ACE Revealed by Its Own Cartoons

Jonny sent me this rather eye-popping critique of several ACE cartoons. It’s got a jaunty little title – Life According to the Christian Education Curriculum, in Cartoons! – but don’t be fooled into thinking you can read this if your stomach is in an easily-nauseated condition right now. Fortify yourself before clicking.*

You’ll have to let me know which your favorites are. So far, I can’t decide between ACE’s Evil Atheist With Great Hair vs Lil Godbot, or Who Will Feed Me Now That Mommy’s a Feminist?! I do know the winner in the creep category for me, though:

Cartoon is two panels. The first shows a family in a living room. The dad is reading the Bible, saying, "'Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.' Racer, God is pleased when you obey your parents." The second panel shows Racer sitting on his bed in his PJs and robe, reading his Bible. Thought bubble reads, "I will listen and obey my parents."

Image courtesy Jonny Scaramanga.

To the people who write this stuff, this apparently isn’t horrifically creepy indoctrination – it’s just a good education. Show a kid evidence for evolution, on the other hand…

And to think I’ve signed on to read a whole grade of this shit. Including the tests. And those terrible cartoons. I’d ask you to save spare change for the Replace Dana’s Liver fund, but you’re probably going to need that money for your own transplant. I’m so, so sorry.

 

*If the pics don’t show, just click where they should be – they’ve been temperamental.

Cryptopod: It’s Got Legs

A long, long time ago in a life far, far away, I dated a clown. No, seriously, a clown. Well, aspiring clown. Phillip ran away to join the Circus Center’s Clown Conservatory. (Before all the coulrophobics in the audience freak out: he’s more like a Charlie Chaplin clown. I’ve never seen him in the disturbing makeup. It’s more about the physical comedy. And juggling. Love the juggling.) This is the closest I’ll ever get to one of my own running away to join the circus, and I’m damned proud of him. He’s now a certified professional, and he also does comics. Plural. It’s good to see that he did not run away in vain.

Now, it’s probably a moment right now in which you’re saying, “Ah, Dana – that’s an adorable aspect of your past, really, and Phillip is a very interesting and talented person, but this has bugger-all to do with bugs*.” To all appearances, you’re certainly correct. However, there is a reason why this ex of mine will always be associated with arthropods. Clowning had skipped a generation in his family, you see: he was following in his grandmother’s footsteps, but his parents were both biologists.

It is at this point that I need the biologists in the audience to begin paying close attention, as there is a moral in this story.

These were the days just after college, when I was still a recovering history major, and still a bit – okay, a lot – woo-smitten. I’d read up on astronomy, some physics, and a bit of geology, but I was by no means a biology fan. Biology was about squishy things that sometimes smelled bad or did disgusting things, might sting or bite, and could possibly be infectious. It also involved things that might be sticky. Biology and I weren’t cordial. I knew biologists were enthusiastic about their work, and did wonderful and important things, but I preferred they did them somewhere far away from me.

It’s possible that I may have been won over to biology the night I had dinner with my aspiring clown’s parents – I mean, one of them was even a biologist I’d seen quoted in magazine articles, so famous! – but instead of captivating me with the wondrous complexities of evolution or talking about the beauty of beneficial bacteria, this famous microbiologist began by rhapsodizing about how raw sewage looks remarkably like root beer when microbes are breaking it down.

Did I mention this was at dinner?

At a later point in the evening, my beau’s mother spoke a bit about her work with non-microscopic critters. We began discussing spiders, I don’t remember why, and at last I felt I could contribute something to the conversation. I might have babbled a bit, waxing lyrical about the daddy longlegs living behind my bed when I was a child. His mom stopped my stories of admiring generations of DLs by asking, “Are you sure they weren’t solifugids**?” Which left my jaw agape. “Did they have one body segment or two?” she asked helpfully. But I had no answer. I was not the kind of child who counts body segments. I subsided into silence, defeated, and for years after avoided dinners with biologists.

And yet. And yet. They planted seeds. They prepared me to understand that even ugly, stinky things can be beautiful, given a certain point of view.

And when I see a long-legged spider-like creature, I always count body segments.

Cryptopod I

Cryptopod I

I will give part of the game away and tell you this is not a solifugid. This much I know: solifugids have two body segments. I will never forget this fact, and have trotted it out to good effect before. Comically traumatic as that dinner was, much good has come of it: I can identify something as not-a-solifugid like that.

Cryptopod II

Cryptopod II

Also, I can now laugh at that young self who was overawed, intimidated, and grossed out by a couple of biologists. They’re enthusiastic about their work and will take any opening to discuss it. They know barely-out-of-college former history majors aspiring to be fantasy authors aren’t current on the technical literature. And if I’d admitted abject ignorance outright and asked something like, “What’s the best part of your job?” I’d probably have felt better about the situation. But if I’d done that early on, I may never have learned what a solifugid is…

Which is not this fellow.

Cryptopod III

Cryptopod III

It was hanging round on that yummy sandstone at Strand Agricultural Hall at OSU. Here we had a gray arthropod on gray sandstone in gray light – not ideal. But my camera figured the situation out well enough, I think, for you to figure out a possible species.

Cryptopod IV

Cryptopod IV

We can all learn something here, I hope. Microbiologists: you might want to choose different microbes to discuss with strangers at the dinner table. Biologists: body segments did not matter to many elementary-age children. People who are dating clowns whose parents are famous biologists: lighten the fuck up and enjoy time spent with brilliant people rather than worrying about measuring up. Everyone: you can now stymie people by asking, “Spider… or solifugid?” Which is actually awesome. Because, as I have learned, evolution is awesome. And even if biology smells bad and occasionally viciously bites, it fucking well rocks.

As do Charlie Chaplin-style clowns.

 

*Pedants are asked to kindly stuff it for the moment. I know that “bug” has a particular meaning, thankseversomuch. They are a subset of arthropods, so just go with the literary flow, people.

**She might have been saying “solpugids.” I’m not sure. I didn’t know the things existed back then, much less that there were ten thousand names for the same basic arthropod, nor how any of this might be spelled. All I know is that she has got one named after her.

New at Rosetta Stones: Wherein Trees and Pyroclastic Material Meet

Our next installment of the Cataclysm is up at Rosetta Stones. In this episode, you learn how some trees could actually survive the fury of a lateral blast – with the help of some rocky debris. Enjoy!

 Trees protected by snowbank at Toutle station after Mount St. Helens eruptions. Cowlitz County, Washington. June 18, 1980. Image and caption courtesy USGS. The image is of many dead trees stripped of their branches, most leaning to the right, in a field of gravelly gray ash. One tiny, vibrant green fir tree is perkily alive in the foreground.

Trees protected by snowbank at Toutle station after Mount St. Helens eruptions. Cowlitz County, Washington. June 18, 1980. Image and caption courtesy USGS.

 

Adventures in ACE I: In Which Oddities Are Explored

I recently spent an instructive few months reading Jonny Scaramanga’s blog, where I learned just how screwed up Accelerated Christian Education is. Imagine a room full of young kids stuffed in study carrels (“offices,” in ACE parlance), sitting silent on hard plastic chairs while they’re taught truly-true Christian things from thin newsprint booklets. As they grind through their science lessons, they answer review questions such as:

Christ’s shed blood is the _______ of our salvation. (Science PACE 1085)

Welcome to the whacky world of ACE, where until recently kids were taught that the Loch Ness Monster exists (and is a plesiosaur – checkmate, atheists!). Considering this is an “education” produced by (virtually) the same company that supplies the supposedly secular Responsive Ed curriculum, and is taught to far too many kids in Christian private and home schools worldwide, we should pay close attention to their shenanigans.*

Let us investigate the violence done to the earth sciences, shall we?

I had the dubious pleasure of opening a packet of PACEs this evening. Yes, my 8th grade science curriculum makes quite the stack. And I’m going to attempt them stone-sober. We’ll see if my brain makes it past first impressions without crying for the solace of demon rum.

Image shows a stack of PACES, with 1085 on top.

Mah stack o’ ACE

If you’re looking for slick, glossy Christianist science education, you won’t find it here. Each book is thin, stapled newsprint, much like the instruction booklets mailed out by the IRS, only less useful to civilization. The covers, recycled from previous PACEs, often have little to nothing to do with the content within, and haven’t been updated for decades to boot. The first booklet has got the word “science” all over it, along with photos of people looking at things potentially related to science. The clothes and hairstyles are trés late-70s – early-80s. I feel we’ve reached the cutting edge already.

The next PACE, showing an astronaut and the American flag on the moon, the Earth shining full overhead, has got red crosses all over it.

A quick flip through the pile shows a few booklets aren’t in color. These are the Activity PACs. I think they’re included to ensure a child’s will is thoroughly broken. The Science 1087 PAC, for instance, has us fill in the blanks for questions such as, “God designed the hydrologic ________ to prevent the ________ from overflowing.”

Now, lest you fall prey to the idea that these activity books may, somewhere within, contain any activities that may prove the slightest bit fun, let me just advise there is nothing of that worldly sort. We have science vocabulary words (like “hymn”), fill-in-the-blank exercises, Bible verse memorization…. and that’s it. I know, the excitement could positively overwhelm a kid.

The contents of each PACE include goals we’re to learn about, such as “Purpose of Earth’s Creation.” Then there’s a homily sort of thing, and a little snippet of what appears to be the lyrics of a good Christian song or hymn. Finally, there’s the Bible verse to memorize. As I imagined myself in an “office,” opening to the Table of Contents in my Science PACE 1085, I could feel my will to live drain like a glacial lake that has just floated its ice dam.

At the bottom, we see the copyright date, which informs us that the most recent revision of this PACE was 1998. A quick gallop through the rest show a few were revised in 2002; some haven’t been touched since 1986. I guess there aren’t that many updates needed when the answer to everything is “God did it.”

On the page facing the contents, there is a cartoon. It looks like something created by someone who once had a comic described and that kids love ‘em, so thought this would be a great way to make the PACEs exciting. This person, not knowing how panels in comics work, has drawn helpful arrows for us to follow. Which is good, because otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to blindly follow the right path. Happily, he (and I’m positive it’s a he) dispenses with those in subsequent issues, where he seems to have concluded that left-to-right was the only Godly way to draw comic panels. There’s not a single character of color – we don’t see any people of color until the last booklet, and they’re just random folk in the photographs the cartoon heroes are pasted upon. Women appear occasionally – we see the back of one’s head in the second cartoon, for instance. When they’re not just part of the background, they’re moms who are never seen stepping a single toe over the housewife line, silly little sisters, or crotchety old women arguing about how God reveals the weather. There’s a grand total of 1 (one) professional woman – a stewardess. It just wouldn’t do to give the people with excessive melanin and/or lady parts the idea science is something they can do, too.

Yep.

There’s another oddity in the way the pages are numbered: 1 (one). Every page, they spell it out in parentheses. I have no idea why. Perhaps they don’t trust their own curriculum to have imparted the knowledge of the relationship between the numeral and the word for the number.

Having flipped through most of the books, I think I can manage these as long as I have a hard surface to slam my head in to on occasion.

This cat is showing how much I will love the brick wall that helps me cope with these books. Photo is of a tortoise-shell cat resting its cheek against a brick wall with its eyes blissfully closed.Image courtesy David Joyce via Flickr.

This cat is showing how much I will love the brick wall that helps me cope with these books. Image courtesy David Joyce via Flickr.

I also can sum up the curriculum thusly: “Hello, boys! Here’s a stick. You will use it to ram misinformation and strict fundamentalist Christian schlock into your brain. You will then insert the stick elsewhere, to keep you upright and uptight like a good Christian should be. Do not deviate from this course, or we will use the stick to beat your bottom. Don’t even think of having an independent thought. And what are you girl-children and dark people doing here?”

Gah. I might need coma-inducing amounts of booze after all…

 

*Edited to add “virtually” – as Jonny points out, while they may as well be the same company, technically they are not.

Congratulations! You’re Going to Hell! 1. Hell is an Empty Threat

Hell pisses me off. It took one sick, evil fuck to come up with the concept of believe-or-burn-eternally. Brilliant, though: terrify believers and potential converts with the worst possible fate if they don’t do what you say, then give them relief from that terror by promising heaven if they just follow instructions. And really, it doesn’t take much to convince them, because you catch people while they’re young and/or vulnerable, ensuring those threats of eternal torment grip them and refuse to let go.

Of course, the people making this threat are generally sure they’re saved and have nothing to worry about. Or they’re just parroting what they were taught as children. And they don’t think of the consequences, don’t care, or actually want their listener to cower in mortal terror.

Image is of several people suffering in a pit of lava. Lava pit, Hell, Haw Par Villa, Singapore by Jpatokal / Wikimedia Commons.

Lava pit, Hell, Haw Par Villa, Singapore by Jpatokal / Wikimedia Commons.

Hell is the gun religion holds to your head to ensure you’ll never leave. A thing so awful that you won’t risk questioning, just do your utmost to believe.

People: that gun is empty.

You may be one of those folks whose childhood was tormented by fear. I know people, far too many people, who spent entire nights awake in their beds, frantic, terrified they hadn’t prayed the right way or didn’t believe strongly enough or had made that one fatal mistake that God would never forgive them for. Children who sobbed in the darkness and repeated the Sinner’s Prayer again, again, again, hoping it would save them. Praying again to hedge their bets:

Now I lay me down to sleep… I pray the Lord my soul to take.

I loathe the people who did this to them. Oh, I know many of those folks were convicted Christians, utterly convinced this was the right thing to do for their kids. I know many of them just wanted to make sure their kids were saved. Hey, say these words, and hey Presto! God won’t let Satan burn you forever! Problem solved!

While the children cowered with that gun to their heads, waiting for the trigger to be pulled.

The gun is empty.

And then some of them grew into adults who still lived in fear of hell. Trying to walk the narrow path. Trying not to piss off God. Still lying awake some nights, crying, begging Jesus to save them.

Some of them grew into adults confident in the knowledge they’re saved. And they’re so relieved the gun’s no longer pointed at them that they turn it on others.

The gun is empty.

An unloaded Remington New Army Model 1858. Image and caption courtesy DarkSaturos90 via Wikimedia Commons.

An unloaded Remington New Army Model 1858. Image and caption courtesy DarkSaturos90 via Wikimedia Commons.

Some of those kids grew into adults who gradually, after a long and terrible struggle, had the courage to look for bullets, and discovered that the gun wasn’t loaded. Either they came to believe God was too loving to condemn his children to suffer forever, or they realized there almost certainly is no God who gives a shit what humans do, or they found the evidence pointed overwhelmingly to no gods at all. No gods, no Satan, no hell. All made up. They were lied to.

But that lie is so horrific, the idea of hell so vivid, that some never can stop wondering if there might be a bullet in the gun after all.

People, the gun is empty.

In fact, that gun never even existed. Just a finger pointing from a pocket, an illusion created by a human hand.

Purple ink on notepaper drawing of a hand with two fingers and a thumb making a gun.

“Gun Fingers” by nickoswar / deviantART. Some rights reserved.

Don’t let it threaten you any more.

Wot Your Filthy Atheist Lucre Hath Bought

Oh, my darlings, you have filled my coffers with coinage with which to purchase freaky fundie stuff, and I have filled my shelf.

Creationist crap, plus some books debunking same.

Creationist crap, plus some books debunking same.

Mind you, this is only the beginning, and doesn’t show the books I’ve got on the Kindle. We’ll be busy for quite some time, and by the end of our journey, we will be able to wipe the floor with the Flood Geologist / Christian school graduate / Intelligent Design spewer of our choice.

Should you run across any titles you wish me to add, shoot me the info. We’re gonna have such fun…

Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education: In the Beginning…

For a while, now, I’ve planned a series on the kind of creationists who like to run around calling themselves geologists and invade GSA meetings under false pretenses. People like “Stone Stubborn” Steven Austin, who does real geology only to the extent it gives him a Trojan Horse into professional journals and meetings. These smarmy barstards have a distressing tendency to lie by omission, trying to lure actual geologists into associating with them by pretending they’re legit, and then telling their fundie flocks they’ve presented their work professionally, therefore their creationist crap is SCIENCE – only failing to mention that wasn’t open and avowed creation science they were presenting to the professionals.

But, you know, they’re kinda clownish, and I can just hear people poo-poohing their danger to the scientific community. Nobody outside of a handful of fundie freaks takes these Young Earth Creationist douchebags seriously, right? We’re not at risk like biology is, yo. No one’s boarding school boards trying to muck with the geology curriculum, so let the rabbits wear glasses and Steve Austin play totes legit geologist to the church-addicted crowd.

Um.

Actually, they are mucking with school boards. See what they were doing with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills just a few years ago:

The creationists were prepared with a very long list of amendments to make to the TEKS to water down the presentation of evolution. it was interesting because there was a brand new earth and space science TEKS, basically bringing geology back and planetary science back, and there’s a lot of evolution in there. The guy who wrote it is an NCSE member, good man, and there’s a lot of evolution in the ESS TEKS. They went through those with a fine-toothed comb, and any TEK having to do with radioisotopic dating, with any sort of change through time, paleontology, those had to be tweaked to water down the coverage of evolution, make it more tentative, instead of saying describe the paleontological record for such and such, discuss whether the paleontological record, stuff like that. Unfortunately, our allies on the board didn’t really understand what was going on, and in most cases these weakening amendments were passed.

So yes, they are going after the earth science curriculum. And it’s not just the evolution bits they’re upset about. Creationists may be mostly preoccupied with the biological sciences just now, but geology’s almost as devastating to their worldview, and many of them know that. Don’t be shocked if a phalanx of them mount a sneak attack on the Earth sciences when you’re not looking. They don’t want their kids to know they evolved from apes – they sure as shit don’t like their hearing about 4.5 billion years and a rock record that refutes Noah’s Flood.

They’re already in our professional spaces, earning the credibility and vocabulary they need in order to shit all over the natural sciences and convince people who don’t know any better that they’re the real deal. Imagine how well it will go for the USGS and various state geological surveys when the creationists have enough politicians snowed, and have convinced enough people they’re legitimate scientists.

And they’re raising millions of kids, the future of our nation, to be pig-ignorant of real geology. I’ve got the books to prove it.

Mah three textbooks on me bedside work table, plus a glass of my preferred coping mechanism (a nice, crisp, late-harvest Riesling), with the kitteh in the background looking rather skeptical of this whole idea.

Mah three textbooks on me bedside work table, plus a glass of my preferred coping mechanism (a nice, crisp, late-harvest Riesling), with the kitteh in the background looking rather skeptical of this whole idea.

In my hands are two Christian Earth sciences textbooks: A Beka Book’s Science of the Physical Creation in Christian Perspective, and Bob Jones University’s Earth Science Fourth Edition.* The books are used by countless Christian schools and in innumerable homeschools. This is the creationist parody of geology and the earth sciences which is being taught to children who don’t have any alternative. Conservative Christians whose kids are in the public schools can shovel this shit into their kiddies’ skulls on evenings and weekends, but at least they’re (hopefully) being taught straight-up science during the week. But the kids of conservative Christians stuck in the private and homeschool environments are cut off. They haven’t got anyone to show them any different. So out they’ll come, joining society, with a gaping ignorance of what Earth science actually is.

And they’ll vote for politicians who are as dismally ignorant as they are.

And they’ll design structures and build in geologically-challenging areas with their crippled knowledge.

And they’ll vote on referendums having to do with science.

And they’ll run for public office (like, for instance, positions on the local school board).

And they’ll shovel this shit into their own kiddies’ skulls.

And did I mention? They’ll vote.

So I want to know how bad it really is. I also want you to know how bad it really is. And I want you to know where some of the whacky stuff’s coming from when you encounter one of the products of this mis-education in your classrooms, or at a book club meeting, or in your community, or online.

I want us to know what these texts get wrong, and what they get right.

Above all, I want us to know what’s going on, before we, like biologists, end up mired deep in the culture wars fighting off repeated attacks, and not realizing what the creationists on the school boards are up to with their sneaky little back-door approaches to stuffing God into kiddies’ skulls.

I chose A Beka and BJU because they’re two of the biggest names (and I’ll be adding ACE as its own series, because it is also widespread, utterly horrible, and in some ways more insidious – including a version being taught in supposedly secular charter schools). These aren’t fringe publishers. These are the Christian right mainstream.

I will build on the treatment pioneered by folks like Doktor Zoom, and fisk these books to a nicety, all for your education, enlightenment, and possibly entertainment.

I do suggest that you lay in a supply of your coping substance of choice before we begin. You will need copious amounts in order to cope with this.

So, onward.

 

*I also have a copy of the Glencoe Science Earth Science textbook used in many public schools to use as a control. It’s a thing of beauty. I may have drooled on it a little bit. Where o where was this stuff when I was in school?!

 

Previous: Adventures in Good Christian Education: A Preliminary Foray

Keeping Up With the Creationists, Vol. I, Issue 1: Ain’t Just Private Schools, Kids

Hello and welcome to what I hope will be a weekly feature, Keeping Up With the Creationists, in which we peruse some creationist news and remind ourselves that, no, alas, creationism isn’t dead. It’s not even sleeping. It’s wide-awake and kicking in not only Christian private and home schools, but in our very own public school systems.

Yes, public.

If you haven’t already, read Zack Kopplin’s eye-popping exposé of supposedly-secular charter schools busily teaching kids (using government monies, let’s not forget) “that the fossil record is ‘sketchy.’ That evolution is ‘dogma’ and an ‘unproved theory’ with no experimental basis. They will be told that leading scientists dispute the mechanisms of evolution and the age of the Earth.” This is bog-standard creationist crap. I’ll be filing an Open Records request of my own to see what they’re doing to the earth sciences, but as we can tell from what Zack’s uncovered, there’s a major problem there. Those who thought creationism was beat need to go have a re-think.

As if that wasn’t enough to make you pop an extra blood pressure pill or two, here’s another bit of outrageousness: Louisiana public schools are openly teaching creationism. And they’re belittling Buddhist kids to boot. This isn’t a rogue teacher, mind, this is an entire school, up to and including the superintendent, and they’ve got Jesus hanging over the door, just to ensure the kiddies know who their lord n’ master is. The public school kiddies.

Amanda Marcotte makes an excellent point in a post about this: “bullying is a weapon that the Christian right loves and does not want to give up.” Because they adore school situations like this:

Students are frequently led in prayer, and students are required to attend an annual “See You At The Pole” prayer event. Teachers routinely hand out Christian pamphlets that [father of the bullied child] Lane describes as featuring “[t]he entire New Testament of the Bible as well as cartoons that denounce evolution and trumpet the evils of birth control, premarital sex, rock music, alcohol, pornography, homosexuality, sorcery, and witchcraft.” Needless to say, when he told the superintendent about his concerns about his stepson being routinely bullied and humiliated for being Buddhist, the superintendent “was dismissive and told us that we live in the ‘Bible Belt’ and that this is just how things are.”

So yeah, no, creationism’s not the least bit dead, and Christianists are busy undermining public school education and ensuring kids who don’t believe right are made miserable. Because Jesus.

Image is a giraffe, looking as if it's pointing to a duck that's waddling away from it. The caption is "Shun! Shun the non-believer! Shuuuunnnnnn!!"

They’re busy in not one, not two, but three state legislatures, trying to get creationism in through the backdoor. It’s not even the end of January, and nearly 10% of our states have jackasses jacking up science education. Local elections matter, folks. So does political participation. If you live in Virginia, Oklahoma, or Missouri, raise merry hell with your elected officials. Remind the saner ones that what the fuckwads are trying with these bills is the same type of shitty legislation that got Louisiana in a position where teachers are teaching creationism with impunity.

For a good editorial on the Virginia situation, one that pertains to all three bills, see here. I can forgive the tongue-bath they gave Del. Bell at the end in light of the full-throated defense of science and evolution at the beginning.

Turning now to Christianist schools, we’ve got some excellent insider tales from students a student* suffering ACE. A student at Gospel Haven Academy woke up halfway through his sophomore year in high school to realize, horrified, he’d been “taught pseudoscience, revisionist history, [and] right-wing propaganda.” Wait until you see what they’ve done to music. *shudder*

One of our own is also stuck within an ACE school: Tyler is a 17 year-old atheist who has discovered the joys of debunking the dreck he’s being taught. This line will remain one of my favorites of all time: “If teaching God’s point of view requires you to teach blatant mistruths, maybe it’s time to rethink God’s point of view.” I want this on t-shirts. I’ll see if I can in touch, and work out a nice little arrangement for a line of clothing to feature this quote, plus a humorous picture, suitable for wearing to your next church school potluck.

PZ has an excellent post on “engaging silly beliefs in multiple ways” that I urge you to consider. Those interested in Noah’s Ark might like to know it’s actually round.

And, finally, get your Sunday fix of Christianist history with Doktor Zoom. Today, we learn some very interesting… um, facts (if you can call the fucked-up things Christianists believe about FDR, Hitler, and Japan “facts”)… about WWII. Such as:

As for the Nazis’ racism, well, that’s just the inevitable result of Darwinism (never mind that the Nazis banned Origin of Species, shhhhh):

Hitler combined Marxist-socialism with Darwin’s theory of evolution, proclaiming that the German people had evolved into a superior or master race. He called for a world war to kill off the weaker races (especially the Jews) and assure the “survival of the fittest” (the German people). Because many Germans believed the notion of evolution, they accepted Hitler’s ideas. Soon public hospitals began to practice euthanasia (killing the terminally ill, the mentally retarded, and those with physical handicaps) and abortion (killing unborn babies).

That’s all for this week. Join me for more creationist shenanigans next Sunday. I’m sure we won’t lack for material…

 

*Derp. As Jonny points out, they are the same kid.

Adventures in Biblical Literalism Vol. II: A Mighty Wind

This literal reading of the Bible has made me think God’s a rather flatulent fellow. Two lines of Biblical evidence point me toward this conclusion.

It begins right at the beginning. The ol’ KJV has it that, before God turned the lights on, the Spirit of him was moving on the face of the waters. But most scholars say that the NRSV is a more accurate translation, so let’s turn to it to figure out what this Spirit stuff is:

¹In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, ²the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God* swept over the face of the waters.

Wind being a polite euphemism for fart, I think we all know what that means: God woke himself with a mighty fart, turned on the light, and decided to do a little light creating as he couldn’t get back to sleep. Gas-X had, of course, not yet been invented. Which may explain why he created humans in the first place.

Image is Pope Ratzinger with some sort of capelet thingy blown up around his shoulders and poofed out by a breeze. The caption says "It's not just a Fart - it's the winds of GOD!"Anyway, the Bible falls rather silent on wind for a while, leading some creationists to think there wasn’t any such thing pre-Flood. When next we encounter a Divine Wind, it’s at the end of the Flood, when God, who was seemingly as forgetful of arks as he was of fishies, suddenly remembers Noah:

8 But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and all the domestic animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided; ²the fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, ³and the waters gradually receded from the earth.

That all sounds rather gentle and pleasant: a nice balmy breeze to blow the awful weather away. But, since it’s the KJV creationists think of as authoritative, perhaps we should turn to a literal reading of it instead.

Oh, dear

And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! God farted the flood away! I mean, honestly, it’s right there in good plain King’s English in the Bible wot was authorized by God: he “made a wind” and “the waters” were “asswaged.” Good Lord. “Hey, Noah, pull my finger!” No wonder creationists think volcanoes were erupting all over the place during the Flood – hate to tell ‘em that stench wasn’t volcanic, nor the flatulence of millions of animals and 8 poorly-fed humans crammed in a closed container for over a year, but the foul stink of God’s mighty wind as he let one rip…

I’m almost afraid to continue a literal reading of the Bible. For years, I thought it was a divine chronicle, then considered it an eclectic collection of Bronze-age legends with a bit of Jesus myth tacked on, but it may well turn out to actually be the Tosh 2.0 Special of God, complete with fart jokes.

Image is a detail of the Sistine Chapel painting of God giving life to Adam, showing the two of them gazing soulfully at each other, Adam's hand languidly reaching for God's finger. The caption in fancy type says, "Ho, Adam! Pulleth thou mine finger!"This explains so much about the Abrahamic religions…

 

*Per the NRSV note for this term, you can also translate that as “a mighty wind.” Heh.

Can You Recommend a Good Petrology Book?

You know those times where your woeful ignorance rises up like someone in a slapstick comedy and smacks you right in the face? Yeah, this is one of those times. Some recent research (having nothing to do with Christianist textbooks – yet) has caused me to again confront the fact I know bugger-all about petrology.

It’s about bloody time I fixed that problem.

So, my darlings, can you recommend to me a good beginner’s book about petrology? Preferably one that gives good coverage to as many types as possible? Hopefully one under $50? Do you have favorite websites, sources and such? Tell me all about them! I promise to give you lovely results. Lockwood and I certainly get around enough to find you some gorgeous examples of petrology in action, and I’ve already got a piece I’m working on that’s all about garnets in rhyolite. Oh, indeed.

Image is a calico cat sleeping on petrology textbooks. Caption says,

Evelyn’s kitteh Samira, being a petrology cat. Caption by Lockwood DeWitt.

Thank you in advance! You know I couldn’t be the science writer I am without you. I never forget it!

Also, have some slapstick comedy. Just because.