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The Veritas Approach to Science

Marlin Detweiler Written by Marlin Detweiler
The Veritas Approach to Science

This blog post is the next in a series written by Marlin Detweiler to explain the Veritas Approach to subjects in your child's Classical education.  We invite you to read the entire series as we publish it each week on our blog in the coming months.  If after reading the post you find you have any questions, please contact our service department for more information.

“I’m not a science person.” If science teachers banked a dollar every time they heard it, they could retire after five years. Many students feel they lack the gene or the gift or whatever it takes to succeed in science. They’ve bought the piece of fiction that science isn’t for everyone.

“Science involves a lot of math,” they reason, “and I’m not a math person.” “Science isn’t important for what I want to do in life.” “Science is incompatible with my faith.” “Science isn’t for the imaginative, the verbal, or women, and I’m all three.” Each sentiment may be understandable. Each reveals an incomplete or inaccurate picture of what science is, though.

Veritas has a different view of science. We see it as the cultivation of a skillful inquisitiveness about the natural world. We see it as applying to all of us, as well.

Aristotle said that human nature compels us all to want to know about ourselves and the world around us. Part of what makes us different from dogs, fish, and flowers is our appetite for answers. Why does the sky look blue but space black? Where did the dinosaurs go? Why are there no pain receptors in the brain? Why are there so many languages in the world? Why aren’t there more chocolate chips in this cookie?

We can no more opt out of our inclination to learn new things than we can choose never again to breathe, sleep, or dream. Desiring to know doesn’t so much describe what we do as who we are. Our curiosity percolates from the core of our being.

By nature, we explore, observe, theorize, hypothesize, test, and revise. We go for curiosity’s sake where we’ve never gone before. We note, describe, and measure what we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. We build mental models to explain our experiences. We later replace those models when better ones come. When we’re doing all these things, we’re doing science.

Veritas believes that everyone is a science person. Some prefer art and music to biology, chemistry, and physics, true. Others enjoy the life and physical sciences and do well in them with little effort. This is true, also. No two of us have identical strengths and skills. Still, God has fashioned each of us to be a science person.

The sciences can enliven the mind as much as any humanities course. They can describe, model, and predict natural phenomena. They can open our eyes to see the world in new ways. They can help us solve some of mankind’s most troublesome problems.

Veritas introduces students to science’s contributions found in the Great Books, too. We teach not only science proper, but also scientific reasoning. We explore ideas that lead us to ask important questions about ourselves and the world.

Grade

Recommended Courses

7th

General Science

8th 

Physical Science

9th

Biology

10th

Chemistry

11th

Physics I

12th

Anatomy & Physiology, Advanced Chemistry, Marine Biology, Organic Chemistry, or Physics II

It’s notable that Veritas does not recommend science in grammar school. As you should see, not because we think science unimportant. Rather, we know time is limited, and building the language and math foundation is more important. And we’ve seen it time and time again because we’ve produced some great scientists. Students with no grammar school science may start a bit behind their peers who’ve had science, but very quickly pass them in their science learning. Of course, Veritas recommends and includes memorizing a whole host of science facts in Memory Period of grammar school.

Some believe the sciences have little to offer a classical Christian education. Veritas aims to dispel that notion. We humans are a curious lot at heart, brimming with questions. Science can’t answer them all, but it can give us powerful tools for seeking those answers out.

Learn more about the course options for Science