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Posted at 04:27 PM ET, 06/27/2012

The Loch Ness monster, in a science textbook


Do ye see her? (Photo by Brian Yarvin For The Washington Post) (Brian Yarvin - FTWP)
What’s wrong with including the Loch Ness monster in a science textbook? Sure, it’s being used as proof that dinosaurs coexist peacefully with us and evolution is a flawed theory. So?

The main trouble with science is that there is too much science in it.

A textbook from the ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) Curriculum program – “Reaching the World for Christ … One Child at a Time!”– has been coming under fire for citing the Loch Ness Monster as proof against evolution.

Let’s just reread that sentence for a moment.

“Are dinosaurs alive today? Scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence,” the passage reads. “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.”

Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur.

I have never seen magic cited in a science text before.

Admittedly, it is the rare science workbook that includes handy cartoons in the sidebar about how to bring your neighbor to Jesus.

I would argue that the unicorn could be cited against intelligent design — what intelligent designer would create an animal so obviously phallic and likely to get its head tangled in clotheslines? — but...well, let’s not go there. This is not a textbook for believers in intelligent design. This is a science textbook for people who think that science would be nicer if God were a little more visibly involved. The first-level Science PACE — “bite-sized, achievable worktext” according to the ACE Web site — offers the following insights about birds:

“God made the birds on day five. The birds are glad so they sing. God made birds with wings. Wings help the birds to fly. With wings the birds fly in the sky. The birds fly, fly, fly up in the sky.”

The next page asks you to fill in a passage from Proverbs 14:15.

If this is the science textbook, I don’t want to know what the religion textbook looks like. This is more religion than any worksheet I ever completed in Sunday school! Admittedly I am Episcopalian and our Sunday school consisted of lessons in which fork to use.

Perhaps the approach was unduly simplistic because of the early level. I flipped to Science PACE Level 5. “Mr. Fahrenheit,” it said, “a man who understood physics, developed the coldest temperature he could and called it 0 degrees.”

I wish I were making this up.

I checked the worksheets for Grade 9 biology, at which point perhaps they were putting away childish things.

“When God created the world,” it informed me, “He designed a homogeneous environment that contained air, water, and land. He then created organisms — prostists, plants, animals, and humans — to inhabit the homogeneous environment. The Bible tells us that God looked at all He had made, and it was ‘good.’ ”

This is a textbook on a mission. It’s being used in numerous schools — one, in Louisiana, accepts students with publicly funded vouchers. Which raises certain questions.

Not to say that every textbook is not, to a certain extent, on a mission.

History may well be bunk. All this relativism has gotten to the point where we sit around and agree that the Battle of Hastings was just one of many things that happened that day and what really matters is how you feel about it.

All textbooks are a form of propaganda. 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.”

But Science remains the rare party to which it is unacceptable to show up with your own set of facts.

In the video promoting ACE Textbooks, the voiceover complains about the indoctrination of the young into secular humanism. It would not do for science to be secular, or Mr. Galileo (another man who understood physics) will have perished in vain! (I’m sorry, I’ve been reading the Social Studies textbook too.) Of course, some might suggest that the answer to perceived indoctrination is not louder, less correct indoctrination. But — why not?

There is nothing like magic for disproving science.

The passage about the Loch Ness Monster is from a book called Biology 1099. As a Snopes.com commenter suggested, “I assume that is the year it was written in?”

 In an article on the subject in the Scotsman, a former ACE student Jonny Scaramanga notes, “It’s a common thing among creationists to believe in sea monsters.” The logic runs, as he points out, that if Noah’s Flood was only a few thousand years ago, there are no doubt dinosaurs still swimming unhappily among us, occasionally breathing fire and frightening wandering knights.

The best proof against myth is another myth.

Need scientific proof against evolution? Try sea monsters! Or better yet, try the fact that people are still citing the Loch Ness Monster in a science textbook in 2012.

By  |  04:27 PM ET, 06/27/2012

Tags:  nessie

 
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