Adventures in ACE XIII: Flooded with Nonsense

One thing I’ll give to Science of the Physical Creation and Earth Science 4th Edition: at least they don’t treat middle and high school-age people like they’re in kindergarten and a bit thick. You, dear readers, have been getting regular installments, but I’ve just come off of a few weeks of total immersion in the other two texts, and going back to ACE makes me feel like I should’ve practiced sucking my thumb and talking in nonsense syllables before diving back into their PACEs. Just a reminder: these PACES are supposedly for 8th graders.

All right, let’s give our IQ the night off and see what ACE PACE 1087’s got for us. Here’s hoping it’s not as unutterably awful as 1086…

Meme is a man looking distressed, standing in front of a partially-open door. Caption says, "It's bad. It's so bad."
Spoiler alert.


We are to learn about The Blue Planet. Oh boy, it’s Waterworld – all the hydrogeologists in the house, get in the intellectual crash position. They’re after you next. I’m so sorry.

We are also “to learn to accomplish the greatest productivity by preparing myself and my environment – to be efficient.” There is, of course, a terrible little ditty about “efficient” that we can sing as this PACE causes our brains to dribble from our ears (avoid Zombie Jesus when in this condition). And we are to memorize the ever-so-jolly Ephesians 5:16:

Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Yes, I’m more partial to nights, myself. Ahaha.

Anyway, this reminds me of all the sad saintly people of our little holy roller church, back in the day before ebooks, scrambling through their Bibles looking for a verse relating to what they were talking about, and choosing things that seemed at least vaguely in the ballpark, if you squinched your eyes up and did a headstand. Of course, I did a search, and neither the KJV or the NRSV seem to have the word “efficient” in them, so I’m afraid this is unbiblical. Perhaps they should have gone with prepare. Isaiah 14:21 has something to do with that. (Or, if you want something less dour, and being vaguely related to water, Prov. 8:27).

Next is a cartoon. Look! A woman! And we discover that Ace’s dad talks in parentheses:

Image is a living room scene. Ace's dad sits in a recliner to the left. Ace is in the middle, looking out a picture window at the rain. Mom sits on the right in a padded (but not reclining, not for wimmins) chair, knitting. Ace says, "Dad, I've never seen so much rain! You can't see the grass in the yard; it's under water." Dad says, "Yes, Ace. In the past three days, we've had nearly seventeen inches (43 cm) of rain. I hope the dam holds."
This is the opening panel of our riveting ACE PACE 1087 comic. Don’t get too excited about seeing a woman – she doesn’t have a speaking part.

Ace’s mom doesn’t get in on the sandbagging action when Ace and his dad rush to sandbag the river, nor get a word in, because sandbagging rivers (and talking (in parentheses or out)) is a man’s thing. We’re left on a cliffhanger – ZOMG WILL THE SANDBAGS HOLD – as we turn the page to our first vocabulary section. Out of 19 words, a whopping 6 have something to do with science. In a PACE about hydrology, we’re also going to learn words like fictional and hymn. Also, teakettle, because boys of 12 or 13 may not know what one is. I’m sure it’s essential to science. Somehow.

We’re dunked in religion from the get-go, as Ace says, “Dad, these floodwaters must resemble on a small scale the Flood of Noah’s day.” Uh-huh. Whatever, you poor godbot of a cartoon child.

Now, the idea of a dad teaching his son about the hydrosphere as they rush to stop a flooding river is a nice one. But it would’ve been nice if Ace’s dad hadn’t left out part of the hydrosphere – he gets the stuff on the ground and in the atmosphere, but neglects groundwater, which seems a silly thing to forget when your own holy book likes to go on about the “fountains of the deep.” Also, his “two different ways” of considering the hydrosphere doesn’t go anywhere. He just lists a bunch of “areas of the hydrosphere” like bodies of water, and types of water like fresh, frozen, and salty, without further illumination. This is probably because the person writing him thinks firing off a bunch of facts is science, or doesn’t actually know much about the hydrosphere, or both. He’s also a terrible writer, because we go instantly from floating in space looking down at floodwaters, to heading back home, without any transition at all.

We’re given an illustration of the eastern United States that’s supposed to be the hydrosphere…

Image shows a portion of the American east coast from the great lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. A few rivers are shown.
Hey, look, kids! Part of the Eastern United States is the entire hydrosphere! America fuck yeah!

…but is really just a sketch of a few rivers, lakes, and an ocean without anything that actually shows you this is only a slice.

Ace is intrigued by the fact that “all the rivers run into the oceans, but the oceans’ water level never rises as our river did.” Now, this is an excellent observation and a teachable moment. Alas, Ace’s dad doesn’t know that some rivers don’t, actually, run into the ocean at all. He’s too busy informing his poor kid (and, by extension, poor us) that “God designed the hydrologic or water cycle to prevent the oceans from overflowing.” Now, describing the hydrologic cycle as “the natural movement of water over our Earth from one place to another, and the change of that water from one form of matter to another,” isn’t so bad. It’s good enough to be going on with. But then Dad tries to do etymology, and ouch:

“Hydro,” of course, means “water,” and “logic” describes the order of events in the cycle that has been going on since the Flood occurred. Ecclesiastes 1:7 states, “All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.”

Whelp, at least now we know why Ace and his dad think rivers don’t empty into, oh, say, lakes, or interior basins, or the like. And we atheists, agnostics, non-Christians, and non-literalists have just discovered yet another place where the Bible is wrong. You’d think the Ecclesiasties author woulda known about the Jordan River flowing into the Dead Sea, and the Dead Sea actually being a salt lake, what with God supposedly guiding or inspiring him and stuff.

Diagram of the Jordan River showing its entire course.
The course of the Jordan River, folks. Look: It doesn’t end at the ocean. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

This is followed by one of the most pathetic illustrations of the water cycle ever.

Image shows a very ho-hum drawing of the water cycle. It's basically: Ocean, arrows pointing straight up to clouds, some slanty-lines over land for rain, and then arrows pointing back toward the ocean. Amazingly, they do show groundwater, too, though none of that's labeled.
The water cycle according to ACE.

Here’s an actual useful one:

A very lovely and detailed drawing of the water cycle. It includes Oceans, condensation, evaporation, evapotraspiration, sublimation/desublimation, volcanic steam, precipitation, ice and snow, snowmelt runoff, streamflow, infiltration and groundwater storage/flow, seepage, springs, freshwater, fog drip, surface runoff, plant uptake, dew, and flora and fauna. Whew!
The water cycle, courtesy USGS.

There. Now you’re more educated than the ACE people. Ace’s dad knows three processes of the water cycle: “evaporation, condensation, and precipitation.” Shame he doesn’t know about the others. At least he does well explaining how any process could be chosen as the beginning of the cycle.

And mom speaks! She sez she’ll make ’em breakfast. Too bad she can’t tell Dad that, actually, the white stuff coming out of the teakettle technically isn’t steam – it’s the water vapor condensing, so we’re seeing an aerosol of liquid water droplets, not steam, which is invisible.

Dad thinks the prefix e – means completely, which would surprise the original Latin people who thought it meant “out.” His etymology fail continues with condense – it’s not “with” or “together” and “‘closer together’,” it’s “to make very thick.” Geez. He also has trouble with the origin of “precipitation.” Perhaps ACE people should stop trying to be smart.

We’ll save snowflakes for next time In ACE hands, they are… very special. You’ll be amazed at how much God these people can pack into one.

Adventures in ACE XIII: Flooded with Nonsense

7 thoughts on “Adventures in ACE XIII: Flooded with Nonsense

  1. 1

    Now the really important Question (wiv a capital ‘Q’): in the first cartoon is the mom knitting, or clutching a life-vest? Or?….

    (Reading all this stuff may well be having a (detrimental) effect on you, since you missed that one!!)

  2. 2

    Mom is probably just scared silent on account of having to sit in a chair that doesn’t understand perspective.

    Fercryinoutloud, when I was in 8th grade I remember sitting outside in art class sighting past our mechanical pencils, using our thumbs to capture the projected length of lines, making a freehand 2-point perspective drawing of… the church across the street. Why is there always a gorram church across the street from every school? Anyway, perspective really isn’t that hard. I guess these guys got their illustration training from 2000 year old sources too.

  3. 3

    God designed the hydrologic or water cycle to prevent the oceans from overflowing.

    Ah, interesting. So without God’s fiddling, all those rivers would just keep spontaneously generating new water?

    Also, do they point out the fact that “God’s” hydrologic cycle entails all of us drinking recycled urine every day?

  4. 4

    richardelguru #1
    I think the most important question about that cartoon is, “Why haven’t they redecorated since the 1970’s?” Look, at that fern in a macrame potted plant hanger!

  5. rq

    At first glance, I thought Motherwife was reading a book, but then I looked closer, and… yeah. Who knows?

    Can’t wait to hear about the snowflakes!

  6. 7

    Clearly the book can’t be used in Utah, as the Great Salt Lake is not exactly a secret. and it is not deep enough to drain to the sea, also Nevada (at least the Reno area)

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