Christian private schools in Louisiana will soon start a curriculum that teaches that the Loch Ness monster is evidence that evolution is wrong. Schools following the curriculum will be receiving state voucher money transferred from public school funding.
According to IO9.com, from 2012-2013, thousands of Louisiana schoolchildren, will receive state-funded vouchers to attend private schools with evangelical Christian religious affiliations.
According to The Herald, the private schools will be implementing the Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) program, a Christian "fundamentalist" curriculum, part of which will be promoting belief in creationism against the scientific theory of evolution.
Io9.com reports that the ACE Curriculum Program claims to "see life from God's point of view," but "unbeknownst to most theologians, scientists, and amateur monster hunters, the Lord's viewpoint apparently incorporates Scotland's favorite cryptid."
According to The Herald, a popular belief among Christian fundamentalists opposed to the teaching of evolution is that any evidence that dinosaurs were still around at the time the first human beings walked the Earth is largely tantamount to evidence against Darwinian evolutionism. The argument that Loch Ness is proof of creationism is hinged on the claim that Loch Ness is a dinosaur.
But critics are appalled at the content of the ACE books describing it as "bizarre" and accused the curriculum creators of seeking to impart to school children "fundamentalist" religious worldview.
The textbooks in the series replace the standard lessons on evolution with creationism. The textbooks are also hostile to non-evangelical Christian religious groups such as Roman Catholicism and allegedly present a biased view of history.
According to the Salon, the Times Education Supplement (TES), a publication for British teachers, quotes one of the ACE textbooks, Biology 1099:
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.
Could a fish have developed into a dinosaur? As astonishing as it may seem, many evolutionists theorize that fish evolved into amphibians and amphibians into reptiles. This gradual change from fish to reptiles has no scientific basis. No transitional fossils have been or ever will be discovered because God created each type of fish, amphibian, and reptile as separate, unique animals. Any similarities that exist among them are due to the fact that one Master Craftsmen fashioned them all.Digital Journal, however, recently reported that the purported "sonar recording" has been refuted by experts.
The Herald reports that Jonny Scaramanga, 27, who went through the ACE program as a child but now campaigns against Christian religious "fundamentalism," said the curriculum presents the Loch Ness monster legend as though it were fact and then argues on the basis of that assumption that "evolution couldn't have happened," because Loch Ness is a dinosaur that scientists explain have gone extinct.
According to the Salon, Scaramanga said: “I called ACE [Accelerated Christian Education] on May 3rd, 2012, and was told that all of these PACEs are still in print and the content has not changed."
Salon reports Scaramanga provides further details about what ACE’s curriculum Science PACE 1099, has to say about the Loch Ness Monster:
"Some scientists speculate that Noah took small or baby dinosaurs on the Ark... are dinosaurs still alive today? With some recent photographs and testimonies of those who claimed to have seen one, scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence..."
Scaramanga sums up the "logic" of the ACE teaching on Loch Ness monster: "...they're saying if Noah's flood only happened 4000 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."
One of the private religious schools in Louisiana adopting the ACE curriculum is Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake, Louisiana. The school follows the ACE curriculum and it has been cleared to receive state voucher money transferred from public school funding after a bill sponsored by state Governor Bobby Jindal.
The Inquisitr reports that Marie Carrier, principal of Eternity Christian School, said that students at the school are encouraged to learn at their own pace and that evolution is not taught. She told Yahoo! News : “We try to stay away from all those things that might confuse our children."
According to Boston-based researcher and writer Bruce Wilson, a close watcher of the American political religious right, in an article that appeared in the Salon, the ACE curriculum is akin to Islamic fundamentalist teaching. He says: "They are being brought up to believe that they're at war with secular society. The only valid government would be a Christian fundamentalist government. Obviously some comparisons could be made to Islamic Fundamentalists in schools. One of these texts from Bob Jones University Press claims that dinosaurs were fire-breathing dragons. It has little to do with science as we currently understand. It's more like medieval scholasticism."
Wilson claimed: "There's a lot of public funding going to private schools, probably around 200,000 pupils are receiving this education."
Louisiana Christian schools, Loch Ness and the Scottish tourist industry
The Herald comments drily: "Of course, the Scottish tourist industry might well reap a dividend from the craziness of the American education system."
The schools have already received advice from Tony Drummond, who leads tours of the Loch Ness, to send their students to the loch and try to find the monster. Drummond said: "They need to come and investigate the loch for themselves. We've got some hi-tech equipment. They could come out on the boat and do a whole chunk of the loch. We do get regular sonar contacts which are pretty much unexplainable. More research has to be done, but it's not way along the realms of possibility."
IO9.com quips: "If Scotland experiences a tourism windfall because of Creationist textbooks, it won't be long before Washington State entrepreneurs begin shilling Bigfoot as a member of the lost clan of Goliath. Is this the beginning of the Creationism-Cryptozoology Tourism Complex?"
The Inquisitr also comments that it is yet unknown whether "Bigfoot, The Abominable Snowman or the Chupacabra" will be protesting "Nessie’s promotion from myth to reality."
ACE texts full of praises for Ku Klux Klan and South African apartheid system
According to The Herald, an excerpt from an American history textbook by the Bob Jones University Press that publishes ACE textbooks praised Ku Klux Klan, the notorious racist organization that advocates white supremacy and nationalism, saying:
"The [Ku Klux] Klan in some areas of the country tried to be a means of reform, fighting the decline in morality and using the symbol of the cross... In some communities it achieved a certain respectability as it worked with politicians."
Bruce Wilson, writing in the Salon, also notes the support of ACE for the South African apartheid regime: "During apartheid, ACE claimed that if blacks were given the vote, it would destroy the South African economy. Subsequently, they have written about apartheid in terms that are equivocal at best:
'For many years, the four racial groups were separated politically and socially by law. This policy of racial separation is called `apartheid’. South Africa’s apartheid policy encouraged whites, Blacks, Coloureds, and Asians to develop their own independent ways of life. Separate living area and schools made it possible for each group to maintain and pass on their culture and heritage to their children.'"Salon reports that according to Scaramanga, other claims in the ACE science curriculum include:
The Second Law of Thermodynamics Disproves Evolution
No Transitional Fossils Exist
Humans and Dinosaurs Co-Existed
Evolution Has Been Disproved
A Japanese Whaling Boat Found a Dinosaur
Solar Fusion is a Myth
Several of the texts also attack gays, claiming that homosexuality is "learned behavior."
Yahoo! News wonders whether the ACE educational effort to "see life from God's viewpoint" will help move the state of Louisiana from the bottom of national math and science rankings. According to a 2011 study, Louisiana was ranked third from the bottom with only West Virginia and Mississippi performing worse.