saving kids from hell one science class at a time

An accidental sneak peek at what kids are taught in a creationist science class shows a profound disregard for both the Bible and scientific facts.
dante's inferno
Illustration from EA’s Dante’s Inferno

He’s on a mission to save your kids from hell. With a Bible in one hand and absolute certainty in his views of how the universe we know came to be in the other, he’ll make sure that rather than study the vetted facts from peer reviewed scientific publications, his students first and foremost ascribe to his religion. While this debate began in the comment lines of my post about the state of education in Texas, I thought I would give readers a peek into the mind of the kind of teacher you can expect in a school district where creationists rule and show you an example of one of his lessons: trying to tie scientific and historical facts to the Bible in class. The claim is that they match so closely, it’s a downright miracle. But why don’t we take his examples of where the Bible is ahead of the times and predicts modern scientific discoveries and put them to the test?

The Book of Job was written about 2000–1800 B.C. and points out the earth is hung on nothing.

Job 26 talks about the geography of the heavens and the verse in question describes supernatural forces in the process of stretching out “the north over an empty place” and the word earth is used the same way we use the word “ground.” The ground is not being suspended in mid-air during a mystical experience for all of us so I’m going to mark this claim as a massaging of the Bible. There’s also a problem with the dating of the book itself. That dates he gives are based on other Biblical passages and not on any real evidence. Finally, what is the significance of the “hung on nothing” quote and how does this apply to actual science?

Moses stated that in the beginning all the seas were in one place and the land was together in one place. This is before Continental Drift began. Genesis 1:9–10

Considering that supercontinents are a product of continental drift, I would say that a few very basic lessons in geology wouldn’t have hurt before making this claim to his students. So not only was he proselytizing, but he’s giving them bad science in the process, providing proof for the argument that creationism in the classroom is going to hurt the quality of education. Now, while the relevant verse does talk about something we could say sounds like a supercontinent like Pangea if we really used our imaginations, there have been more than one supercontinent like it. Why aren’t Vaalbara, or Kenorland, or Rodinia, or the 500 million year cycle of massive single continent being formed on the surface of the Earth, ever mentioned?

Normally, this is when I would stop after giving you a sufficient taste of what a creationist science class is like, but considering that we’re dealing with a fully fledged Gish Gallop here, I’m willing to continue. When given an endless stream of quotes and claims to evaluate and dissect, the hope is that you’ll be daunted by the sheer scale of the task and eventually stop hacking your way through so what you either choose to omit for the sake of brevity can be used against you as evidence that since you didn’t refute the claim, it magically became true and perfectly valid. Since this is a blog and I have the ability to respond to every point, I’ll bite the bullet and do it. And in case you’re wondering, the quotes don’t get any better or more interesting past this point. In fact, they descend into irrelevance and grasping at straws…

Solomon stated all water flows to the sea, yet the seas are not full [long] before the Water Cycle was understood by meteorologists. Ecclesiastes 1:7 Solomon was never able to see an evening weather report so how did he know about the water cycle.

I’m not sure what modern meteorology has to do with something that people could see day in and day out and how it would be a great scientific achievement, especially when it’s part of a rambling speech. Considering a very long history of irrigation, I’m pretty sure that even the first city states knew about the water cycle and there is a whole lot more to modern meteorology than watching how water evaporates and turns to rain.

All people are of the same blood. Human blood is different from the blood of all other creatures on earth. Leviticus 17:11, Deuteronomy 12:23, Acts 17:26 There are different blood types but human blood is distinguished from all non-human blood. It has only been 200 years since medicine has understood that a person’s life is in his blood.

People knew full well that humans needed blood. It was one of the four humors in pre-scientific medicine and things like bloodletting were intended to get rid of bad blood, not kill someone. As for the Biblical quotes, Acts is extremely confusing in what it’s actually talking about when it refers to an unknown god making all nations out of one blood, Deuteronomy forbids the consumption of blood, and Leviticus just reinforces this tenet. It takes a real butchering of history to say that until 1800, we thought blood was irrelevant and a disregard for all intellectual honesty to cite quotes that barely contain anything to back up one’s claims.

Mountains and valleys were seen under the ocean’s surface by Job many years before the aqua lung was discovered. Jonah 2:6 Written about 785–760 B.C.

Jonah’s quote about going down to the moorings of mountains is made from inside a whale that swallowed him, so how exactly this would tie to oceanography? Is he using sonar to explore the ocean floor? Also, when were the roaming school of aqua lungs discovered in the seas? I thought they were built. Oh and if the Bible is so accurate about science, why does it call whales fish when they’re actually mammals?

Egyptian spears and chariots with gold plated spokes have been photographed at the bottom of the Dead Sea where Moses and the Israelites escaped to get away from the Egyptians.

The Dead Sea? You would have to be really deep into Judea to come across the Dead Sea. Maybe he meant the Red Sea? The one Egyptians crossed all the time for wars and conquest and may have lost some military hardware along the way? And how is this a scientific claim about the Bible? It’s just historical revisionism.

What is the secret of the snow? The secret of the snow is as it falls through the atmosphere, the snow absorbs nitrogen in the air and when the snow melts the farmers get a fertilizer application on the ground. Farmers today pay big bucks to have nitrogen put on their crops. [Job 38:22]

Wow, we’re talking about the mysteries of life and the universe and discussing from where snow comes? It’s not like ancient farmers couldn’t have figured this out on their own and needed the Bible to tell them. Frankly, I was expecting something at least a little bit more impressive than the history of snowfall. Also, how does Job asking about storehouses of snow explain the actual chemistry he detailed? My guess is that he just took a Biblical quote mentioning snow and tacked it on to his explanation during the class preaching session.

All creatures reproduce after their own kind. Genesis 1:21–25 […] thanks to Watson and Crick we know today that animals of different species cannot reproduce with each other… the chromosome numbers must be the same for conception to occur.

Except for horses and donkeys which can produce a mule with a different chromosome count. And what about the hybrids between recently divergent species like grizzlies and polar bears? Biology is far more complex so for this statement to be right, there should be no such things as hybrids. Oh and by the way, the actual quote says nothing about only mating with one’s own kind. It’s just a crude attempt at taxonomy.

Oceanography was developed when a man was reading Psalms 8:8 and read words saying “the paths of the sea.” He said, “If the Bible says there are paths in the sea, then I will find them.” He became the father of oceanography because of a Biblical statement he proved to be true.

And of course, there’s nothing more convincing than a random story without a name or link to a biography or a shred of evidence that this actually happened for that matter. Just more lying. Oh wait, I meant repeating what he was told by televangleists looking out for his soul.

Wind currents were written about by Solomon in Ecclesiastes 1:6. He got it right. How did he know about wind currents when he’d never been to the poles or understood the concept of hot air rising and cooler air falling downward. Information written about 935 B.C.

Oh I don’t know. It could be that millennia of sailing before Ecclesiastes was written generated plenty of good information about the behavior of winds and currents. So what happened here was the ignorance of just how much exploration our ancestors did well before anything even close to the Bible existed, coupled with wishful thinking about how supposedly supernaturally enlightened the writers were.

Now as our creationist teacher could go on and on, I’d rather he didn’t because all he’s been able to prove in his attempt is that he’s willing to ignore pretty much anything in his quest to go forth and proselytize, waiving a fairy tale about the supposed accuracy of the Bible and ignoring basic biology, geology, history, and our good, old friend reading comprehension. And this is exactly what will be thrown at your kids when you send them to creationists who’s only goal is to validate their faith by converting those around them and waxing poetic with a condescending smirk about how enlightened being a theist makes them while talking about humility and the fallibility of the faithful out the other side of their mouths.

# education // bible / creationists / religion / science education

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