Creationist schools and Nessie: A lie used to attack a truth

Q: Why does an article on U. S. creationism appear in The Scotsman? A: Because some creationists accept the Loch Ness monster, and are using it to discredit evolution.  The piece in today’s Scotsman reports:

THOUSANDS of American school pupils are to be taught that the Loch Ness monster is real – in an attempt by religious teachers to disprove Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Pupils attending privately-run Christian schools in the southern state of Louisiana will learn from textbooks next year, which claim Scotland’s most famous mythological beast is a living creature.

Thousands of children are to receive publicly-funded vouchers enabling them to attend the schools – which follow a strict fundamentalist curriculum.

The Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) programme teaches controversial religious beliefs, aimed at disproving evolution and proving creationism.

Youngsters will be told that if it can be proved that dinosaurs walked the earth at the same time as man, then Darwinism is fatally flawed.

And of course there are still dinosaurs: Nessie!

One ACE textbook called Biology 1099, Accelerated Christian Education Inc reads: “Are dinosaurs alive today? Scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence. [JAC: I’m a scientist, and wasn’t aware of this trend. . .]

“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.”

Here’s more from that part of the textbook, as reported by Salon:

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.”

Back to the Scotsman story:

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.

Isn’t it sad that teachers lie about Nessie (see the tortuous story of its nonexistence here) to get people to deny evolution? What’s worse is that the citizens of Louisiana are paying for kids to learn this stuff: that’s what vouchers are all about: a public license to learn lies. Others agree:

Boston-based researcher and writer Bruce Wilson, who specialises in the American political religious right, said: “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.”

Mr Wilson believes that such fundamentalist Christian teaching is going on in at least 13 American states.

He added: “There’s a lot of public funding going to private schools, probably around 200,000 pupils are receiving this education.

“The majority of parents now home schooling their kids are Christian fundamentalists too. I don’t believe they should be publicly funded, I don’t believe the schools who use these texts should be publicly funded.”

The Salon link above gives more details about ACE, including this stuff, and it also has a link to Scaramanga’s website and some of his articles:

Among the other claims taught in ACE science curriculum, according to Scaramanga, are the following (the last three ACE curriculum claims are detailed in a subsequent post by Scaramanga titled, 5 Even Worse Lies from Accelerated Christian Education),

  • Science Proves Homosexuality is a Learned Behavior
  • 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


  1. Posted August 19, 2013 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    give me a damn break!!

  2. Billy
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Aren’t birds dinosaurs?

    These Muppets clearly don’t know what a dinosaur is if they think a plesiosaur is one. That factual inaccuracy in itself should get this stuff removed from the curriculim

    • Posted August 19, 2013 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Yes. Their argument is very confused.

      Even if a descendant of ancient plesiosaurs is living in Loch Ness, this says nothing about the veracity of the ToE. Every living thing is descended from some other ancient living thing. As you wrote, birds are the descendants of dinosaurs.

      I don’t see how a plesiosaur descendant living in Loch Ness bears at all on whether the ToE is true or not.

      • Posted August 20, 2013 at 1:32 am | Permalink

        Also, if there is something large and animate in Loch Ness (and I think there may be), it certainly doesn’t have to be a plesiosaur. One idea is that the eels in the lake occasionally grow to a great age and size.

    • Greg Esres
      Posted August 19, 2013 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      “Aren’t birds dinosaurs?”

      That really misses the point to the creationist argument.

      • Posted August 19, 2013 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        I think raising that point highlights the muddled nature of their argument.

        This is their version of the pre-Cambrian rabbit. But they’ve got the whole concept wrong. For human/dinosaur coexistence to falsify evolution, you’d need to find human fossils dating to 100 mya, not find a descendant of the dinosaurs living today. As Billy points out, those exist. No need to invoke Nessie. They’re called birds.

        • Greg Esres
          Posted August 19, 2013 at 11:20 am | Permalink

          “I think raising that point highlights the muddled nature of their argument.”

          That’s why “our side” generally sucks at responding to creationists; we’re often playing to our own audiences, rather than the creationist audience.

          • Posted August 19, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

            I don’t think Billy’s point “plays” to one side or the other. It just demonstrates one way in which the argument is flawed.

            The creationists certainly aren’t arguing that Nessie is an individual who has been alive since the Jurassic. They presumably would concede that Nessie is a descendant of the ancient creatures. Which takes all the “gotcha” out of their “gotcha” argument: it’s no revelation that we currently live among descendants of older creatures – they are called birds and this poses no problem for evolution.

            In fact, I think this is a stronger way of arguing with them than to try to argue simply that Nessie doesn’t exist. Even if you cut them the ridiculous amount of slack of granting Nessie exists, they’re still wrong.

            What makes pointing out how they’re wrong an incorrect approach?

  3. Billy
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Even AIG say not to use the Japanese trawler story

    • teacupoftheapocalypse
      Posted August 19, 2013 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      Ya gotta laugh: “Answers in Genesis is not willing to distort evidence or resort to bad logic to defend the Bible.”

  4. Posted August 19, 2013 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Citing the loony fringe of cryptozoology as evidence is as good an indication of the intellectual bankruptcy of YEC as I can think of (not that there’s any shortage of such indicators). Nessie *might* exist! Therefore evolution is wrong!

    We seem to be discovering cat-sized mammals deep in some jungle somewhere at the rate of about one per year these days — you’d think that we’d have noticed any extant sauropods that happened to be lurking in west Africa by now.

    • microraptor
      Posted August 20, 2013 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      As far as cretinists’ minds work, that just means that scientists know that the dinosaurs are living there and lying about it.

  5. Posted August 19, 2013 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    I looked at the Scaramanga article (funny, I just watched The Man with the Golden Gun) and frankly, even though it’s pro-science, it’s garbage. In disputing the claim about the 2nd law of thermodynamics disproves evolution, all it says is, “Two whole pages are spent on this argument. And, well, it’s not true. Next.” C’mon, if you’re going to refute this stuff, you have to be better than them. This is no better than what the ACE texts are stating. No explanation about what the 2nd law is (not everybody reading it will know it deals with entropy) and no explanation about why the ACE is wrong about this.

    • Chris Bosio
      Posted August 19, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      The Earth is not an isolated system. Argument over.

    • Ed C
      Posted August 19, 2013 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      The words “not true” are a link, to a talkorigins page full of explanation. I would colour this more as Jonny – a musician starting a Phd in education – leaving the explanation to those who know what they’re talking about.

      “(funny, I just watched The Man with the Golden Gun)”
      From the intro to his talk last month at Bristol Skeptics, his grandfather was at school with Ian Fleming, who had a propensity to borrow character names from the world around him.

  6. Posted August 19, 2013 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Jonny’s site Leaving Fundamentalism is an eye-opener for those who think programs like ACE is a legitimate substitute education.

  7. Posted August 19, 2013 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    In May, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that my tax dollars can’t be used to pay for this nonsense because using public funds to pay student tuition at private ‘voucher’ schools is unconstitutional. Even so, our Creationist governor says he’ll find the money somewhere.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted August 19, 2013 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Even so, our Creationist governor says he’ll find the money somewhere.

      From his own pocket?
      (I bet NOT!)

  8. squidmaster
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    My reply to a med student who went on about the ‘humans living with dinosaurs’ trope was that, ‘Of course humans live with dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are one of the most successful groups of large animals ever to have evolved and now number more than 10,000 species. I have a dinosaur feeder in my back yard.’

    The real story of dinosaurs, how separately evolved adaptations like hollow bones filled with air sacks, bigger brains, compact genomes and feathers set the stage for a clade of therapods to become birds, is far more fascinating than any of the usual myths.

  9. Diana MacPherson
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    This is how they try to attain credibility. All ideas demand equal respect. It also gives dissenters a whole lot to go after and can act as a nice red herring so if you concentrate on Nessie, they can continue teaching other crap and concede one or two while keeping the YEC.

    Nessie was taken out of some YEC textbooks earlier. I think it is a strategy more than anything but maybe I’m giving too much credit.

  10. John J. Fitzgerald
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Hello Professor Coyne,FYI

    Here is the latest by Nagel. From the _New York Times_. 18 August 2013



    John J. Fitzgerald

    • Sastra
      Posted August 19, 2013 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      John J. Fitzgerald;

      This is out of place. The topic is YEC and the Loch Ness Monster, not Nagel’s views on Pure Mind (which iirc have already been addressed on this website.) Please either email Dr. Coyne directly and ask that he present this as a separate topic (which he probably won’t but you can ask) or be a lot shrewder about waiting a bit and sneaking it in as a legitimate-seeming reply to a post which is a better fit.



      • Sastra
        Posted August 19, 2013 at 9:19 am | Permalink

        Oh … and use your own words. If you don’t understand Nagel well enough to summarize and present what you think are his outstanding points then you have no business dumping a huge text on to others in order to get some feedback. We don’t work if you don’t.

    • squidmaster
      Posted August 19, 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      I am increasingly impatient with these obfuscatory arguments about consciousness and subjective experience. There is nothing peculiarly mysterious about consciousness. It is a special perception of one’s brain’s activities and can be studied with neuroimaging techniques. This is not to say that everything about the neural mechanisms of consciousness is understood, but there are no characteristics that set the phenomenon into a category different from the study of any other perception.

      The core of Nagel’s argument is that there is an ineluctable something that sets mental phenomena as necessarily apart from, say, the biochemistry of digestion. The assertion that starts his essay, “…:It depended on subtracting from the physical world as an object of study everything mental – consciousness, meaning, intention or purpose”, is false. There certainly was an effort not to ascribe these characteristics of the brains of complex animals to more elementary chemical and physical processes. Hydrogen and oxygen do not ‘want’ to combine to form water. It makes sense to say that a hawk wants to eat the squirrel it is stalking, but this language is just shorthand for the complex developmental processes that results in the hungry hawk’s brain identifying the squirrel as more motivationally relevant than a rock.

    • Posted August 19, 2013 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      Mr. Fitzgerald,

      As noted, your story (now a link)is out of place on this thread. And why would you want to paste a big op-ed piece from the NYT directly into the comments. Be sensible, please.

      • John J. Fitzgerald
        Posted August 19, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

        I did not know how to send it on another way. I thought it was worth noting.


        John J. Fitzgerald

        • Marella
          Posted August 19, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

          If you wish to draw something to Jerry’s attention, you can send it to him whole, or as a link in an email. His email address can easily be found by googling him.

  11. Greg Esres
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    What’s most puzzling is why they think that finding a dinosaur alive today would disprove evolution; might be an embarrassment for paleontology. 🙂

    • Posted August 19, 2013 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      They think that evolution implies that because species evolve, the older species have to be replaced by newer ones; ergo ancient species should not exist acording to evolution. Needless to say that this is a severe misunderstanding of evolution.

      • Greg Esres
        Posted August 19, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        Actually, I was aware of that, but you’d think people wouldn’t waste time debating the existence of Nessie, but would focus on pointing out that it really doesn’t matter.

      • Gabrielle Guichard
        Posted August 19, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        I’m not a scientist and nevertheless I’m able to understand that their reasoning is false; so, I don’t think it’s a misunderstanding but a strategy. (Though I cannot understand what is targeted.)

        • Posted August 19, 2013 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

          It’s both misunderstanding and a strategy. Many ordinary creationists, members of the public, have an honest misunderstanding of evolution (mainly because they have learned it from other creationists). Whilst groups such as the DI deliberately misrepresents evolution, for the political agenda (a greater role for religion (=christianity) in public life).

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted August 19, 2013 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      Taking a different tack from the (perfectly correct) one used several times up thread, that birds ARE dinosaurs (for standard meanings of “birds”, “are” and “dinosaurs”) ; the discovery of a modern-day non-Avian dinosaur wouldn’t be a tremendous shock and horror for palaeontology. What we know from our widespread sampling of natural history is, that they’re not common. So, their fossils are not going to be common either. We still don’t have any fossil record for coelacanths between the late Cretaceous and now, and they’re pretty substantial lumps of fish – up to nearly 100kg. But deep-water living, which is not conducive to finding bodies or forming good fossils.
      Many people will have spent the last couple of decades watching the slow unfolding of the fossil history of whales, from relatively small ranges of fossilifereous deposits in Egypt and Baluchistan. (I wonder how the fossils of Wadi Al-Hitan are surviving the present chaos. Not well, I fear ; valuable fossils and important to “Westerners”, so they’ll be good targets for looting as soon as someone thinks of it. The prognosis for the Pakistani deposits isn’t too cheerful either.) now, whales are large components of modern sea life, but we’re only recently finding their fossil history ; so a rare surviving clade of (probably small) non-avian dinosaurs is likely to not have the most spectacular of fossil records either. So, why would finding one be embarrassing for palaeontology?

    • Posted August 19, 2013 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      The one land-based claim I’ve heard is that, based on local legends of a monster called the “mokele mbembe”, there is a large sauropod hiding in the jungles of Cameroon or thereabouts. ISTM it would be a little awkward to explain how a viable population of a large terrestrial species had hung on for 65Myrs, through multiple changes in climate, without us finding even one fossil of it. Not as awkward as radically revising the entire field of geology to make the Cenozoic disappear, but awkward.

      And in the creationist mindset, anytime the evolutionists get something wrong, it’s a win for them.

  12. Posted August 19, 2013 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    If only creationists were as eager to believe the evolution, as they are eager to believe in Loch Ness monster…

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted August 19, 2013 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      At least it proves most of our points that believing in fantasies like creation lead to bad thinking in other areas.

    • Posted August 19, 2013 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

      There’s a similarity between believing in Nessie and God.

      • Posted August 20, 2013 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

        Actually, Nessie is closer to being real than God: no one claims to have a photo of God.

        • Posted August 20, 2013 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

          Yes, Nessie is also much more plausible.

          • G Leonard
            Posted January 25, 2014 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

            Nessie a fact. Not one supported by any form of evidence, but a fact none the less. I myself have seen Nessie many times. She likes to show herself on Friday and Saturday nights as far south as Glasgow, Scotland after the pubs have closed. Occasionally after a few drams of the good stuff she even speak to me.

            Please don’t ask what she had to say, I was far too drunk to remember.

  13. ploubere
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    I hadn’t heard of and don’t get the solar fusion one. Why would they have a problem with that? Is it that it demonstrates the age of the sun and the universe? So then how do they explain the sun’s energy? Magic?

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted August 19, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      So then how do they explain the sun’s energy? Magic?

      This is a depth easily within their demonstrated range of descending-to ability.

    • Posted August 19, 2013 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Back in the 19th century, before nuclear processes were worked out, the favorite mechanism for the sun’s shining was gravitational contraction. This places an upper limit on the earth’s age of IIRC ~75Myr. Some YECs have tried to revive the old theory by arguing that 1) contraction has been observed in the modern period and 2) there is no evidence for fusion taking place (usually, failure to observe the neutrinos that should be produced [except that now they have]). There is a FAQ or two on the subject at

      • teacupoftheapocalypse
        Posted August 19, 2013 at 11:30 am | Permalink

        Another popular 19th century theory was that the sun was a gigantic ball of burning coal. If that were the case, it turns out that the energy released would actually be far greater than that released by gravitational contraction. The ball of coal, however, would have burned out with 5k years.

        • Posted August 20, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

          coal burning in the vacuum of space?? Did they think there was “air” all the way to the moon, and then beyond, to the sun? No one measuring air density at higher altitudes, and then extrapolating??!

          • microraptor
            Posted August 20, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

            This idea was from before the discovery that space was a vacuum had been made. Prior to that, it was believed that space was filled with light-conductive material. And the proponents of the coal burning sun hypothesis probably would have just said that the sun had plenty of oxygen on its own.

          • Posted August 20, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

            Maybe they thought of it as a kind of solid rocket propellent, a mixture of “coal” plus oxidiser.


      • Posted August 19, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        “failure to observe the neutrinos that should be produced [except that now they have]”

        “Now”? Surely more than a generation ago, before I was an undergraduate.


        • Posted August 19, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

          Here be the FAQ (and see more detailed FAQ linked therein):

          TL;DR: There weren’t enough neutrinos in the early observations to account for the rate of fusion necessary to support the sun’s observed output. The problem was solved by the hypothesis and observational confirmation of neutrino flavor-shifting — which makes this one of my favorite examples of how creationism is a science-killer. If the solar physicists had just accepted the YEC “explanation”, not only would they be wrong about the age of the sun, we would not have made that advance in particle physics.

          • Posted August 19, 2013 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

            Oh, yes, I remember that, but that wasn’t no evidence.

            My favourite amongst the potential explanations (we don’t understand fusion properly – not that it didn’t happen! &c.), was that statistics is faulty because “it was developed by biologists”. 😮


    • moarscienceplz
      Posted August 19, 2013 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      In the 19th century, the source of the sun’s energy was a problem for geologic timescales. If the sun were a giant mass of burning coal, it would burn out in a few thousand years. Some suggested that gravitational collapse could be the power source, but even that wouldn’t last for the many millions of years the geologists were saying must have occurred. So when hydrogen fusion was discovered, it was another vindication for deep time. But to try to deny that solar fusion is a settled question in the 21st century is pretty pathetic.

      • moarscienceplz
        Posted August 19, 2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        Hmmm, somehow I failed to see Eamon’s response before I posted mine.

        • teacupoftheapocalypse
          Posted August 19, 2013 at 11:33 am | Permalink

          And I failed to see yours before I responded to Eamon’s. 🙂

  14. NewEnglandBob
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Here is my proposal:

    In states like Louisiana, after the reasonable people are encouraged to leave, let them go back to their natural state.

    Let them teach the lies but take away all the science and technology for which they refuse to believe within medicine, science and technology.

    Take away their drugs and vaccines, take away their cell phones and GPS devices. Eliminate their radios, TVSs, and computers and automobiles.

    Remove all the text books that describe any progress for the last 200 years. Let them go back to gay bashing and slavery and refusing to let women vote.

    Let them play in their Creation “Museum” (sic).

    Then we can be rid of them as they die off before reaching 30 years old and their buildings and infrastructure crumble around then.

    Let us wash our hands of them once and for all.

    • Sastra
      Posted August 19, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      I assume you’re joking, but I hate arguments like this. “Let’s allow the Bad Guys to create a hellish society which warps and punishes all its citizens — but keep it away from me!

      Won’t someone think of the children???

    • Posted August 19, 2013 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Please exempt New Orleans, one of only three or four interesting cities in the continental U.S., as our parish has explicitly banned the teaching of religious doctrine disguised as science. Thank you.

      • moarscienceplz
        Posted August 19, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        Yeah, I like New Orleans and I’ll be damned by the nonexistent Yahweh before I let it be handed over to the creotards without a fight!

  15. Sameer
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Solar Fusion is a Myth

    How does that figure into the general evolution denial mindset? Where do they think all the energy comes from?

    • NewEnglandBob
      Posted August 19, 2013 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      “Where do they think all the energy comes from?”

      You needed to stop after the fourth word.

      • Sameer
        Posted August 19, 2013 at 9:07 am | Permalink


    • moarscienceplz
      Posted August 19, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      See the answers to question #13

    • Posted August 19, 2013 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

      Kent Hovind once argued that you couldn’t fuse atoms beyond iron. Here we have a classical example of creationists misrepresenting science. You could fuse atoms beyond iron, but only this would be an endothermic rather than an exothermic reaction.

      • Posted August 19, 2013 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

        Ah, but can you observe a supernova?


        • Posted August 20, 2013 at 12:02 am | Permalink

          Supernovae are a serious problem for the Hovinds of this world.

  16. Posted August 19, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    WEIT, you’re behind the times; h/t to Jonny, who may indeed be partly responsible:

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted August 19, 2013 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      Yes, I noted that they have removed Nessie above and I linked in another thread but I think if you look at the quotes, they are trying to look like good sports. It’s a bit of a red herring I think. I almost think the architects of these programs hope to just add this junk in even though they don’t believe in it because it distracts from fighting YEC specifically and gives them things they can take out so they look like they are playing nice.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted August 19, 2013 at 10:00 am | Permalink

        Here is the Christian Post report where they look like good sports.

        “There are just so many of these legends, like the dragon mentioned in Beowulf, the numerous accounts of St. George and the dragon, and so on, that they can’t be dismissed,” said Looy.
        “However, because the Loch Ness monster is a questionable example to use, and also because the claim has become such a distraction, we agree that it is wise to delete Nessie’s reference from a textbook that lists possible living monsters.”


        So Nessie is out but wasn’t that distracting!

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted August 19, 2013 at 10:00 am | Permalink

          The read more thing snuck it’s way in before I could delete it…..tricky, tricky Christians!

        • moarscienceplz
          Posted August 19, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

          Sheesh! Beowulf, ergo Jesus? What’s next, they resurrect all of the European pagan religions to try to justify their Middle-Eastern religion?

          • teacupoftheapocalypse
            Posted August 19, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

            No need, as there are already a lot of European pagan traditions interwoven into the christian calender and mythology. It made christianity more acceptable the old pagans if existing feast days and traditions were co-opted into the new mythology. That’s why christmas is when it is, why some folk install a small fir tree in their houses for their cats to climb into, and why the date of easter is governed by the phases of the moon, just as spring planting was.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted August 19, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

            I feel funny that they sully a really awesome Anglo Saxon tale! Hands off my Beowulf!

            Also, why just these monsters? What about the Kraken or Medusa or Kerberos or the hydra or the sphinx?

            I think I just figured out how to fight them….instead of fighting to get stuff taken out, we should fight to get stuff put in because really what is the cut off criteria? Drown them in magical creatures!

            • Richard Olson
              Posted August 19, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

              Putting stuff in as counter-strategy gets short shrift from many. I have long been convinced that if efforts to legally endorse squatter’s rights, or some sort of grandfather provision, for Christian privilege in the public square (e.g. 10 Commandment “monuments”; opening public meetings with prayer) persist, such efforts will only be abandoned if a deluge of demands for equal privilege for all known extant religions inundates the granting authority.

              Consistency must prevail. Counter consistent religious privilege with a requirement for universal belief privileges, or concede privilege to the persistent Christian supremacist movement – they are in it for the long haul, are organized and on message, do not fuck around, and take no prisoners.

              A goodly chunk of federal judiciar appointed by Bush presidents is Christian Right, and after 6 years the Obama administration has failed to figure out how to fill vacancies with rational justices. The righties will continue to test legal challenges to Christian supremacy (and voting rights, and personhood, and on and on), and rightie justices rule in their favor given the slightest semblance of legal standing. This is how Christian supremacy can become the consistent standard of the country. it has to be resisted with the most powerful means at hand.

              Textbook content re myth references/reality alteration in sciences/history revision, and anywhere else in the public domain where fundavangelicals seek to impose their faith beliefs outside their churches, homes, heads, or Constitutionally recognized ‘soapbox platforms’ in public areas presently open to all: this is where demand for Christian privilege must be met with demand for total religious privilege, instead.

              • Richard Olson
                Posted August 19, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

                Damn the lack of editing capacity! So many errors to fix — I’ll begin & end with one in sentence two: … Consistency must prevail. Counter consistent religious privilege with a requirement for universal …

                Make that … consistent Christian privilege with a requirement for universal …

            • Gabrielle Guichard
              Posted August 19, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

              The idea should be extended to other domains as well.

        • Posted August 19, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

          As I recall, the story of George and the dragon involves the dragon being the last one in England. In which case, the story is of ecocide of one particularly noteworthy animal – a environmental problem we should not celebrate.

  17. Sastra
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    “The majority of parents now home schooling their kids are Christian fundamentalists too. I don’t believe they should be publicly funded, I don’t believe the schools who use these texts should be publicly funded.”

    But they can’t be made illegal, either.

    That leaves us with several options. One of those options includes making it acceptable to argue against religion being true. Another option is to win that argument.

    • Notagod
      Posted August 19, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      Vouchers are a recent development, the law supporting them could be repealed.

      Which is sad because some parents are actually using vouchers to enhance their child’s education but, the vouchers system is mostly being used to facilitate abuse. Most of the abusive “schools” wouldn’t survive without the vouchers.

      Actually, I think people having more than one child should need to prove that they have the financial ability to pay for the schooling without taxpayer support. That’s unlikely to happen soon enough but, eventually the stress of overpopulation will require it.

      • microraptor
        Posted August 20, 2013 at 9:12 am | Permalink

        From what I understand, the voucher systems are rarely economical for poorer parents anyway.

  18. Posted August 19, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    “Accelerated Christian Education”

    I once heard a Baptist preacher from the South (though not a Southern Baptist; those are the “liberals” (really)) say that ACE is not accelerated, not Christian and not education. (In other words, it was way to liberal and accommodationist to him.)

  19. Posted August 19, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    • moarscienceplz
      Posted August 19, 2013 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      I dunno. I’ve seen pictures of a “chupacabra” corpse. (Actually, it was probably a decomposed coyote.)

  20. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    It doesn’t surprise me that The Scotsman is desperate enough to clutch at this straw of Scotland-related (very, very loosely related) content. Other highlights of local news that they presented to me include :

    > Moffat holds second annual sheep race
    > Colonsay without police cover as only copper quits
    > Has Scotland boss Gordon Strachan dyed his hair?

    More depths-plumbing which is, sadly, well within precedent.

  21. Posted August 19, 2013 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Absolutely amazing, and sad.

  22. Posted August 19, 2013 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Any similarities that exist among them are due to the fact that one Master Craftsmen fashioned them all.” – So what, their all powerful, all knowing creator couldn’t come up with new ideas for animals, so it just LOOKS like evolution is true! What a farce, stop brain washing children. I remember growing up in a Christian (Creationist) home, and it was common knowledge that T-rex dinos could breathe fire, so I can vouch for that bull crap, they do indeed teach that in the Bob Jones “curriculum.”

  23. Posted August 19, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    “Any similarities that exist among them are due to the fact that one Master Craftsmen fashioned them all.”

    Maybe this explains why Psychrolutes marcidus looks like Henry Kissinger.

    • Diane G.
      Posted August 22, 2013 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for sending me on a fun google voyage. 😀

  24. Daniel Brassington
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    What I find most disturbing is the school here in Manchester UK, The King of Kings School which teaches the ACE, states it has students that go on to study medicine! It is appalling to think schools such as this can legally teach such rubbish.

  25. Derek
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Didn’t they make a movie about the Japanese whaling ship dinosaur story? – I think it had Matthew Broderick and the incomparable Jean Reno (“They call that coffee?”).

    • Posted August 20, 2013 at 12:07 am | Permalink


      (Reno was wonderful. Better than the film deserved.)


  26. Posted August 19, 2013 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    “The Second Law of Thermodynamics Disproves [Supernatural Beings]”

    That looks about right

  27. Ed Venegas
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    So a friend of a friend once showed me a grainy photo of what may or may not have been bigfoot, therefore evolution can’t be true, because of… uh… bigfoot!

  28. madscientist
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    “Are dinosaurs alive today?”

    Yes, and they taste like chicken. Or quail. Or pigeon, duck, goose … Anyway, contemporary dinosaurs are evidence of evolution.

    • Gabrielle Guichard
      Posted August 19, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      T-rex was the first to roast its meal.

  29. Posted August 19, 2013 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    Surely, even if we grant that Nessie exists and is a dinosaur that wouldn’t affect evolution’s status? All that would mean is that a tiny population of dinosaurs survived long enough to overlap. That doesn’t refute all the other dinosaurs having died millions of years before humans evolved. Nessie, if real, would be the exception, not the rule.

  30. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted August 20, 2013 at 3:45 am | Permalink


    I’ve always been rather fond of Nessie. Though in the light of the BBC expedition of 2003, of which I’ve just read, I’d have to sadly concede that Nessie’s existence is doubtful.

    Though I will point out that Nessie could happily exist without breaking one law of physics and not contravening evolution at all, which makes Nessie still far more probable than God or the FSM.

    But now the dratted Cretinists are taking Nessie’s name in vain. Hands off, you thieving God-botherers. Is nothing sacred? Keep your sticky fingers to your own tacky myths. Leave Nessie and the dinosaurs alone. Don’t you go getting my favourite monster a bad name!!

  31. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted August 20, 2013 at 4:30 am | Permalink

    Tax paid children abuse.

  32. marksolock
    Posted August 20, 2013 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Mark Solock Blog.

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