One of our Fellows, Cornelius Hunter, has created a new online learning program, DarwinScholars.com, designed for those who want to learn about not just the scientific problems with Darwinian evolution, but also the crucial philosophical and theological ideas underlying Darwinian theory. Dr. Hunter’s program was neither created nor supported by Discovery Institute. But it offers a unique opportunity for the public — especially home schoolers, teachers, and adult learners — to take online courses and learn about evolution and the evolution debate in depth.
Hunter, who holds a PhD in Biophysics and Computational Biology from the University of Illinois, has written popular books critiquing Darwinism including Darwin’s God: Evolution and the Problem of Evil , Darwin’s Proof: The Triumph of Religion over Science, and Science’s Blind Spot. He knows all about the Darwin debate. We asked him to explain a little about the Darwin Scholars program:
ENV: What is Darwin Scholars?
Dr. Hunter: Darwin Scholars is an affordable and extremely convenient online alternative for those who want a world-class education in this most important of subjects — evolution.
ENV: What was your motive in creating the program?
Dr. Hunter: Darwinian theory has an enormous negative influence on our world, yet it is largely misunderstood. Very few people, on any side of this issue, really understand Darwinian evolution. There’s lots of chatter, most of it at a superficial level. Even if you do understand evolution, undoubtedly the people around you do not. The public needs resources to articulate the truth about this important issue.
ENV: We all have friends or relatives who hold an evolutionary viewpoint. What are some of the forces that drive people to accept such a view?
Dr. Hunter: Evolution is a complicated subject. There is much more to it than merely a bunch of atheists infiltrating science. At the same time, evolution is by no means simply a scientific theory. It is a movement, involving very powerful philosophical and theological beliefs. It falsely claims the high ground of scientific objectivity. And its influences are wide-ranging, extending to education, media, law, government, politics, public policy, public health, science, government funding, and so forth.
Darwinian evolutionists largely have control of our educational institutions, from public schools to public universities. Evolution has also become so dominant that private schools, universities, and even many Christian universities accept, teach and mandate it. In many fields adherence to Darwinian evolution is a given and anyone not going along faces marginalization at best, and quite possibly the loss of his career.
Young people, whether in high school or in college, face enormous pressure to accept the Darwinian understanding of evolution. Evolutionists teach a sanitized version of the theory at the expense of the science. It can be overwhelming, and the story can be very persuasive to the uninitiated and unprepared student.
ENV: You’re absolutely right that public schools have a huge influence on what people think, which is why the Darwin lobby works so hard to censor non-evolutionary views. But are you saying there are other factors, like social pressures?
Dr. Hunter: Yes, absolutely. Students are being influenced not just by school curricula, but by the dominance of Darwinian evolution in our culture. It’s a great challenge to educate the public about this. For evolutionists, the recent debate between creationist Ken Ham and Darwinian science popularizer Bill Nye was inconsequential. It was not a big deal, as neither is particularly influential in the world of evolutionary biology. But believe me, on college campuses, students were very aware of that debate. Nye had a good showing and students saw that.
ENV: What will the fallout be from the Ham/Nye debate?
Dr. Hunter: Unfortunately just as Ham did not have a good showing in the debate, many courses and resources aimed at understanding and critiquing evolution do not help, and too often make matters even worse. They rely on stereotypes and superficial presentations of the origins debate. Students do not learn what is really going on with evolution, and leave unequipped and unprepared for the enormous challenges the world holds in store for them.
ENV: Can your Darwin Scholars project help rectify this problem and clear up the false perceptions people have?
Dr. Hunter: Yes. There are many efforts being put together to educate the public on this issue. Darwin Scholars is one such effort, bringing excellent resources and curricula right into your own home at your convenience.
ENV: Is DarwinScholars.com for people who just want to watch a five-minute YouTube video and think they understand a subject, or is it for people who want to go deeper into the subject?
Dr. Hunter: This is not a superficial course of study. My expertise is specifically in evolution — its history, philosophy, theology, and of course the underlying science. Too often evolution courses lack these four components, but they are crucial to genuine understanding.
ENV: Anyone who has read your books knows that you have that expertise, Dr. Hunter. When can people start enrolling in your online courses?
Dr. Hunter: Darwin Scholars is now accepting students for the 2014-2015 academic year. More classes will be added as needed, so if the posted class times do not fit your schedule, contact Darwin Scholars and let us know what times would work for you.
ENV: Thank you, Dr. Hunter.
Evolution expert Cornelius Hunter has been studying, researching and teaching evolution for decades, and he teaches all of the courses at Darwin Scholars. Check it out and enroll today!