Adventures in ACE XII: Wibbly about Water

I know, two ACE posts in a row. And our Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education installment is a whole day early! Don’t you all feel like lucky duckies?

It’s about time we finish with the risible ACE PACE 1086, and the subject matter segues nicely into the chapters on oceans we have coming up in our other “science” textbooks. Besides, after last week’s installment, I’m sure you’re all on the edge of your seats wondering if the Loyaltons are about to go splat against a mountain. So let us continue our flyover with them, and see where we end up.

After a rather plain description of a plain, we discover the plane is flying low enough for Racer to see the wee trickles of water from snow melt dribbling into creeks, which eventually form a river. This is indeed one way for a river to form. In ACE world, it’s apparently the only way. Never mind rivers that originate from bogs, springs, lake, or other sources. You’d think they’d pay attention to all that marvelous variety, seeing as how they have Mr. Loyalton tell us, “God is responsible for forming Earth’s rivers.” Says so right in Job 28:10, don’t it?

Image is a demotivational poster of Bill Nye holding his head. Caption reads "Creationists make my head hurt."

Of course, they babble all that malarkey about the Grand Canyon being carved by receding Floodwaters. No one explains how all that mud formed cliffs without collapsing, or why there aren’t equally Grand canyons everywhere.

Their definition of a valley will help zero students become better at identifying landforms: “Valleys are usually not as steep and narrow as canyons.” Waterfalls just fall over cliffs which happen to be lying around: we’re not told why the cliffs are there in the first place. Rapids just exist (prolly Goddidit); no one says they’re caused by things like stream gradient and debris flows. And really, considering Racer blurts out factoids about Lava Falls, apparently because the writers thought that Lava Falls flows logically from waterfall, they coulda put one wee sentence in about why the rapids are there. But no. They’re too busy getting on to the God talk. (What passes for their thought process seems to go something like rivers > sediment > farming > God’s Word! Because God’s word is life, like river sediments…) The religio-babble is followed by a recitation of all the states the Mississippi flows through, the fact they have farms along the river, and then factoids on other rivers, because Creationists specialize in interjecting God between intensely boring encyclopedia entries.

Eventually, they realize they’re supposed to be doing a bit more than spewing Bible verses and facts about river lengths, so they give a muddled description of a delta (they make it sound like the river splits into several branches and dumps sediment for funsies: we’re not told the river loses the energy to carry all that sediment as it enters another, larger body of water). And they don’t forget to lie for Jesus, which is more important than understanding how the world works:

“According to the present rate of sediment deposit, some scientists believe that the Mississippi River delta in Louisiana has been growing for about 4,000 years.”

This portion should read, “some jackanapes with science degrees and no integrity ignore all of the empirical evidence that the Mississippi River delta is 100 million years old. Even the modern bit of the delta is between 7 and 8 thousand years old, so what these so-called scientists do is equivalent to someone dating your fingernail clippings and claiming you’re only a few months old, nevermind your cataracts, wrinkles, and AARP card. These scumlords should be ashamed to pretend they have anything to do with science, but aren’t, because they are maiming the truth for the Lord, who was incapable of telling Iron Age goat herders what a zero is and how many to put after 4.5 in order to note the age of the Earth. Every other scientist on the planet, including the devout Christian ones, laugh their asses off at those yahoos. But we repeat their fake-ass conclusions here because we, alas, have to cover for our dumbshit deity, who is supposed to be infallible.”

But they neglected to phrase it this way because the were too busy ensuring their “Facts from Science” box on rising and sinking mountains, volcanoes, earthquakes, and geothermal energy does not include a single fact about plate tectonics.

Despite its inability to fly at an appropriate cruising altitude, the Loyaltons’ plane lands intact. As they’re landing, Racer wants to know what might happen if water and magma met. Instead of answering this rather interesting question accurately, his dad tells him,

“An entire island in the Pacific Ocean exploded in 1883 when much ocean water flowed underground and made contact with magma, producing large quantities of steam. The rapid expansion of the steam caused the island to blow up, sending boulders and ash high in the sky. The resulting shock wave was felt around the world.”

Right. No. First, yes, you can get really neato explosions when water hits magma, but that’s not what happened to Krakatoa – that gargantuan ba-boom was most likely down to mama mixing, not water. Secondly, WTF? You couldn’t say the bloody name Krakatoa? Thirdly, no, the shock wave wasn’t “felt” around the world – sensitive instruments picked it up, but it’s not like people were getting all wobbly in England or anything.

Next, we’re treated to a brief description of geysers that ends with getting nearly everything about Old Faithful wrong. No, it didn’t erupt “faithfully about every sixty-six minutes for hundreds of years until an earthquake caused underground changes.” Changes to what? We aren’t told. Hundreds of years? No one was bothering to record it until the 1870s. The average time between eruptions was 65.5 mins in 1939. That average changed due to earthquakes, sure – but it’s slowing. It didn’t speed up to “about every sixty minutes” like this bloody stupid PACE claims. The average interval between eruptions now is about 92 minutes, and that’s just an average: it can range anywhere from 35 minutes up to 2 hours. Based on the length of the eruption, we can estimate how long ’til the next to within ten minutes or so, but there’s certainly no clockwork spurt at fixed intervals. These numpties can’t even get the most basic facts straight.

Image shows Old Faithful eruption. Caption says, "Creationists don't get me"
Old Faithful photo courtesy Steve Jurvetson/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

After getting Old Faithful completely wrong, the Earth “science” is at an end. The entire final page of this PACE is devoted to discussing the roasting of three Hebrew men because King Nebuchadnezzar became upset at their stubborn refusal to worship a golden image. We’re not told if the dudes lived. But we’re instructed that we should be dependable like them, even if it’s difficult – like getting burnt in a furnace. And God’s dependable. He even put Old Faithful there to show us how dependable he is. Because Old F is dependable, unlike ACE’s supposed facts about it. And True Godliness ™ “requires us to be dependable, too,” so you can depend upon the writers of ACE Science PACE 1086 to screw up every aspect of Earth Science, then end with an insipid bit of Bible babble, thus going right against their closing verse:

“…Keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings…” (I Timothy 6:20)


And isn’t it precious that they left out a big chunk of that verse. Here, let us happy heathens have a look at what they’re eliding:

20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.

No wonder they left that off. If St. Paul were here today, he’d be giving them a right thwap upside the head for basically doing the opposite of what he advised, and thus making Christians look like proper fools.

And with that, we are at last shut of the absolutely awful ACE Science PACE 1086. For those who wish the relive the horror, here’s a list of all the debunkings:

Adventures in ACE IV: When Creationists Drill the Ocean

Adventures in ACE V: Senseless About St. Helens

Adventures in ACE VI: Vacuous About Volcanoes

Adventures in ACE VII: Ignorant About Igneous

Adventures in ACE VIII: Senseless About Sedimentary

Adventures in ACE IX: More Senseless about Sedimentary

Adventures in ACE X: Misinformed About Metamorphic

Adventures in ACE XI: Tommyrot About Topography

Never fear: there’s plenty more ACE forthcoming. We’re only a fraction of the way through their mauling of earth science.

Adventures in ACE XII: Wibbly about Water

12 thoughts on “Adventures in ACE XII: Wibbly about Water

  1. rq

    I’m pretty sure the three guys in the furnace survive. Something to do with angels, in the end, I think. Meh.
    Just still surprised to see people whose pitiful god explanations are just, sorry, not as impressive as the actual natural explanations behind all of these geological features.

  2. 2

    “and oppositions of science falsely so called”
    That’s not an accurate translation (goes back, IIRR, to the KJV). Here ‘science’ (γνώσις) means ‘knowledge’ and I believe the phrase means the opposite of what you seem to be trying to make it mean. :-)
    Apart from that tiny point :-) , I really like your reviews!

  3. 3

    Dana, may I suggest a wee edit of the quotes regarding eruption times of Old Faithful? Unless I’m misreading it, you seem to have changed the initial quote of every 66 minutes to every 60.

    That aside, I’m loving this series.

  4. 4

    Remember, these folks read KJV literally. I know, and you know, those words weren’t always translated accurately, or mean what they do today, but the kind of Biblical literalists who write these PACES do not go in for nuance.

  5. 6

    Heh! I might actually get the hang of this reading malarkey one of these decades :-)

    But seriously, the more I read your takedowns of the nonsense the more I’m convinced you might be Jesus and Mo’s barmaid.
    And that’s a compliment I don’t give lightly.

  6. 8

    I’m sure that they do read it, and literally!
    I’m even more sure that they take science in its ‘modern’ sense.
    I’m surest of all that they take it to mean “Science bad. Disagrees with God. Me avoid.”

  7. rq

    Family disputes? No, some cocktails just require a bit more force than others.
    (Alternatively, dropping the beat is always climactic.)

  8. 11

    There’s a question that’s been gnawing at me since you started this series. Just how widespread is this Christian home schooling cult?

    If it’s a tiny fraction of the population, I’d say it’s not worthy of all the attention and effort on your (and our) part. But if there are significant numbers of kids being fed this atrocious crap, we’re in deep, deep trouble.

  9. 12

    I was the substitute teacher in a second-grade class yesterday. One worksheet had a sketch of an erupting volcano, and space underneath to write about what was happening. The kids asked how to spell “volcano”, “erupt”, and “Hawaii”. One knew about magma and so much more – I was able to explain “expert” and “vulcanologist” with her as the definition. The kids were all interested and enthusiastic, and we left them aware that there was so much more to learn. Dang, it was fun – and it was just a writing exercise.

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