No more Nessie for Accelerated Christian Education

I suppose I can chalk this up as a victory. The new edition ACE PACEs do not mention the Loch Ness monster. Or, for that matter, a sea monster allegedly caught by a Japanese fishing vessel.

If you’ve followed this blog at all, you’ll know that Accelerated Christian Education has taught that the probable existence of the Loch Ness monster is one in the eye for evolution by natural selection. Making this claim public has been my biggest success. It has been quoted in articles on Salon, AlterNet, the Washington Post, the New York Daily News, the Guardianthe Daily Telegraph… Hell, even The Sun got in on the act.

The Christian Post ran a story on it, and they even got a quote from spokespeople for Answers in Genesis and the Discovery Institute… and even those guys said it was a stupid argument to make. It was an unmitigated PR disaster for ACE. 

Perhaps that’s why new edition biology PACEs have been brought out sooner than I was expecting. On the ACE website, they’ve been introducing the new PACEs in sequence, as you’d expect. According to the ACE website, they’ve got as far as the sixth grade (the biology course is 9th grade). But a blog from an ACE school in Gloucester features a scan from what is clearly a new edition of Biology 1099, the PACE which featured the Nessie claim:

New edition Biology 1099, with no Loch Ness Monster mention.

Compare that with the old version, which was still current at least as recently as the start of this year, when my university library got its copy:

Loch Ness Monster

Old edition ACE Biology PACE 1099, with Nessie claim.

Over at the School of the Lion blog, they’re on bullish form, dedicating an entire blog post to how the new and improved PACE makes no mention of Nessie.

Which is true.

But read the new one. It’s not exactly an improvement, is it?

They’ve taken out the old bullshit about Nessie and Zuiyo Maro, and replaced it with fresh bullshit about cave paintings and folk tales about fucking dragons (I think I’ve seen that somewhere before).

Such pathetic arguments barely need a response, but some individuals more patient than me have bothered to debunk the cave art claims here and here. And even by Fox News.

I’m going to have to shout a bit.

DEAR ACE:

HUMANS AND DINOSAURS DID NOT CO-EXIST. NEVER. IT DIDN’T FUCKING HAPPEN. IT DOESN’T MATTER WHICH FANCIFUL TALE YOU USE TO ATTEMPT TO SUPPORT IT. IT’S WRONG TO TELL CHILDREN THAT SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE POINTS TO THE CO-EXISTENCE OF HUMANS AND DINOSAURS, BECAUSE IT DOESN’T.

School of the Lion’s pride (no pun intended) that their new curriculum doesn’t mention Nessie reminds me of the Chris Rock skit about parents who are proud for meeting their most basic obligations:

My school doesn’t teach the Loch Ness Monster is real.

You’re NOT SUPPOSED TO TEACH THAT NESSIE IS REAL!

So now I have to go and get new editions of the ACE biology PACEs, because I’m half way through writing a paper about the old ones, which have evidently been replaced.

I wonder what the Sensuous Curmudgeon will make of all this.

Edit: I must really thank Rachel Loxton at the Herald Scotland, and Bruce Wilson from Talk2Action. It was their stories that provided the basis for all the others, and which also made my blog go viral last summer.

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About jonnyscaramanga

I grew up as a Christian fundamentalist in the UK. Now I am writing a book and blog about what that's like, and what fundamentalists believe.

Posted on July 23, 2013, in Accelerated Christian Education, Atheism, Christianity, Creationism, Education, Faith Schools, Fundamentalism, School of Tomorrow and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 35 Comments.

    • I hardly feel this is a win. Replacing one load of bollocks with another doesn’t change the fact that kids in these schools get a terrible education. It really just means I’ve lost my best ammunition against ACE.

      • Don’t underestimate the scope of your efforts. You embarrassed them on the public stage, and that is priceless.

      • I dunno. It looks like they’ve been forced to get a lot more vague. Count out the number of times you see the words “could,” “perhaps,” “possibility,” and my personal favorite, “if,” on just that one new page.

      • Indeed. I suppose this gives the children that wild speculation is part of science… Which it could be, at the hypothesis stage. But this is anything but robust science. If it were a pamphlet for adults, I might say this is an improvement. As an education, it’s possibly worse.

  1. I like (NOT) the way it says “If Noah took small or young Dinosaurs on the Ark….” a slight nod to practicality there. Also, didn’t god command Noah to take a pair of EVERY unclean animal?

    I also see they are now suggesting that climate change could be the cause of the Dinosaur’s extinction. They then follow that with a swipe at evolution using the phrase “As astonishing as it may seem…”

    Well ACE compilers :- As astonishing as it may seem, there are some ‘text book’ compilers who appear to be devoid of all logical thought processes, have lost their powers of reasoning and base their scientific understanding on what was written in bronze age scrolls. 5 Stars for stupidity ….. make that 10!

    • Yeah, and also, we’re supposed to accept that the dinosaurs were wiped out by the change in climate, but all the other animals were just fine?

      And… THE PLANET HAD BEEN ENTIRELY SUBMERGED IN WATER. FOR A YEAR. What the fuck did the herbivores eat after the flood?

      • Also Polar Bears in the Middle East ….. how did that work?

      • Dawkins has a brilliant bit on this in The Greatest Show on Earth:

        It is almost too ridiculous to mention it, but I’m afraid I have to because of the more than 40 percent of the American population who, I lamented in Chapter 1, accept the Bible literally: think what the geographical distribution of animals should look like if they’d all dispersed from Noah’s Ark. Shouldn’t there be some soft of law of decreasing species diversity as we move away from an epicentre – perhaps Mount Ararat? I don’t need to tell you that that is not what we see.

        Why would all those marsupials – ranging from tiny pouched mice through koalas and bilbys to giant kangaroos and Diprotodonts – why would all those marsupials, but no placentals at all, have migrated en masse from Mount Ararat to Australia? Which route did they take? And why did not a single member of their straggling caravan pause on the way, and settle – in India, perhaps, or China, or some haven along the Great Silk Road? Why did the entire order Edentata (all twenty species of armadillo, including the extinct giant armadillo, all six species of sloth, including extinct giant sloths, and all four species of anteater) troop off unerringly for South America, leaving not a rack behind, leaving no hide nor hair nor armour plate of settlers somewhere along the way? Why were they joined by the entire infraorder of caviomorph rodents, including guinea pigs, agoutis, pacas, maras, capybaras, chinchillas and lots of others, a large group of characteristically South American rodents, found nowhere else? Why did an entire sub-order of monkeys, the platyrrhine monkeys, end up in South America and nowhere else? Shouldn’t at least a few of them have joined the rest of the monkeys, the catarrhines, in Asia or Africa? And shouldn’t at least one species of catarrhine have found itself in the New World, along with the platyrrhines? Why did all the penguins undertake the long waddle south to the Antarctic, not a single one to the equally hospitable Arctic?
        An ancestral lemur, again very possibly just a single species, found itself in Madagascar. Now there are thirty-seven species of lemur (plus some extinct ones). They range in size from the pygmy mouse lemur, smaller than a hamster, to a giant lemur, larger than a gorilla and resembling a bear, which went extinct quite recently. And they are all, every last one of them, in Madagascar. There are no lemurs anywhere else in the world, and there are no monkeys in Madagascar. How on Earth do the 40 per cent history-deniers think this state of affairs came about? Did all thirty-seven and more species of lemur troop in a body down Noah’s gangplank and hightail it (literally in the case of the ringtail) for Madagascar, leaving not a single straggler by the wayside, anywhere throughout the length and breadth of Africa?
        Once again, I am sorry to take a sledgehammer to so small and fragile a nut…

  2. Christine Janis

    Can these people explain why it would be such a problem for evolutionary theory if some (nonavian) dinosaurs *had* survived to the present day?

  3. I can’t work out whether that new edition is actually on sale yet. It’s not pictured on any other websites I can find.

  4. “Job’s description suggests that perhaps he personally saw these creatures.”

    NO. I can describe unicorns, chimeras, basilisks, selkies, shedu, and other mythical beasties to a T. However, I’ve never seen one, because they don’t exist. Funny how that works.

  5. Jonny,
    This is a victory, and take it. They were so ridiculed they had to change. The fact they use leviathan and behemoth only shows the short-sightedness in their thinking and strategy. Keep plugging along, and this, too, shall pass. Oh, yes, it shall! As you know. they no longer talk about unicorns and sylphs, yet these creatures are mentioned in their Bible. So, just keep ridiculing the ridiculous, My Friend. It’s working!

    • Alright kittybrat, I will! Thanks.

      • And, in response to your response to my “vague language” comment: When you’re a kid, “might” is a lot less convincing than “is.” When you’re told that dinosaurs definitely did coexist with humanity, rather than that they just “might have,” you’re a lot less likely to see it as being like that one guy from the History Channel instead of being actual, reputable science.

        After all, you’re told that gravity is definitely the force that keeps us on Earth, and the planets revolving around the sun. You’re told that the boiling point of water definitely is 212F/100C/373K. And so forth. There is no “might” when science books talk about atoms, or platypus eggs, or solar flares–those are things that we’ve studied extensively and can say confidently do work the way we’ve observed them to work. So for a science book to suddenly switch to “might” on the issue of whether humans and dinosaurs were coeval would be a HUGE RED FLAG to a child like I was.

      • I do agree with you entirely. I’m just also curious what the impact is of including such speculation in a science curriculum. As well as the explicit information you learn in science class, there’s the subtext you’re learning of “this is how science is done”.

        Creationism, as this demonstrates, doesn’t follow the scientific method. So what sort of scientists does this education produce? And what do the rest of the students think scientists do? Make stuff up?

  6. I just showed my husband these pages, and here was his response:

    “I wasn’t sure what I thought about creationism, but after reading this, I am absolutely positive it didn’t happen this way. That is ludicrous and absolutely ridiculous.”

  7. wow, they changed it? at least the new pace looks better.

  8. It’s also nice to see that the newer version replaces the low quality photos of various animals with clipart. Nothing says “science” better than clipart.

  9. UPDATE: I emailed two ACE retailers to find out when this new edition would be on sale. Neither one of them had heard anything about it. One of them said that on the current schedule, he’d expect new biology PACEs in about six years.

    So to follow up, I just called ACE in Texas. There are no new edition biology PACEs; the woman on the phone insisted they haven’t been written yet, and she didn’t know when they would be.

    So whatever that is pictured above, it’s not an ACE USA publication. It might be a UK PACE, or something that School of the Lion has done itself.

    • When a low quantity of an item is apparent a reprint is initiated. The copyright date would stay the same but the new reprint date (revision) will show above the copyright date. Very few departments are notified when this happens. Accounts (school, retail, or otherwise) are not notified because the answer key usually does not change. At reprint some changes may be made especially if a user notified them about it but an overhaul would happen when the new edition is scheduled. I’ve used ACE as a student and have been acquainted with a few employees over the years. But the new page layout is different so I would suspect it is from the UK.

      • You’re right; the revisions are always incredibly minor. This isn’t a revision, it’s a total overhaul.

        Interestingly, I can’t find it on sale anywhere.

  10. I’m going to use this in my thesis as an example of the ridiculous lengths creationists go to in order to “prove” their beliefs. I think my professors will enjoy your blogposts :)

  11. I hope these new PACEs’ faces were changed… Or maybe not…
    I bet these English Wisdom Packs were changed too. If not… I don’t know…

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