Posted tagged ‘Genesis 1:28’

Shormann Math Core Ideas: Defining Mathematics

July 30, 2014

The following is the second in a series of posts covering Shormann Mathematics, Algebra 1, the newest product from DIVE Math and Science! Click here to read the complete document that covers Shormann Math core ideas, course description, and Algebra 1 table of contents.

Thinking of mathematics as the "ship," and the definition as the "captain," the way we define mathematics can greatly influence how we use it.

Thinking of mathematics as the “ship,” and the definition as the “captain,” the way we define mathematics can greatly influence how we use it.

Definitions Matter

Thinking of mathematics as the “ship” and the definition as the “captain”, a good captain can use the ship for what it’s designed for. A good captain knows who built the ship. A good captain can help others better understand what the ship is capable of. Here is how mathematics is defined in Shormann Math:

mathematics: The language of science and a God-given tool for measuring and classifying pattern and shape.

This definition tells us that mathematics, with all of its unique symbols, is best thought of as a language. It is a language we can use to study creation. Next, this definition tells us mathematics is about measuring things. It also tells us mathematics helps us find truth, goodness, beauty, and unity and diversity as we classify pattern and shape.

But most importantly, this definition of mathematics tells us “who built the ship.” Mathematics is not man-made, it is God-given. Created in His image (Genesis 1:26), we are designed by God to use this tool to be creative, too! God designed us to be creative and to engage in fruitful, productive activities (Genesis 1:28). Click here to learn more about the Shormann Math definition of mathematics.

Creationism hysteria strikes again!

May 27, 2013

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Creationism hysteria has struck again, and this time the attack is targeted at homeschoolers. A two-hour YouTube video titled “Home School abuse by Creationists“, shows a recorded Google Hangout of several atheists huffing, whining, head-shaking, and hand-waving over the fact that Christians like me believe Scripture gives an accurate account of history. The atheists are particularly in a kerfuffle over Ken Ham, to the point they are organizing a “protest” at the THSC Home School Convention, August 1-3, 2013, in The Woodlands, TX, where Mr. Ham is speaking. They are also considering protesting the CHEA Home School Convention, June 6-8, 2013, in Anaheim, CA, where Mr. Ham is a keynote speaker.

Some of the women in the video homeschool their own children, and they make some good points about problems with government education, and how other atheists shouldn’t chastise them for wanting to give their children a better education than government schools can. Unfortunately, when it comes to understanding science, or its language, mathematics, these atheists seemed woefully unprepared to give their children anything remotely resembling a proper science and math education.

Where Atheists Always Err

Without fail, hysterical anti-creationists muddle the distinction between a scientific thing and a historic thing. Over and over in this 2-hour video, complaints were made about Christian homeschoolers teaching their kids the “scientific claim” that dinosaurs and humans lived at the same time in the past. But this is an interpretation of history, not a testable, repeatable scientific claim! Natural history research is about interpretation of past events, and scientific research is about verifying hypotheses through experiments others can repeat. Scientific research does not need a time machine to verify its conclusions.

At about the 39-minute mark in the video, Shayrah mentioned that this is a “great big war”, and it is “not being handled properly”. Well, that is exactly right! Atheists and Christians alike often foolishly conflate natural history research and scientific research. The creation/evolution battle is a battle over natural history claims, not scientifically testable claims, and the battle is nothing new. It’s an insatiable demand for more evidence, which you will never get enough of. In the film How to Answer the Fool, Sye Ten Bruggencate describes this as an “infinite regress”. So atheist, if you seriously want to advance learning, then don’t waste your time protesting how some Christian homeschoolers interpret history, while simultaneously demanding more and more evidence! Faith is the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:2), so have faith(or not) in the evidence from Scripture and nature regarding the past that we cannot see. Then, get beyond your creationism hysteria and get out there and discover some new disease cures, or design a more efficient automobile motor, etc.

At about the 36-minute mark, Lilandra proclaimed that “teaching the earth is 6,000 years old is not science”. Correct again! Teaching ANYTHING about earth history is not scientific teaching. It happened in the past, which is why we call it HISTORY. Natural history research certainly involves the use of scientific instruments, but it is ultimately a historic endeavor, not a scientific one.

If atheists like Shayrah, Lilandra, and her husband AronRa are serious about defusing this “great big war”, then they will make a giant intellectual leap forward and start properly discerning between a scientific thing and a historic thing. Battles over earth age and origins will always be with us, because we don’t have time machines to go back and determine exactly how it all went down. Old earth or young earth, common descent or uncommon descent, we all have the same evidence. The differences come when we try to interpret the evidence. A true freethinker (which is usually the Christian, not the atheist) will teach their child about all the evidence about our past, and let them decide which interpretation they think is the best one. And if the child ends up believing God’s story about history, and trusting Christ as their Savior, what does that matter to the free-thinking atheist? If it matters in the slightest, then they are not true free-thinkers, but rather atheists with an agenda.

Why are hysterical a-theists also a-math and a-science?

Another big disappointment in this video was the lack of any real discussion about teaching children real science and its language, mathematics. There was some discussion about scientific illiteracy, but the discussions almost always reverted back to hysteria over how to interpret natural history. For example, at about the 1 hour, 27 minute mark, Shayrah made the illogical connection that if you believe man and dinosaurs lived together, then you can’t advance the study of disease cures! Whatever.

What is logical though is this: if your child has poor math skills, it will be much more difficult to understand 21st Century science, including finding disease cures. Calculus in particular is probably one of the most important tools for students to learn. Understanding calculus opens a student up to take courses in every department on a college campus. Not knowing calculus shuts them out of most science and engineering degrees.

Not surprisingly though, calculus was not mentioned once in this two-hour atheist history rant. To the detriment of society, most atheists are totally focused on the wrong thing. They say they want more scientific literacy, but they go about it by getting hysterical about, of all things, Christian homeschoolers! Actually, if the atheists in this video were more scientifically literate, they probably wouldn’t be so hysterical about Christian homeschoolers’ beliefs about history.

Borrowing from Christianity to make sense of reality

Here is a syllogism:

Second causes have a first cause.

First causes have no cause.

God is THE first cause.

Therefore, God is without cause.

It is logical to conclude that God is without cause. What is illogical though, is to assume that nothing created everything. If, in the above syllogism, you substitute “nothing” for “God”, then the conclusion is that “nothing has no cause”. In other words, not one single thing is without cause. Everything has a cause! Except God.  So, the atheist is left to teach their child the illogical claim that nothing caused all the atoms, the light, the energy, time, etc.  There was no cause for all the trees, fishes, birds, and there was no cause, and therefore no purpose, for the atheist or their children. Of course, no atheist acts like this, so their idea (atheism) doesn’t match their reality.

Since the atheist must believe in a life without cause or purpose, they must borrow from Christianity to do anything, including science. The Christian understands that it is the glory of God to conceal a matter, and the glory of kings to search a matter out (Proverbs 25:2). Created in His image, both male and female (Genesis 1:27), human “kings” are therefore creative, too, and designed with the ability to discover the plan and purpose God put into everything He made.

Scientific investigation is about making observations and discovering the pattern, purpose, and predictability of things. Science is about understanding what “is”, not about interpreting what “was”, and then getting hysterical when others disagree with your interpretation of what “was”. Doing science is about finding out how the world works, which is actually one of the first commands God gave humans in Genesis 1:28. He told us to take dominion, which the wise Christian interprets as being a good steward of what He made. Scientific investigation is founded in biblical Christian thinking about the world, not atheistic thinking.

Homeschooling is for everyone

To the atheist considering protesting either the THSC or CHEA conference, I urge you to not stand outside picketing, but come inside and learn! Come with a truly freethinking attitude, and get along with people you disagree with regarding earth history. But join us in our pursuit to build scientific knowledge, and set your standards for math and science education higher than the government schools do.

To anyone considering homeschooling or currently homeschooling, check out my company’s catalog to learn more, or stop by my booth at either the CA or TX conference. I would be happy to discuss science, math, and natural history with you! My math and science courses are for all homeschoolers, including the tolerant, freethinking atheist!

Whatever you do, don’t come to protest Christian interpretations of earth history. That puts the focus on the wrong thing, and makes you look like a scientifically-illiterate fool. Go after math and science knowledge for you and your children instead, but remember this: you can be incredibly smart, understanding all mysteries and all knowledge, but if you have no love for your fellow man, God considers you as nothing (I Corinthians 13:2). Thanks for reading this!

Producer Math

June 27, 2012

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When you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Psalm 128:2

Failing at producing

You may have heard the phrase that America has turned into a “nation of consumers”. If you think that is an incorrect assessment, take a look at this graph:

United States Imports Minus Exports, 1960-2011

This year, 2012, will likely be the 37th consecutive year that the United States of America has imported more than it has exported. In other words, we are consuming hundreds of billions of dollars more than we produce. As a whole, Americans are less productive, which means we are also less creative, than we were back in the 1960s.

For Christians, a trend like this should be unsettling, because it goes against the most basic of Christian principles. One of God’s very first commands to humans was to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). Created in His image, we are designed to create, too. To be productive. To bear fruit and “eat the labor of your hands”, as Psalm 128:2 teaches. “Bearing fruit” is not just about having children, or raising corn and cattle, building houses, bearing spiritual fruits, etc. Bearing fruit is ultimately about fulfilling the Great Commission by spreading the Gospel to the ends of the Earth (Matthew 28:18-20). And God didn’t make us all clones, and give us all the same exact plan for fulfilling the Great Commission. He designed us to be creative in this task.

Unfortunately in America, we answered the trend towards excessive consumption by developing “consumer math” classes for high school and college students. Such classes usually contain basic arithmetic and very little algebra, and are designed to help students understand common-sense ideas such as not spending more money than you earn. Less obvious topics like interest rate are also covered. However, most topics are a review of what students already learned in elementary and middle-grade math courses. Also called “business math”, Wikipedia describes these courses as “subjects taught to students who are not planning a university education.” In other words, the classes are for people who are not planning to be producers, just consumers.

Training up backward-thinking consumers

Now, don’t get me wrong. I certainly believe non-university bound students can also be productive members of society! However, by taking “consumer math” instead of an advanced math or calculus class in high school, you are essentially falling in line with secular and non-Christian education standards. For example, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics claims “For those whose formal education will end with high school, the needs of citizens and consumers for increasing mathematical sophistication dictate a collection of courses based on consumer and career needs”. See, there it is again! Non-university-bound students are just consumers. And citizens. But I didn’t say that, “they” did! The average government school is training students to be consumers and citizens who are told of their supposed not-so-special origin from a monkey-man. Shouldn’t they, shouldn’t we, instead be training students to be forward-thinking producers? Of course! If you are in a government school, you should fight against this kind of demoralizing miseducation. If you homeschool or private school, don’t use the government schools as your guide! Instead make sure your child gets a good dose of Christ-centered science, and it’s language, mathematics.

You are more than a consumer

University bound or not, current Christian or not, I hope you can see the problem with consumer math. Of course, some consumer math is a good idea, but “producer math” should be the priority, especially in high school and college. Because human beings are designed by God to be creative, creativity comes naturally for us. But creativity always requires tools, and in the 21st Century, good mathematics skills are definitely one tool that will help spark creativity, and in turn, productivity. All humans are consumers, but life is about so much more than that. Being a producer as well means that you and/or the company you work for need to 1) Create something to sell and 2) have the ability to sell it AND make a profit. And it is the profit (fruit) that you can use to grow your family, grow your church, and be a wise ruler of God’s creation as you fulfill the Great Commission.

Three of the many math skills that are important for 21st Century producers, two of which you won’t see much of until Algebra 2 or later, include 1) Unit multipliers (conversion factors), 2) Analytical Geometry, and 3) Calculus. And in all three of these, an understanding of fractions is key.

Good skills with unit multipliers are helpful when you are designing a new cancer-fighting nanotechnology, and you need to convert micrograms per liter per hour to ppm per day. Or, maybe you are setting up a spreadsheet to help you determine cost per unit of an invention that you patented, and now want to sell. Analytical geometry is helpful in computer graphics and other applications, where knowledge of not only shape, but exact spatial positioning is important. And calculus is where rates of change are studied, which has applications in more areas than you will ever imagine in a lifetime.

Math for producers

John Saxon (1923-1996) wrote some of the best “producer math” books available. While newer editions are moving away from his tried and true methods, the pre-2009 Saxon textbook editions are the best I’ve seen at helping students learn producer math. Avoid the newer, blue-covered hardback Saxon texts, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and NOT written by John Saxon. In texts written and approved by John, unit multipliers are taught beginning in the elementary grades, and continue through Calculus. Consumer math topics are also included. For example, sales tax, a topic that would be taught in a high school “consumer math” course, is introduced in the elementary-level Saxon Math 5/4. Students continue building their consumer math skills from this point on through Saxon Calculus.

As I get closer to creating my own mathematics curriculum, I hope to take the best of John Saxon’s principles, and build on those. As I develop this curriculum, I am taking note of the fact that John Saxon  never wrote a “consumer math” textbook. Indeed he frowned upon the very idea of placing students in these classes.  Regarding consumer, or “basic” math, John Saxon said “We cannot take kids and relegate them to the trash heap in this technological society. We label them as failures when we put them in basic math”(from John Saxon’s Story, by Niki Hayes, p. 276). And Saxon wasn’t the only successful teacher opposed to these courses. The book Standing and Delivering by Henry Gradillas highlights the story of how he and teacher Jaime Escalante eliminated “dumb dumb” math classes from Garfield High School in Los Angeles, and by doing so, turned around math education, with many students passing the AP Calculus exams.

So is “producer math” harder than “consumer math”? Well, is buying a blueberry bush, planting it, watering it, nurturing it, harvesting the fruit and then taking it to market to sell, harder than consuming a bowl of blueberries? Yes! But what does Scripture say about doing hard things? Does it say to run from them? Certainly not! It says to count our trials as joy (James 1:2-3). Parents and teachers who seek to help students be producers will get more heartache, more complaints, and more trials to deal with. But 10 years later, those parents will probably get more “thank you’s” from their children than from the ones who failed to challenge.

Christians have been called to handle the hard stuff with grace and thanksgiving. Parents, you know your child best. Are they capable of doing more producer math? The majority of them are, so push them with much love, patience, and perseverance. And if they fail the first time, give them a second chance the next year. And the next. But if you are certain your child is not capable of things like calculus, then do what it takes to teach them as much producer math as you can. Being a producer is not just the American way, it’s the Christian way, and us parents need to make sure we are training our children up to be more than consumers. Much more!

Spotted Dolphin

May 21, 2012

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The Atlantic spotted dolphin (Stenella frontalis) is one of about 40 species currently classified in the family Delphinidae.

A spotted dolphin comes in for a close look at my camera.

Reaching lengths of 8 feet, spotted dolphins are usually smaller than Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, and tend to travel in bigger groups, or pods, of 20 or more. Like most dolphins, spotted dolphins are very family-oriented, which brings up an interesting question. Because they normally tend to stick together as a family, dolphin pods are by nature reproductively isolated. And most biologists consider reproductive isolation to be the most important factor in contributing to diversification over time. But why are there only about 40 classified species of dolphins? Some say dolphins have been around for tens of millions of years, which seems like plenty of time to have more than 40 species develop on our watery planet.

Besides reproductive isolation, dolphins are classified as different species based on traits that humans consider different enough to distinguish one population from another. But compare the 40 or so “species” of dolphins to the 150-plus “breeds” of dogs currently registered by the American Kennel Club. All breeds of dogs are considered to be one “species”, Canis familiaris, all developed over the last 2000+ years. However, just like a laborador retriever can successfully breed with a golden retriever, so too a spotted dolphin can successfully breed with the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. Yet we classify them as different species, placing spotted dolphins in genus Stenella and bottlenose in genus Tursiops!

The truth is, a lot of confusion exists regarding how to define a species. Much confusion is remedied though, when we think of dolphins as one big family, or baramin. “Baramin” is the Hebrew word for “kind”, and is used many times in Scripture to describe God’s creative acts.  Scripture is clear that their are different kinds of things, and that “all flesh is not the same flesh” (I Corinthians 15:39). Also, as Peter Leithart explains, the “The Bible unveils a God who gives enough and more than enough”, and we see this attribute revealed in His creation, too. We see one family of dolphins, which God gave “enough and more than enough” to adapt and diversify over time.

So few dolphin species, so little time

And speaking of time, that brings me back to the question of “why only 40 dolphin species?” With their natural tendency towards reproductive isolation, one might think that if the earth were as old as some say, we wouldn’t have dozens, we would have hundreds of dolphin species. I believe the fact that we don’t see much diversity is good evidence that the best interpretation of earth age is the one that lines up with the genealogies recorded in Scripture. It is not-so-common knowledge that research reveals both the genetic and geneaological trends in humans point to thousands, not millions or billions of years of earth history. It certainly seems the dolphin baramin displays a similar trend.

Dolphins, oil and gas, and Christian stewardship

Here are some video clips from a May 2012 trip into the Gulf of Mexico, about 30 miles SE of Freeport, TX.

I want you to consider everything you see in the video, not just the dolphins. Included are video clips of a pod of about 18-20 spotted dolphins.  But you’ll also see a clip showing massive schools of fishes surrounding an oil and gas production platform. Think about it; what you are seeing is a man-made structure that also serves as an artificial reef, providing food and shelter for giant schools of snapper, blue runners, etc. And the spotted dolphins have come to reap the fishy harvest! Some conclusions I hope you will draw are 1) the dolphins are better off because of man’s activities in the Gulf, 2) the fish are better off because of man’s activities in the Gulf, and 3) Humans are better off because of man’s activities in the Gulf!

So, the next time you hear about the “evils of oil and gas”, or the “endangered marine mammals”, or “humans are destroying the planet”, remember this video! Followed properly, God’s dominion mandate for Christians in Genesis 1:26-28 will make our planet a more productive place, not just for mankind, but for all kinds. Only a fool would destroy the planet, but only a fool would overprotect it, too. God gave us an entire planet and then some to use, so let’s use it wisely!

Do you have a question or comment? Please post it below.

Adaptation

October 13, 2011

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Life does not evolve, it adapts. Watch my YouTube video, Adaptation, and learn more about what 21st Century science is revealing regarding epigenetics, and what God’s word and works have always revealed. The only reason evolutionism exists is because some people think God is a liar. I say let God be true, and every man a liar (Romans 3:4)!

One thing I mention in Adaptation is that genetic mutations have never been observed to create new information. In this article by Dr. Rob Carter, he states that our increased understanding of cell complexity means “We have to make a distinction between mutation and ‘designed variation’.” Dr. Carter understands cell complexity better than most (including me!), and he argues that our genomes contain some ability to generate “new” information via genetic change. In other words, there is some built-in variation via genetic change that may seem to create “new” information to us, but in reality God designed it in. In my book, Exchange of Truth, I use the word “genoversity” to describe the diversity within a genome. When God said He created different kinds of things, he meant it, and now more than ever our understanding of cell complexity is revealing to us the limited flexibility He programmed into each genome for each original created kind. Diversity within a created kind is an attribute of God (Romans 12:4-5), allowing organisms to adapt, within limits, as their environments change.