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Peeking outside the Darwin cage

"Peeking outside the Darwin cage" Continued...

Part of the reason for her classroom taboo is the school’s goal to help its students get into top colleges: Some might be hesitant to accept students if they knew they were being taught ID. But Johnson does assign some of Discovery Institute’s articles—ones that aren’t specifically about ID—to her students for bonus quizzes. After this summer’s seminar, she is considering teaching students an overview of what ID entails. —Angela Lu

John Ferrer

ferrer.jpgJohn Ferrer felt called to ministry in high school, and automatically assumed that would mean pastoring a local church or heading out as an overseas missionary. While studying to be a youth minister at Southern Evangelical Seminary, he started to realize university campuses made up one of the biggest unreached mission fields, where atheist professors slaughter the beliefs of unprepared Christians.

His worries about bad ideas spewed from the lectern and their effect on young minds that grow up with a warped worldview. For instance, Princeton professor Peter Singer exalts to his students his belief in purely utilitarian ethics—condoning abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, and bestiality. 

“So many churches are just mopping up the blood rather than stopping the source of the bleeding,” Ferrer said. He’s since pursued a Ph.D. in the philosophy of religion and sees himself as an evangelist for the redemption of universities. 

He said campus fellowships work on personal transformation, which is important, but neglect the transformation of the entire university. He thinks that can only be remedied as churches turn away from a tendency toward anti-intellectualism, and train students to seek truth and think for themselves.  

Ferrer believes Christians need to be the best students in the classroom. Then after they graduate, they should enter top-notch grad programs and places of influence in politics, business, and academia. Once Christians become professors or even college presidents, they have more power to change what is taught to the country’s future leaders. —A.L.

Lugo Martinez* 

Former math teacher Lugo Martinez,* 49, is a Seventh-day Adventist from Mexico who doesn't eat pork and can play “Battle Hymn of the Republic” on the piano from memory. He’s currently studying to earn a doctorate in geology at Loma Linda University, an Adventist school in Loma Linda, Calif., that hosts the Geoscience Research Institute. The institute conducts research into Earth’s history and origins and seeks to discover harmony between science and the Bible.

Martinez said attending the intelligent design seminar at the Discovery Institute this summer strengthened his faith: “I believe in the biblical frame of the origin of life. I think God came and put the conditions on Earth for life to begin.” Martinez personally believes that biological life is young, perhaps 6,000 to 10,000 years old, but that the Earth itself is old. He believes Noah’s flood was responsible for creating the fossil record.

His area of study is igneous rocks—those formed in the Earth’s hot interior. In particular, Martinez is interested in rocks that form underground as cooled magma, then are revealed by erosion. This month, he planned to accompany other researchers on a trip to Peru to study the Andes Mountains.

Once he finishes his Ph.D. program, Martinez plans to return to Montemorelos, Mexico, to head up an extension of the Geoscience Research Institute at an Adventist university. There he’ll do geology research and teach religion and science—from an intelligent design perspective—to theology students. He might also drop into math, the old teaching specialty that led to meeting his wife, a former student. 

Although he doesn’t fear academic persecution in Mexico, Martinez asked that his real name not be used to avoid problems when speaking at U.S. universities. —D.J.D.

Lori McKeeman

mckeeman.jpgThe Potter’s School is an online Christian school popular among homeschoolers and missionary and military families. The lead science teacher, Lori McKeeman, 58, has been teaching students about intelligent design and the Bible for seven years. She traveled from her home in Pensacola, Fla., to the Discovery Institute’s seminar to learn the latest ideas from intelligent design scientists. “With science, you have to continue professional development,” she said. McKeeman and another Potter’s teacher are considering using the Discovery Institute’s new private school science curriculum, Discovering Intelligent Design.

McKeeman taught about 210 students last year: “They get into the military academies. … Our Latin students are some of the higher scorers in the country. My view is, these are students that are going to be leaders.”

To guide her students through lab assignments or difficult science concepts, McKeeman uses videos and animations, some of which she creates herself, and hosts live online discussions with a microphone. She coaches students through experiments like extracting DNA from peas and fruit, and uses science to demonstrate the Bible’s accuracy. (One example: Hyssop, a cleansing agent in the Bible, contains thymol, an antiseptic used in mouthwash.) McKeeman can easily list off examples of evident design in nature: suicide bomber lysosomes … glow-in-the-dark fungi … explosive bombardier beetles. (“Chemical weapons! … God already had it in nature!”)

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