(Tier 1) Adventures in ACE XIX: Washed by Waves of Inanity

Remember how in our last ACE installment I told you that the creationist goal is to prevent kids from thinking? ACE PACE 1087’s foray into ocean waves begins by providing a primo example of what I mean. Ace tells his dad that a friend of his told him about some huge storm-driven waves that hurled all sorts of sand, seaweed, and rocks over the seawall onto a coastal road. Consider carefully Dad’s response:

“Yes, replied Dad. “Even the Bible, in Jeremiah 5:22, describes the awesome sea waves, ‘Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves… yet can they not pass over it?”

Let us pause here and contemplate the ways in which Ace’s description of the ocean’s behavior directly contradicts what God says the sea is able to do. I mean, for fuck’s sake, Ace literally just got done telling Dad about waves jumping out of the sea all over land, and Dad thinks this is a great moment to remind him how God says you should totally fear him because he made the beaches a boundary the sea can’t cross no matter how hard it tries? Seriously?!

Image shows a storm surge surrounding a square white building with a brown roof. A line of utility poles is in front of it. It has CURL'S painted in blue on one side, with Beer, Picnic, Tackle Supplies painted in red beside it.
Meme by moi. Base image by Chuck Simmins (CC BY 2.0)

And in the following pages, we will see Ace and his dad discussing many ways in which the sea says “You’re not the boss of me, God!” and blatantly does what God clearly said it cannot do. Yet, they never seem to notice the contradiction.

Like I said: ACE very clearly doesn’t want kids to learn how to think. Because if they do, there will be some serious crises of faith going on.

Ace’s dad doesn’t notice anything amiss. He has delivered a Bible verse he thinks is relevant because it has got the word “waves” in it, and now he blithely skips on to another. He feels it’s very important for earth science students to know that “the wicked” are like “stormy ocean waves that are constantly moving or working, and that finally throw trash and dirt up onto the beach.” Charming.

After that extra helping of irrelevant nonsense, Ace’s dad leaps straight to trying to explain how waves happen. Only he’s terrible at it. You should read these resources instead. But he at least knows you can demonstrate that waves aren’t really moving water back and forth by putting a cork in a pan of water and making waves. That’s useful. Too bad the kids studying this shit aren’t going to be able to do it themselves. They’re chained to their desks.

Ace’s dad helpfully explains you can demonstrate wave energy and motion with a rope, too. But then he’s had enough science. He abruptly drops all that icky science stuff and asks, “Ace, how has God used waves of the sea to teach us about praying for wisdom?” And Ace dutifully burbles some bullshit about James 1:5-6 because it has got stuff about waves in it. This is much more important than learning the essentials of oceanography.

The section breaks here just because. They’re not actually done talking about waves: they’re just that crap at organizing their book.

After a break for some vocabulary words and a terrible cartoon

Image is a cartoon of two white boys dressed in 1950s styles. In the first panel, a boy with light brown hair in a green shirt is handing a red book to a black-haired boy in a red shirt. He's saying, "Would you like to see my new Bible, Racer?" and Racer is saying, "Yes, I would, Ace." In the next panel, only Racer's head and the top of the open Bible are visible. Racer is saying, "This Bible is really nice. Why is it red?" In the final panel, we are looking down at the boys from above. They are standing on a sidewalk with grass on either side. Ace is saying, "Shouldn't all Bibles be read?" and Racer is saying, "Read? Efficiently!"

we’re treated to an extensive treatise on Polynesian navigation. Yes, it’s true that Polynesian seafarers used waves  (more precisely, swells)  to figure out where they were, but in a 31 page booklet, taking nearly a whole page to talk about it is a bit extreme, especially since they’ve already sacrificed so much space to blather about God.

Ace’s dad talks a bit about the way waves hit the beach, introducing us to swash, backwash, and undertow, then proceeds to shoot God in the kneecaps by proving his boasts in Jer. 5:22 were complete bullshit.

“Waves have eroded much shoreline. Pounding breakers are among the most powerful erosion [sic] forces in nature…. Pounding breakers undercut a steep seashore, eventually forming ‘sea cliffs.'”

And so forth, as he describes sea caves, points, and stacks. In other words: the sea is constantly busy carving away all that land God said he didn’t ever allow them to. Oops.

Not that this ever rings a bell in the ACE writers’ brains. They have their character blithely blither on, describing sand spits and bars. He gets positively giddy over proclaiming, “A large barrier island formed off the coast of Georgia in only a few years, proving that long periods of time are not needed for barrier islands to form.” Dude. We know. They’re sand, they’re ephemeral, most of them are young geologically-speaking, and their youth means diddly-shit for the age of the earth. Not everything in geology takes a long time to happen. We never claimed everything does. But you can’t prove the whole earth is young by only citing its youngest features. That’s like trying to claim I’m only a few months old because some of my wrinkles are new. Schmuck.

Ace doesn’t seem to give a shit about barrier islands and other landforms, like tombolos, caused by sand being piled up. I don’t blame him: it’s not like his dad ever explains how these things happen. There’s no mention of longshore currents or anything else, just the usual ACE pub trivia facts. So when Dad pauses, he forces the conversation back to waves by saying there’s “another kind of wave that is very destructive.” He then gives the worst account of the eruption of Krakatoa I’ve ever heard. He says the island “exploded because of internal volcanic forces, which threw huge boulders into the sky.” He uses the word “destructive” three times in one paragraph, and yet manages to make one of the most exciting, devastating, and above all loud volcanic eruptions in history sound almost boring.

Ace’s dad recites a few other tsunami facts without telling us much about them at all, and there’s a Facts From Science box that gets the highest tsunami ever recorded wrong. They don’t have any excuse, either: the record happened in 1958, which is well before these booklets were published. It also uses the word destructive again. Someone please buy these folks a thesaurus.

They’re now done with mangling facts about waves. They’ll be corrupting currents next. I can hardly wait…

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(Tier 1) Adventures in ACE XIX: Washed by Waves of Inanity
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