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An Exposé of Perilous Error in Education
with an Exposition of Better Things

Originally a Thesis for the Diploma of Education in Melbourne University in 1977,
this has, as 1999 was becoming 2000,  been revised and enlarged,
with added references also to other
members of what is now the 27 volume series,
"In Praise of Christ Jesus"
to help it relate to the
present time and purpose.
In essential substance and message, however,
it is the same.

by Dr Robert E. Donaldson

Published by World Wide Web Witness Inc.


ISBN 0 9577461 8 0


Education is in some ways, a barometer of the storms of society, philosophy and culture, an edifice to the religious condition of a State and an indication of what new follies, or residual virtues, what wonders or follies the next generation may be coded to follow; though, mercifully, it does not always agree.

The perils of State Education are now long manifest in South Australia.

However, in 1977, rather before the 1988 onset of militant, relativistic religion mandates in this State of South Australia, now applied to the longsuffering and marvellously mauled children of the populace, the same sort of religion was in view. It was posited, played with and considered.

Here in South  Australia, it was implemented! The case is so similar in zeitgeist, of which it is in both cases a faithful follower, though in SA even more simplistic and limited in concept than in the Victorian case, like the younger brother of a bruiser in the school yard, that it is impressive, in a negative sense.


Yet the Victorian case in its fantastic seeming combination of blindness and boldness,  shows clearly how fast and on what track 'society' and the world are beginning to move, even in States that have had a massive Christian past, which now they merely mould the more freely, so that what was good, becomes positively Biblically evil, even to the point of inexcusable harassment in the case of S.A., and almost inconceivable aspirations of folly in Victoria.

From the viewpoint of Christian, Biblical Apologetics, these developments are in kind NECESSARY, if the "mystery of iniquity" (II Thessalonians 2) is to do what is required to meet the specifications of prophecy, and to make some sort of an effort at 'showing himself that he is god', as Biblically specified in the dénouement.

A first step must be something like this: the State showing people that in the SECULAR realm of STATE education, all religions are relative; and none factual; and thus the God-permitter, the God-stabiliser, the God-conductor, the State, moves towards the OCCUPANCY in authority, of the role which later on an international basis, "the man of sin" is to take in POLITICAL PRACTICALITY; and that means earthly power.

It is in fact so completely impractical that it would not be possible at that level to last long. It will not do so. In the meantime, as if a doctor were watching the last stages of terminal pneumonia, the little matter looms, in the field of education, with all the virulence of the final fever.

While these predicted horrors proceed, and the foothills appear thrust up before the final mount of molestation and ferocity of evil, is there not scope of compassion, not only for starving Ethiopians, but for force-fed inhabitants of this land, many of whom, though they be but children, are given a focus of folly so intense, an exclusion of truth so vehement, that Vanity Fair in John Bunyan's day, as exhibited in his famous Pilgrim’s Progress, seems almost tender-hearted in comparison. Truly the Pilgrim’s Regress of C.S. Lewis is now nearer the keynote.

True, we do not burn the children; but then Faithful was burnt as an adult. There, men suffered; here the child is being denied truth, and fed folly to the point that NO EVIDENCE appears to have the slightest impact, NO LOGIC seems to have anything which even most favourably could be construed as relevant; and mere authority, knowing its methods and numbers, rules as it will. Challenges have been put out almost without number in University and to Government. The same unlively result obtains.

The war for the child soul continues, and the work of Amnesty does not seem to reach...

In this volume, the work of the Victorian "Committee on Religious Education", after its much consultation, is considered in detail, so that the depth of its aspirations and the character of the  recommendations its Report presents,  can be considered, in all their drab vainglory and shame.

It is useful

1) not merely to see the trend, to compare it with the case of the South Australian invasion of schools, documented in That Magnificent Rock, Chapter 8;

2) not only to show the fulfilment of Biblical prophecy in its contours, errors and graspings;

3) not only, indeed as a warning of things to come, for the "city, the exulting one, the safely dwelling one, which said in her heart, I am it, and there is none besides me"; but

4) for the sake of pity for the children, stirring action in the midst of apparent sloth towards their spiritual needs, as they are revealed to be in the Bible, and

5) to assist a better provision otherwise, for the children. It must always be remembered that when a free people tolerates these things, it is aspiring to doom.


The Biblical position is not one which the State is obligated to present; but it is one which in this Report, in generic terms, is attacked with an irrationality so profound, that it is difficult not to see on repeated occasions an element of comedy, which, were it not for the fate of the children to which it too well ministers, would be almost irresistible.

Truth however surpasses comedy, and gravity comes into play when this flirtation with destiny, so common in this history of fallen nations, and so well illustrated in the Biblical depictions of past instances, comes to its near consummation in the case before us. The certainty to all reason, of the Biblical faith is presented in detail in -

The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, That Magnificent Rock and elsewhere in this 27 volume Biblical Christian Apologetic Series;

but some aspects appear in the exposure of the errors of this anything-but-secular Report Religion which is engendered in the intersticess of the report for Government, which is before us.

As to the Biblical picture, let us taste it in the meantime. Paul, in I Corinthians 1:18-21 epitomises some of the major issues, always impactive, never rescindable, always valid, invariably unique in their evidential testimony and logical certainty:

With the sheer irrationality of those who would have Nature write its own 'book', in biological life, actually coded;  and matter its own character, many of the 'leaders' of the philosophies and religious conveniences and conventions of men, pursue their own wills, lines and ways,  chattering  unceasingly beyond the settled confines of matter and life, of either and both.

As they have done throughout the ages, so now, busily are they constructing ever more callow and cruel, in metaphysical and accompanying political systems, what stands only to fall in the smoke infested canyons of time. By direct statement or clear inference, mocking the God of truth, manifest in Biblical revelation, the One whom they refuse to worship, men in their multitudes continue to  misuse their gifts which He made, and which they cannot duplicate, even though, misusing them even more shamelessly than when they were first made, they apply them long and hard, in teams and with prodigious amounts of money, but in vain.

Refusing to bow before the only Saviour, Jesus Christ, attested in word and deed and in the testimony of the Bible and time ever since it was written, they spoil His world, follow the course of sin in this world, like wry students worshipping the cane, and calling devotion sessions to disobedience. This is the nature of the history of the non-God philosophies, the new god prodigies and the religious extravanganzas of man who disdains, departs from, or discounts the revelation which God, far beyond them in reason and writing, has made, immaculate, indefatigable, irresistible to all test, prophetically conveying history into being like a conveyor belt: according to plan, indeed, according to pre-stated plan!

It is alas, too closely related to the routine into which this Report Religion, one which it is our present task to expose, for the sake of the children and truth alike, has fallen. What is intended by its producers, with what hope what is presented is held, it is neither our affair nor competence to assess; what is there written and officially presented to the public, it is this which is our task and object, and its statements and religion, its ways and indications are our 'body' to X-ray, to test and to exhibit.

Meanwhile, His Gospel proceeds as it has proceeded, outfacing all rebellion with the truth which stands, as unlike all that is fallen, in all that has befallen this race, so much of which seems almost IN a race to see where the very acme of rebellion; and happy and blessed are those who find it, and through its blessed call, the Christ who came, and suffered the little ones to come to Him. Alas there is so much that WILL NOT suffer this, and for the children one mourns, and on their behalf, seeks to help those who will see, to come to their relief, freeing them from such worldwide trends as this Report Religion so well illustrates, and in some things, actually perhaps is LEADING!


The topic here is education, State indoctrination, Governmental creation of religion and the perilous possibility, to be consummated in due time (II Thessalonians 2:4ff.), of exposing with something increasingly like force, in a tide of coercive circumstances, a humanistic, but by no means secular religion, where the facilities of God, are blindly groped for, and at times cavalierly assumed, in the abundance of darkness. It focusses the little less than amazing case of the State of Victoria, in its surveys and the Report tended to it. A better recommendation, more objective and less oppressive is given in this paper, which would substitute for this appalling bewitchment, which has appealed to that State.

This Victorian Committee case is a classic, the Report running into hundreds of pages, directed to Government for action; and it has broad application to many parallel, or developing scenes of similar kind world-wide; and is therefore useful in other settings, as well as being an amazing testimony to the preliminaries of which Biblical prophecy bespeaks, in their coming culmination. In conjunction with the South Australian IMPLEMENTATION within State education - of something with some oppressive and irrational elements in common with the Victorian case, borne on a similar tide of cultural occlusion, breaking on the surface of the children, which substitute for the shore, this Victorian case gives us a twofold introduction to the spirit of the Age from this land. It attests its massive movement, its fast-gathering storm and the glaring darkness of confusion, as the sun gets ready to make its valediction, before the dawn of the Day of Christ, returning in splendour with judgment under His wing for all who reject His truth, and mercy in His heart for all who come; and to all is His call addressed.

{Postscript: For a later, A.D. 2000, Victorian move which may have much in common with this initiative, in the area of religious liberty, free speech and suppression, oppression in the maw of political absolutism, acting as if god, when denying effectually, the very knowledge of Him in integrity and reality, see Galloping Events, Ch. 6, Excursion *2. }

T A B L E   0 F    C 0 N T E N T S


                      ACRID ABSOLUTISMS






                       PARENTS -  SO VERY NECESSARY ?

                       SOCIETY - SO VERY NECESSARY


                       CODIFICATION OF CREED
                       CREED ( SHORT FORM )



                       MIRACLES ...




Analogies are good for more than dubious arguments by analogy.

Take this one for example. Let us take an aphorism to commence: education is not something which educators do to the educated (or educable). In the physiological parallel, health is not something which doctors do (create, implant) in the patient (the health seeker). Some doctors know this; some say it, no doubt. One did, in effect.

As to health - doctors combat physiological, anatomical disease. They also excite or stimulate health. They do not however create it. Theirs is not to create genes (they may come to manipulate - an interesting extension for our budding parallel and nascent analogical excursion). They do not teach the cells mitosis; they study rather than initiate meiosis. The layers of skin do not re-deposit on the sore as it heals, by their instance; neither is the concept of the haemoglobin theirs by origin. They watch; they consider; they observe this work of art*1 - they seek to reduce its wear or increase its care: but create it they do not ... no, not even the integral character of the healing processes.

As to education - teachers combat educational disease. They also excite or stimulate inner educative activities/functions. They do not however create them. Theirs is not to create rational or even linguistic process*2. They may come to manipulate - and interesting exploration for political dictators and academic pundits whose taste carries them from time to time to this or that location ideologically: for example, from Rousseau's implicitly moralising naturalistic dream to one of our more recent de-moralising naturalistic educational dreams (infra Sections 2, 3, 4, Appendix; and cf. *2 infra).

This they may do on purpose or by failure to realise that their student 'creations' can be in measure coded. Their prodigious insights (into WHAT is a question sometimes receiving surprisingly little attention ) frequently have as much passion as rationality, if not indeed more. Such visions (or anti-visions) appear to change with a frequency - perhaps, at that, outdone by psychology, but by no means unrelated to it. Indeed, both relate to philosophy, and, dread thought, to religion... of which, more anon.

But can we well say of teachers (to pursue our stimulating analogy): They do not teach to the young, ideation; they study rather than initiate the realities of the divisions of knowledge ? We shall see.

Now it must be admitted that the analogy could be carried too far. Thus much of the bodily function is indeed, programmed. From the sympathetic nervous system to the approximate 120 trillion nerve connections of one kind or another which apparently lie ready in the human brain*3, there is order and there is organisation.  We do not determine these things. However, when we come to the human mind, and to - admittedly - the increasingly ambitious relationship which educators seem to wish to have towards it, there is at the mental level, not such an extraordinary programming. The mind is programmed to think.

No one here among man can create the organ of the originative type of structure, at the level of conception area, which is implicit in the human mind, The mind however to not programmed as to its thoughts.  It roves; it relishes and despises; it gasps In rapture at the 'unthinkable’, and recoils while It thinks it.  It argues. it controverts. it overturns its birth ideation, its youthful orientation; Its conditioning it despises, and throws It off like car wash to the ground.  It seas excellence and despises it; it sees folly and is enraptured, Now it strives for accomplishment; now it spoils it.  Its chagrin and fury; its creativity and free roving over the history of ideas is impressive and startling.

It is programmed to think; but its thoughts are not programmed.  Indeed, they vary between the ludicrous to the ingenious, from the idiotic to the imaginative, from the erratic and rogue, to the intrinsically beautiful and penetrating; from error to precision, from wilfulness to waywardness, from logical acuity to illogical rationalisation. They are not programmed. Why repeat that?  It is better than repetitively to ignore it.  Now is the distinction. The educator may endeavour to program the human mind.  This is his freedom compared with the physiologist to a considerable degree.  Will the teacher exploit this?  We shall see.

Much of the confessedly profound and extensive disputation in the area of education is - in a form of analogy - dispute as to which programme which programmer, and how ... much.  To play god (with or without this cybernetic analogy) is attractive to some.  We must watch ...

It would perhaps be unfair to isolate educational theory in this way; but it is by no means unfair to cite it.  The 'unstructured' lessons on analysis and on observations tertiary or secondary,  are readily laid bare for the unspoken and conceivably unconscious presuppositions of the 'programmer'.  In attenuation, the program may not be deemed didactic; it may be to ascertain, to be a catalyst ... but it is this,  IN certain defined areas WITH certain defined or determinable books, thoughts, ideas, perspectives … and latterly especially NON-perspectives in mind in the last analysis, where there is no guide or government of the mind in the procedure. We must postulate a teacher without educative embargoes (which therefore are embargoed during the PROCESS of the lesson), without philosophical hang-ups (by which OF COURSE such-and-such MOST reprehensible activities ideas or manners or mannerisms are prescribed or proscribed),  theological convictions (for a man will think on what he is), and so on.  This is not to say such Individuals are inconceivable: their conceivability is not the poignancy of it all. 

They are more difficult to identify. Moreover, those who think they are thus, are on the way to being already programmed to this style, and hence dehumanised accordingly and slanted; for to act as if all conviction can be divorced from procedure, is merely to play the god of the unconscious and the matrix maker of the personality, devitalising its parameters, procedures and depths. WHY is the depersonalised more apt, or the de-activated more profitable, and even if it were, for what! This is merely the philosophy of defeat, parading its parameters, and sharing its downfall in the mode of teaching.

In Summerhill we find one of the most structured and determinate of situations.  While Neill requires often but a few months to de-program a child from some structure of morals which may pollute his amorality.  In his own attitudes in the backer he appears to demonstrate that a demoralising. or a categorical restructuring of morals may require 80 years for abreaction and still not achieve it.  There is force. fervour and fiasco as he expresses his horror at sexual restraint in certain aspects, at the loathsomeness of imposition In studies and so on; but how structured is his resistance. how passionately committed is his rejection, how excluding Is his array of prohibitions - albeit what he prohibits Is other then what his people appear to have prohibited him.  The child Is brought up with certain preconceived ideas about what Is due respects every bit as determinate - and If It were possible - conditioning, as are other ideas less attractive to the psychic realities of some spirits dressed in human forms and calling themselves men.

It is interesting to observe educational situations where professionals seeming at least to pride themselves an their (relative or decisive) lack of morals, set up a determinable system of no-morals commandments one of which Is that other people are all wrong (sic) when they have some types of (different) morale, This won't really do.

It Is necessary to remind ourselves that rejection Is not an abyss; that resistance is not nullity; that new ways are WAYS as well as new.

A consideration of Holt, of Otty and Kohl In our preliminary reading, similarly indicates that by exclusion freedom is structured: that is' by what Is excluded the residue is already structured, Delves*4 takes it further, By removing the analytical structure of language Itself from conscious reflection,  by removing formal intensity in logical scholarship or reducing the opportunities for its impact,  insisting on a scope of reading which makes students to my mind almost begin to take an the role of trainee computers instead of distinguishing man of letters,  recruits for 1984 quack language (with the kind co-operation of the renewing conceptualisation for abstract terms),  Orwellian oddities losing In measure human distinctiveness while pursuing statistical purity of sociological orientation (the words are designedly as difficult to follow as is the concept repulsive to rationality) : by doing such things Is one really giving freedom rain?

Rather it appears one is then reigning over freedom by reducing the very sharpness of the Implements needed for Its social - not to say individual - continuation at this level; and as far as these forces go.  Indeed, there in one remarkable similarity between all the authors just mentioned in the books designated*5. There is either explicit or Implicit a pathological orientation.  Let me explain.

This applies whether it be negro children admittedly deprived and In need of special solaces method and support (36 Children); or neurotic tending heavily parentally subsidised children who can damage and destroy while they abreact their originating neuroses as not seldom seemingly seen in Summerhill.  It relates whether we ponder deprived sufferers hypothetically, of the SYSTEM Delves wishes to change so very much, social cripples. academic miscreants, residues of oh such evil forces as it would appear ... whether it be backward readers, the socially mugged, the erupters or, in the extreme cases such as Dibs, there is an explicit pathological atmosphere or reality. Extreme and odd, unfortunate and remedial, pressurised and peculiar circumstances abound, or are crucial in considerations of method.

It is in this therapeutic waiting room of education we seem so often to move with hushed psychological feats whilst philosophical wardsmaids dart In and out, rarely with any formal greeting as if we should accept them on familiarity along.  It is perhaps for this reasons for example, that one counted over 25 logical errors in Neill's Summerhill and about the same number of textually unwarranted assumptions or presuppositions.  After all,  in such an air of impatience for progress on the part of the socially financially, educationally racially emotionally psychically, morally deprived Is there not need for rapid end maybe drastic treatment … in casualty.

By now it will be seen that the Initial analogy of medicine and education is by no means merely a passing matter: there are proprieties in its use which transcend first usage.  And after all is this not the generation of the health boom, of the $100,000-is-not-very-much medical salary or earning?  There Is a passion for health, though not necessarily for the means to it.  This too applies in education*6.

Medical costs soar not least, it seems, because limited medical personnel with limited medical structures and knowledge are being urged by strong social and political pressure to do much soon, and at high quality, So in education funds are to be sent and spent with some new sort of freedom; but on what?  Create it, and soon.

But on what philosophical basis? with what agreed consensus of the results of scientific method? with what … dare one say it, program for man-in-the-making (merely an educative slogan) is one to proceed?  Ask Dean Meiklejohn in his Education between Two Worlds and he will tell you, before the boom quite burst, that there is none.  And for all the similarity in some postulates or most of the works quoted so far, there is much thought of another kind.  Without in the least accepting it, one can note the virulent propositions of a Dooyeweerd as well as the sad realism of a Meiklejohn, the passionate pleas with some of the sharpest logic seen in this century it may be, of a C.S. Lewis in his collected essays (such as Christian Reflections and God In the Dock),  the claims of the Creation Research Society and the approach of the American Scientific Affiliation, writers like Dr Francis Schaeffer in his voluminous expositions of philosophy and the thought development of our times: one can note all this and know there In small agreement.

The postulates are diverse; the differentials are profound. They always have been; though statistical proportions vary.  They go back in one phase to Parmenides and Heracleitus - the radically contained and in one sense, conservative - and the radically uncontained end meaningless. They go back beyond that to paganism and Christianity.  They move too in another stream through Plato with ‘the wise’, never so wise. and never so obscure to those outside their class; for who can know them?  And through this, one moves to various idealisms, ideals without rational basis, absolute idealism, absolute empiricism in Hume, who does not even leave a meaningful personality and mind to deliver his empirical propositions and so defeats himself at the outset; one moves through Jung’s Modern Man in Search of a Soul with its hanging gardens of mystic archetypes and strange libido moving he knows not objectively where or for what, but moving with unseen dynamic and unpropositionalised basis through happily systematic Psychological Types.

One peeks at the God Is dead movement with Its Altizer bravely speaking from the outmoding of reality to the announcement of whatever-it-is that can be found out without having to have anything of veridical vision from which one could find out - propositionalising with all the happy industry of a Kant*7 from the noumena and the unknown, with frightening inconsistency,  from a merely logical point of view.  One considers the unspeakable ground of being of a Tillich, and marvels how articulate It seems to become through such a spokesmen though it in safely interred ever since Kant (Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of Practical Reason), and rejoices in the theological come-back of a Barth, who is able with equal facility - for they all seem virtuosos - to make the absolutely unknown absolutely clear as to what it Is not, and sometimes even as to what it is, though it cannot be it - lest It rupture Its splendid isolation.

This last is a delightful member of the neo-Aristotelian drama, in which the happily thinking supreme being - say first mover - is far too pure to touch this world, and so must just contemplate. This in fine, except that It is a marvel he could be found out, since he has no mind for it.

Even Physics can seek in its Heisenberg uncertainty principle to escape too much rigour; for is it not impossible by known techniques to ascertain both location and velocity of an electron - for does not the measurement displace what is to be measured?  Perhaps - but does this fumbling with a thread in too fine a needle alter the nature of the task?  It does not appear*8. That which technique conserves from knowledge is not systematically affected.  Even the delightful struggle between wave and corpuscular theory In the doctrine - is that the word? - of light in no exception.  For if reflection and refraction follow designable lines and quantities (if you will excuse the quantitative bent for the nonce), they are yet scarcely free because statistics is the tool currently most apposite to consider their movement.

The very tension of the wave-corpuscle theories each offering comprehensibility in measure*8, argues the likelihood of a need for a theoretical break-through even in conceptualisation,  let alone questions of measurement.  Planck in fact uses wave theory to resolve the reflection-refraction problem for a single particle.  And they do, these waves-corpuscles, follow (one was nearly going to say - party-line) the expected line.

Now this extreme flexibility and conflict in the history of ideas and in those of philosophy which as applied philosophies can appear in educational philosophy: this variability is not the same as identity.

These age-old conflicts between personality types and modes of construction, between rationalism and empiricism, between agnosticism and theology, between the purist and the pragmatic, between the believer and the cynic - are not found merely outside these blessed days of scientific method.  Much of the area of dispute is as much outside the techniques which make scientific method unique as is the ground work for the theory of organic evolution*9. (And even that has in its Nillson - Synthetische Artbildung; in the splendid review of ideational mutation from  Norman Macbeth - Darwin Retried, as well as in the particular cases of quantum evolution - George Gaylord Simpson, 'Macro-evolution';  and in the 'hopeful monster' - Goldsmith, and in other breakaways: a morass of its own,  a subspecies of the larger genus we have briefly reviewed.)

Where then are we?  Who will program whom?  What is so extremely obvious that we need only more of them in education and don't you know,  utopia In so much the nearer?  Let individuals and groups merely rush on like so many unserviced cars desperately driven by steadfast drivers lacking road maps and sometimes road rules! Surely there is a quasi-agnosticised-messianism in some of our antiphilosophies of the present day.

Take for example the Russell Report (the Report of the Committee on Religious Education - Victoria - 1973).  Is not the way there disarmingly clear?  Should we not then at once implement it?

After all, we must never forget the pathological side (remember, dare one ask, our medical parallel); the intense multiple deprivation of so many - enough to stir the empirical to empiricise the rationalist, the purist to purify the pragmatist, the Heracleitan- (with modifications) Marxist to socialise (it is not, one hears, politic to say communise) the Parmenidean conservative, and the relativist to relativise - if possible agreeably - the absolutist ...  and all the other things that go back so far to the dawn of intellectual history.

And to do this will of course, be modern (nothing not modern is permitted: that is a modern rule).  It cannot be wrong.  It should be expedited.  Reactionary forces (whose actual name may depend partly on who is happily giving us the benefit of his model) will of course object; these unfortunate bigots are sometimes liquified; but they may in more civilised and less absolutist countries (such as those who do not give credence to the total relativism of Marxism, which yet is to be absolute), simply be nullified. (Pardon the paradox, it is partly the result in due irony,  of the misuse of terminology by some relativists and absolutists and the insistence on the part of some who are one thing, on bringing in some of the vocabulary of the other - this is a wide development and a cornerstone of neo-orthodoxy in theology in particular*10.)

Clearly then the report - the Report, the Russell Report in Victoria in this year 1977 - should be implemented.  Would not any sound party-line zeitgeist robot say so without more ado, or thought!

What if it has many an ungrounded presupposition?-  how unproductive to follow In Lady Macbeth's footsteps and say: tout damned presupposition?  What if it does have an implicit creed?  Is that not more a matter of twentieth century politesse and presumed agnosticism (especially where we know only that we cannot know - oh, and what other people must not say they know, this too we know; though, say they, to be sure, we have no knowledge! - for we are so often so benignantly humble in so much of our relativism)?  What if the Commonwealth Constitution does have a statement about freedom of religion?  What if history laughs to tears and its controversies of culture refuse to believe it:  yet implement it!
For are they not honourable philosophies which implemented it?  Honourable all.  (By the way, which were they?  We'd better look at these gentlemanly gyrations of thought back of the Report - infra.)

Pardon this lapse into empathetic semblance in the promotion phase, After all,  this writer in his REASON FOR FAITH*10A has himself argued, and claims that the work is cogent, for the Biblical position.  Should he criticise?  Yes,  but in that work, the grounds are explicit, the reasoning addresses itself to the situation at the outset, and the result is announced.  Oh yes, and there is no endeavour to implement the Christian Biblical faith through it,  in the 'community' with State funds; and with Commonwealth funds ... yes,  there's the rub; in the face of the Commonwealth Constitution.  Oh yes:  and there is no endeavour in that work of this author, to indicate that this specifically RELIGIOUS set of data is yet in some way secular!

Of course not, you say.  Let us get our feet on the earth.  What do you mean?  Only this: that the Russell Report provides for the possibility that the Law may declare that its presentations on religion (sic) are secular to the point that the relevant Victorian law may be deemed to be met in its 'requirement of
'secular' . That IS religion with a difference.  But then, if it were not so different, at least in form, why this thesis?


After such an extensive exordium, it would seem only fair to indicate forthwith our intended procedure.  First. we shall give evidence of presuppositions in the Russell Report, with direct and heavy bearing on religion.  This will be given at the outset categorically, and then in terms of consolidation, on the basis of what is clearly exposed, for completeness.  No attempt will be made to cover all it might say; merely to be aware of crucial elements it does say, and to make adequate evidence available to exhibit that it includes such presuppositions.

Where attempt in made to defend these things, yet inadequately for the removal of the  concept of presupposition as relevant,  we may indicate this; and where no attempt is discernible,  this may be noted.  Our endeavour In general however is exceedingly simple: to show that they are there, in whole or in part - THERE, whether camouflaged or blatant; in position in the Russell Report, like weaponry prepared in England before the Normandy Invasion.

Our next task will be to put them, with due regard to their setting, into theological language; then to systematise them into some sort of cognitively meaningful system, if that is possible: for to assume an incoherence at that level would seem a gratuitous and even improper step without evidence.  Therefore we shall seek to expose the actual fact in that dimension.  If then there is system, even if imperfect, we shall endeavour to set this forth in propositions; and if the same  is adaptable to the process, to set forth these propositions with due regard for their specific content, in the FORMAT of a creed.  This in to enable the quickest inspection of such similarities as the propositions may admit of, to citable creedal propositions.  If there is no such similarity, the setting forth in an analogous form to a creedal one, will indicate readily, as an anti-verification that this is so.  If the opposite, however, then there is the more positive result.

If that facility for creedal formulation, if that exposure should appear, then not only would it be the case that the Report adopts an attitude analogous to that of a Church in its formulations of thought (when exposed); but it would follow that, to the extent these presuppositions were not tidily and explicitly stated, and above all named as creedal items in effect, the Report subscribed to a different religious idiom from that traditional in churches.

In that case, it would follow that it HAS these creedal items, but does not ANNOUNCE them. WHY would that be the case? we should then ask.  Whether this would be 1) surreptitious, 2) confused a teaching technique or 3) whatever else,  would then be a question requiring some careful assessment of the evidence internal to the Report, This might not give categorical answers to all these questions.  But it would be sufficient for our purpose to detect any codifiable system of this type and to estimate the significance of its presence for results - without necessarily estimating the ground for its existence at all, and in this form in particular.  Nevertheless, some attention to the latter paint would be of some value if it would help us to understand the direction of things in any measure relative to results in students.

Then there are two areas of further research which in a large and general way could be referred to as practical and theoretical.  Let us take the former first.

If then there should be shown to be a series of presuppositions bearing any procedural similarity to creedal items, and especially if these could be shown to be susceptible to codification, systematisation. compilation and estimation in theological terms, then the question of the Report being implicitly a form of religion, would be relevant. If the presuppositions are set forth with authority or in a style indicative of the 'need' for their acceptance; or even if they are so used as to condition the work and the attitude for the school work shown in the Report, then at once a constitutional question will arise.

First: Does the constitution of this land allow the establishment of a religion by the State?  If the Report would culturally tend to 'establish' a religious view and approach in this field - and incorporate it in a subject for study, an offering for student minds, in its curricular resultant ... then we would need to check this at once.  The point would apply a fortiori, if components of such a type of material were to be inserted in any usual secular subjects.  Of these,  English and Social Studies could be prime examples. This might then be a candidate for assessment as not merely a move towards the establishment of a religion by the State, but for a spreading subversion of student minds in insidious manners, whether with full recognition of the presumption and imposition, or not. It is one thing to present a form of religion; it is quite another to present it without acknowledgment, as far as STUDENTS are concerned; and it is yet more aggravated an action, if this is done in areas not ostensibly religious in nature. This is true to whatever extent religion COULD or SHOULD be seen as prime in all subjects. It is one thing to say that, and to announce the religion; it is quite another to do it and announce nothing at all.

What, however, does the STATE constitution say for Victoria?  What does the Commonwealth Constitution say for Australia?  How do the secondary Institutions relate to these two bodies?  What if the State and federal constitutions conflict in this area?  Is there a precedence?  Is it relevant in this field?  These would be areas for some consideration, although this work makes no pretension in the specialised field of law. Nevertheless, opinion in this area and some preliminary look at the constitutions would be in order.

A specific application would be any attitude presented on the part of the writers of the Report, that their work or field or recommended approach is secular.  If this be found, very important results would accrue relative to the ambivalence between their 'creed' - if such there be or any near analogue - and such a secular claim.  Such an opinion would be highly significant, assuming rationality, also in terms of estimating any ambiguities in their presuppositions: for in that case, presumably they deem their work in essence outside the field of religion as distinct from the secular.  Secular religion?  Religious secularity?  If there is any indication in any such direction (and we will of course assume integrity and therefore meaningful use of words unless and until assured evidence is shown to the contrary, both relative to the Report and other human productions), the implicit assessment of and production in the field of religion will be so much simplified.  After all, such approaches are KNOWN in theology; are highly partisan; and their imposition would be in the most intense sense, an establishment of religion, an imposition of ONE THEOLOGY, and that a new (in form) and untested (in time) type of production.

That of course would merely exacerbate the impropriety of establishing a religion federally or an alien one in Victoria (to the extent our constitution is specific in any other direction).

Should it be found unconstitutional to implement such a system of thought (qua religion) for any reason,  State or federal, or conceivably both, then our finding would be highly relevant to the anticipated release of the review of the Russell Report being prepared now by the Religious Education Committee. To this body, it was referred in January 1976.  Should space permit, we may give a little attention to the composition of things in terms of efforts, counter-efforts and intentions at this time.  However, our main purpose is to find the nature of religion, if any, in the Report; and to study its implications in terms of religious freedom and stated requirements in Victoria and Australia.  Yet it is not primarily a legal matter; rather is it a religious matter.  Thus if this State implements any such Report, we seek to ensure it will know consciously explicitly and systematically, exactly what it Is doing.  The law, for our purposes may be left to itself, so long as the issues are at least pointed to it.  That is rather a matter of methodology.  It is not per se our concern.

Earlier, there were indicated TWO AREAS OF RESEARCH at that time unspecified.  The first, now surveyed,  was practical.  What of the second? the theoretical?

To some, that will seem as exotic or at least peripheral as will, to others, our more practical initial element seem painfully superficial, pending the second point, Both are however germane to our purpose.  We must, then, consider what measure of validity, if any, attaches to the (series of) presuppositions.  This - and we have already touched on it - may involve to some extent any rational support which may be attempted for them in the text of the Report; and if this is so, whether or not it is consciously realised in the production  of the Report, that presuppositions are in view.  Again, to some extent, it may concern presuppositions for which no support is attempted - or at least no LOGICAL support; and of which the writers may be wholly unconscious (i.e. first, as to their being presuppositions; second, as to their being in any need of support; and third, conceivably, as to their having systematic and structured bearing on the Report at all).



*1 Art

See my 'Life from God* - a supplement to my major apologetic treatise:
Reason for Faith.


See my Prolegomena and Book Assessment - English Methods Assignment, Melbourne University,  I977.


Article:  I am Joe’s Brain   (J.D, Radcliff) In Reader's Digest, August 1976.

*4 Delves: See my Some Points on Methods of Teaching English - English Methods Assignment 1977.

*5  designated:  See my Prolegomena,  op.cit.


Meiklejohn in his Education Between Two Worlds notes the worlds having shuffled off that modicum of certainty which certain church views gave concerning education in much earlier times. is looking for the new perspective. Finding it not - is  like a mother who Is expectant, but without child.

Gillett in her A History of Education, thought and practice, p. 292 gives an interesting summary of her assessment of more recent movement relative to such a looked for change and substitute for the old:

In the twentieth century, especially In the second half, there have been many deliberate attempts to identify inert ideas In education, to isolate values and procedures which were reverenced and maintained simply "because they were there." These have sometimes resulted In excessive exuberance which tended to worship change for the sake of change, to excoriate everything old merely because It was old.  They have also involved the development of new approaches to curriculum - the rejection of the traditional subject-centred curriculum, the acceptance of the activity or child-centres curriculum. the advocacy of the core or inter-disciplinary, society-oriented curriculum, and, in the 196O’s, a reverse trend back again to the subject curriculum.

Again. an p.259, we read of more attempts for a new educational models In most significant regards:

Robert Ulich, in his History of Educational Thought, from Harvard University, is yet more emphatic, and were it not that one has found considerable background for this drastic seeking, he might even have sounded a little melodramatic, However, it appears he is in fact in great earnestness (p.348):

Speaking in terms of the need to ‘turn chaos Into progress', he traces the same concept of an educational philosophy unborn:

Thus we discover everywhere the need for a new and total conception of man: in his relation to science and faith, in his relation to state and government and finally in his relation to self and society.  If we do not succeed in creating such a new conception and applying it to reality, our time may not be different from the end of Antiquity, with all its melancholy chaos, and final decay.

*7 Kant
See In detail hare my Predestination and Freewill 1964 M.A. Thesis, Melbourne University.

Appear ... measure

Both these points are incisively propounded by Planck in his Philosophy of Physics.  It is pleasing to see so articulate a man of science with so dramatic an expository technique, and such ready command of language.  However European culture some decades ago affords evidence of linguistic excellence.  Let us then hear him on these technical points in particular:

On p.22 he notes that the 'measurement of single atoms and electrons requires extremely delicate and sensitive methods and hence implies a close causal nexus'.  In view of this delicacy 'the exact determination of the position of an electron therefore implies a relatively powerful interference with its motion; and conversely the exact measurement of the velocity of an electron requires a relatively lengthy time.  In the first case there is interference with the electrons velocity; in the second. its position in space becomes indefinite.' This causally explains the situation.

Stirred by such considerations, he asserts that 'it seems wholly absurd to attribute a certain fundamental inexactitude to these universal constants, as those who deny causality would have to do if they wish to remain consistent.'

As for what seems the captious because ill thought-out criticism that because absolute precision of measurement is threatened, realistic importance is lost in the process, he replies: 'It is wholly absurd to maintain that an intellectual experiment is important only in proportion as it can be checked by measurement; for if this were so, there could be no exact geometrical proof.  Yet nobody doubts that geometrical constructions yield a rigorous proof.' A similar point is made by C.E.M. Joad in his Guide to Philosophy.

He proceeds to point out that if the definition of causal conditioning of an event be that it can be foretold with certainty, there is an implicit and necessary and indeed normal and general qualification of this.  Before doing so, he clarifies the point that by this, he does not wish to imply that this IS the causal condition: merely that 'the possibility of correctly foretelling the future is a safe criterion of the presence of a causal connection.'

What then is this qualification?  and why must it be made, in general indeed?

Why because, in fact, instruments always are afflicted with inaccuracy: 'in no single instance is it possible accurately to predict a physical event.' What then has been done historically to meet this - especially if one is to use the quite comprehensible Planck definition of predictability as a criterion of causal connection?

Taken literally he points out, this would mean there were no causal connections; for IN PRECISION, because of the limits of instruments, no demonstrable accuracy totally designating the mathematical correlate of the event is possible.  He points out that the definitional difficulty has been met by slightly altering 'the definition of an event.'

He indicates that 'by an event, physics means a certain merely intellectual process.'  It substitutes a new world In place of that given to us by the senses or by the measuring instruments which are used in order to aid the senses. This other world is the so-called physical world image; it is merely an intellectual structure. It is a kind of model or idealisation created in order to avoid the inaccuracy inherent in every measurement and to facilitate exact definition.'

He argues that even his own Planck's  quantum - which by its discrete aspect limits measurement - rather confirms causality because of its incorporation of an elementary constant comparable with the charge or mass of an electron.  It is a DEFINITE REAL MAGNITUDE, he insists; and as such as we saw before, he indicates the conceptual clash involved in postulating a fundamental inexactitude to such universal constants.  That, he reasons, is what results if one wishes to deny causality and talk in mere statistics.

Meanwhile, 'the validly of statistical lawn is entirely compatible with strict causality', he observes.
'We explain the pressure of a gas on the wall of the containing vessel as due to the irregular impingement of numerous gas molecules flying about in all directions; but this explanation is compatible with the admission that the impingement of any one molecule upon another or upon the wall is governed by law and hence is completely determined causally.'

He proceeds to mention Bultzmann's work on gaseous molecules and temperature and stresses the mathematical laws found in this connection such as to lead to implications of great precision concerning 'the absolute number and mass of molecules impinging. for example. upon a very sensitive balance
balance.' This could be found simply by measuring the oscillations.

The inflexibility of these laws, constantly accumulating and the character of universal constants, constantly discovered, constantly confirms the rigorous propriety of causal construction of events.

Lastly it is relevant to note that his use of wave theory to enable the theoretical dissertation and construction of the case of ONE PARTICLE impinging an a surface (with 'sections' reflected and refracted) is of great interest. The necessity to reconcile wave and particle theories is one of the most challenging. As Planck points out at length, it is precisely by taking such challenges in rigorous causal context that advance is historically made.



See Dr Duane Gish, Evolution: The Fossils Say No! (ch.1);

Prof. Heribert Nilsson: Synthetische Artbildung (English Summary - p.1212);
and or Dr Henry Morris, The Troubled Waters of Evolution (ch.4).

*10 Particular

See Dr Cornelius Van Til:  Christianity and Barthianism.

This work has since been replaced by The Shadow of a Mighty Rock and That Magnificent Rock, in the context of the 22 volumes by the present author,  now in this site.