“Critical thinking” and “higher order” are the great buzz words in education today and have been for several decades. They are a big part of current educational philosophy, but what exactly do they mean?
Most people probably imagine that both of these terms would hold some measure of truth expectation, some thinking that would involve greater knowledge and important realities. However, they are often used to support a philosophy which has no room for truth claims.
It’s important to understand that all philosophies begin with some assumption about God and about the issue of truth, and this one is no different. The secular philosophy, the one being caught as much as taught in America’s public classrooms, says that each individual must determine what is right and what is true for himself through critical thinking. This mindset teaches that truth is relative and changes with every generation. However, Hebrews 13:8 states that Jesus Christ (who the Bible calls the embodiment of truth) is “the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” Malachi 3:6 says, “I am the Lord; I change not.” Jesus made it clear that his words would “never pass away”. (Matthew 24:35) In other words, truth is eternal. Our world has denied this in spite of overwhelming evidence for God as creator and sustainer of the universe.
As scientists discover more information about cells, DNA, and the human genome, they find amazing evidence of intelligence behind them. The apostle Paul in the book of Romans said that the creation of the visible world itself shows the invisible qualities of God. He stated further that even though people could know something about God through what He has made, the wicked refuse to give him thanks. They allow their thinking to become futile, and proclaiming their own wisdom they become fools. Paul would no doubt place some of the greatest leaders in education today in this category, because they are always learning, but are never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. They believe you can start from the premise that there is no God and still figure out all that you need to know.
Education leaders at the university level have successfully pushed the narrative that naturalism and theoretical evolution are equivalent to science and that there are no theistic implications there. Intellectual honesty would force the admission that science has not and cannot empirically demonstrate Darwinism’s claims. Most of those we consider to be the top evolution scientists in the world (i.e. Hawking, Dawkins, Gould, and Weinberg), according to biologist, Dr. Phillip E. Johnson and others, are atheistic naturalists who, in spite of their scientific credentials, more accurately fit the category of intellectual philosophers who jealously guard their territory against religion.
Johnson makes a compelling argument that, “In view of the cultural importance of the naturalistic worldview … and its status as virtually the official philosophy of government and education, there is a need for informed outsiders to point out that claims are often made in the name of science that go far beyond the available evidence.”
Truth seekers must be willing to learn to be real critical thinkers by examining all of the evidence. We can’t allow those who really are dealing in philosophy to claim the scientific high ground. We should demand teaching based on clear evidence and intellectual integrity. We should also demand the teaching of accurate history. There is no good reason not to teach about the historical Jesus, as recorded by writers of the era, both believers and skeptics. Students should be taught about the impact of Christianity on both the ancient and the modern world. Good literature from the past should be read and studied along with contemporary writings. No subject should be scrubbed of any references to religious contributions or discarded because of them.
The education establishment should be required to demonstrate its commitment to critical thinking by showing how it is applying logic and deductive reasoning to all sides of an issue instead of siding with what is politically correct. Educators with such integrity will not fear outside scrutiny of the curriculum. They will not attempt to keep anything hidden.
If there is hope for positive change, it will come through the thinking of those who are willing to become truth seekers who will follow the real evidence wherever it takes them.