Apparently the Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) biology textbooks had once taught that the existence of the Loch Ness monster disproved Darwin’s theory of evolution.
OK, you can stop laughing now … this was no joke, they have actually been teaching kids that the proof that evolution was wrong was a completely fictitious myth. Really? Sadly yes …
One ACE textbook called Biology 1099, Accelerated Christian Education Inc reads: “Are dinosaurs alive today? Scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence.
“Have you heard of the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland? ‘Nessie’ for short has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur.”
Another claim taught is that a Japanese whaling boat once caught a dinosaur.
One former pupil, Jonny Scaramanga, 27, who went through the ACE programme as a child, but now campaigns against Christian fundamentalism, said the Nessie claim was presented as “evidence” that evolution could not have happened.
He added: “The reason for that is they’re saying if Noah’s flood only happened 4,000 years ago, which they believe literally happened, then possibly a sea monster survived.
“If it was millions of years ago then that would be ridiculous. That’s their logic. It’s a common thing among creationists to believe in sea monsters.”
Anyway, the good news is that a bit of common sense has prevailed, they have decided that this was not such a great piece of “proof”, however, they are no better off and still tout complete bollocks …
It continued: “‘Nessie’ for short has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur.”
It was also claimed that a Japanese whaling boat once caught a dinosaur.
In the latest edition, both of these claims have been removed.
Jonny Scaramanga, from Bath, went through the ACE programme as a child but now campaigns against Christian fundamentalism.
He said: “In the new editions they’ve replaced Nessie with talk of folktales from China and Ireland… They still want to prove that dinosaurs and humans existed at the same time.”
Arthur Roderick, founding director of Christian Education Europe part of the ACE, said: “As with any textbooks… curriculum is subject to revision and change.”
So in essence they have dropped the myths, no doubt in response to the loud roars or laughter, and have instead gone with folktales as their “evidence”.
Does Nessie actually exist? Well, if not familiar with the claims, then it might be tempting to consider it a credible claim, especially when presented with pictures such as the one above. However, the picture was faked, they guy who did it admitted so. It was published in the Daily Mail on 21 April 1934, but then many decades later was revealed as a fake in The Sunday Telegraph dated 7 December 1975.
If curious, there is a Wikipedia article goes into the myth in a lot of detail. There will always be believers, and even non-believers who will for other reasons (tourism) assert it is real, but the scientific consensus is that it is a myth.
As for the religious claim by some kooks that the earth is only 6000 years old … what can one say … (insert face-palm here). On the one hand, it is of course both funny are quaint that some truly believe it, but also quite disturbing that complete fiction is being taught as fact within an educational context.
There are specific things we know to not be wrong and that is the only stuff that should be taught as fact. However, what is far more important within an educational context is to teach critical thinking and to enable people to think for themselves, challenge claims, and anything that does not have actual evidence to verify it. If you don’t think critically then you risk embracing complete nonsense as factual information. Oh and this is not about intelligence, once aspect of our humanity is that it is very easy to fool smart people.