Life Science in High School: An Evolutionary Perspective at the Turn of the 20th-21st Century

  1. Lemma
  2. Наука о жизни в старшей школе: эволюционная проблематика на рубеже ХХ-ХXI вв
  3. Russian
  4. Asliturk, Miriam
  5. Ecumenism and dialogue > Education - Scientific theories and disciplines > Biology:evolution - Scientific theories and disciplines - Concepts of knowledge and modes of reasoning - Various approaches to the problem of correlation between science and theology - Education, Science and Orthodoxy
  6. 18-12-2016
  7. Вестник Православного Свято-Тихоновского гуманитарного университета. Серия 4: Педагогика. Психология.
  8. Apologetics - Natural sciences - Creationism - Evolution - Biology
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    1. <p>Мумриков, Олег (2012). Наука о жизни в старшей школе: эволюционная проблематика на рубеже ХХ-ХХ1 вв. <em>Вестник Православного Свято-Тихоновского гуманитарного университета. Серия 4: Педагогика. Психология. </em>Retrieved from: <a href=""></a> <br /><br /></p>
    1. Mumrikov’s thesis is that the essence and origin of life is one of the most complicated topics of teaching biology at school. He asks whether it is possible to combine the contents of a standard school curriculum and biology textbooks with an Orthodox outlook and this, without detriment to the subject matter or the Christian conscience of both students and teachers. The author posits that evolution is a complex issue, with a long history and one that includes both philosophy and the natural sciences. He seeks to see how science and Orthodoxy can be reconciled and explains that one of the most important, yet painful, aspects of teaching biology is the theme of evolution.

      The author begins by providing an overview of the extensive discussions of the 19th and 20th centuries regarding evolution, noting that the issue was one studied as far back as Ancient Greece and across many disciplines (biology, physics, philosophy, history, etc.). It is only since the 19th century though that atheists started regarding evolution as a foundational issue, thus determining the direction that Christian apologetics would take.

      The author spends a great deal of time delineating the history of evolution and evolutionary thought. He analyzes various theories which posit that to reconstruct the evolutionary past, the explanation that involves the fewest assumptions is most probably the correct one. Modern science shows a series of sharp sudden changes occurring in the nature of physical processes (phase transitions) and physicists speak of the inevitability of distortion or information loss during phase transitions, which also complicates the reconstruction of evolutionary scenarios. Ultimately, the author concludes that it is impossible to build a “completely true” evolutionary picture.

      At the same time, the author accepts that the model of a dynamic, evolving universe is a commonly accepted theory. He highlights that any acceptance of this scientific model by the church is valid only at the “working level” rather than as doctrinal truth and cites various examples of Christian cosmonogy which seek explanations on natural processes. The author highlights several sources correlating evolutionary worldviews with the biblical narrative. He notes that science does not and cannot know anything outside of empirical data. The problem with science is that they attach scientific experience to absolute value, whereas there is a universe that is unknown to the laws of science, and these two universes should be entirely distinguishable.

      The main methodological flaw, in the author’s opinion, is the fact that we often seek one correct answer, whereas there is a whole world of incomprehensibility, such as the mysteries of creation, the salvation of man and the world after the Last Judgment. Moreover, he quotes Bohr’s idea of “complementarity”, which, rather than providing preference to one idea, assumes various and differing perceptions, aspects and attitudes to give a most complete picture of a particular notion. The author dwells on various sources regarding the issue of divine will versus self-determination and notes that the development of the world requires not only a scientific analysis but a theological one as well. Science alone cannot develop a coherent and complete theory of the irreversibility of time, nor can it remove the problem of randomness. Rather, this is ripe material for theological analysis. According to Mumrikov, time itself has a variety of manifestations and secrets and these can only be revealed through the word of God.