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Nessie and Noah
June 27, 2012 9:45 PM   Subscribe

Fundamentalist Christian schools in Louisiana will soon be citing the existence of the Loch Ness monster as proof that evolution is a myth.

New textbooks for the Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) program, which teaches creationism and attempts to disprove evolution, include statements such as:
Are dinosaurs alive today? Scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence. Have you heard of the ‘Loch Ness Monster’ in Scotland? ‘Nessie’ for short has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur.
Alexandra Petri of the Washington Post looks at other parts of the curriculum.
posted by asnider (175 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Are dinosaurs alive today?

A little bird told me yes (but in a very ancient tongue).
posted by jaduncan at 9:47 PM on June 27, 2012 [56 favorites]


As they say, “If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children. If your plan is for 1000 years, misinform children! If your plan is for 10,000 years, educate trees.”

Pure gold.
posted by GuyZero at 9:49 PM on June 27, 2012 [71 favorites]


God dammit Louisiana, it's crap like this that makes me want to leave you for a nice sensible state where they don't use taxpayer money to teach bullshit to little kids.
posted by Scientist at 9:51 PM on June 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


The best part is that the "proof" doesn't even scan. It's like an education version of the Chewbacca defense - if there is a plesiosaur in Scotland, you must believe young-earth Creationism!
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:52 PM on June 27, 2012 [24 favorites]


In this case, it's Scottish and crap.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:54 PM on June 27, 2012 [34 favorites]


Is it possible that Nessie murdered five street walkers before returning to Loch Ness? Bullshit or not?
posted by bpm140 at 9:54 PM on June 27, 2012 [12 favorites]


Plesiosaurs aren't even dinosaurs, that's what everyone is up in arms about right?
posted by onya at 9:54 PM on June 27, 2012 [57 favorites]


Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) program

Do the textbooks mention that in physics acceleration can be used to describe something getting slower and slowwwerrrr and slowwwwwwwwwww........
posted by fleetmouse at 9:55 PM on June 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


Ah, this is nothing. If you really want to fire up the outrage machine, see if you can get your hands on a science textbook created by A Beka or by Bob Jones.

From A Beka's book description for one of their "science" textbooks:

"Students are introduced to the scientific method and encouraged to apply it throughout this Christian life science text. They investigate fields such as botany, anatomy, zoology, microbiology, and ecology with the goal of discovering the thoughts of the Creator through the ingenious structure and orderly function of His creation."

Science: learning to read God's thoughts
posted by Old Man McKay at 9:55 PM on June 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah, Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish. If suddenly someone dragged a living pleiosaur out of Loch Ness, it would mean absolutely nothing in terms of the validity or lack thereof of the theory of natural selection. I mean, it would be pretty big news and I bet it would make the cover of Nature, but it would in no way threaten evolutionary theory.
posted by Scientist at 9:55 PM on June 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


They seem to have mistaken the idea that dinosaurs are extinct for a central tenet of modern evolutionary biology.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:01 PM on June 27, 2012 [25 favorites]


Do you see that mountain over there? It's existence is tangible proof that frogs have long legs.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:01 PM on June 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


Everyone knows that the dinosaurs were hard-hearted and refused to board the Ark. Almost all (except for a few like the Loch Ness monster) were wiped out in the Flood.
posted by brina at 10:02 PM on June 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


Meanwhile, in Texas...
posted by homunculus at 10:03 PM on June 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


A quote from the Scotland Herald, via Wonkette's hilariously terrifying account of the situation:
The Herald also quotes Boston author Bruce Wilson, who said students “are being brought up to believe that they’re at war with secular society. The only valid government would be a Christian fundamentalist government. Obviously some comparisons could be made to Islamic fundamentalists in schools.”
Speaking of which, the state government nearly canceled their school privatization plan that would dump students into religious programs like this when an Islamic school tried to join the program (they were scared off by Murfreesboro-style demagoguery, thank Jeebus).

In a related article ("TEXAS GOP WILL LITERALLY AND NON-METAPHORICALLY BAN CRITICAL THINKING IN SCHOOLS"), a Wonkette writer paraphrases the kind of exercises assigned by these private fundy programs that state reps favor over standard units on critical thinking:
A fact is an observable reality, something that can be quantified or measured, or God’s Inerrant Truth as revealed through the Bible.

Examples:

* The table is made of wood.
* Washington DC is the capital of the USA.
* Water freezes at 32 degrees F.
* Jesus died to take away all our sins.
* God created the world and all life in seven 24-hour days, less than 10 thousand years ago.

An opinion is a matter of taste, a view or judgement about which people might reasonably disagree, or a “scientific” claim that contradicts Biblical truth.

Examples:

* Blue is prettier than yellow.
* My mom bakes the best chocolate chip cookies in town.
* Mr. Jones is a better candidate for Mayor than Mr. Smith.
* The Universe is several billion years old.
* Humans evolved from apes.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:06 PM on June 27, 2012 [24 favorites]


brina: Everyone knows that the dinosaurs were hard-hearted and refused to board the Ark.

Nessie was so much so that when Noah invited him on, he said "Imma need about tree fiddy."
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:07 PM on June 27, 2012 [26 favorites]


Well, remember when they found coelacanths off the coast of Africa and it totally disproved evolution? It would be like that. Also the Wollemi pine.
posted by hattifattener at 10:08 PM on June 27, 2012 [8 favorites]


One former pupil, Jonny Scaramanga, 27, who went through the ACE programme as a child, but now campaigns against Christian fundamentalism, said the Nessie claim was presented as “evidence” that evolution could not have happened.

Jonny has a great blog.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:10 PM on June 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


In Biology 11 I actually sat in front of three classmates who were Creationists. The conversations we had!
posted by KokuRyu at 10:11 PM on June 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just so you guys know, this is no small business. Companies like these ACE guys and A Beka (which is run by the same people who run the infamous Pensacola Christian College) make loads of money selling to homeschoolers and evangelical Christian schools.

Here's some more nuggets from A Beka's science textbook descriptions.

Grade 5: Investigating God's World
"The world is presented as the creation of God and glorifies Him as its Sustainer and Upholder. The text introduces great scientists and naturalists who believed in the biblical account of Creation, and where appropriate, it refutes the materialist’s faith in evolution."

Grade 8: Science: Earth and Space
"Science: Earth and Space is written from the Christian perspective with the conviction that God is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. The text naturally rejects the unproven hypothesis of evolution, recognizing special creation as the only reasonable explanation for the origin of the universe. Science: Earth and Space also recognizes God’s command for man to have dominion over creation (Gen. 1:28-30). From geology to astronomy, the goal is to learn how man might extend his “dominion” and make better use of creation."

Grade 11: Chemistry: Precision and Design
"A Christian perspective helps students see chemistry as a beneficial science that can be used for man’s benefit and God’s glory. Environmental issues such as ozone depletion, global warming, and nuclear power are presented from a balanced, conservative perspective."
posted by Old Man McKay at 10:17 PM on June 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Science: learning to read God's thoughts

Well, yeah. Generally, I preferred to say "Draw aside the veil of ignorance and gaze upon the face of the creator." It sounded better than "Run another damn ELISA and try to figure out what the hell is going on with lot 11G-352."
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:19 PM on June 27, 2012 [21 favorites]


The Herald also quotes Boston author Bruce Wilson ...

Aka Metafilter's own troutfishing.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:19 PM on June 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


LOL Americanz.
posted by doublesix at 10:22 PM on June 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


Old Man McKay: I was educated with those, as well as some of the Apologia texts. Even at the time I (secretly) found them hilarious. That said, as a much younger kid, I found the idea of dinosaurs lurking in remote corners of the earth to be sort of adventuresome. I always hoped that I would come across one in the midwest, but alas--it was, apparently, not in God's plan for me. (Atheism, however, was.) I still have a little dinosaur trading card from an Answers in Genesis conference stuck in one of my old bibles, though. (I mean--what kid doesn't like dinos?)

Examples:

* The table is made of wood.


Bertrand Russell might have some additional commentary...not that you get anything but CS Lewis in a Christian setting. Those greek heathens had some dangerous ideas, and could lead teenagers away from the Lord aboard rational trains of thought.

stavrosthewonderchicken: I wonder if this thread will spawn an indignant Metatalk thread about how we shouldn't laugh at fundamentalist christianity.

Probably. That and/or this comment and/or the thread will be deleted for daring to talk about religion in anything other than a flattering light.
posted by Estraven at 10:25 PM on June 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


Very small rocks.
posted by maxwelton at 10:29 PM on June 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


Is this the right thread to say how much I love Cosmos (Episode 2)? Do they get YouTube in Louisiana?
posted by mazola at 10:29 PM on June 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


LOL Americanz.

As an American, no.

And I'm sorry to point out weaknesses in the WaPo article, but the straight dope on how Mr. Fahrenheit set the key values for his temperature scale doesn't make it sound much better than PACE's claim that he "developed the coldest temperature he could and called it 0 degrees.”.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:29 PM on June 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Remember when people would post LOL XIAN in response to stuff like this?
posted by mediated self at 10:30 PM on June 27, 2012


In other news, the existence of the Tooth Fairy proves that health care should not cover dental, because proper dental care reduces tooth loss, and no one wants to give up those valuable quarters you get when you leave a tooth under your pillow.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:36 PM on June 27, 2012


That and/or this comment and/or the thread will be deleted for daring to talk about religion in anything other than a flattering light.
posted by Estraven at 1:25 AM on June 28


I really haven't seen that happening much around here. I'd guess there are on-line forums where either things like that happen, or reflexively pre-protesting it garners approval, but I hope that MeFi continues to be neither.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:36 PM on June 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


Hey though, if we came from monkeys, why are there still monkeys? CHECKMATE EVILUTIONISTS!
posted by Decani at 10:37 PM on June 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was educated with those, as well as some of the Apologia texts.

Did you ever experience the wonders of "Exploring Creation With Biology" by Dr. Jay Wile? (His PhD is, of course, in nuclear chemistry, not biology.)

Nothing more charming than diagrams that literally look like they made in MS Paint (really, not joking here) and gross misrepresentations of evolutionary theory.
posted by jcreigh at 10:38 PM on June 27, 2012


Dear ACE: The Loch Ness Monster is fake. Your argument is invalid.
posted by dhens at 10:43 PM on June 27, 2012


Hey, that temperature thing is interesting! What's so distinctive about 0°F is that it's easy to make a stable mixture at that temperature. Meet frigorific mixtures.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:43 PM on June 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Drone strikes on Taliban leaders is a good thing, because they are scary fundamentalists who want to drag us back to the dark ages.
posted by benzenedream at 10:44 PM on June 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Joining the collection of cultures in which children are deliberately educated stupid is not a flattering association: historically, it has been a mainstay of totalitarian or religious governments (Lysenkoism comes to mind.)

With the pushback of creationsim and various laws making even the mention of global warming illegal I have a very real fear that the denial of basic scientific facts at every level, from kindergarten to Congress, is only going to get louder and more virulent. We are witnessing an entire culture sticking their fingers in their ears and saying "lalalalala".
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 10:44 PM on June 27, 2012 [12 favorites]


I briefly wondered if this was either satire or a false-flag operation by anti-creationists, but I don't think either of those are as likely as just someone there is a huge idiot. I mean, even from a creationist point of view this is crummy tactics - associating your view of science with a famously unproven thing that's probably a hoax.
posted by aubilenon at 10:46 PM on June 27, 2012


Also that frigorific mixtures thing is pretty neat. And I've got a whole jar full of ammonium chloride.
posted by aubilenon at 10:49 PM on June 27, 2012


Estraven: me too. I know these books all too well.

I vividly remember as a small child imagining how cool it would be to go search Africa for the great Mokele-Mbembe.

One time Ken Ham called me up on stage to show the picture of the infamous "fossilized hat" and ask me questions about it. "See, this hat is fossilized, and it's only seventy years old. What does that tell you about dinosaur fossils?"

"Billions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the earth." I still have this phrase engraved in my brain. Brain cells are dead now, they are wholly devoted to it. All dinosaur fossils were laid down by Noah's Flood. Billions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the earth.

"WERE YOU THERE? No, you weren't there, only God was, and he created things, and you weren't there, evolutionist, so you don't know how the world began."
posted by Old Man McKay at 10:50 PM on June 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I briefly wondered if this was either satire or a false-flag operation by anti-creationists

I was originally just going to post the Scotsman link, but figured that I'd better make sure that this had been written about elsewhere, because I was also suspicious that it might have been satire.
posted by asnider at 10:53 PM on June 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Scary monsters, super creeps
Keep me running, running scared.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:57 PM on June 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Accelerated Christian Education! That's the guys who made those insipid little cartoon-strewn workbooks I had to suffer through back at the Depressing Private School! UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN.
posted by JHarris at 11:00 PM on June 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Educated stupid.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:09 PM on June 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


I wonder if it was a mistake to discourage mockery of these anti-scientific maroons.

Give them an inch, they'll take a mile.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:12 PM on June 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think the export of higher education is one of the things the US got going for it. Bring in foreign students, give them a taste of American life and hopefully send them back home with a nuanced, but probably mostly positive, view of the USA and connections through friendships and contacts. But between the commercialization of higher ed, and the dumbing down of lower forms of education, this might crumble away between your fingers.

The day the US exports only drone strikes and lowest-common-denominator entertainment will be a sad day indeed.
posted by Harald74 at 11:16 PM on June 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


I wonder if it was a mistake to discourage mockery of these anti-scientific maroons.


As Phil Plait suggests in this talk, mockery is not an effective way to discourage this kind of thing.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:18 PM on June 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Most of you Metafilter people are crazy because you don't believe that a virgin gave birth to a guy who is entirely responsible for saving your souls. I will feel sorry for all of you, once I'm in one of the chosen few to survive the Apocalypse.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:23 PM on June 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


For the love of God (heh), please keep ACE graduates out of the air force.
posted by ceribus peribus at 11:24 PM on June 27, 2012


The day the US exports only drone strikes and lowest-common-denominator entertainment will be a sad day indeed.

We've seen this here as well (I think), but creationism has now been successfully exported to South Korea as well.
posted by the cydonian at 11:27 PM on June 27, 2012


This cult-like bunker mentality emphasis on denialism that's being built into a generation is going to turn out peacefully and with good results for people of all nations and creeds, I'm sure.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:29 PM on June 27, 2012 [14 favorites]


jcreigh: Yes, actually! High school biology and chemistry. The "experiments" were so boring, although I suppose that's partially because no one wants to sell a bunch of crazy christians a bunch of lab chemicals. Luckily part way through the chemistry one I ended up getting put into public school. It was in a rural agrarian area, so it really wasn't much more secular in practice, but at least it had some real labs and actual science mixed in with the homophobia.

Old Man McKay: AGH that stupid hat! And dead things. So many memories, aged almost (but not entirely) beyond the point of recollection. Not very good ones, sadly. Strangely potent however, even after all these years. I can't say that I ever wanted to go to Africa, though--too hot even to my ten year old mind, so I looked in all my church friends' backyards instead whenever they had a wooded property.

That AiG conference clip makes me remember why "religion" combined with "children" carries such a strong association with brainwashing for me. Maybe it doesn't matter to most people what religious people do to their kids, but for someone who grows up in that environment, it can cause some serious psychological distress later down the road (especially if you turn out GLBT).
posted by Estraven at 11:30 PM on June 27, 2012


I suppose pointing out that plesiosaurs aren't actually dinosaurs would be a futile exercise.
posted by Serial Killer Slumber Party at 11:31 PM on June 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Science: learning to read God's thoughts

Then we can finally solve the riddle:
Why does God need a spaceship?

Another claim taught is that a Japanese whaling boat once caught a dinosaur.

That wasn't a dinosaur, it was a Shoggoth. The stars were not right.

I can't take this seriously. These claims are insane.
posted by Mezentian at 11:32 PM on June 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


From geology to astronomy, the goal is to learn how man might extend his “dominion” and make better use of creation.

It bothers me that this never leads to conservation, that the only way to extend dominion is to do so in a way that results in profit. Jesus would weep if he wasn't dead and gone.

I suppose pointing out that plesiosaurs aren't actually dinosaurs would be a futile exercise.

It was mentioned earlier in this discussion and wasn't noticed by everyone, so probably.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:34 PM on June 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


This kind of stuff used to outrage me beyond measure, but it's happening so much more frequently now that I'm stuck somewhere between, 'those poor kids' and 'we're all doomed.'
posted by Space Kitty at 11:36 PM on June 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


<sigh> Yes, I went to a high school that used ACE books. Please take that into account whenever I say something -- if it seems intelligent, reconsider. If it seems stupid, please understand.

I'm looking carefully at every word, making sure I spelled them corectly GODDAMMIT
posted by JHarris at 11:36 PM on June 27, 2012 [8 favorites]


Every time I consider the idea of my future hypothetical child going to public schools, I see something like this and throw up a little in my mouth.

Then think perhaps it's for the best that I don't have any children.
posted by Malice at 11:39 PM on June 27, 2012


We are witnessing an entire culture sticking their fingers in their ears and saying "lalalalala".

That them thar sounds like Music to me! That's Satan talk! Get 'em boys!
posted by formless at 11:40 PM on June 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's not for public schools...
posted by Brocktoon at 11:41 PM on June 27, 2012


Let us attempt to divine the mind of the creator through his works.
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:49 PM on June 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's not for public schools...

Louisiana is switching to a full-on voucher system this fall with essentially no oversight, while gutting public schools, so for all intents and purposes, this crap is publicly-funded.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:52 PM on June 27, 2012 [11 favorites]


Louisiana was already ranked 48th for math and and science, so comparatively speaking, this is probably a vast improvement.
posted by Ardiril at 11:53 PM on June 27, 2012


I grew up in fundie circles where this sort of thing was embraced. Although it was usually in conjunction with pictures of the "face" on Mars, and how things that are more appropriate for tabloid fodder are really God's way of messin' with us and tellin' us how much he loves us...before he brings down his holy mess of wrath on us and wipes out most of humanity.

I can't explain the leap from Nessie existing to disproving evolution, though. Nowadays I prefer proof over faith, so this sort of thing does not make sense on any level. But I am extremely curious how a man-created myth in Scotland somehow proves a collection of man created myths in handy dandy book form.
posted by hgswell at 11:54 PM on June 27, 2012


Probably. That and/or this comment and/or the thread will be deleted for daring to talk about religion in anything other than a flattering light.

Ironically, the comment I made that you quote was in fact deleted.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:55 PM on June 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is so outrageous that it appeals to my "Bad Parent" streak (inherited from my Dad), the one that finds spinning tall yarns to confuse and alarm gullible little children HI.LAR.I.OUS.

I would be tempted to enrol my kids in a school like this for six months, just for the joy of helping them, pokerfaced, with homework.
posted by Catch at 11:56 PM on June 27, 2012 [14 favorites]


Louisiana was already ranked 48th for math and and science...

What the hell is going on in Mississippi that caused them to rate lower than Loch Ness science?
posted by ceribus peribus at 12:02 AM on June 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


I remember one conversation I had in a bar with a bunch of people who were working at Real Networks. Some of these people were friends of mine, but unbeknownst to me, they brought along a recent hire, a young lady from somewhere in the South.

Anyway, we were just hanging out and talking, and the subject of Jesus came up somehow, and I started riffing on that theme. I like to riff. So I started talking about how Jesus had been a professional carpenter, so he knew how to build things out of of wood, and when they were nailing him to the cross he could have given them some advice. "You call that a cross? Put two more nails there, because you need a strong structural support for that thing..."

Part of the way through my schtick, this young lady, who had just recently arrived from the South, said "do you guys not believe in Jesus?? Don't you think he is our savior?"

It was one of the weirdest disconnects I've ever experienced. She had just arrived from somewhere else, and was suddenly baffled by the reality that everybody doesn't have the same assumptions that she did, and I was suddenly baffled by the same thing.

It's really really hard to understand beliefs that other people have that don't agree with yours. Most likely if their beliefs don't agree with yours then they are wrong, right? That's the way we think. But it's much much harder to try to sympathize with someone who has a radically different belief, especially one that you think is insane.

But that kind of sympathy, that kind of empathy, is what Jesus wants.
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:10 AM on June 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


Grade 9 biology: before the flood, it never rained because earth was entirely surrounded by an icy canopy. I shit you not.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:13 AM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Mississippi has the Pascagoula Alien Abductors.
posted by Ardiril at 12:15 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure that if there were a god, the best way to honor and serve that god would not be to cram her finest creations full of bullshit.

God should be fucking pissed at the limitations these morons are attempting to impose upon her.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:19 AM on June 28, 2012 [13 favorites]


I was educated (partly) with these books. In the mid-80s, my parents took me and my brother out of public school and decided to home-school us. My father stayed home and taught me in the third grade, and my mother stayed home and taught me in the fourth grade. As I was looking through my memorabilia before a recent move, I found two of my textbooks from fourth grade: "Heritage Studies for Christian Schools 4" (American History; 1985, Bob Jones U. Press) and "Science for Christian Schools 4" (1976, Bob Jones U. Press). I'm pretty certain, based on the snippets that I've seen in the press, that the science text is a version of the one I have.

The history book is not too bad. The epilogue, called "A Leader Among Nations", contains some real gems. For instance:
"The United States of America is the greatest country in the world. Its citizens have more freedom and more opportunities to be successful than anywhere else in the world. Perhaps you wonder why this is true. Christians know that God deserves the credit for the blessings that we enjoy in this country."
What really burns me about this opening to the epilogue, besides the pro-American propaganda, is that it does for history what Creationism does for science. "Why is America successful? God did it, because he liked us!" No need to explain further, eh? The epilogue continues, talking about how mostly everyone was Christian in the past, so God blessed America.

This next passage I like in the context of today's immigration debate:
"God is in control of all things. He allowed millions of immigrants to come to the United States. They brought money and ability and joined Americans born in the United States to build great factories, mines, and other businesses. Many brought only their muscles to make businesses productive. Some immigrants who had brilliant minds made valuable scientific discoveries, composed great music, or wrote outstanding books. Most, however, were ordinary people who never became rich or famous.

"All the immigrants brought their customs, their beliefs, and their hopes with them. They worked, played, and learned to together with the Americans. God used this mixture of people to produce a nation that leads the world."
Then, jarringly, it continues, "God's people should be willing to obey the Bible at all times." No transition, no connection between the thoughts. It continues on to talk about how there are bad people in America who do not honor God, and how Jesus will come back for Christians, finally concluding:
"We do not know when this will happen. We do not know what will happen in this country before He comes. We do know that God's promises are true. He has promised that he will never leave us or forsake us. 'So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me' (Hebrews 13:6)."
Yes, that's the end of a HISTORY book.

Although most of the American history book is not that bad, the Science book is through and through terrible. This is from Chapter 1:
"Human beings may be wrong; they may be untruthful. But we have a revelation from God. He created the world and everything in it. He has told us many things in the Bible. These are completely trustworthy because God cannot make a mistake, nor can he be untruthful. He has told us some things in His Word about the world around us. These things are true.

"If you should read or hear something that disagrees with the Bible, you will know it is wrong. You know that the people who say that life started by itself are wrong because this idea does not agree with the first chapter of Genesis that tells of God's creation of the world...You must remember that scientists and science books can be mistaken. Only God and His Word are perfect and completely right."
And then, jarringly, it continues (with no transition): "Janet is trying to find how many units of measure are mentioned in the Bible. This is her list so far..."

I want to say, just in case anyone is thinking of responding "That's almost child abuse, telling children such things," that my father, even as he was teaching out of Christian books, told us that the things he was teaching us could be wrong, and that we had to determine for ourselves what was right. We weren't to simply believe things that people told us. This had a tremendous effect on me, such that even though I was a Christian as a kid — and we were sort of the neighborhood Flanders, always telling the other kids about Creationism and the Flood, and how evolution is wrong — I ended up disbelieving later. I guess the moral of the story is that it isn't so much what you're taught, but how you're taught it. When I got my PhD, I related this story to my dad (who, incidentally, is no longer a Christian either, thanks to some classes in Biblical history from a competent, and later jobless, professor an an Assemblies of God college) and he said he didn't remember that. My parents are still vaguely guilty about the whole raising-us-evangelical thing.

Of course, I have no illusions. (Almost?) No one teaching this material is going to be like my dad, telling us that it could be wrong. That's how you create critical thinkers, Christian or not, and that's not what this is all about.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 12:37 AM on June 28, 2012 [31 favorites]


I wonder a lot if this kind of shit is primarily driven by fear. Killing the planet with C02, inevitable collapse of societies when oil begins to run out? GOD GOD GOD GOD okay all better now.
posted by IwishIwasFordMaddoxFord at 12:41 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


In the UK there's a small storm over the fact that government agency NARIC has approved these exams.

And there's worse things being taught than that fictitious lake beasts exist.
posted by edd at 12:47 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


"The United States of America is the greatest country in the world. Its citizens have more freedom and more opportunities to be successful than anywhere else in the world. Perhaps you wonder why this is true. Christians know that God deserves the credit for the blessings that we enjoy in this country."

Well if all that freedom just comes from God's blessing, then there's no issue with voting for someone who wants to raze all the legal protections citizens might still enjoy with regard to themselves and their rights - after all, men cannot guarantee or give freedom; only the Christ.

Give praise to God if you want to, if that's your thing, but fuck's sake, can we not give 'Him' sole responsibility for things that we need people to continue to do?
posted by Dysk at 1:08 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


"God wants you to have the freedom to choose but we want to create legislation to make sure you make the right choice. Its God's will that we prevent you from exercising the choice he wants you to have."
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:20 AM on June 28, 2012


I'm not wrong to be scared of America, am I? I mean, really. Does this shit just gets scarier and scarier, or what?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:49 AM on June 28, 2012 [15 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that if there were a god, the best way to honor and serve that god would not be to cram her finest creations full of bullshit.

Don't worry, they aren't doing it to her finest creations. Just the humans. The platypuses are still OK.
posted by NoraReed at 1:59 AM on June 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


Fundamentalist Christian School in Louisiana = 5 words intelligently designed to make educated people stop reading.

You can treat stupid, but you can't cure it. The only way to treat it is education.

Deciding to leave America was a wiser decision than I ever could have realized at the time. I wish I could take pleasure in that decision, but instead it brings only sadness.
posted by Hickeystudio at 2:21 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


... and all because it benefits the Scottish tourist industry.
posted by scruss at 2:22 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is so baffling to me as I was taught by nuns in archaic habits in the sixties and seventies that the old testament was mythology meant to explain simple truths to a pre-literate people. We were taught hard science with no thought of mixing the bible with reality. And this from ladies who were covered head to toe in black with only their faces and hands showing.

And come to think of it we were also told Revelations "may not be divinely infuenced". ( We also did a lot of processions with statues and candles, but that was pure theater and kind of fun.)

At what point will people get tired of having tax dollars spent to teach religious beliefs?
posted by readery at 2:43 AM on June 28, 2012 [23 favorites]


I wanted to post this as a FPP but thought it'd be too inflammatory. However, this is a good thread to drop it in and I really love it first of all for the long lists of animals they keep spouting. Noah's Ark Part 1 and Part 2.
posted by DU at 2:44 AM on June 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Thinking about this a bit more, I hit upon considering what it would be like if I went back in time, to meet my dad as he was teaching us out of these ridiculous books. He was an evangelical Christian, born again, and baptized in the holy spirit. We went to a church in Fort Worth where we learned to dance in the spirit and speak in tongues. We picketed abortion clinics and passed out Chick tracts at "secular" events. We believed the Universe, and everything in it, was created in 6 days, and that scientists were people who were out to deceive us and destroy Christianity. I am older now than he was then, and I would look down on him, I can guarantee you that. If Metafilter existed back then, we might all have a laugh at his expense. I'm being serious. I am (sometimes) that kind of person.

I would probably even think, and might say to others, that he was dumb or call him sheep-like. Realizing that I would do this to the person that put in me a respect for the truth, just because his beliefs were ridiculous, makes me sad. If I weren't me, I would never realize how complicated his beliefs were. He'd just be another Christian, teaching his kids about how Nessie shows that the Bible is true (yes, I was taught that; I still have a book by Ken Ham, I think, somewhere around).

I guess the point is, sometimes things are more complicated than they seem. People can change their beliefs, and sometimes there is a core of essential beliefs, like a respect for truth, lying underneath the other silly ones. If you treat someone with respect, you may get to see that essential core.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 2:55 AM on June 28, 2012 [33 favorites]


I suppose pointing out that plesiosaurs aren't actually dinosaurs would be a futile exercise.

It was mentioned earlier in this discussion and wasn't noticed by everyone, so probably.


I noticed, but this point was literally pointed out to me on day one, so I was too intimidated to say anything now.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:55 AM on June 28, 2012


I'm not wrong to be scared of America, am I? I mean, really. Does this shit just gets scarier and scarier, or what?

It does not seem to be getting scarier, rather it speaks to the purpose and intent of education. If the goal of education is to produce an informed population capable of self-governance and progressing an equitable society, these 'educational' materials would appear to run counter to that goal. As these materials push a distinct belief system and social agenda, the purpose does not seem to be as much 'education' as 'indoctrination' to the sake of cohesion.

It's fascinating speaking with children that attend evangelical Christian schools versus those that attend 'godless' public institutions. Neither is 'better' rather the resulting personalities are subtly – and deeply – different. Those educated in Christian traditions seem to process things in more moralistic way, the words "right" and "wrong" often come up. "That was good, that was the right thing to do" or "that was bad, that was wrong." The fascination is with the grossness of the statement, "the right thing", that there are two agendas that exist. An agenda which is correct and an agenda which is incorrect.

That agenda is held externally. There is a codified set of values and behaviours deemed ideal by the spiritual community and a person measures the actions as to how aligned those actions are with that external agenda. In response to the question, "Why was hitting Bobby wrong?" the answer is also derived from the external agenda: "Because God wants me to be a better person than that."

Note the externality of morality. The answer is not "because it hurts when I hit Bobby. I do not want someone to hit me, so I will not hit them." It is "there are rules against it".

There are also rules in 'godless' public schools, however those rules are designed with a different external morality: "legal" and "not legal" or "allowed" and "not allowed". In this case, "Why was hitting Bobby wrong?" may well result in "It is against the rules to hit Bobby." Again, an external set of values, yet subtly – and essentially – very different.

As education continues, it begins building rational and reasoning onto moral frameworks. The Christian tradition delves into the mysteries of faith and the persecution of people for beliefs throughout history. The 'godless' tradition instructs on philosophy and reasoning as the basis for the law.

In the former, education is designed to deepen the credibility of the faith by turning values into traditions. Questioning is secondary to allegiance. Probably because the faith standing on it's own does not really hold together. Religion in a vacuum tends to completely collapse, rather it is a system of shared rituals and values. Allegiance to those values brings people together in ceremony and over time, those ceremonies develop individual identities attached to the spiritual tradition. As an adult, the barrier to leaving a spiritual community is often less spiritual than social, as much of one's social functioning can be closely wrapped with spiritual tradition.

In the latter case, education is designed to move from "legal" and "illegal" to "this is how laws are made. this is why laws are made." and participation in a democratic system of self-governance. There is a similar process of developing allegiance and individual identity, however "the source" of those traditions and values are the other people living in the society, rather than codified traditions. As an adult, the thinking that develops is 'rights' and 'responsibilities', with a stronger sense of personal responsibility.

There was a fascinating study that compared country indebtedness with religiosity. Heavily Christian countries were easily more indebted than their godless neighbours. One of the theories posited was that Christian values involve externalising responsibility. "God willed it" or "It's fine to make mistakes in this life, for there is always the afterlife." In those cases, it's a situation of trying to do your best, if it doesn't work, God will sort it out for everyone in the end. Personal responsibility ends where the tradition takes over.

Godless counties had a more balance-sheet approach to live. The theory there was that the people make decisions in a "if this, then that" framework. There is no God, the afterlife is not an eraser that evens the score. There are one's actions to do, and the consequences of those actions tomorrow.

In America, the attitude becomes very obvious in terms of foreign policy. "The city on the hill" and the belief that it is America's responsibility to spread democracy around the world. In order to push those values onto other people (violently in some cases), one must believe those values not to be a choice, but rather to be inherent. America is inherently right because of its constituent beliefs. Those beliefs which are not our are not right. Dangerous value system to hold in a globalised world of increasingly complexity, where 'right' and 'wrong' do not take into account the massive swaths of grey in-between.

In terms of whether it is scary or not, maybe it is. Beyond the content of education, there is also the consideration of the process. The standard American school day – 8AM to 3PM with two 15 minute 'recesses' and a 30 - 60 minute lunch. In that time, children are to execute a set programme of lessons. They are to behave, sitting or standing, as instructed. Allegiance is rewarded, disobedience is punished. That is modelled on the industrial revolution, and is preparing children for agricultural, factory, or commercial jobs more than educating them. If you look at the skill base provided, history is a huge element of the curriculum as history is the basis of shared identity. Arts and sports go first. Science and math are attacked. What remains is history. If there are two key outputs to education, it is 1) common identity, and 2) orientation to the capitalist work process.

In terms of a functioning workforce, that's really all you need. Everything else is a nice to have. The other skills begin developing your engineers, lawyers, doctors, and specialists, but those are quite long journeys.

A final anecdote is that a friend in college was studying education in Los Angeles. She went to inner city schools and quite posh private schools. What impacted her the greatest was that the inner city public schools taught allegiance to the law. Her exact statement was that inner city public schools seem to be designed to reduce criminality through basic reward/punishment methodologies. The posh private schools were creative places, where children ran around on grass. Learning was comparatively unstructured, rather than focusing on a specific behavioural output, learning was about developing curiosity, toolsets, and the ability to form and test beliefs. Two very different experiences for sure, resulting in two very different kinds of people.

In terms of scarier and scarier, it does not seem that different from what's happened in the past, in terms of education being used as a tool to create social identity and cohesion. The difference is that the gap is getting so large now, that each position considers the other position to be less tenable than before.

In the 60s, when physics was just learning about atoms and molecules and the Big Bang, religion could easily point out the flaws and the lack of data and research. "We have 2000 years of scripture, billions believe. You have a microscope and a few papers. We will." That was more tenable than now, as the base of science has exploded over the past 50 years thanks to technology, communication, and peace. To say that the loch ness monster is somehow related to the dinosaurs could be functionally disproved by DNA testing... if one were able to find the loch ness monster. But I guess if you 'believe' it is there, that's good enough for an A and a gold star.

What is scary is to think about 1) the opportunities children have today to explore the world in tremendous richness, and 2) having that richness wasted by parental social agendas and allegiance to an antiquating sense of morality. As mentioned, the differences in education used to be slight simply because we didn't know that much. Today, the insult of misdirected 'education' is much greater, for now children are actively inhibited from taking advantage of a truly amazing human experience – unlimited content and connectivity.

So it's not really scary. It would be scary if this were state-mandated. As it's opt-in essentially, it's really sad for the children involved. Instead of whizzing around the world and space on the internet, learning about genetics and the richness of our natural world, they're studying from a book of their parent's fears – which themselves comes from an allegiance to a social tradition. From these moves, it is apparent that these social communities cannot see a social option outside of spirituality-led education. Yet, to many people outside those communities, it is very obvious that you can have separate social and spiritual traditions – a separating that doesn't inhibit the potential of one's own children.

That's the scary part, that these people are essentially limiting their own children's future and mobility – which in return limits their own – and somehow these parents and administrators hold such distorted views of the world, that those limitations seem preferable – they seem "right".

So again, if we ask the purpose of educational decisions like these, it's not scary because the agenda is very clear. It's unfortunate for all involved, but the purpose is pretty straightforward.

Now that I've said my piece, I'm off to ride a unicorn. If you don't believe me, you just don't believe correctly then, do you. ;)
posted by nickrussell at 2:56 AM on June 28, 2012 [43 favorites]


Can I just say though, that Washington Post article is exactly horrible? Read the whole thing through. Is this journalism? An editorial? Respectful discourse of any kind? Something intended to be read as comedy?

Every time I look at the WashPost lately I get more depressed. So I mostly don't look anymore.
posted by newdaddy at 3:20 AM on June 28, 2012


I'm actually pretty pissed off about the damage this might do to the chances of Loch Ness ever being taken seriously.
posted by Segundus at 3:22 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Do they intend to publish that faked photograph in the textbooks?

In 1979 it was claimed to be a picture of an elephant (see below). Other sceptics in the 1980s argued the photo was that of an otter or a diving bird, but after Christian Spurling's confession most agree it was what Spurling claimed – a toy submarine with a sculpted head attached.[34] Details of how the photo was accomplished were published in the 1999 book, Nessie – the Surgeon's Photograph Exposed, that contains a facsimile of the 1975 article in The Sunday Telegraph.[35] Essentially, it was a toy submarine bought from F.W. Woolworths with a head and neck made of plastic wood, built by Christian Spurling, the son-in-law of Marmaduke Wetherell, a big game hunter who had been publicly ridiculed in the Daily Mail, the newspaper that employed him. Spurling claimed that to get revenge, Marmaduke Wetherell committed the hoax, with the help of Chris Spurling (a sculpture specialist), his son Ian Marmaduke, who bought the material for the fake, and Maurice Chambers (an insurance agent), who asked surgeon Robert Kenneth Wilson to offer the pictures to the Daily Mail.[36] The hoax story is disputed by Henry Bauer,[37] who claims this debunking is evidence of bias, and asks why the perpetrators did not reveal their plot earlier to embarrass the newspaper. He also claimed that plastic wood did not exist in 1934 (when actually it was a popular DIY and modelling material in the early 1930s[38]).
posted by Brian B. at 3:56 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


That and/or this comment and/or the thread will be deleted for daring to talk about religion in anything other than a flattering light.
posted by Estraven at 10:25 PM on June 27


*notes thread and comment are all still there, 6 hours later*

*notes absence of complaint in MeTa*

I think you may be mistaken about that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:05 AM on June 28, 2012


anigbrowl:

I like the following passage: "The weight of the canopy pushing down on the atmosphere would have made the atmospheric pressure about twice what it is today."

Clearly, someone sat there and thought,

"I've written about the canopy. It sounds kinda nuts when you think about it. What next? Oh, yes, this is a science book, so I need to make it scientific. How do you make things scientific? Gotta have some terminology-- and numbers, scientists love numbers. 'Made the atmospheric pressure about twice what it is today.' Perfect. Vague enough, but presented as though there's some evidence backing it up."
posted by alexei at 4:09 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


readery: I was taught by nuns in archaic habits...

Something atheist-me has been learning more and more recently is that, for all the jokes about being spinsters and stereotypes of brutality and The Sound of Music and Nunsense, most orders of nuns are a rather grounded and responsible lot, living within God's word but very aware of the secular world around them and how the two fit together. Just take the recent battle between the nuns and the Vatican; of the religious orders, nuns seem the least interested in forcing the square peg of the real world into a Christian round hole, and more about feeding the poor, caring for those in need, and otherwise being rather Jesusey, which doesn't require a lock-step following of the Bible, and they recognize the unhelpfulness of such doctrine. There's a lot of pressure for them to change, which worries me.
posted by AzraelBrown at 4:11 AM on June 28, 2012 [17 favorites]


"The platypus is proof that God has a sense of humor." --my science text book in a small Christian school, repeated every year c. 2nd-4th grade.
posted by shortyJBot at 4:25 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sometimes it is so embarrassing to be American...
posted by Flood at 4:45 AM on June 28, 2012


LOL Americanz.

Laugh now. Just wait til these fundamentalists actually take over the government and decide it's going to be easier to just nuke the heretics in those other, godless nations, than convert them.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:46 AM on June 28, 2012


And yet the ACE curriculum has stubbornly ignored Scotland's native Haggis, a hill-dwelling creature that has clearly evolved one set of legs longer than the other to adapt to its hilly surroundings. Examination of haggis populations clearly shows that haggi on different slopes have different leg angles - a clear example of adaptive radiation. Why isn't that in the syllabus?
posted by eykal at 4:46 AM on June 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


They make an excellent point - it's shameful how important scientific documentaries like the Loch Ness Horror are disregarded by mainstream science. The important question that we should be focusing on here is how Bigfoot fits into the hypothesis.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 4:58 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is all because of that goddamn Ted Danson movie, isn't it?
posted by Elmore at 5:00 AM on June 28, 2012


Something atheist-me has been learning more and more recently is that, for all the jokes about being spinsters and stereotypes of brutality and The Sound of Music and Nunsense, most orders of nuns are a rather grounded and responsible lot, living within God's word but very aware of the secular world around them and how the two fit together.

+1; it's been rather pleasant realising there can be people motivated by religion who I can respect.
posted by jaduncan at 5:03 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


This isn't at all about teaching kids facts, or teaching incorrect facts.

It's about teaching poor mental skills.

If kids aren't equipped to think things through rationally, they are far easier to mould as adults with simple arguments to authority.

The American Christian Right doesn't want smart kids. They want kids that do what they are told without asking why, and if they do question why they can be given some bullshit justification that sounds just as good as the ones in their childhood textbooks. (And then they are flagged for re-education, because good soldiers never question authority.)

The biggest threat to the conservative mindset isn't facts, it is reason.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:06 AM on June 28, 2012 [13 favorites]


Wait wait wait. Nessie is a water creature. Basically, Noah didn't have to save water creatures. So that means some water creatures might be tainted. Which means Nessie might be tainted.

So, basically, this church is teaching us to worship Evil Nessie?
posted by clvrmnky at 5:13 AM on June 28, 2012


Getting back to something that someone said above:

God dammit Louisiana, it's crap like this that makes me want to leave you for a nice sensible state where they don't use taxpayer money to teach bullshit to little kids.

Can someone confirm that Louisiana does indeed use taxpayer money to fund the ACE program? And can someone speak to the First amendment constitutionality of that? That's what I'm most alarmed about....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:18 AM on June 28, 2012


....Well, not most alarmed about, but alarmed from the "there's something that can actually be done about this right away" sense.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:18 AM on June 28, 2012


My parents' "Jump for Jesus" church was into this stuff back in the mid-80s. This was hard-core Creationism, not even ID. One God, seven days, literally. I vividly remember the presenter's 'logic':

"Harry Butler tells us that dinosaurs walked the earth before men. But Harry Butler wasn't there. God was." Wave Bible to much vigorous nodding.

The Loch Ness Monster and the Japanese fishermen with their flippered plesiosaur corpse were standard fodder. The Ark was literally true. The Flood literally happened. The Tower of Babel was a real thing. Fossils were planted by Satan to tempt doubters. If we're descended from monkeys, why are there still monkeys? Harry Butler wasn't there. Harry Butler wasn't there. Every time he said it I wanted to learn more and more about everything Harry Butler had to say.

I also remember when The Power Team (or some knock off) came to Australia and used Teh Powerz of Jeebus to do amazing things like shatter ice (yawn) and rip phone books in half (easy if you know how). This was around the time my parents decided my mind had been warped by Dark Powers (tm) through D&D and made all my books disappear.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 5:20 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


for all intents and purposes, this crap is publicly-funded

Is there a point at which this could turn into a lawsuit? Where's the line where the law says no, this is state sponsorship of religion?
posted by gimonca at 5:22 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


But Harry Butler wasn't there.

Do we know that for sure? The pastor wasn't there either.
posted by jaduncan at 5:23 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


If Harry Butler was there he'd have been mentioned by name in Genesis.

Holy shit, I just realised looking through Old Man McKay's links that it was motherfucking Ken Ham! He's still doing it!
posted by obiwanwasabi at 5:28 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Very clever move by Scottish Tourism. I can see the Strategy Meeting now..... "So Science has debunked Nessie, now where can we find a critical mass of the incredulous with the disposibble income to ......Hey, I know!!!!
posted by Wilder at 5:31 AM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


gimonca, the lawsuits are flying.
posted by wintermind at 5:32 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


the lawsuits are flying.

If you think about it, then, then this may actually be good news -- because now all the lawyers in the suits trying to strike this down can now make the argument before the judge: "Your Honor, our tax dollars are going to support a system that uses The Loch Ness Monster as a teaching tool. I think the prosecution can rest on that note."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:39 AM on June 28, 2012


*sniffs* What's that smell? Someone better get a fire extinguisher, the stupid is burning again.

This is only going to result in yet more kids being educated out of critical thinking skills. The only people this is going to benefit is those who had a decent education where they are taught to think for themselves. And while these poor kids are studying a fossilized hat, the other kids are going to be eating their lunch.
posted by arcticseal at 5:46 AM on June 28, 2012


"people with AIDS are sinners"

What the fuck, ACE?
posted by jaduncan at 5:50 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


this may sound naive, but it always sound entirely plausible to me, that, you know, that maybe, just maybe, iron age nomads living in the desert may not have gotten the science just right. say, even if god had explained heliocentrism, evolution, and particle physics to them, which didn't even exist as scientific concepts yet (with the exception of heliocentrism), they wouldn't have understood it, anyway. as joseph campbell said, the bible just encapsulated scientific understanding at the time.
does anyone point out to christian fundamentalists the parts of the bible that have been scientifically disproven, that even fundamentalists agree with? like the fact the earth is round, that the sun doesn't revolve around the earth, and that there is no physical firmament? are those allowed to be "metaphorical" truths, considering how they were believed literally for the first 1600 years of christianity, but not anymore? i mean, we've been to space. our rockets didn't puncture the canopy and let the space-ocean in. we have satellites orbiting the earth, and the sun...we've discovered planets not mentioned in the bible, and galaxies, and myriad observable phenomena that are mentioned nowhere in that book. it hurts my mind, so much...
posted by camdan at 5:50 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


...all the lawyers in the suits trying to strike this down can now make the argument before the judge: "Your Honor, our tax dollars are going to support a system that uses The Loch Ness Monster as a teaching tool. I think the prosecution can rest on that note."

That tactic might backfire with some judges in the south.
posted by TedW at 5:54 AM on June 28, 2012


does anyone point out to christian fundamentalists the parts of the bible that have been scientifically disproven, that even fundamentalists agree with? like the fact the earth is round, that the sun doesn't revolve around the earth, and that there is no physical firmament? are those allowed to be "metaphorical" truths, considering how they were believed literally for the first 1600 years of christianity, but not anymore? i mean, we've been to space. our rockets didn't puncture the canopy and let the space-ocean in. we have satellites orbiting the earth, and the sun...we've discovered planets not mentioned in the bible, and galaxies, and myriad observable phenomena that are mentioned nowhere in that book.

You're assuming that all fundamentalists accept the round earth. Not all do. Hell, there are people who aren't fundamentalists who think Earth is flat.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:55 AM on June 28, 2012


"people with AIDS are sinners"
it reminds me of the christine o'donnell line, about there "not being" an AIDS epidemic. it seems to me fundamentalists think STDs are God's way of punishing sinners (by having extra-marital sex), that AIDs will wipe them all out, and only good monogamous believers will be left over. so there is no "problem" in the sense that if we attempt to cure the disease, we're not letting God do his work.
posted by camdan at 5:56 AM on June 28, 2012


And while these poor kids are studying a fossilized hat, the other kids are going to be eating their lunch.

Until they figure-out that they can vote themselves a bigger share of the critically-thinking Productive Sector's output.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:01 AM on June 28, 2012


Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) program

I think the phrase "acing an exam" is about to take on a whole new meaning.
posted by aught at 6:01 AM on June 28, 2012


No true Scots plesiosaur believes in creationism.
posted by Longtime Listener at 6:02 AM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hey though, if we came from monkeys, why are there still monkeys? CHECKMATE EVILUTIONISTS!

I am reminded of the legendary takedown of Richard Dawkins' The Ancestor's Tale in an Amazon review: If life had been evolving for billions of years then surely even animals like goats and squirrels would have turned into humans by now.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:06 AM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am reminded of the legendary takedown of Richard Dawkins' The Ancestor's Tale in an Amazon review: If life had been evolving for billions of years then surely even animals like goats and squirrels would have turned into humans by now.

It's the fundamental just-don't-get-it-ness that noone will ever be able to reason with.
posted by lith at 6:12 AM on June 28, 2012


Can someone confirm that Louisiana does indeed use taxpayer money to fund the ACE program?

Louisiana uses taxpayer money to fund a variety of private religious schools through its voucher program, many of which are not worthy of the name "school" because they use curricula like ACE or for other reasons.

Lucky for them, Louisiana removed the provision separating private religious schools from state funding from its state constitution in the 1970s. The federal First Amendment may apply, but the Supreme Court has been favorable to voucher programs, not seeing taxpayer funding of their religious content as an insurmountable problem.
posted by audi alteram partem at 6:22 AM on June 28, 2012


It would be scary if this were state-mandated. As it's opt-in essentially, it's really sad for the children involved.

To borrow an argument from another contentious thread, young children cannot opt-in in any meaningful sense... and particularly in this case, this sort of uncritical education undermines their ability to opt at all.

Yeah, when this is state-mandated it's awful, but this is so awful in general that it should be actively prevented. Failing to teach children basic reasoning skills during their formative years is outright negligent in a society that has seen so much success from scientific development.

Frankly, I don't think we should settle for any education where ∀ and ∃ aren't learned at the same time as A, B, and C.
posted by Riki tiki at 6:24 AM on June 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


i mean, we've been to space. our rockets didn't puncture the canopy and let the space-ocean in.

The canopy no longer exists; the flood occurred when the water canopy surrounding the planet was released by God, covering the earth with water, killing most life on the planet and laying down the fossil record.

This view is supported by genealogical records in the Bible, which list humans who lived to the ages of 900 or so before the flood, but very few who lived longer than 100-150 years after the flood. The canopy protected humans from the damaging effects of UV radiation.

That's a rough paraphrase from my Bob Jones Science Book from high school; I shit you not.
posted by verb at 6:28 AM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


When I took Biology in 10th grade at a public school in Alabama my teacher's first assignment to the class was to write a short paper on our personal belief regarding the origin of humankind. Most of the class returned to our next meeting with a smug smirk and a one sentence response, "God made us." When I turned in my multiple pages I was asked to stay after class.

After class I was expecting to be groused at for my poor penmenship and spelling or worse. Instead I was asked to be the teacher's class assistant and invited to join the school science club, which was one of the few bright spots in my otherwise dreary existance in that place!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:43 AM on June 28, 2012 [13 favorites]


Until they figure-out that they can vote themselves a bigger share of the critically-thinking Productive Sector's output.

I was thinking about people outside the American border. Time for the Canadian and Mexican takeover!
posted by arcticseal at 6:48 AM on June 28, 2012


Time for the Canadian and Mexican takeover!

Yes, because a nation in the midst of a hostile takeover by warring drug cartels and another currently run by neo-conservative nit-wits are clearly better at critical thinking.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:51 AM on June 28, 2012


How can they possibly be any worse than this cretinous bullshit?
posted by elizardbits at 6:55 AM on June 28, 2012


currently run by neo-conservative nit-wits

Canada's neo-conservative nit-wits are probably more liberal than our "socialists".
posted by DU at 7:09 AM on June 28, 2012


Canada's neo-conservative nit-wits are probably more liberal than our "socialists".

One of the most striking things about driving the back route from British Columbia into Washington State was the sudden proliferation of Jesus signs and crosses along the road on the US side, which had been completely absent in Canada.
posted by localroger at 7:14 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


But it's much much harder to try to sympathize with someone who has a radically different belief, especially one that you think is insane.

I was raised in an Italian Catholic family. It was more cultural than theological or ideological. I had to go to mass every week with my Mom, but my Dad never went to church. When I got old enough to ask him what was up with that, he said "I don't believe all of that stuff. It doesn't do much for me. But you should respect it because it does a lot of good for a lot of people."

So, that was my ethic; basically, live and let live.

Then, my brother became a fundamentalist about thirty years ago, after the trauma of breaking up with a girlfriend. He gave me a copy of Francis Schaeffer's How Then Should We Live, which was a blue print for what was to come. I have since watched the determined drift of the country to faith-based extremism.

I no longer believe in live and let live, simply because this shit is destroying the planet.
posted by mondo dentro at 7:17 AM on June 28, 2012 [11 favorites]


For anyone who wants to understand the fraught and interesting relationship that modern Creationists have with 19th and 18th century scientists, and / or want a balanced and fascinating perspective on deep time, evolution, and Judeo-Christian traditions, I highly recommend this book: The Creationist Debate: The Encounter between the Bible and the Historical Mind. London & New York: Continuum, 2006, by Arthur McCalla.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 7:20 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


One thing that is really kinda freakish is that if your kid is Gifted or Talented, Louisiana state law requires that they provide appropriate education. The G/T program in Louisiana is actually pretty good and if your kid qualifies then the opportunities open up to go to some schools that rate pretty well on the various national rankings (such rankings also require some consumption of NaCL, but that's another discussion). The Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts is a residential, college-like school that's really quite amazing. A student from LSMSA placed second in the National Physics Bowl this year, and a student from Baton Rouge won the Math Olympiad last year.
So on the one hand there's a "dumb down the general populace" thing going on at the same time as a "but take good care of the smart people 'cause we have to" thing. This is not to say that the various G/T programs aren't always fighting for funding but there's a glimmer of hope that the idiots wont' win.
If you live in LA and have kids, get them tested!
posted by Runes at 7:26 AM on June 28, 2012


Plesiosaurs aren't even dinosaurs

Today, I learned something new. This makes me feel good - and the differences (PDF) are neat.

Science: learning to read God's thoughts

That is the traditional purpose of natural philosophy - reading the book of nature, which is a complement to the book of scripture. Many very excellent natural philosophers and scientists throughout history have been motivated by their desire to better understand the wonders of God's creation, including Newton and Darwin. The difference is that they have a) a non-literal interpretation of scripture and b) try not to let their ideas about scripture interfere with their scientific observations. There's no point in studying God's other book if you're not going to take it as seriously as the written one.
posted by jb at 7:44 AM on June 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


If Harry Butler was there he'd have been mentioned by name in Genesis.

My plan if ever employed as a Bible printer is clear.
posted by jaduncan at 8:04 AM on June 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Just for the record: while there have been many deeply religious scientists, absolutely including Newton, Darwin was definitely an agnostic and if anything leaned toward atheism. He genuinely had a very hard time squaring the mechanistic and amoral Nature that he studied with the idea of an omnipotent, omnibenevolent Creator; this was something that he struggled with all his life, not least because his beloved wife was quite devout and certain that he was going to Hell and he wanted to be able to believe in order that she could be happy.
posted by Scientist at 8:06 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, and I am definitely aware that Darwin nearly entered the priesthood earlier in his life. However, he was never particularly passionate about his studies in that area and was mostly interested in the priesthood because it was a relatively painless way for a man of his station to find a respected and stable place for himself in the world. He ended up not following through -- I've never had the impression from reading about Darwin that he was ever passionate about taking the cloth in the way that he was later passionate about biology.
posted by Scientist at 8:09 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Scientist: thank you for the correction. I am more familiar with Newton and the natural philosophers of his era, but I think I mixed up Darwin with his wife.

One good (though not unflawed) book on the connections between faith and science is The Religion of Technology, by David Noble.
posted by jb at 8:15 AM on June 28, 2012


When I was flying off to begin my graduate education in physical anthropology - evolution, monkeys, etc - I was exchanging seat pleasantries with the woman sitting next to me. She was some consultant type from rural Ohio. I told her what I do. "Oh really?" she said, looking somewhat amused and a little patronizing. "And tell me - do scientists still believe humans came from monkeys?" I proceeded to explain the whole shpiel ... common ancestry, branching patterns of evolution, etc., and she just nodded and smiled and said "That's nice," and spent the rest of the flight discussing liturgical matters with the priest sitting on the aisle seat of our row. If something doesn't fit in an already decided-upon view of the world, it's not worth learning?

What is most important to me about science education - especially for students with a creationist background - is that people learn the science and *then* make a choice. I teach an introductory human evolution class; I have had students tell me they are taking my class to test their faith. I don't want my class to be combative - I want my class to give people a set of tools (ie ... the scientific method) so that they can observe the world and evaluate claims for themselves. I would love it if they leave my course understanding the evidence for evolution, all the fossils of human evolution, why primate behavior is instructive, so on and so forth. But the best comment I've ever gotten on a course evaluation was "After this class, I feel like I had to re-evaluate the way I see the world. There was a lot to think about!" What frustrates me the most about all this creationist stuff, and Nessie and all, is that these kids will probably never get these tools, and never learn how to evaluate facts for themselves. We're creating a sub-population that just doesn't know, and don't know how to begin knowing.
posted by ChuraChura at 8:16 AM on June 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


We're creating a sub-population that just doesn't know, and don't know how to begin knowing.

It's not a bug. It's a feature.
posted by mondo dentro at 8:20 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


"This is only going to result in yet more kids being educated out of critical thinking skills."

See p-12 "Texas Republican Party Platform"

In Texas at least, opposition to "critical-thinking" is part of the Republican Party platform.
posted by PJLandis at 8:39 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


One of the most striking things about driving the back route from British Columbia into Washington State was the sudden proliferation of Jesus signs and crosses along the road on the US side, which had been completely absent in Canada.

You gotta drive Hwy 16 from Houston to Smithers. It's fundie heaven up there.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:42 AM on June 28, 2012


...I'm stuck somewhere between, 'those poor kids' and 'we're all doomed.'
posted by Space Kitty


Let me try to fill in that gap, Space Kitty:

Those poor kids will grow up to hate our guts. We're all doomed.
posted by jamjam at 8:54 AM on June 28, 2012


Those poor kids will grow up to hate our guts. We're all doomed.

The worst part of this is they still won't just fucking stop pestering us to get saved and let us just go to hell in peace!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:58 AM on June 28, 2012



"people with AIDS are sinners"

What the fuck, ACE?
posted by jaduncan at 5:50 AM on 6/28


We are all of us sinners. That's what I was taught, anyway.
posted by newdaddy at 9:00 AM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


See p-12 "Texas Republican Party Platform"

p-11: Students should pledge allegiance to the American and Texas flags daily to instill patriotism.

Hmm, here's what the Daily Paul (as in Texas Republican Ron) has to say about that!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:11 AM on June 28, 2012


Ah crap. There goes the "Pendulum Model" of political theory.

I used to think we recently have been poised to swing back toward the liberal side of the arc. You know, a liberal/conservative, hawk/dove sort of rhythm, like a pendulum, and the moderates on either side of the arc keep their wingnuts in hand, so that things don't get, well, out of hand.

More and more, though, I'm favoring the "Black Hole" model.

I think we just hit the event horizon.
posted by mule98J at 9:22 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


From an article earlier this month about Louisiana schools:
Louisiana's bold bid to privatize schools

"Every time a student receives a voucher of either type, his local public school will lose a chunk of state funding."

"That list includes some of the most prestigious schools in the state, which offer a rich menu of advanced placement courses, college-style seminars and lush grounds. The top schools, however, have just a handful of slots open. The Dunham School in Baton Rouge, for instance, has said it will accept just four voucher students, all kindergartners. As elsewhere, they will be picked in a lottery.

Far more openings are available at smaller, less prestigious religious schools, including some that are just a few years old and others that have struggled to attract tuition-paying students.

The school willing to accept the most voucher students -- 314 -- is New Living Word in Ruston, which has a top-ranked basketball team but no library. Students spend most of the day watching TVs in bare-bones classrooms. Each lesson consists of an instructional DVD that intersperses Biblical verses with subjects such chemistry or composition.

The Upperroom Bible Church Academy in New Orleans, a bunker-like building with no windows or playground, also has plenty of slots open. It seeks to bring in 214 voucher students, worth up to $1.8 million in state funding.

At Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake, pastor-turned-principal Marie Carrier hopes to secure extra space to enroll 135 voucher students, though she now has room for just a few dozen. Her first- through eighth-grade students sit in cubicles for much of the day and move at their own pace through Christian workbooks, such as a beginning science text that explains "what God made" on each of the six days of creation. They are not exposed to the theory of evolution.

"We try to stay away from all those things that might confuse our children," Carrier said.

Other schools approved for state-funded vouchers use social studies texts warning that liberals threaten global prosperity; Bible-based math books that don't cover modern concepts such as set theory; and biology texts built around refuting evolution."


Hmm, I wonder if they teach that pi = 3.
posted by dhens at 9:34 AM on June 28, 2012 [11 favorites]


dhens, that is insane.
posted by jaduncan at 9:56 AM on June 28, 2012


I was subjected to this special hell of indoctrination for 13 years (K-12 schooling in a fundamentalist Christian school). For extra outrage, know that people would get expelled from this school if there was just a rumor that you might be homosexual. One of my favorite refutations of evidence that I recall is that while God created the universe only 6,000 years ago, he created it aged, so the fact that there's this evidence of creatures living on the planet 65 million years ago is actually just evidence for young-earth creationism! God put those fossils there to test you, and if you use critical thinking instead of faith, you will go to hell and suffer for eternity. So, young one, do not think too hard about this.

Nearly everything everyone is saying here is absolutely not hyperbole. Hell, even during our standardized tests, there would be something like "God created the world in 7 days and loves you very much. Think about that as you answer the next 5 questions." The questions would be about trigonometry or some shit, absolutely nothing to do with God. The point was to always keep God and Jesus on the mind of the young people, so that even when you're thinking about trigonometry, you're thinking about God.

While seeing these things bring back terrible memories about how I really, really used to believe all of these things (even at the age of 17), seeing things like this out in the open actually make me happy. It reminds me of this scene from season 3 of The Wire between Colvin and Carcetti where they're checking out the clean corners outside Hamsterdam.
Colvin: See that building there? That's the old Stryker building. It was a funeral parlor. Last stop before the cemetery for west side white folk, back when there were still some of those around. Right about the time Jim Crow was breaking up, back in the sixties, someone asked old man Stryker, they say, "Stryker, you gonna kill your policy and start burying black folk?" And Stryker said, "Yeah, on one condition. That I can do 'em all at once!" *laughs*

Carcetti: That's sick.

Colvin: You know something, I had a lot of respect for that man. Cuz unlike most folks, I always knew where he stood.
I appreciate the openness with which these people share their beliefs. They're much better than people who call themselves "Christians" but won't tell me what that means, leaving me to rail against all of the things that they aren't, claiming in the end that I'm the misinformed one about what their religion actually is. Well, of course I am. You're using the word "Christian" to describe something completely unrecognizable as "Christian" to me and all of the people who run schools like this.

There really are people who believe that Nessie is alive and well (this was actually addressed in my senior year "marriage and family" class when we were discussing how horrifying your life would be if you married someone who didn't believe the Bible was infallible). There are people who really believe that this is evidence that the world is about 6,000 years old. The Flood was a real thing, and Noah really did build a big boat out of "gopher wood" and put a bunch of animals on it. All of these things are real in the same way that the computer I'm typing on is real. These are not metaphors or allegories for us to learn from, this is The Truth.

A story like this one in the FPP reminds us of this fact, and I'm glad to see it.
posted by King Bee at 10:24 AM on June 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


King Bee, Thanks for sharing. I'm always a bit in awe of people who have had a life's journey like yours. Hearing stories like yours, I realize how much I share my parents core values.

Did you always have nagging doubts growing up, that just grew year by year? Or did you change your mind after some flash of insight? Was it an evil secular university education?
posted by mondo dentro at 10:32 AM on June 28, 2012


I think you all fail to comprehend the fantastic upside to all this: Foxconn assembly-line work is going to return to America, putting a lot of these people into the workforce.

These kids will make terrific unskilled labour employees.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:37 AM on June 28, 2012


God put those fossils there to test you, and if you use critical thinking instead of faith, you will go to hell and suffer for eternity

I've heard the same thing, and that always bothered me in a logical sense: if I apply no critical thinking skills I would take the "aged" piece at face value. It would take some form (albeit warped) of critical thinking to decide the "aged-ness" was a test.

Thinking gets you past face value. Yet they tell you not to take the aged stuff at face value. um.
posted by Edison Carter at 10:40 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


even when you're thinking about trigonometry, you're thinking about God.

Trignometry is clearly evidence of the Holy Trinity. It's right there in the handy mnemonic : SOH-CAH-TOA, as in "Spirit (Of Heaven), Christ (Ascended to Heaven), (Trinity Of the) Almighty".

Plus, Jesus died for our sines.
posted by rh at 10:42 AM on June 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


Did you always have nagging doubts growing up, that just grew year by year? Or did you change your mind after some flash of insight? Was it an evil secular university education?

Well, I didn't really start having nagging doubts until I had to write my senior thesis. It was called "the worldview project" or some such nonsense that everyone had to do before you could graduate. You had to write about 25 pages on your core beliefs, and they would fail you if you didn't tow the fundamentalist Christian line. It was while I was writing this that I started to think that maybe a lot of this stuff wasn't quite right.

Then, I went to college. I even went to Marquette, because it was still a "Christian" place and I wasn't ready to reject the Christian lifestyle yet. (I didn't understand all of the denominations of Christianity at the time, so I didn't understand that Marquette would be as close to my schooling as a Toyota Prius is to the Flintstone's family car).

It took a lot of time (maybe over the course of 3 years) for me to grow past these things and develop the critical thinking skills I needed to realize that I had been effectively bullshitted on all scientific matters for my entire life. The real turning point I remember is in my junior year at Marquette when I took an Old Testament Scriptures class. The professor gave us a project where we either had to go to a service of a faith that was not our own (so a muslim goes to a synagogue, or a jew goes to a catholic mass, whatever) and write a 2-page paper on our experience. If we didn't want to do that, we could read In The Beginning by Chaim Potok and write a 10-page paper on that. (The point was to get you to experience other faiths.)

I decided to read the book instead and write the paper, mainly because I thought it would be a little disrespectful to go to some service as an embedded reporter and not a participant. In the paper, I talked about my past, and my doubts about the existence of a higher power and so on. Apparently what I wrote was so good that the professor had me talk to the class about my current beliefs and how I got to them. While in front of the class at the age of 19, I was the victim of the ire of a bunch of religious (but not crazy fundamentalist) folks wondering how I could reject all religious beliefs. I was peppered with questions for the better part of an hour during my presentation to them. Because of their reactions, it made me think even more about what things which cannot be proven are more likely to be true.

So here I am, 12 years after I finished the 13 year schooling. It's taken almost all that time to undo what was done to me there. Even when I see some mention of some fossils found somewhere today, I still think in the back of my mind, "ooo, this is controversial" or something, when it clearly isn't.
posted by King Bee at 10:51 AM on June 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


> while God created the universe only 6,000 years ago, he created it aged

Yeah, that's basically a rehash of P H Gosse's Omphalos hypothesis. The difficult thing about Gosse, however, was that he was one of the pre-eminent marine biologists of the age, and he struggled to reconcile the diversity he saw in sea life with his rigid creationist beliefs. The book he produced (sadly now in reprint amongst the creationists) is one of the saddest things I've ever read, and is the sound of a great mind slamming shut against a changing world.
posted by scruss at 10:55 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I understand how evolution is against a literal reading of the Bible, but what's wrong with set theory?
posted by jeather at 11:08 AM on June 28, 2012


Old Man McKay: "Ah, this is nothing. If you really want to fire up the outrage machine, see if you can get your hands on a science textbook created by A Beka or by Bob Jones."

Oh yeah - I grew up w/A Beka... Well the first 10 years of my life. One of the books I remember saying something like "Electrons fly around the nucleus and we don't know how they stay in orbit! It must be god's handiwork!" Something like that.

It's like they had someone write the books not only geared towards 3rd grade understanding but BY a 3rd grader... Seriously. I think Insane Clown Posse has more science skillz than that.
posted by symbioid at 11:11 AM on June 28, 2012


... what's wrong with set theory?

I think it's the homo-morphisms.
posted by mondo dentro at 11:12 AM on June 28, 2012


And LSD stands for either: Lust, Sin, Death or Lucifer, Satan, Devil...
posted by symbioid at 11:21 AM on June 28, 2012


Hey Southern USA! Remember how that one time you tried to secede from the rest of the country and there was a big fight over it and you lost? Maybe it's time to try again. I think this time around the rest of us would give you a sending-off party.
posted by perhapses at 11:31 AM on June 28, 2012


Belay that order, perhapses. I need to move out of fuckin' Florida before we give that okay.
posted by Edison Carter at 11:37 AM on June 28, 2012


They make an excellent point - it's shameful how important scientific documentaries like the Loch Ness Horror are disregarded by mainstream science. The important question that we should be focusing on here is how Bigfoot fits into the hypothesis.

That's really the right response here. The yeti/bigfoot creature (spotted by thousands of observers) supports evolutionary theory.

Where are my fair and balanced textbooks!
posted by mrgrimm at 11:38 AM on June 28, 2012


I need to move out of fuckin' Florida before we give that okay.

ftfy. (sorry, i can't not swing at a softball like that.)
posted by mrgrimm at 11:39 AM on June 28, 2012


Well, the good news is that once you've framed the debate in terms of 'this is why x is wrong', you've already lost the argument. (Isn't that how Fox News works?) Basically you have to go to the trouble to acknowlege and 'discredit' the opposing viewpoint every time that you want to get your own point across, giving them equal airtime. The critical thinkers in your audience (if there are any) can smell the ideology and will shrink away to the other camp.

This is why I love it when creationists talk about evolution. I suspect that creationists love it equally much whenever Richard Dawkins opens his mouth.
posted by biochemicle at 11:40 AM on June 28, 2012


As a former resident of Florida, I can say with some confidence that no resident is going to take offense at the suggestion that they probably want to leave. Unless they live in Key West or something.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:41 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wouldn't taking a plesiosaur onto the ark to avoid a flood* have been a bad thing for the pleiosaur?

I mean, unless you were planning on butchering it and feeding it to the other dinosaurs.

--
*of water
posted by lodurr at 11:42 AM on June 28, 2012


The canopy no longer exists; the flood occurred when the water canopy surrounding the planet was released by God

Genesis 1:6 Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” 7 Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.
16 Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. 17 God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth.

Genesis 8:2 Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky.

Even according to Genesis, the firmament couldn't have been destroyed, because the sun, moon and heaven are embedded in it. I'm no pseudo-scientist, but they couldn't come up with a better explaination than that? lol
posted by camdan at 12:19 PM on June 28, 2012


I understand how evolution is against a literal reading of the Bible, but what's wrong with set theory?

Well, obviously the Axiom of Choice contradicts the fact that since G-d knows everything there really are no choices. But let us look a little more closely at some of the more "innocent" axioms in Zermelo-Frankel:

Axiom of regularity - Every non-empty set x contains a member y such that x and y are disjoint sets.

But G-d is everywhere; there can be no non-empty set that is disjoint from H-m.

Axiom of pairing - If x and y are sets, then there exists a set which contains x and y as elements.

Oh, sure. Barely hidden advocacy for gay marriage.

Axiom of union - For any set F there is a set A containing every set that is a member of some member of F.

Communism.

Axiom of power set - For any set x, there is a set y which is a superset of the power set of x.

Did these mathematicians not read the story of the Tower of Babel?


Axiom of infinity - This is actually a quite G-dly axiom, and all lemmas and theorems arising solely from it are fit for a g-dly mind. Sadly, attempts at a "sub-intuitionist" mathematics based on just this one hasn't gotten very far. But there is always hope, so long as the well-ordering theorem abides.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:33 PM on June 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


Frankly, I don't think we should settle for any education where ∀ and ∃ aren't learned at the same time as A, B, and C.

Yes, I wish the proposition were true that for each and every one of us there existed such an education.
posted by RogerB at 12:34 PM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hey Southern USA! Remember how that one time you tried to secede from the rest of the country and there was a big fight over it and you lost? Maybe it's time to try again.

Just as a tangent, I really hate this attitude popping up in any thread about some terrible new thing that happened in the South. Some states (especially Southern ones) are more conservative than others, yes ... but that doesn't mean everyone in them is conservative, or that conservative people and their children don't deserve the same rights to equality, choice, and decent education as everyone else.

It just feels disrespectful, especially to the people who don't agree with what is going on, but have to live with it. It feels like a "fuck you," applied indiscriminately to everyone from the region. I imagine people were making the same joke during the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, which makes me wonder just what they think would have happened to all those Southern activists if they were no longer protected by federal law.

And we can't be blind to our own faults just because Louisiana might be worse.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 12:53 PM on June 28, 2012 [12 favorites]


(sorry, i can't not swing at a softball like that.)

You have nothing to apologize for.
posted by Edison Carter at 1:39 PM on June 28, 2012


If your line of reasoning starts with "Since the Loch Ness Monster is a known fact..." you might be starting off on the wrong foot.
posted by ErikaB at 2:08 PM on June 28, 2012


Thanks jb! I just wonder, though, what and how did dinosaurs taste like? Like iguana? Now what about plesiosaurs, would they have similar taste and mouthfeel as dinosaur? Or more shark-like or fish-like? Or maybe like turtle? Osteichthyes and mammals are getting boring - I'd be all in for cloning these guys for meat.

I think that it's heartening that this (sorry, the fpp) is getting national attention. Whether anything is going to change is another matter.

I tried a cursory google search but couldn't come up with terms to bring up actual data between the health of the economy/unemployment-rate and the intensity of religiosity. Lots of wind, and opinions on how religiosity affects the economy, but little hard data. There would be generational lag and it might not show up if the economy wasn't stable or growing stably, but shouldn't economic prosperity blunt the prevalence of this kind of extremism pointed out in the fpp? There have been plenty of examples of fundamental religious extremism in the US since there was a US, but the uptick in articles I've encountered felt like they shot up around when Bush II economic policies started getting worn in. Probably just a coincidence. Or collusion. Likely the latter.
posted by porpoise at 7:16 PM on June 28, 2012


i do find it funny that Basilosaurus fossils were once so common in the south that they were used for furniture. Considering how creationists feel Satan planted fossils to test their faith, their ancestors were on the right track, just sitting on them and not asking any questions.
posted by camdan at 8:28 PM on June 28, 2012


Ah, this is nothing. If you really want to fire up the outrage machine, see if you can get your hands on a science textbook created by A Beka or by Bob Jones.

I wasted a year of middle school in a school that used the A Beka curriculum--worse still, the school/church's business plan was apparently to skim off the difference from not hiring enough teachers as profit, because we had to spend all day with headphones on watching video-based classroom instruction on TV, three grade levels all packed into a single room. The math book literally began with some spiel about how in the beginning, God created the number "1," followed by some specious theological nonsense about all mathematics being derived from God's will or something similarly inane. The history lessons centered exclusively on the history of the birth and spread of Christianity (with liberal helpings of dubious Biblical myth thrown in for good measure). It was like a madrassa for middle class white kids.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:34 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think that photo of nessie's just someone's arm, damnit.
posted by TrinsicWS at 2:58 AM on June 29, 2012


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