A week ago I blogged about the possible link between creationism, home-schooling, and apostasy. I am the first to admit that my hypothesis that there is a link between creationism and apostasy (falling away from the faith) was anecdotal, and I am pleased that there are many home-schooled kids raised on young-Earth materials come out of that with their faith intact (as always, by the grace of God).
Patrick Henry College is a classical, Christian, liberal arts university in Virginia, with a student body that consists mostly of students who were home-schooled. The school recently scored highest in the nation on the ETS Proficiency Profile. Gene Edward Veith, provost of Patrick Henry (and author of the blog Cranach, which is one of a handful of blogs that I read on a daily basis) boasts about his school:
On the ETS Proficiency Profile, a recognized and widely-used standardized test of academic proficiency in higher education, Patrick Henry College students posted the highest average scores of all institutions that took the test. Those 261 schools taking the test included liberal arts colleges and large research, doctoral-granting universities. Among those taking that test, PHC’s academic performance is #1.
The school is unabashedly young-Earth creationist, as stated in its catalog:
Any biology, Bible, or other courses at PHC dealing with creation will teach creation from the understanding of Scripture that God’s creative work, as described in Genesis 1:1-31, was completed in six twenty-four hour days. All faculty for such courses will be chosen on the basis of their personal adherence to this view. PHC expects its faculty in these courses, as in all courses, to expose students to alternate theories and the data, if any, which support those theories. In this context, PHC in particular expects its biology faculty to provide a full exposition of the claims of the theory of Darwinian evolution, intelligent design, and other major theories while, in the end, to teach creation as both biblically true and as the best fit to observed data.
Of course I would disagree with most of that statement, including the conclusion. Young-Earth creationism is biblically unnecessary and a poor fit to observed data, especially in the field of geology. But that is not my main point for now.
Patrick Henry College scored first in all categories, including Natural Science. This is despite the fact that the college catalog only lists five science courses: Biology, Biology Laboratory, Physics, Physics Laboratory, and Origins.
Do you have any speculations as to how a young-Earth creationist college that places almost no emphasis on science can score #1 in Natural Science?
I’ve got a few ideas:
- High admission standards
- An emphasis on writing
- An emphasis on logic and reasoning
- The breadth provided by a liberal education (as opposed to the narrow specialization of many university degrees)
- The test might not have a sufficiently comprehensive science section
One additional thought: PHC has the highest average score in Natural Science. That does not mean that they had an unusually high number of students who scored high on the Natural Science section.
Grace and Peace
(P.S. I write this as one who has been both a home-school parent and a science teacher in a classical Christian school)