Moral Low Ground


Biology Textbook Used by Publicly-Funded Louisiana Christian School Claims Loch Ness Monster Is Real

“Reason is the greatest enemy of faith.” -Martin Luther

A biology textbook used to teach pupils at a publicly-funded fundamentalist Christian school in Louisiana claims that the mythical Loch Ness Monster in Scotland is a real dinosaur, thus proving that God created the earth and everything on it and disproving the scientific theory of evolution.

The Scotsman reports that Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake is but one of many US Christian schools that uses textbooks published by Accelerated Christian Education (ACE). In the Biology 1099 edition, behold the following passage about the Loch Ness Monster, a mythical creature that dwells beneath the waters of the eponymous Scottish lake:

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.

Of course, there is no such thing as the Loch Ness Monster. But Christian fundamentalists are desperate to disprove evolution, which is accepted by the vast majority of the world’s biologists as the best scientific model explaining the origin and development of life on earth. By “proving” that dinosaurs walked the earth at the same time as man– a ridiculously impossible assertion that is nevertheless on full display at Kentucky’s Creation Museum, Christian fundamentalists can claim that Darwin’s theory of evolution is false.

Unlike evolution, which is based on dateable fossil evidence, the geographical and spatial distribution of the earth’s physical features, homologies and evidence by example, there is absolutely no scientific evidence supporting creation mythology. According to creationists, God made the heavens and earth and everything in it, and the proof of this is that it says so in the Bible. Creationism is the very essence of pseudoscience.

This would all be quite humorous if it weren’t for the fact that Eternity Christian Academy will soon be accepting students using publicly-funded vouchers. According to the Washington Post, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Hindu convert to Catholicism, recently signed a law establishing the largest voucher program of any state in the US. Around 125 private and religious schools may participate in the Louisiana Believes program, which provides public funds for parents to send their children to fundamentalist schools.

“We are letting parents decide what’s best for their children, not government,” Gov. Jindal, a Republican, explained when introducing his highly controversial voucher plan.

But consider this: according to a recent Gallup poll, nearly half of Americans believe that God created modern humans sometime in the past 10,000 years. This patently false creationist viewpoint (the earth is around 4.5 billion years old) is easily disproven; by 10,000 years ago, humans were already developing agriculturebladed tools, houses, temples, granaries, decorated pottery and statuesPotatoes and beans were being grown in South America. Millet and rice were cultivated in East Asia. Wheat, barley, sheep, goats, and pigs were found in Aegean Greece. Ancient Mexicans were constructing burial mounds and crafting pottery. Bible-believers should know that Jericho was a thriving city by that time, proving that humans had developed to the point of relatively advanced urban civilization.

But as Martin Luther, the father of Protestantism, once said, “reason is the greatest enemy of faith,” and thanks to Gov. Jindal’s Louisiana Believes program, Christian fundamentalist parents can use taxpayer funds to send their children to schools that teach blatant fantasy and propagate ignorance.

Tellingly, Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post points out that the Islamic School of Greater New Orleans, which was once on the list of eligible schools under the program, was forced to withdraw its application for voucher students after howls of Islamophobic protest from residents and lawmakers alike. State Rep. Kenneth Harvard, a Republican, told the Associated Press that he wouldn’t back public funding of “Islamic teaching.”

Christian mythology good. Muslim mythology bad.

The bigger issue here is the privatization of public education represented by Louisiana Believes. Writes Valerie Strauss:

The state is sending millions of tax dollars that would have gone to public schools that need it to private schools run by church leaders, businessmen and others — with no initial effort to find out whether the schools are any good or not.

This is where support of vouchers is leading us — to the public paying for a child to learn that the Loch Ness Monster was a dinosaur and co-existed with humans.

If people want to believe this and they want their children to learn it in school, that’s fine. The public shouldn’t have to pay for it.

But we are paying for it, and in more ways than one.


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