Science and Society

Some of the most appalling drivel I’ve ever seen

I generally stay out of the whole Creationist argument (well, on my blog at least).

Let me be clear - I am an atheist.  Very staunchly so.  But other people write far better and far more cogently than I on the clash between creationism and science, and I’m quite happy to let them do so.

So today’s post will be a short one, and I will do my best to refrain from ranting.

I am NOT, however, amused.  Not at all.

Certainly, I’ve read the Bible, and I’ve heard about other Creationist texts and the scientific nonsense they espouse, but today I came across a textbook, currently being taught to 4th grade children, which set my teeth on edge.

I think the book’s called Science 4 (it’s not made clear), but of far more importance is the explanation of subjects, including the moon and electricity, within.

To quote the book on the subject of electricity:

creationist electricity

To be clear.  This is absolutely incorrect.  We know _lots_ about electricity.  Many, many books have been written about it. Much of our current technology would not be possible without our understanding it.  If you want to read a more detailed rebuttal, have a look here, for a start.

On the subject of the moon (you can read the entire chapter here, but beware, your jaw may permanently unhinge):

creationist moon
click to enlarge

Once again, not true.  While there remains debate, the current favourite hypothesis is that a giant impact explains the moon’s origin. Certainly, of the debate surrounding the moon’s origins, the ‘God created it’ hypothesis is seldom held out as a valid one.

A lovely long page on the various hypotheses can be found on the University of College London website. NASA has a research centre, CLOE, devoted to the subject.  There’s this, “Implications of isotope data for the origin of the moon“, written in 1986.  In fact, there’re lots and lots and lots of resources on the matter.

Update: New study proves Moon was created in massive planetary collision. Yop…

My point, for both examples, is that there’s a tonne of information which directly puts the lie to the flagrant lies being told by this textbook.  The problem?  I’m not sure the children being taught this will find that out in time.

Which is what really upsets me.

I’m not particularly interested in which deities people believe in, or their personal beliefs.  I become upset, however, when not only are people holding desperately onto their ignorance (which really does matter when it comes to the public influencing their politicians) but, even worse, passing it on to their children.

Children with this poor an understanding of how things really work are unlikely to do very well in the work force, especially against competitors who _are_ decently educated.  Nor are they likely to, through their votes, get their governments to make sane policy decisions.

And that?  That is a _terrible_ concern.

I’m so angry my hands are still shaking…

  • Maree

    please tell me this isn’tbeing taught in NZ?

  • Chthoniid

    An extraordinary number of creationist arguments seem to be based on the delusion that science is something that stopped in the early 1800s.

  • papango

    This is published by Bob Jones University and is designed to be used by homeschoolers. As far as I’m aware it’s not used in any schools anywhere.

    • aimee whitcroft

      It’s being taught. Where isn’t as important as the fact that it’s being taught at _all_. Worryingly, I doubt that some of the creationist arguments being taught at schools are much better…

  • Peter L

    Reading creationist homeschooling material is hardly to be reccommended, except possibly for humour purposes. As I understand it in the US there are no restrictions where it comes to teaching creationism in \homeschool\, where that term is used rather loosely.
    But this /is/ rather a…potent example :D

  • Darcy Cowan

    I really, really wanted to believe this was a hoax.
    Poe’s Law strikes again.

  • ShadowMind

    Are you sure this isn’t a book written BY children? My 7 year old niece could do better…

  • Darcy Cowan

    From the publisher’s website:

    “A number of people have taken the opportunity to ridicule the science that is presented here as well as the Bible. The basic point being made is that Christians are just out of it; we don’t have a clue; we are “two hundred years” out of touch with reality.

    Are Christians just out of it, scientifically speaking?

    The answer comes down to viewpoint. If you believe that man can know everything and that science is the path to that knowledge, then you would say yes; Christians are befuddled. If, however, you believe that man’s study of the universe is limited by his senses even when those senses are extended through technology, then your answer is no; Christians are clearly not “out of it.” “

    Actually, there are plenty of Christians who are intelligent and accept (and understand) science. They should really be more specific rather than imply all Christians are like this.

    Wait, I guess the ones I’m talking about aren’t “Real Christians”(TM).

  • carol

    Speaking of appalling drivel, this from the Immunisation Awareness Society’s website on 11 August 2011. They are MORONS.

    “So now we have an outbreak of Rubella. This of course doesn’t surprise me at all with parents rushing off to vaccinate their children with the live virus MMR vaccine and then sending them straight back out into the community to mix with other people whilst still shedding the 3 live vaccine viruses, I have no doubt there will be plenty of mumps out there in the not too distant future (if not already) and this too will be classed as a “rare” illness when in fact it isn’t all that rare at all, just as I’m quite sure Rubella isn’t actually all that rare, it’s just such a mild illness many parents wouldn’t even know their children have it…”

    • aimee whitcroft

      wait, so they’re now claiming that outbreaks are _caused_ by vaccinations, rather than preventing them? gosh…

  • carol

    Truly they are cretins. The Ministry of Health advisory on the outbreak quite clearly said that most of those who have come down with measles are unvaccinated schoolchildren.
    The other really dishonest and pernicious thing they do is to minimise the seriousness of the disease. A kid at our school almost died of encephalitis as a complication of measles.

  • Darcy Cowan

    The IAS is a registered charity, feel free to complain to the Charities commission that they do not meet the educational/beneficial requirement. but be prepared for a looong wait.

  • Grant Jacobs

    so they’re now claiming that outbreaks are _caused_ by vaccinations

    It’s a claim I’ve seen before, “overlooking” (or at best not understanding) that “live” vaccines are attenuated, etc. Bit hard to claim you’re a sound advisory service making claims like that, eh?

  • Maree

    Be grateful that the creationist drivel is only to a few thousand voluntary students who attend Bob Jones Uni each year - and is not mainstream education like it could be in a less democratic society…..

  • Grant Jacobs

    Getting further off-topic: non-science-based views* sometimes lead to this sort of thing. Here a couple is being convicted for manslaughter for choosing to ‘anoint with oil’ and pray for their dying infant, rather than take the kid to medical care. (Note how they’ll likely get off lightly on the sentencing, too.)

    (* i.e. whether stemming from religious beliefs or not.)