Science Instruction & Philosophy
There’s no question that scientific progress is having a major impact upon our daily material lives, not to mention the many ethical questions that scientific advances produce. In preparing our children for this fast paced and seemingly science-dominated world, the goals and philosophy of science instruction at Liberty Classical Center need to be clearly articulated, and rightfully judged, if we as Christian parents are to take seriously our biblical duty to provide sound instruction to our children. So what should our approach as educators be to our children in conveying both the knowledge and the implications of scientific progress? Specifically, how do we provide guidance to our students from a Christian worldview?
At LCC, we currently offer, or expect to offer, introductory classes at the secondary level in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. As a classical school, and in following the time-tested Trivium method of instruction, we present a rigorous curriculum of weekly classes and homework that includes laboratory instruction.
Starting with the basics, we attempt to build a foundational knowledge in each discipline. However, and importantly, the students are challenged to practice critical thinking by connecting ideas and concepts in class with current issues and to discuss their relevance to the Christian community. We present both the benefits and the limitations of scientific inquiry and discuss problems of interpretation.
Just so we don’t get lost trying to comprehend how the scientific concepts of today fit within a biblical perspective, it has been helpful to the students to draw upon some major themes from the history and philosophy of science, and the scientists who lived them. It is essential to understand that it’s impossible to separate the scientist from the science. This was particularly so in the period surrounding the Reformation in largely Christian Europe, which produced enormous upheavals in both the scientific and social order.
Nowadays, new scientific discoveries are widely proclaimed as new knowledge that need no special philosophy in order to be understood. This is the challenge of our culture; prior beliefs don’t matter. This is surprisingly similar to the early philosophers that tried to explain the natural world with ideas based on reason alone that limited a continuing supernatural role. In contrast, we at LCC promote a Judeo-Christian worldview which teaches that the world was created by God and that it exists independently of our methods or attempts to define it. In science, the practical effect of this idea gave us the Scientific Revolution (1500-1800), where significant discoveries were produced by scientists as a result of their God-centered beliefs. It was not, as is believed today, the new and powerful scientific process that finally freed men from their religious slavery. For them, it was precisely this certainty of the existence a logical God, expressed through the created world, that inspired a process of systematic investigation and an expectation of a greater understanding of the natural world.
Here, we try to present an account of the natural world from each scientific discipline together with an honest and insightful perspective from the history and philosophy of science. This is a unique, or at least counter-prevalent feature of science instruction at Liberty Classical Center.