Views of Creation
Questions and Views
Two Books of God
Age of the Universe
Methods of Creation

Origins Evidence
Age of the Universe
Design of the Universe
Evaluation of Evolutions
Design in Science

Origins Education
Public Schools
Christian Schools
Informal Education




Origins Education

( goal, perspective, climate, drama, resources )

Public Schools
freedom & legality
methods & policies

Christian Education
(in home, church, school)

Informal Education


Education, Theology, and Science:  An effective approach to Origins Education depends on building a foundation of understanding about theology (this is the focus in Views of Creation) and science (this is mainly in Origins Evidence) in the other two areas you see above.

A Goal — Accurate Understanding with Respectful Attitudes
      To achieve accurate understanding in origins education, we need accurate information about a wide range of viewpoints.  But in reality there is often imbalance, and only one view (*) is presented in strong form.  When this happens it leads to incomplete, inaccurate understanding.  {* Which single view is presented?  This varies, depending on the teacher and educational context. }
      By contrast, a well balanced education is based on accurate information from all major viewpoints, as described in Views of Creation: "During a Monday debate, our teacher convinced us that ‘his side of the issue’ was correct, but on Tuesday he made the other side look just as good," thereby letting us learn that "if we wanted to get an accurate understanding... we should get the best information and arguments that all sides of an issue can claim as support.  When we did this and we understood more accurately, we usually recognized that even when we have valid reasons for preferring one position, people on other sides of an issue may also have good reasons for believing as they do, so we learned respectful attitudes."
      In most websites you'll get either Monday or Tuesday but not the other, and nothing more.  Instead, our "multiple positions" website will give you both Monday and Tuesday, plus Wednesday and more.  Our goal is to provide accurate information and arguments from a wide range of perspectives.  Although the result won't be perceived as NEUTRAL by everyone, we will try to be FAIR, by providing an opportunity for representatives of different perspectives to clearly express their own views and criticize other views.  

A Religious Perspective
      ASA is a Christian organization, and our perspectives — on faith, science, and their interactions — can be useful for public school teachers who want to minimize controversy (about their treatment of religion) while still providing educational information for their students, or for teachers in a private school or home school.
      A teacher (in K-12 or college, in a public or private school) who wants to use our religious perspective could: 
      • use the website to develop a better understanding of complex issues, then decide how to use this knowledge for teaching, or
      • tell students about the website and say "here is something you may (or may not) want to explore on your own," or
      • find appropriate web-pages that fulfill a specific educational function, and assign these for students to read.

Teaching Science in a Climate of Controversy

      When you are helping students learn about origins questions — how old is the universe (did it begin billions of years ago in a rapid ‘big bang’ expansion) and what can we learn from the fossil record, how did the first life arise, and did complex life (including humans) evolve from simple life? — do you feel like you're walking a tightrope?  Do you feel external pressures to teach unconventional theories (like young-earth creationism) or avoid questioning conventional theories (like neo-Darwinism), or both?  Do you feel internal tensions between your compassion (for students with personally meaningful beliefs about origins) and your responsibility (to teach with scientific integrity, to accurately teach the scientific evidence-and-logic that might affect these beliefs)?
      In 1986, we (in the American Scientific Affiliation) published a booklet about origins education, and we called it Teaching Science in a Climate of Controversy because "a climate of controversy" is what you often feel.  We also feel this, in our empathy for embattled teachers, and we want to help.  We know that, as a busy teacher, your time is limited, so our website offers a "Cliffs Notes" condensation of important ideas, so you can learn quickly.  But you'll also have many opportunities for exploration, to gain a wider, deeper understanding.

Real-Life Drama about People and Their Ideas
      Fictional stories that illustrate real-life drama are scattered throughout an Introductory FAQ and are collected together in another page.  Here are excerpts, with introductions and the beginnings of five stories:
      In this FAQ you'll see the raw material for exciting real-life drama of people and their ideas.  The drama is produced by encounters between people with contrasting ideas.  Too often, unfortunately, each of the differing ideas is held with a confident passion by individuals and groups who behave as if they think people with other views are enemies who must be fought and conquered.  But the ideas do have important implications and applications, especially in education.  .....
      You can get a feeling for what often happens in real life by using your imagination to visualize the ideas and feelings in five common situations where we see dramatic conflict. ...  These stories illustrate conflicts — internal and external, within people and between people — that commonly occur.  Imagine that:
      • your pastor confidently declares that "the Bible says the earth is young, so you should believe it."  But your teacher for Sunday School explains why..., and you have questions.
      • you are a flexible agnostic, uncertain about God but willing to search for truth.  You hear Richard Dawkins declare that...  But another respected scientist explains why...
     The questions in Sections 1-7 often produce uncertainties and conflicts within a person.  But when we make decisions about education, internal personal questions can become external interpersonal tensions, and conflicts become visible and vocal. ...  Imagine that:
      • you are a public school teacher who is wondering what to teach about origins: ...  If you think "maybe..." will you get in trouble with...?  But if you don't,...  What is the best way to survive and thrive in the current climate of controversy?
      • you're a science teacher in a private Christian school, and last year several parents didn't like what you said about the "when and how" of creation, and they removed their children from your school ...
      • you are the friend of a student who is a Christian, who has been taught by her parents (and by her pastor, and...) that...  How do you think she will respond — and what will happen with her interest in science, her views about creation, and the quality of her faith — in each of these five situations: ...

Resources for Teachers

An overview and sitemap are designed to let you quickly see what's available so you can explore more efficiently.  Hopefully, our website will stimulate your thinking, and will help you discover creative goal-directed strategies for teaching in a way that is more effective, and is more enjoyable for you and your students.  

Origins Education in Different Contexts

An educational question — how should theories about "origins questions" be taught? — will be examined in three contexts: in public schools, Christian education (in church, school, and home), and informal education.

Origins Education in Public Schools

      Freedom and Responsibility:  When different origins theories about "when" and "how" are examined (as in Origins Evidence) we see, in the scientific community, a majority consensus and a dissenting minority.  Should a teacher be free to "teach the controversy" by describing evidence for (and against) the majority and minority views, and explaining why there is disagreement?  Or does scientific integrity require that a science teacher should just try to help students understand the majority view?
      Legality and Constitutionality:  What did the authors of the United States Constitution mean by an "establishment" and "free exercise" of religion?  What are the practical effects — on what teachers can be required to do, and are allowed to do — of recent legal interpretations?
      Methods of Teaching:  In the complex, controversial area of origins, how can a teacher cope with the challenge of teaching skillfully, with wisdom and sensitivity, while following Educational Policies?  Is "sticking to the textbook" an effective method for teaching students and protecting a teacher?  What are the potential benefits and difficulties of open discussions, for students and teachers?
      Educational Policies:  What are desirable goals, and how should we define effective education?  What policies at different levels — classroom, school, district, state, and federal — will produce the most effective education when we ask questions about Methods of Teaching?
      Young-Earth Creation:  When trying to design instruction that is responsible, legal, and balanced, how can educators cope with the tensions arising from young-earth creationism and the mismatch between its strong popular support (especially in some parts of the Christian community) and weak scientific support (across a wide range of fields, from astronomy and geology to physics and biology)?



      Christian Education in the Church, School, and Home

      Many people in your church will find "origins" a fascinating topic, but it could be emotional and controversial, and maybe even divisive.  We'll look at what you can do to make origins education an edifying experience for more people, to help them improve their understanding and attitudes, to put the WHEN and HOW questions in proper perspective so they can focus on WHO.
      In principle, private Christian schools can teach any way they want.  In practice, it can be difficult to decide which principles and methods will produce the most effective educational experience for students.  What resources, frameworks, attitudes, and techniques are useful for origins education in Christian schools?
      Compared with other types of schooling, instruction in the home allows more freedom.  In what ways can parents take advantage of this opportunity?  What origins information is provided in the textbooks commonly used in home schools, and what supplements are available?  What are the advantages — in searching for truth, defending the faith, and living by faith — of two educational approaches, protective isolation and supported exploration?



      Informal Education (about creation, evolution, intelligent design,...)

      What type of origins education occurs in popular books and magazines, newspapers and websites, in radio, television, and movies?



This website for Whole-Person Education has TWO KINDS OF LINKS:
an ITALICIZED LINK keeps you inside a page, moving you to another part of it, and
 a NON-ITALICIZED LINK opens another page.  Both keep everything inside this window, 
so your browser's BACK-button will always take you back to where you were.
You can explore these pages
in the area of Origins Questions:
  Questions and Views 
  Age of the Universe
  Methods of Creation  
  Two Books of God
  Design of the Universe  
  Age of the Universe
  Evaluation of Evolution  
  Design in Science
  Public School Education  
  Christian Education (in  
  church, school, home)
  Informal Education  


A DISCLAIMER:  The views expressed in this page don't necessarily represent those of the American Scientific Affiliation.  As always, we encourage you to use your own critical thinking to evaluate everything you read.

 This home-page for Origins Education, written by Craig Rusbult, is

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