The One-Two Punch of Scientific Illiteracy

So yesterday I wrote about Jack Wu, who I think is trying to win the top spot on “Fundies Say the Darndest Things” for the incoherent rantings he posted on his website to convince the people of Topeka that he’s the right man for the Kansas Board of Education.  I also said he’s not alone in his views.  Take for example the Accelerated Christian “Education” program in Louisiana, whose behavior is unconscionable on two fronts:

Pupils attending privately-run Christian schools in the southern state of Louisiana will learn from textbooks next year, which claim Scotland’s most famous mythological beast is a living creature.

… which once again demonstrates that just because it’s in a textbook doesn’t make it true.  The only problem is that these kids have no way of knowing that and are relying on the people they’ve grown to accept as authority figures to give them the proper guidance on such issues.  So much for that.

One ACE textbook called Biology 1099, Accelerated Christian Education Inc reads: “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.”

Bullshit.  Scientists are not becoming “more convinced of their existence”.  The closest true statement that can be made is that the scientific community now generally agrees that birds evolved from a group of theropod dinosaurs, but that in itself is a conclusion supported by evolutionary theory.

Additionally, an investigation was done in 2003 to determine once and for all whether there was anything suspicious in Loch Ness.

Using 600 separate sonar beams and satellite navigation technology to ensure that none of the loch was missed, the team surveyed the waters said to hide Scotland’s legendary tourist attraction but found no trace of the monster.

The most reasonable conclusion that can be drawn from the results of this study is that there is no monster of any kind … especially not a species of dinosaur that’s been dead for 65 million years somehow found its way into a lake that’s only been around for 10,000 years, and has been living there ever since despite its ecological inability to support a creature (creatures, plural) so large.  There are a lot of little incidents over the years that may not be easily explained, and combined with wishful thinking and some imagination it can easily translate into a monster sighting.  But the fact is that if a sonar net of this caliber didn’t pick anything up, it’s extremely likely there’s nothing to see.

In other words, these schools are lying to their students to get them to reject science and accept a 2,000 year old book as Truth.  I said this was unconscionable on two fronts.  Here’s the second:

Thousands of children are to receive publicly-funded vouchers enabling them to attend the schools – which follow a strict fundamentalist curriculum.  […] Youngsters will be told that if it can be proved that dinosaurs walked the earth at the same time as man, then Darwinism is fatally flawed.

The fact that they receive publicly funded vouchers to go to a school that doesn’t know the first thing about science is a depressing reminder of the magnitude of influence religion has in this country, and the damage they can inflict on the nation’s children by hiding behind it.  I wasn’t joking yesterday when I mentioned the tribal regions of Afghanistan having similar educational mandates.

Private religious schools, including the Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake, Louisiana, which follows the ACE curriculum, have already been cleared to receive the state voucher money transferred from public school funding, thanks to a bill pushed through by Republican state governor Bobby Jindal, a Hindu convert to Catholicism.

Boston-based researcher and writer Bruce Wilson, who specialises in the American political religious right, said: “One of these texts from Bob Jones University Press claims that dinosaurs were fire-breathing dragons. It has little to do with science as we currently understand. It’s more like medieval scholasticism.”

Here we have the shining example of American freedom of religion.  There’s “conscience” clauses so the poor, oppressed pharmacist and doctors don’t have to treat or fill prescriptions for things they find objectionable according to their faith – all of which unsurprisingly have to do with the female reproductive system.  Now we have money being taken away from public schools by a religious governor to allow schools that show an overt hostility to the scientific method and clearly have no problem filling children’s heads with religious nonsense that simply has no basis in reality.

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This entry was posted in Dr. Bob's House of Crap, Freedom from Religion, generic skepticism, Religion and Public Life, Religion in the News, Science Marches On, The Illogical School and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to The One-Two Punch of Scientific Illiteracy

  1. Dan Adler says:

    I’m planning a trip (hopefully soon) to Vancouver to see if I might like living there. Wanna join me?

  2. Americans want vouchers or private (usually Christian schools) because the quality of education students receive is usually superior that what students would get in public schools. Plain and simple. Many atheists even send their students to private parochial schools for this reason.

  3. Pingback: No No … Freedom of MY Religion. | Crimes Against Divinity

  4. Pingback: The Loch Ness Monster Thinks You’re Pregnant. | Crimes Against Divinity

  5. Pingback: I Think Louisiana Just Won the Race to the Bottom | Crimes Against Divinity

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