Your teen is interested in science and, as a Christian parent, you worry about what an evolution-dominated university education will do to his or her faith. Many years ago, the father of a bright young girl named Margaret worried the same way, but he needn’t have. Now this Margaret, who has become Dr. Helder, is one of the most prominent women in creation science, and her recent book will help you and your teen.
After many years of writing, speaking, and lecturing—as well as raising six children and teaching science to homeschoolers from K-12—Dr. Helder has written a book that will inform, guide, and encourage young people interested in studying science. No Christian Silence on Science: Science from a Christian Perspective aims ‘to show that science, when critically evaluated, does not threaten a biblical understanding of how we came to be here.’
No Christian Silence on Science
Although this book is not written specifically for high school students, it can be used to teach teens who want to understand science from a biblical point of view and be able to talk about it wisely. This slim book covers a lot of ground; each of its five chapters is distinctly different, and some will be easier for teens than others, but all are worthwhile.
“Science from a Christian Perspective” shows that all scientists have presuppositions that affect the questions they ask and how they interpret their results. A fascinating example, the identification of the remains of the last Czar’s family, unexpectedly shows how scientists respond to data that does not fit their worldview. Christians, on the other hand, are called to ‘view nature through God-honouring spectacles,’ and in the rest of the book Dr. Helder shows what that means.
“How Design in Nature Reveals God’s Character and Work” is a more technical chapter with example after example of design that is, by its very nature, irreducibly complex and could never have evolved. The idea of information, the implications it has for design, and the discovery of the mindboggling CRISPR defense system in certain cells all illustrate these concepts. Even if the CRISPR example is initially too complex for some students, other examples (from whales and molecular machines to DNA, bats, moths, and crabs) clearly illustrate the necessity for a designer.
“Christian vs Darwinian Ethics” reminds us of what a Christian’s duty is to God, other people, and nature. Then, in great detail and with many references to scientific papers, Dr. Helder outlines the secular duty to God, man, and nature and shows how that leads to certain standards of conduct. Faith, whether secular or Christian, fundamentally impacts our views on all aspects of life.
“The Christian Student: Meeting the challenge of secular institutions” is an intensely practical consideration of why and how Christians should study science. Dr. Helder also shows Christian high schoolers how, in the future, they will be able to approach university studies and graduate with their faith not only intact but enhanced. As a former professor, she discusses how students can interact wisely with professors. Using recent scientific discoveries, she shows the importance of identifying assumptions, of asking questions, and of learning to look critically at interpretations of data. And she reassures students that, although they are not yet qualified to formulate a comprehensive biblical understanding of their discipline, they can learn from Christian experts in their field of study. They are not alone. This chapter can function as a handbook to university-bound teens, preparing them ahead of time, showing them how to encourage each other, and guiding them once they get there.
“Impact of Evolutionary Thought on Church and Society,” the book’s final chapter, looks at the history of evolution’s impact on society. Darwinian thought appealed greatly to those who did not want to accept a biblical view of God, as was becoming more common throughout the English speaking world in Darwin’s time. Theologians began to adapt the Bible to accommodate Darwin’s ideas, scientists who accepted the biblical idea of creation were increasingly ignored, and evolution became the only view of origins taught in schools. Yet, Dr. Helder ends with hope, good news, and encouragement.
An important feature of No Christian Silence on Science are the delightful appendices to some of the chapters. These are general science articles Dr. Helder has written over the years that illustrate concepts she is discussing, from molecular clocks to ducks, tiger moths, and complexity. These articles will teach your teen new concepts and also show them how a Bible-believer approaches God’s amazing world. They are also sometimes easier to understand than the chapters themselves, and can be an encouragement to teens who are struggling with some of chapters, especially the second one.
Also invaluable are the references at the end of each chapter. Some of them will be relatively easy for teens to read, but others contain deeper concepts. Although the many scientific papers Dr. Helder references are not generally available free online, any university student would be able to access and print them for your teen. Or your teen could actually visit a university library, which would be an education in itself, and photocopy the articles they wish to study.
Although Dr. Helder does not emphasize it explicitly, the key to her book and to all Christian scholarship is to realize that discoveries in the world God created will not contradict the Word he gave. With that firm confidence, one is able to ask questions, to understand societal issues, and to deal with ethical issues in all disciplines. Of course, it requires both Bible knowledge and a deeper knowledge of their fields than students currently have, but just knowing that this is a possibility can be an encouragement. And learning some of these ideas while still in high school will begin to equip young people.
After studying high school biology a teen will, with effort, be able to understand much of the science in this book. No Christian Silence on Science also discusses history and some philosophy, and as such is not an easy book. In fact, since research level science is being discussed, the reader must fully expect to not understand everything, and rather learn to delight in what can be understood. But that, too, is a common part of learning about God’s creation. Lord willing, my girls will be studying this book after they finish Apologia’s Biology.
No Christian Silence on Science is a must-read resource for all Christian young people interested in science, whether they are in high school or university. It will remind them of the influence of prior beliefs, show them the ever-increasing problems with evolutionary theory both in science and in society, and equip them to challenge inaccurate scientific claims with grace and confidence. It is a challenging book, but anyone planning to study science should learn to accept the fact that there will be things they will not be able to understand. Ideally, all older Christian teens and adults will read this book.
Although No Christian Silence on Science is not written for homeschoolers, it could be used in the homeschool as extra reading for a biology course, or in a Bible, apologetics, worldview, or career planning course. It is a versatile book with many possible options and it could be one of the most worthwhile books your teens will ever study, because it will strengthen them to stand firm in their faith and even to be able to reach out to others.
Where to Find No Christian Silence on Science
In Canada and the US, this book can be purchased from the Alberta Creation Science Association, either online with a credit card or by phone with cheque or money order. In Australia it is available from Pro Ecclesia Bookshop. Both of these sources will also ship books.
In “Online Science Articles by Margaret Helder,” I have listed all of Dr. Helder’s articles that I could find online including one, “Wrong questions lead to wrong answers,” that is from this book. These articles would be an invaluable addition to middle and high school science, adding inspiration and delight to what are often difficult subjects. (In our high school records I list math and science reading as a project in my teens’ science courses, and we require such reading for completion of the course.)
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book; my opinions and thoughts are my own and I am not compensated for them.