Adventures in ACE XVII: “Satan is Like an Iceberg” and Other Important Earth Science Facts

You know, I laugh, I do, when I’m reading these creationist textbooks, and I see the ridiculous religious bullshit being passed off as important facts about earth science. And then I recall the important fact that children are actually being taught that this shit is Genuine Science™, and my laughter dies.

And ACE is pretty much the worst. This section of ACE PACE 1087 demonstrates why. [Read more…]

Adventures in ACE XVI: Holy Hydrosphere, Bibleman!

Can you believe it’s been six months since we last deconstructed the dreck that is Accelerated Christian Education? I’ve been preoccupied with A Beka and BJU, because they’re more challenging. But ACE brings a unique je ne sais WTF that no other Christian textbook company can even approach, so let us return to ACE PACE 1087, and stare agape at the ways they mangle science for the Lord.

They’re on about Areas of the Hydrosphere now. The ACE writers think it’s more interesting if they have absurd characters babbling to each other, so they’re feeding us what one might loosely refer to as facts via a father-son babblefest. Little Ace is eager to show off his knowledge to dear old Dad, but he leaves out the fact that all water, including the frozen and subsurface stuff, is part of Earth’s hydrosphere. So while he gets points for mentioning oceans, seas, lakes, and rivers as major components thereof, I’m docking him for neglecting groundwater and glaciers, which account for enormous amounts of the planet’s water. In fact, if you only want to cover “major” water bodies, you’d best be leaving lakes and rivers out, as they account for only about 3% of the earth’s fresh water. Groundwater is 30.8%, while glaciers are a whopping 68.9%. And yeah, groundwater pumping and anthropogenic climate change are shrinking both sources fast, but a) not that fast and b) the Real True Christians™ behind ACE probably don’t believe humans have any impact on God’s Perfect Creation anyway. So we’ll chalk that failure to mention important bits up to incompetence. [Read more…]

Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XXI: Wherein Seismology is Annoyed, and Extinction is In

After all ES4’s introductory nonsense about operational vs. historical geology, it’s nearly a relief to get into a discussion of the earth’s structure. However, seeing all seismic waves defined as sound waves rather curbs any enthusiasm: they’re their own things, people, even if p waves share sound wave characteristics.

It’s also not pleasant when we discover they think seismic waves slow down at the Moho. They, in actual fact, speed up, from about 6 kilometers per second to about 8 kilometers per second. These aren’t negative numbers, BJU people. Larger is faster, just like on your speedometer. Sheesh. I’m beginning to think you know nothing of seismic waves. (Also, you’ve made the average crustal thickness too thick by about 20 kilometers, FYI.)

They do a ho-hum job explaining matters from the asthenosphere to the core, skimming details or omitting them altogether in a way that makes me suspect they have little idea what they’re talking about. Then, when we reach the core, it just gets weird. Despite the fairly firm grasp we’ve got on the properties of it, they act as if geologists just throw up their hands and exclaim, “Can’t nobody know what that’s like!” Sure, it’s hard to imagine the immense temperatures and pressures down there, but that’s what science is for. Do a search on Google Scholar, and you’ll find plenty of papers talking about it. There are lots of lines of evidence that have led to our current knowledge of what the core is like, and although there are many blanks to fill in, the outline is pretty solid. So all this “Many geologists don’t even try to guess what the core material is like” and “We cannot imagine” and “geologists believe” the outer core is liquid and the inner is solid – all that’s just the creationist way of throwing out massive chaff in hopes of confusing their students. What the students will find, if they look beyond their appalling education, is that we do try and can imagine and are, actually, pretty damned sure we know a thing or two about the earth’s core.

Wondering why creationists are so desperate to deny what we know? Me, too! The clue is in the following paragraph: [Read more…]

Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XX: Wherein Creationists Misrepresent Secular Scientists for Jesus!

Oh, joy! After a fallacy-filled introduction featuring a two-faced jackass, Earth Science 4th Edition is gonna teach us all “geology.” After they’re done with us, we’ll be able to “explain the dangers of viewing the history of the earth as very old and as the product of natural processes.” We’ll also be equipped to “exercise dominion on God’s specially created earth.” And wow, look at this… interesting… history of geology right here:

People have been studying the earth for a long time, probably since right after the Creation and Fall (see Gen. 4:22).

O-kaaaay… so do tell us how a verse about a woman having a son who was good at making metal stuff proves people studied the earth in a systematic fashion.

After the Genesis Flood, people needed geology to identify new sources of metals and building materials.

Oh, yes. Creation myths are great science texts. Such proof. Much evidence.

They also seem to think there was no geology in Medieval Europe, as Renaissance folks had to discover that science from other people’s writings. So I guess that means they didn’t need any building materials, then?

Image shows facade of St. Giles' Cathedral, a large, gray-brown stone cathedral with many spires, arches, and buttresses.

St. Giles’ Cathedral, built in the late 14th century – positively medieval! Image courtesy Carlos Delgado (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Oh, my.

Well, but surely nobody in the Middle Ages was in the market for metal. [Read more…]

Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XIX: Wherein We Learn Christianists Make Lousy Sci-Fi Writers

Buckle in, kiddos. Earth Science 4th Edition’s unit on geology is roughly the size of the entirety of Science of the Physical Creation. And you know it’s going to be a rough ride, because it starts with a blurb from Andrew Snelling. Yes, Dr. Andrew “I’m Happy to do Conventional Geology with Billions of Years and No Goddidit so I Can Get Published in Legitimate Journals, Then Use Those Creds to Shit All Over Geology” Snelling. Yes, Dr. Andrew “Lying About Radiometric Dating for Jesus” Snelling. When you quote a lying fraud right up front as a legit scientist, I tend to suspect that the rest of what you’ve got may not, in fact, be legitimate science.

Let’s find out.

[Read more…]

Readers’ Experiences with Creationist Education

Our preliminary foray into the world of creationist earth science education encouraged many of you to share your own stories. I want to make sure they don’t languish unread in the comments section. Real people are affected by these awful textbooks. We should never, ever lose sight of that fact. [Read more…]

Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XVIII: Wherein Volcanic Facts are Violated

There’s something about volcanoes that brings out the worst in your modern creationist. They’re willfully ignorant about plenty of things, and surely do love viewing science through a funhouse mirror, but most of them (ACE excepted) do manage to avoid mangling some of the science. Some of it even sounds downright secular in places. But they’ve got this really odd complex about volcanoes. They lose their shit to such an extent that they can’t even get basic facts straight.

A Beka’s Science of the Physical Creation suffers from this complex in spades.

They begin by hammering us with not one, but two obscure Bible quotes, proving beyond all doubt that while faith (and the Flood) may move mountains, God melts ’em. See Micah 1:4 and Nahum 1:5 for details. For some reason, they cut out the bit of Nahum 1:5 where it says that God kills everyone and everything on the planet when he makes the hills melt. Can’t imagine why…

Then it’s time for volcanoes, and of course, they start with Mount St. Helens. Creationists are absolute fools for Mount St. Helens. How does SPC screw it up? Let us count the ways: [Read more…]

Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XVII: Wherein Mountains are Laid Low by Ignorance

I hope you’re prepared for mountains of bullshit, my darlings. This week, our Christianist textbook Science of the Physical Creation is delivering enough to fertilize the entire Willamette Valley.

Right off, as we get into SPC’s explanation of mountains and volcanoes and earthquakes oh my, we see we’re in for a whole lotta Godtalk. They don’t start off talking about what mountains actually are, as you would expect one would in an earth science textbook. Instead, they wank on for a very long paragraph about how mountains existed before the Flood because Genesis 7:19-20 sez so, but maybe they weren’t all that “tall, steep, and rugged.” They say “the Bible seems to indicate” God remodeled during the Flood, and that is why we have deep ocean basins and really massive mountains.

Uh-huh.

Image shows an orange and cream doggie lying on a couch with a very dignified yet skeptical expression. Phrases in various colors surround it: So science, Very Peer-review, Much research, Wow.

Then, finally, they start talking about types of mountains. [Read more…]

Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XVI: Wherein Geology is Roundly Abused

My darlings, our trek through these Christianist earth science textbooks has been a long and tiresome one, but our perseverance has at last been rewarded: we have arrived at the units on Geology! Thanks to the Flood myth, God is all over this branch of the earth sciences like long-lost relatives on a lottery winner. Geology is second only to evolutionary biology when it comes to science creationists can’t stand. So this should be good (for sarcastic values of good).

We’ll see if either Science of the Physical Creation or Earth Sciences 4th Edition acknowledge the fact that it was geology that first dealt creationism a mortal blow. I mean, before the early geologists really got to looking at the earth and went, “This overwhelming evidence shows this planet must be very old indeed,” it was possible for a scientist to be a creationist and still be perfectly respectable. But then James Hutton and Charles Lyell kneecapped the young earth theory with a rock hammer. And then, as creationism was thrashing around, hollering “It’s only a flesh wound!” and threatening to bite off their kneecaps, along came Darwin and lopped its head off with the theory of evolution, which itself had been forged in the fires of Lyell’s elegant evidence for an elderly Earth. And ever since, young earth creationists have been hobbling about headless, whilst brashly proclaiming they can still wear a hat.

So let us marvel at their shenanigans by first turning to page 192 of A Beka’s Science of the Physical Creation. [Read more…]

Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XV: Wherein Water Proves God is an Asshole

One thing reading Christianist textbooks does is teaches you to be cynical. No claim, no matter how innocuous, no matter how heart-warming, can be taken for granted. Observe:

Earth Science Fourth Edition’s chapter on groundwater begins with a charming little story about PlayPumps, which are merry-go-rounds attached to water pumps. It sounds like a difference-making idea: African village kids get some nice playtime, women don’t have to work so hard to get water, and advertisements on the water towers help pay for the pumps. It’s a great idea! Except, they don’t work too great. You need a good source of clean groundwater to begin with, kids would have to “play” three hours more per day than the standard 24 available, and the ads actually don’t make enough money to pay for the upkeep.

All of these problems were manifest two years before this book was published, by the way. Yet not a single problem is mentioned in the text. [Read more…]