(Repost) Adventures in ACE I: In Which Oddities Are Explored

I recently spent an instructive few months reading Jonny Scaramanga’s blog, where I learned just how screwed up Accelerated Christian Education is. Imagine a room full of young kids stuffed in study carrels (“offices,” in ACE parlance), sitting silent on hard plastic chairs while they’re taught truly-true Christian things from thin newsprint booklets. As they grind through their science lessons, they answer review questions such as:

Christ’s shed blood is the _______ of our salvation. (Science PACE 1085)

Welcome to the whacky world of ACE, where until recently kids were taught that the Loch Ness Monster exists (and is a plesiosaur – checkmate, atheists!). Considering this is an “education” taught to far too many kids in Christian private and home schools worldwide, as well as involving many of the same people who create the supposed secular Responsive Ed curriculum used in publicly-funded charter schools, we should pay close attention to their shenanigans.

Let us investigate the violence done to the earth sciences, shall we? Continue reading “(Repost) Adventures in ACE I: In Which Oddities Are Explored”

(Repost) Adventures in ACE I: In Which Oddities Are Explored

No, I Don’t Envy the Faithful

From time to time, I run across non-believers who pine after faith, or greatly admire it, or think it to be soft, fuzzy, and warm. Arthur Shapiro is a might fine example of that species: I came across a review of his in the Creation/Evolution Journal that begins thusly:

I suppose I should confess up front that some of my best friends are Christians. I can’t share their beliefs, but at times I find myself envying them for having a philosophy that seems to bring them so much comfort. Life is harder, as some wag put it, with no invisible means of support.

And then he descends into preemptive whining about the atheists (“true-believer atheists,” he calls ’em) who will write him “nasty letters” for being “soft on Christianity,” which then degenerates into burbling about Vaclav Havel, “the decline of traditional religion,” and the “hole in the social fabric” it has supposedly left “that science cannot hope to fill.” I had to stop reading* at the point where he decided “theistic science” is not a silly idea. No, seriously: Continue reading “No, I Don’t Envy the Faithful”

No, I Don’t Envy the Faithful

“The List of Ugly Realities” – Escape Chapter 17: Marrying into the Jeffs’ Family

This is a short chapter, but it gives us quite a bit of insight into Merril’s thirst for power, Warren Jeffs’ creepy early years, and FLDS hypocrisy and dysfunction.

Content note for forced marriage, child abuse, and spousal abuse.

Merril wants more power and prestige within the FLDS, and of course, the way to get it is by bartering your young daughters into sexual slavery. He’s already married one off to ancient prophet Rulon Jeffs. Now he sacrifices pretty Paula. As she’s married off to a man 60 years her senior, “Her still smile barely [hides] her despair.” All Carolyn can think about is how she and Paula had joked in school about “having to marry an old man who was a rest-home patient.” This is Paula’s nightmare: her new husband is so old and weak he has to sit throughout the ceremony. It’s one thing to marry someone older for love: it’s quite another to be sold off, with no choice in the matter. Continue reading ““The List of Ugly Realities” – Escape Chapter 17: Marrying into the Jeffs’ Family”

“The List of Ugly Realities” – Escape Chapter 17: Marrying into the Jeffs’ Family

Quick Hits: The Bible Backs Me On Abortion. Plus: Why Vaginas Are Not Like Milk Cartons

A couple of things have crossed my radar recently that don’t really merit posts of their own, but I want to share them with you, so here we are. It’s an odd combo, I grant you. But there is a common thread here: both of these issues are tied together by religious views of (cis) women.

1. The Fetus in Jewish Law; or How My Position On Abortion Turns Out to be Many Centuries Old.

I’ve always supported abortion rights, but I used to be a lot more conservative about it. I’d got infected by the prevailing American squeamishness, and figured abortion should have some restrictions. I was never one of those life-of-mother-only people, but I thought abortions past, say, about four months into the pregnancy maybe should be restricted to threats to the mother’s health and problems with the fetus and so forth. Then, as I began to learn more about what pregnancy does to a woman, and as abortion foes made inroads on abortion rights, I decided fuck restrictions. I actually got to a point where I figured a pregnant person should be able to have an abortion any damned time they pleased, up to and including right around labor. Until that fetus was actually on its way out, it had no rights to use another person’s body whatsoever. And the formerly conservative part of me sort of cringed at that. I mean, it’s pretty extreme, right?

Turns out that Jewish rabbis have been ahead of me for centuries. Continue reading “Quick Hits: The Bible Backs Me On Abortion. Plus: Why Vaginas Are Not Like Milk Cartons”

Quick Hits: The Bible Backs Me On Abortion. Plus: Why Vaginas Are Not Like Milk Cartons

Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XXVb: A Thermonuclear Load of Creationist Nonsense

In our last edition, we saw Christianists trying desperately to sneak God into matter and energy. Today, the creationist nonsense gets positively explosive. Hold tight, kiddos.

The SPC folks explain that nuclear fission can be used to blow things up as well as power stuff. They’re quite blasé about the effects of an atomic bomb explosion. They’re all about describing the heat and light of the chain reaction; not so much about telling us what it does to living things like, oh, y’know, innocent human beings. They’re also quick to handwave away the problem of nuclear waste. But considering how enamored the American Right is of fossil fuels, this amuses me greatly: Continue reading “Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XXVb: A Thermonuclear Load of Creationist Nonsense”

Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XXVb: A Thermonuclear Load of Creationist Nonsense

Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XXVa: Atomic Bombs of Creationist Crap

Let us return to this week to A Beka’s Science of the Physical Creation. Now that they have thoroughly butchered the history of chemistry, it’s time to address matter. It appears the creationists are okay with it. The SPC writers even define it correctly, explaining that it

1) Occupies space

2) Has inertia

3) Can’t be created or destroyed

4) Ordinarily exists as a solid, liquid, or gas.

It’s a limited and somewhat outdated description, but perfectly serviceable for an 8th grade textbook.

They’re careful to explain that mass does not equal weight, and do so with the easily-understood example of a book on Earth vs. the Moon: the weight will change, while the mass remains the same, cos of gravity.

So far, so science.

They desperately try to insert some religion into the mix when they get to atoms, but the best they can do is interject that the founder of modern atomic theory was a Christian. But the poor dears have to immediately admit that the Christian! John Dalton actually got the idea of atoms from Democritus, not the Bible. And when they briefly talk about alchemists being “men who tried to produce gold by chemistry and often wizardry,” you get the sense they think wizardry is not a bunch of fanciful crap based on superstition, but an actual thing that works (only not for making gold). But that’s about as much as they can manage when explaining elements and atomic symbols. They bang on a bit about how John Dalton was a Bible-believing Quaker, but even in the special text box they set aside for him, they can’t tie his work directly to his religion. Continue reading “Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XXVa: Atomic Bombs of Creationist Crap”

Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XXVa: Atomic Bombs of Creationist Crap

“You Should Know I Will Fight Back” – Escape Chapter 15: Hawaii

After all the drama of the past several days of Carolyn’s Hawaii vacation, we finally get a moment that doesn’t completely suck. Enjoy it while it lasts: it’s going to be about the only one.

Content note for verbal, emotional, and religious abuse.

The family flies to Kauai, which Carolyn thinks looks like the Garden of Eden. She’s always lived in a desert, so all this greenery is incredible. I know those feels well, having lived in the desert Southwest for nearly the entire first three decades of my life. I used to think Flagstaff, Arizona was lush and magnificently green. Then I moved to Seattle and encountered places where you literally cannot see the ground for all the plants, and was awestruck. Also intimidated. Temperate rainforests have a way of looming at a person.

Carolyn is free to enjoy her first day in this paradise, as Merril decides to take a nap and Tammy and Cathleen stay with him. She and her other mother Rosie have a lovely walk on the beach, where Carolyn enjoys the waves washing over her toes. However, this is an FLDS vacay, so you know there has to be some fucked-up shit going on. Continue reading ““You Should Know I Will Fight Back” – Escape Chapter 15: Hawaii”

“You Should Know I Will Fight Back” – Escape Chapter 15: Hawaii