The World and Everything in It: September 6, 2022
The legacy of the last Soviet leader, homeschooling is continuing to rise after it experienced an explosion in numbers during the pandemic, and a book to help Christians see through some of the false claims of Darwinian evolution. Plus: commentary from Whitney Williams, and the Tuesday morning news.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
Today we consider the legacy of the last of the Soviet leaders, Mikhail Gorbachev, who died last week.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Also, the rise of homeschooling during pandemic and the number of families choosing to keep at it.
Plus our Classic Book of the Month for September: Darwin on Trial by Phillip Johnson.
And mending clocks and marriages.
REICHARD: It’s Tuesday, September 6th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
REICHARD: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Judge grants special master » A legal victory for former President Donald Trump. A federal judge granted his request for a so-called special master, to look over the documents the FBI seized from Trump’s home.
Speaking to supporters in Pennsylvania, Trump said the FBI’s search last month went too far.
TRUMP: They rifled through the first lady’s closet drawers and everything else.
The Justice Dept claims Trump was holding highly classified documents and that his team may have obstructed its investigation.
Judge Aileen Cannon’s ruling authorizes an outside legal expert to review the records to weed out any documents that might be protected by claims of attorney-client privilege or executive privilege.
Zaporizhzhia » Yet another incident at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant knocked the facility off of the country’s power grid Monday. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: U.N. officials said Russian shelling sparked a fire in the area. Ukrainian crews then had to disconnect the plant’s reserve line to extinguish the blaze.
The line itself was not damaged. But the latest incident deepens concerns about the safety of the already battle-scarred facility.
Experts say its reactors are designed to protect against natural disasters, but not a war.
Global leaders are calling for a demilitarized zone around the plant to avoid a catastrophe.
Operators said in a statement that Russian forces have kept up “intensive shelling” of the area in recent days despite the warnings.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
Canada stabbings latest » Families in Saskatchewan are grieving today, still trying to make sense of a deadly series of stabbings in and near an Indigenous community.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the attacks “shocking and heartbreaking.”
TRUDEAU: My thoughts and the thoughts of all Canadians are with those who lost loved ones and with those who are injured.
Two brothers are accused of killing 10 people and injuring 18 more. Authorities identified one of the suspects as 30-year-old Myles Sanderson. The other suspect, his older brother Damien Sanderson, was found dead.
Authorities say the attackers targeted some of the victims but apparently chose others randomly.
New UK prime minister » Queen Elizabeth II is formally appointing a new prime minister today at the royal estate in Scotland.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss won the vote to lead the country’s governing Conservative Party and has promised to get right to work as prime minister.
TRUSS: I will deliver a bold plan to cut taxes and grow our economy. I will deliver on the energy crisis.
The 47-year-old Truss faces immediate pressure to deliver on promises to tackle the surging cost of living.
Truss replaces Boris Johnson, who caved to pressure to resign after a series of controversies.
OPEC cutting supplies » Major oil producing countries are cutting their oil supplies to the global economy. WORLD’s Anna Johansen Brown has that story.
ANNA JOHANSEN BROWN, REPORTER: OPEC and allied oil-rich countries are trimming their output, resisting calls by President Biden to ramp up production to help lower gas prices.
Growing worries that demand will slump in the future have started to ease oil prices down from peaks of more than $120 per barrel in June.
That has slashed the cost of gasoline for drivers while cutting into the windfall for OPEC and allied countries.
The October supply cut of 100,000 barrels a day is a modest one. But the announcement did give oil prices a boost on Monday.
U.S. crude rose 3.3 percent, to just under $90 per barrel.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen Brown.
Mississippi water » Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves says he’s hopeful that Jackson residents will have clean drinking water very soon. And he said the state has the “personnel in place to prevent as many issues as possible”...
REEVES: While understanding that a week of repairs does not eliminate each and every risk. There may be more bad days in the future.
He added that the state will invest tens of millions of dollars into a long-term solution to the water crisis.
Recent heavy rains caused problems at a water treatment plant that already needed costly repairs.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: the legacy of the last of the Soviet leaders.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Tuesday the 6th of September, 2022.
This is The World and Everything in It and we thank you for joining us today. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. First up on The World and Everything in It: First up, the legacy of Mikhail Gorbachev.
Many of us know Gorbachev as the Soviet leader to whom Ronald Reagan addressed this challenge back in 1987:
REAGAN: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
But “Mr. Gorbachev” had a hand in more than just the tearing down that wall—he played a key role in the tearing down of the Soviet Union, and the end of the Cold War.
REICHARD: In recent years, however, Russia’s new leader, Vladimir Putin, has worked to regain power over former Soviet states. And he’s rekindling Russia’s Cold War rivalry with the West. Here’s WORLD reporter Josh Schumacher.
JOSH SCHUMACHER, REPORTER: Mikhail Gorbachev died on August 30, 2022, about 31 years after he told the world he would resign as the leader of the Soviet Union. It was Christmas Day 1991.
GORBACHEV: [Speaking in Russian]
The last year of Gorbachev’s rule was tumultuous. He witnessed one coup against his power. And he watched several of the Soviet Union’s satellite nations move toward independence.
Up to his resignation, Gorbachev had sought to preserve the Soviet Union, but reform it.
William Inboden is the executive director for the Clements Center for National Security at the University of Texas at Austin.
INBODEN: He always was a dedicated communist. Okay, so when he became the Soviet Union's leader in 1919 85, he was very committed to preserving Soviet communism. But he also realized that Soviet communism was in desperate need of reform. And so his goal was to reform the system while still preserving it.
Inboden explains that Gorbachev saw two main threats to the Soviet system. The first was the internal threat of repression, corruption, and a decrepit economy.
The second was the aggressive policies of U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
INBODEN: And so Gorbachev set out to try to address both of those, and for the first part, the question of the Soviet Union's own internal corruption and decrepitude. He came up with two policies of glasnost and perestroika, which mean essentially reform and openness.
A problem quickly arose from this strategy. Gorbachev was trying to open up a system that depended on being closed to offer freedom to a system that depended on being controlling.
The result? The system started to spiral out of control.
KOPPEL: Military leaders and the Soviet secret police have taken control of the government and vice president Gennady Yanayev is now sitting in the president’s seat…
Still, Inboden explains that Gorbachev did manage to do one thing before the Soviet union began to fall apart:
INBODEN: He did succeed, at least in ending the Cold War peacefully, so that there was no longer the threat of the United States and Soviet Union blowing up the world in a nuclear exchange.
Gorbachev would win a Nobel Peace Prize for that accomplishment in 1990, even as his home country reviled him for it.
But Gorbachev’s legacy wasn’t all rose-colored in the eyes of the West. Early in his tenure, he carried on the “Brezhnev doctrine,” sending in the tanks anytime an uprising occurred in one of the U.S.S.R.’s vassal states.
INBODEN: And then a couple of times in Georgia and a couple of the Baltics, he did he did send to the troops and a half hearted way, there was some violence, they did kill some peaceful protesters, and that is a more on his legacy, to be sure.
Still, Inboden says he didn’t respond violently to the extent that his predecessors would have.
Or, it seems, as one of his successors would have. Britain’s Channel 4 news.
REPORTER: It was a sudden as it was brutal and relentless Ukrainians woke up to find themselves plunged into the midst of war as Russia launched a full scale invasion on multiple fronts and the early hours of this morning...
William Inboden points out that Vladimir Putin, especially with his recent invasion of Ukraine, has proved himself to be very much the opposite of Gorbachev.
INBODEN: Gorbachev, every time he was faced with the choice of do I use force do I try to extend the control of the Soviet empire, he would choose the more peaceful path of allowing the Soviet satellites to go their own way. Whereas Putin's goal has been to recreate the borders of the old Soviet empire. So this is why he invaded Georgia in 2008. That's why he annexed Crimea in 2014. That's why, of course, he invaded Ukraine earlier this year.
And this lends an odd sort of symbolism to the timing of Gorbachev’s death.
INBODEN: Putin and Gorbachev represent two very different visions of, of Russia of, of the Kremlin of its relationship with his people of its relationship with its with its neighbors. [11:35] There's a very poignant symbolism to this.
Gorbachev has passed away at the same time as the Kremlin decided to kill his legacy as well.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Up next: the explosion of home schooling in America.
The start of a new school year does not necessarily mean heading back to the classroom. A growing number of families have opted to keep their kids at home in recent years.
NICK EICHER, HOST: The pandemic, of course, played a role in that trend. And many assumed as schools started reopening, that more and more students would be catching the bus back to school.
But as it’s turning out, what once was a necessity is now the ideal.
Joining us now to talk about it is Jim Mason. He is president of the Home School Legal Defense Association.
REICHARD: Jim, good morning!
JIM MASON, GUEST: Good morning.
REICHARD: First of all, when we use the term “homeschooling,” how do you define that? If a student is temporarily learning from home online using the curriculum from their local school, is that home schooling or is that a different category?
MASON: That would be a different category, from our perspective. So homeschooling is a private option that parents choose to educate their own children, pursuing their own educational goals rather than being done in partnership with the public schools. Homeschooling isn't just about proximity. It's about who's in charge and what's being taught.
REICHARD: Okay. So what increase have you observed in actual homeschooling since the pandemic began and has that trend slowed at all?
MASON: When public school closures started happening, there was a big explosion in interest and actual homeschooling across America. Millions more children began homeschooling. The Census Bureau started keeping track of it as the pandemic wore on, and concluded that homeschooling may have doubled or even tripled. It's a little hard to keep track of, but the numbers were definitely up a lot. And our experience here at Home School Legal Defense Association, the number of contacts and members that we have also increased dramatically.
REICHARD: What are the prevailing reasons why more parents are choosing to home school?
MASON: Yeah, there's a lot of theories about that. And you know, anecdotally, I would say that possibly one of the biggest things is a lot of people were on the cusp of thinking about homeschooling, and just never kind of got over the finish line. But then the pandemic provided them with a really good reason to start homeschooling. And then once they started, they discovered the joy of homeschooling and stuck with it. And then another thing happened where public schools tried to stay open with classrooms being taught through the Zoom window. And people who may not have thought about homeschooling, nevertheless had their children at home and we're watching through the Zoom window what was happening in the public schools and that changed their opinions about where their children might best be educated. So a lot of those folks may not have thought about homeschooling, but they stuck with it after the pandemic.
REICHARD: I’m sure you’ve heard reports about a new federal study showing that math and reading scores for America's 9-year-olds fell sharply during the pandemic when many students were learning, at least part of the time, from home.
Some might see that as a black eye for homeschooling. What’s your response to that?
MASON: Well, those studies were conducted on the public school classrooms. Homeschool students, I can speak from personal experience during the pandemic—my oldest child was still being homeschooled, and we’re really plugged into the homeschooling community—and the pandemic really didn't hardly affect the ongoing education of homeschool students at all. And studies for years have shown that homeschooled students do at least as well, but often much better than their counterparts in the public school. So those studies I don't think have much relationship to the actual homeschooling experience.
REICHARD: Jim, where are the most important battles being fought right now for parental and homeschooling rights in your view?
MASON: Right now, what’s in the public eye most is what’s going on in the public schools. And so from a parental rights perspective, parents are demanding to have a lot more access and involvement into what's happening in the public schools. From a homeschooling perspective, the tremendous growth of homeschooling has led to a lot of new and innovative ways that parents are kind of banding together to teach their children. You may have heard of things called pods and micro schools and those sorts of things. So they're sort of challenging the boundaries of the traditional homeschooling laws in many of the states. Many states' homeschooling laws date back to the late 80s and early 90s before we had email or the internet. So a lot of these new models are stretching and straining the resources of public school districts. And we're working pretty hard to expand the boundaries of liberty for parents to choose what's best for their children.
REICHARD: Jim Mason is president of the Home School Legal Defense Association. Jim, thanks so much!
MASON: Oh, you’re very welcome. Thank you.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, September 6th, 2022. We’re so glad you’ve turned to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: Emily Whitten reviews our Classic Book of the Month.
For September, she highlights a book that can help Christians see through some of the false claims of Darwinian evolution by putting Charles Darwin on the witness stand.
EMILY WHITTEN, REVIEWER:
CLIP: I am not a scientist but an academic lawyer by profession, with a specialty in analyzing the logic of arguments and identifying the assumptions that lie behind those arguments.
That’s a clip from the audiobook version of our Classic Book of the Month–Darwin on Trial by Phillip Johnson, read by Frederick Davidson.
CLIP: This background is more appropriate than one might think, because what people believe about evolution and Darwinism depends very heavily on the kind of logic they employ and the assumptions they make.
Darwin on Trial first appeared in 1991, close on the heels of a 1987 Supreme Court ruling against a Louisiana law. That law sought to balance “evolution-science” in schools with the teaching of “creation-science.”
When Johnson–a law professor at UC Berkeley–read the evidence given in various hearings, he called foul. Many arguments in favor of evolution were simply bad arguments, scientifically and logically. So, in his book, Johnson put Darwin–and his theory of evolution–on the witness stand. His verdict?
CLIP: Darwinism plays an indispensable ideological role in the war against fundamentalism. For that reason, the scientific organizations are devoted to protecting Darwinism rather than testing it, and the rules of scientific investigation have been shaped to help them succeed.
I spoke recently with Joshua Hershey. He’s Assistant Professor of Science and Philosophy at The King’s College. Hershey recently listened to Johnson’s audiobook and he sees why it still matters today.
HERSHEY: I think the reason Johnson's book was so influential is that it did provide a clear, accessible, provocative critique of the reasoning behind Neo-Darwinian theory.
For one thing, Johnson shows that the evidence for Darwinian evolution just isn’t there. Microevolution, yes. The idea that a species of moths can vary in color based on their environment–that’s well proven. But macroevolution, or small changes over time as the origin of all life? Johnson says no, and Hershey agrees.
HERSHEY: There are major problems with the extrapolation if you're just trying to, you know, point to, to small micro evolutionary changes within species or even between very similar species, and then sort of extrapolate, ‘Well, if this small amount of can change can happen in a short amount of time, then, in a long period of time, much bigger changes can happen.’ Well, not necessarily.
In his college classes, Hershey uses the example of cabbages–where we see a huge variety. Within one species, we see broccoli, kale, and even brussel sprouts. But clearly, there’s a limit to that variety.
HERSHEY: No combination of dominant or recessive cabbage alleles is going to yield a baby squirrel, for example, right? The genes just aren't there for producing squirrel parts...
So if the evidence is lacking, why do so many people believe in Darwinism? To fully answer that question, Hershey says we’d have to consider many factors, including mistakes the church has made responding to Darwinism. But he echoes Johnson’s argument that many scientists hold to philosophical naturalism; they believe the natural world is all there is. So, they’re drawn to a natural explanation.
Johnson notes another reason. Christian scientist Carl Linnaeus used the Biblical idea of kinds or groups to create a taxonomy–or a tree of life–showing the relationships of plants and animals down to the level of species. Linnaeus believed many organisms share traits because they share a common designer–God. Darwin proposed a different source for those similarities–a common ancestor. Here’s the audiobook again.
CLIP: Darwin ended his chapter by saying that the argument from classification was so decisive that on that basis alone he would adopt his theory even if it were unsupported by other arguments. That confidence explains why Darwin was undiscouraged by the manifold difficulties of the fossil record.
As a scientist, Hershey understands the appeal of Darwin’s theory. But new discoveries in areas like nanotechnology and cosmology make Darwinism even less plausible now than in Johnson’s day.
HERSHEY: Unfortunately, when you look closely at the details, it very quickly gets a lot more complicated than than Darwin or even the Neo Darwinian synthesis advocates realized…
Darwin on Trial is over 30 years old, so it is out of date in some areas. Hershey says Karl Popper’s ideas about falsification don’t hold up that well. He also says you can find better resources on recent evidence for and against evolution. Hershey includes some of that evidence at his website, faithfulscience.com.
HERSHEY: Obviously, the founders of modern science regarded science as an expression of their faith in God. And the evidence of design in nature has continued to mount with recent discoveries in astronomy and cosmology, even biology. Many Christians including me, have found our faith strengthened and deepened by studying the sciences.
Phillip Johnson’s book Darwin on Trial helped spark the Intelligent Design movement, and Hershey follows that movement’s research. But if you fall more in the camp of Creation science or even if you sympathize with evolution, our Classic Book of the Month remains a critical read. In his heyday, Johnson summed up his work with the following motto. It comes from a speech posted on the IDquest Youtube channel:
CLIP: ‘A false hypothesis is better than none at all, for that it is false, does no harm at all. But when it fortifies itself, when it is accepted universally and becomes a kind of creed that nobody may doubt, that nobody may investigate, that is the disaster of which centuries suffer.’
He then adds,
CLIP: That of course is when science turns into religion.
I’m Emily Whitten.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Tuesday, September 6th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. WORLD commentator Whitney Williams now on tending broken clocks and marriages.
WHITNEY WILLIAMS, COMMENTATOR: I would say that I’m done trying with the broken clock in my dining room, but saying so would indicate past effort on my part, and I’ve made none. My mother, on the other hand, has been trying to fix my broken clock since the day she gifted it to me.
She bought the large, iron apparatus to fill an empty space on my wall—and that it did. It did not, however, tell time.
My mom was optimistic that first day, spurred on by no longer having a receipt and the store being too out of the way to make a return. She tried fresh batteries, bent the arms this way and that—loosened tightened parts and tightened loosened parts. “There!” she said before she left my house, “That should do it.”
It didn’t. But I didn’t notice. Time was flying by this working mama of three faster than a turkey in November and the last thing I was lookin’ at was the clock in my dining room.
There are two digital clocks in my nearby kitchen, for one. For two, three, four, five, and six, floating somewhere around the house: A Spiderman Watch, a Sonic the Hedgehog Watch, a blue race car watch, a watch with a compass, and a V-Tech KiddiZoom SmartWatch—all must-haves at the time of purchase. For seven, eight, nine, and ten: Two iphones, an Apple Watch, and a faux gold Invicta that my husband and I got roped into on our tenth anniversary cruise.
In other words, I have plenty of time. But still, the clock’s been an ongoing effort for my mom each time she visits.
“Is your clock still working since I messed with it?” she texted me this morning.
I got up from my desk to take a look: “No, not working,” I typed. “I mean, it is working, I guess, but still not keeping time.” I added.
Her three dots appeared. “Makes me so mad,” she responded.
“Not sure I need it to work,” I wrote back. “Just there for looks.”
“Oh, it needs to work!” my mom responded.
The exchange sounded a lot like my internal dialogue in the early days of marriage.
“This is not working,” my heart would cry, as I looked around at flashier relationships.
At times, I’d get angry. More often, I’d get despondent: “Maybe I don’t need it to work … perhaps if I just stop caring …”
“Oh, it needs to work!” my heart would fight back.
Meanwhile, God was bending me and my husband; loosening the tightened parts of our hearts and tightening the loosened parts.
And now, thirteen years into our marriage … it’s working. I mean, maybe not like clockwork, but we’re learning to keep in time with one another, enjoying one another more than ever before.
The adjustments will be ongoing, I’m sure of it, but when I step back and take a look at us now, I thank God we didn’t have a return receipt.
I’m Whitney Williams.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: a special report from WJI Europe.
And, Kim Henderson takes us along to a concert at a homeless shelter.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.
The Bible says: God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? (Numbers 23:19 ESV)
Go now in grace and peace.
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