5 Even Worse Lies from Accelerated Christian Education
Top 5 Lies Taught By Accelerated Christian Education has had as many views as all my other posts to date combined. Luckily, there’s plenty more where that came from. I bought several brand new PACEs with my own money this week so I could check what is currently being taught. Most of the evidence here comes from these newly purchased PACEs; this stuff is being taught today. By the way, if you wish to support my project, buying me a PACE (they’re about $3 + p&p) would be the most helpful way. Alright, let’s do this.
5. The Second Law of Thermodynamics Disproves Evolution.
“The first and second laws of thermodynamics demonstrate what the Bible tells about the creation of new matter or energy. Things change, but they degenerate. These laws also demonstrate that the Genesis account of Creation is consistent with scientific evidence.”
Accelerated Christian Education, Science 1096, p. 7
Two whole pages are spent on this argument. And, well, it’s not true. Next.
4. Mark’s Gospel Was Written in 50 A.D.
“In attempting to fix the date of this Gospel, the critics range from A.D. 44 to A.D. 75. Recent criticism is decidedly in favor of a date prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. It seems certain that this Gospel was written between A.D. 46 and A.D. 56, and the evidence as a whole points to A.D. 50 as the most probable date.“
Accelerated Christian Education Basic New Testament Survey 98
Well, at least they admit there is a range of critical opinion. After that, everything heads south. In fact, the best estimates on the writing of Mark range from 65 to 80, with the scholarly consensus at shortly after 70.
But you know what? The date isn’t the problem with that paragraph. The problem is evidence: There isn’t any. What critics say this? What are their arguments? Why are the PACE writers “certain” it was written before 56? They don’t say. Maybe they have access to astonishing evidence that Mark was written two decades earlier than scholars believe. We just don’t know.
They teach in this way because they expect students not to ask any questions. In their God-given role as teachers, the students’ supervisors are not to be challenged. Obedience to authority is central to ACE, and students are required to accept what they are taught on that authority alone. This is a miserable way to teach. It doesn’t prepare you for the real world, where you have to weigh evidence in order to make decisions. Also, it’s just boring. Biblical history is a fascinating subject. It’s not the dates that are fascinating – it’s how we know this stuff. Teach it!
It gets worse. Although the quote above refers to 50 A.D. as a “probable date”, the word “probable” is not used again. By the time we get to the test, students are asked this question: “The date of the writing of Mark was____________.” And any answer other than the one ACE gives will be marked wrong. This, please remember, is what students in ACE schools in Britain do instead of GCSEs and A levels.
It’s the same with all the other Bible books in ACE’s New and Old Testament Surveys, if you were wondering.
3. No Transitional Fossils Exist.
This gradual change from fish to reptiles has no scientific basis. For the change, to have taken place many transitional forms would have been developed. However, no transitional fossils have been or will ever be discovered because God created each type of fish, amphibian, and reptile as separate, unique animals. Any similarities that exist among them are due to the fact that one Master Craftsman fashioned them all.
Accelerated Christian Education, Science 1099, p. 30
About the second half: “or ever will be discovered.” That is not a scientific claim. Science can never make dogmatic predictions about the future. It has no place in a science text.
2. Scientists Believe the “Hopeful Monster” Theory.
This one’s obscene. ACE purposely misrepresents scientific thought in order to discredit it.
“In a desperate attempt to keep the ‘sinking ship’ of evolution afloat, recent ‘scientists’ have proposed a new theory. This theory states that certain organisms experienced (for some unexplained reason) a dramatic genetic disturbance that hurled them across the gap left by the missing links. This theory, called the ‘hopeful monster’ theory, has no scientific basis.”
Accelerated Christian Education, Science 1107
The hopeful monsters hypothesis was proposed by one scientist, Richard Goldschmidt, and rejected by the scientific community. It has never been part of the scientific community’s thinking on evolution. In any case, it’s doubtful that even what Goldschmidt proposed was so ludicrous as the way ACE depicts it:
In their mendacious textbook, ACE give students the impression that mainstream scientists believe evolution works like this:
There were only fish. Then one day a fish mysteriously gave birth to a frog. Then there were reptiles… Then there were mammals… Then one day a monkey gave birth to a human and… voila! The human race.
From Social Studies 1098, describing how animals developed in the wake of Noah’s Flood (I wish I were making this up): “These were not evolutionary changes, for a bird never changed into a frog.”
And from Science 1096: “Dogs always produce dogs, never cats or other animals.”
This makes a straw man look substantial. So, do the PACE writers genuinely not understand evolution? Or are they purposely lying about it? And if the former, why are they writing about it?
Other PACEs criticise the old idea of Lamarckism, another straw man attack on evolution. I genuinely remember reading, “If you cut off a dog’s tail, its puppies will still have tails,” as though this were some amazingly insightful attack on scientific thinking.
1. Science Proves Homosexuality is a Learned Behaviour.
In the PACE materials on reproduction, science is taught alongside moralising with no distinction made between the two: both are equally factual. Under a section titled “Man’s Corruptions”, we find, unsurprisingly, homosexuality.
“Some people mistakenly believe that an individual is born a homosexual and his attraction to those of the same sex is normal. Because extensive tests have shown that there is no biological difference between homosexuals and others, these tests seem to prove that homosexuality is a learned behaviour. The Bible teaches that homosexuality is sin. In Old Testament times, God commanded that homosexuals be put to death. Since God never commanded death for normal or acceptable actions, it is as unreasonable to say that homosexuality is normal as it is to say that murder or stealing is normal.”
Science 1107, p. 10
Let’s just assume, for a second, that they’re right about all the biological tests showing homosexuals are the same as “others”, as they put it. That in no way proves that homosexuality is a learned behaviour. Lack of proof for proposition A does not constitute proof for proposition B. It’s a non-sequitur. And the purpose of teaching science has to be to teach proper reasoning and application of the scientific method.
Furthermore, this is science. So what were these tests? What was the methodology, and what were the results? Can the data be generalised? Are the findings repeatable? If you’re not using the scientific method, it isn’t science. As I’ve already argued, the only way ACE can make their arguments work is to distort the scientific method. So that’s what they do.
Anyway, it seems there is a biological component in sexual orientation, so they’re lying about that, too.
Do you think this type of education should be legal? Some people argue that teaching children misinformation is a form of neglect or even abuse, so it should be illegal. Others claim that civil and religious liberties are so important that we cannot outlaw fundamentalist education without undermining our democratic values. I will be exploring both arguments in future blog posts. For now, please let me know what you think in the comments.
- Top 5 Lies Taught by Accelerated Christian Education
- The Scientific Method According to Accelerated Christian Education
- Accelerated Christian Education on BBC Radio 4 (A good audio introduction if you don’t know what ACE is)
- What is Accelerated Christian Education?
- How Accelerated Christian Education is Racist
Posted on May 28, 2012, in Accelerated Christian Education, Christianity, Creationism, Education, Faith Schools, Fundamentalism and tagged Accelerated Christian Education, Bible, Genesis, Religion, Richard Goldschmidt. Bookmark the permalink. 125 Comments.