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Creationism in the news

Big news for the battle against creationism in Britain: Professor Alice Roberts has thrown her weight behind getting creationism out of school science lessons. That’s what my New Statesman article was in response to. This is awesome because Alice is both a TV star and an academic with relevant expertise – she is one of two people I can think of who could say this and be taken seriously (the other is Brian Cox). At this point, I think Richard Dawkins coming out with a statement to this effect would be so unsurprising it would barely register.

Anyway, earlier this week Alice appeared on BBC2’s The Daily Politics to debate this. She actually mentioned me, which was nice. The episode is currently on BBC iPlayer (sorry international viewers, hopefully someone will get this on YouTube so you can see it). Alice’s segment starts at 1:17:12, and she mentions me at 1:19:50.

I gave my response to this for the new episode of the Pod Delusion podcast. [MP3 link] [iTunes link]

While I’ve got your attention, I’d like to ask a favour. The Skeptic magazine is hosting its annual awards. If you enjoy this blog, please vote for Leaving Fundamentalism (https://leavingfundamentalism.wordpress.com) in the Best Blog category. Go here to vote. Let me know if you do it so I can thank you.

33 jaw-droppingly bad multiple-choice questions from Accelerated Christian Education

“It’s the crapness!” yelled my mother, who almost never says anything more offensive than ‘oh blow’.

“It’s not the doctrine or the terrible science or the politics. It’s the… CRAPNESS!

In hindsight, leaving three boxes of Packets of Accelerated Christian Education (PACEs) at her house was perhaps not the kindest thing I could have done.

“It’s a bubble!” she continued, warming to her rant. “It’s stuck in a 1950s timewarp and it’s all so twee. Do you know what I read in a science PACE earlier? There was a lesson about the first heart transplant, and then it said have you had your heart transplanted by Jesus?

Seeing my mum rant about ACE might be the funniest thing I’ve ever seen; if I could capture her on a podcast I’d blast the Pod Delusion into next week. But she’s got a point. What is staggering about ACE  is not the creationism or the conservatism – everyone knows fundamentalists believe that. It’s the fact that it’s just so obviously rubbish, and yet, in the UK at least, school inspectors seem to let this pass without comment.

The most obvious way ACE is crap is in its multiple choice questions (of which there are thousands). Here, for your general amusement, are some I found yesterday. I make no claim that these are the best (or worst) of it. They’re just a few I dug up in a cursory jaunt through the PACEs I have. I could go on much, much longer.

This is what happens when you leave education to people for whom religious conversion is everything and learning is a distant afterthought.

Read the rest of this entry

Back on The Pod Delusion

I am once more on the superb Pod Delusion podcast this week, and once more in esteemed company: Dan Dennett, Richard Dawkins, and former government chief science adviser Sir David King are all on the same show.

Unlike my past appearances, this time I’m talking about something I’ve never blogged about: the phenomenon of “Jesus is my Boyfriend.” It seems that large numbers of evangelical women really do fantasise that Jesus is their lover, and… you’ll have to listen to it. It’s awesome, and features Kylie Sturgess as well.

Direct mp3 link

Add to iTunes

The only fly in the ointment is that at one point I utter the sentence, “This is based on the evangelical belief that the church is the body of Christ.” I should have said bride of Christ. It makes no sense otherwise, and I’m really quite annoyed at myself for this slip of the tongue. Anyway, enjoy.

Update: While you’re listening, make sure you check out Rob Weeks’ “Gove’s Curriculum”. As well as being another example of why Michael Gove is a dangerous idiot to have the level of responsibility he does, it also explains why rote learning is not a good thing. And since ACE is based on rote learning almost exclusively, that’s relevant to this blog.