Nessie is being used to debunk evolution -- on taxpayers' dollars
Has anyone seen Nessie lately?
Fundamentalism creeping in through the back door
Starting this fall, taxpayers will be paying for thousands of school children in Louisiana to be taught another facet of creation science. Government-subsidized private schools will start teaching that the Loch Ness Monster is a factual living creature and use it to debunk evolution in science classes. This will be made possible by a voucher system that pays tuition to private schools that was shoved through the Louisiana state legislature by Republican Governor Bobby Jindal. These vouchers will be used to send children to private and religious schools that use bible-based biology texts.
For example, possibly the first school to receive the vouchers, the Entity Christian Academy uses the fundamentalist Accelerated Christian Education Curriculum (A.C.E.) that originated in Texas in the 1970s. The curriculum, which is being used in many religious schools and in fundamentalist home school programs, is termed “intellectually dishonest” in scientific circles. It teaches that the earth was created around 4,000 BC, Noah’s Flood was a literal occurrence covering the whole earth, and Nessie is a physical fact.
Herald Scotland, which tracks all Nessie-related news and and scoffs at American fundamentalist intrusion into their national treasure, reports this excerpt from an A.C.E. textbook, 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.”
The famous photograph of Nessie, dubbed "the Surgeon's Photograph," is held by some as a fake.
Jonny Scaramanga, a British rock musician, is a former student of the A.C.E . program in the U.K. and now campaigns against Christian fundamentalism. (See his blog.) He confirms that the Nessie claim is being taught in the classroom as evidence against evolution. He says their reasoning is that Nessie, a sea monster, survived Noah’s flood. The argument is that if sea monsters coexist with man, then Darwin’s theory of evolution cannot hold true.
Some other controversial texts being used by publicly funded schools include a Bob Jones University Press textbook that claims dinosaurs were fire-breathing dragons.
There is no question that these religious schools have the right to teach creationism or any other religious beliefs, no matter how unscientific, to their tuition-paying students or private scholarship students. The question raised here is about public funding being used to further religious beliefs. As a result of voucher systems, thousands of public school students will be financially aided to attend religious schools this fall, which amounts to millions of dollars in taxpayer money. Louisiana is just the newest state to jump on the bandwagon along with a dozen others.
This latest news on the devolution of education in Louisiana makes me proud that my state pulled out of the Louisiana Territory and established its own territory nearly 200 years ago. However, there has been controversy over creationism here since the late 1970s. I just hope none of our legislators get any new ideas from this.
Monkey see, monkey do.