historical/origins science, I placed Mr. Nye on the horns of a dilemma. Either he had to admit that molecules-to-man evolution is founded upon a belief in what happened in the past (a religious view based on naturalism), or he is forced to show molecules-to-man evolution for the audience to observe. But he knows the past clearly cannot be repeated or observed—a hallmark of sound observational science. But if Mr. Nye admitted that he has beliefs about the past that influence his view of what is allowed to be called “scientific” (e.g., evolution, naturalism, materialism, the big bang, and so on), then he would be admitting on a very public stage that tax dollars are being used to impose the religion of naturalism on generations of students in government schools and on the public as a whole. I reiterated twice during the debate, “They [the secularists] present molecules-to-man evolution as fact. They are imposing the religion of naturalism/atheism on generations of students.”

Observational Science Comes from a Christian Worldview

Observational science comes out of a Christian worldview that is built on a literal creation.

Actually, observational science comes out of a Christian worldview that is built on a literal creation. One cannot account for the laws of logic or the laws of nature within a naturalistic worldview. Bible-believing Christian Francis Bacon, for example, developed the scientific method. Bacon understood that God set up the laws of logic and the laws of nature and upholds the world in a particular fashion that makes science possible. We can trust that those same laws won’t change and thus can be relied on. Moreover, Bible-believing Christians developed most fields of science. This is why I publicly asked Bill Nye this question during the debate:

How do you account for the laws of logic and laws of nature from a naturalistic worldview that excludes the existence of God?

If you look carefully, you will see great parallels between John Kaye’s statements and Bill Nye’s claims. Now, consider again the statements by John Kaye in Australia:

“A cohort of home-schooled children will not be able to tell the difference between religious belief and scientific theory.

“Their ignorance will impose costs not only on themselves but also on the society they will grow up in.

“These children will be excluded from a comprehensive understanding of the biological sciences.

“They are at risk of becoming intellectual fringe dwellers.

“The public policy challenge is to regulate thousands of home schoolers to stop them corrupting the curriculum and leaving their children with a very loose grip on the scientific process.”3

His claims are false. Actually, it’s those students who are taught incorrectly about science who “will not be able to tell the difference between religious belief and scientific theory.” Such students will not understand the difference between origins and observational science—they will not have the critical thinking skills they need. It’s really homeschoolers taught from a biblical perspective that will be able to recognize the difference between “religious belief” and “scientific theory.”

What John Kaye wants is for students to be indoctrinated in the religion of naturalism.

What John Kaye wants is for students to be indoctrinated in the religion of naturalism—after all, this is what gives a basis for his worldview in regard to moral issues like abortion, euthanasia, homosexual marriage, and so on. And because they will have been taught to look incorrectly at the world (which supposedly resulted from natural processes), they will not be able to understand the design in the creation that can be a basis for furthering technology.

Our five children were homeschooled and were taught biblical creation. Our number one child obtained a degree in computer programming and works for a very large insurance company in sophisticated programming. Number two obtained a degree in nursing and worked in hospitals to help save lives. Our number three received a degree in piano pedagogy and is a piano teacher. Number four obtained a degree in management information systems and has worked for IT and in web development. Our number five received a degree in kinesiology. Obviously, homeschooling hindered their academic progress! Of course not!

I understand that Bill Nye is traveling to Australia in February. No doubt he will be recruited to speak against students being taught creation as he has done here in the USA. I pray people in Australia and elsewhere in the world will have their eyes opened to what is really happening in regard to the statements about homeschoolers who teach creation.

It’s actually a conflict of worldviews—Christianity versus secularism.

Footnotes

  1. “Annual Visits for Homeschoolers? No Thanks!” Home School Legal Defense Association, August 18, 2014, http://www.hslda.org/hs/international/Australia/201408180.asp.
  2. Amy McNeilage and Eryk Bagshaw, September 8, 2014, http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/home-schoolers-teaching-creationism-and-evolution-as-equal-theories-20140908-10dze3.html#ixzz3Cp6FnRYO.
  3. John Kaye, Greens Member of the NSW Parliament, http://www.johnkaye.org.au/about/#sthash.UtUuZEWN.dpuf.
  4. The Greens, “Voluntary Euthanasia,” http://greens.org.au/tags/voluntary-euthanasia.
  5. “Recognition of Same-Sex Unions in Australia,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recognition_of_same-sex_unions_in_Australia.
  6. “Home Schooled Children Taught 10K Year Old Earth as Science,” JohnKaye.org.au, September 9, 2014, http://www.johnkaye.org.au/home-schooled-children-taught-10k-year-old-earth-as-science/#sthash.o3xiP79c.dpuf.
  7. Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, s.v. “science,” http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/science.
  8. Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. “scientific method.”

Newsletter

Get the latest answers emailed to you or sign up for our free print newsletter.

Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Learn more

  • Customer Service 800.778.3390