(Tier 1) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XXVII: Wherein We Witness a Miracle

After the load of thermonuclear nonsense it delivered last time, Science of the Physical Creation’s chapter on the “Foundations of Chemistry” ends with a whimper. There’s talk of valence electrons that’s a bit confusing, but not wrong per se. Then there’s a reasonable explanation of the periodic table, with a bit of God pastede on yay.

The natural and orderly sequence of the elements is a reflection of the orderly and systematic way of thinking of the Creator; chemistry is, in a sense, another type of “natural revelation” of God.

Yeah, yeah, whatever.

The only other giggle in this short section is when they’re explaining what you can use various chemical elements for, and they tell us that powdered magnesium is used in disposable photographic flashbulbs. I’m just picturing their young audience being like

Image is a white and brown kitty looking upward, caption says, "LOL WUT"
Dang, I used to love those things. Sometimes I’d take a picture just to make the flash go off and then inspect its remains. Remember how weird and gooey it looked? You probably don’t if you’re under 35. Young middle school kids have no idea.

*Forcibly exits Memory Lane*

Right. So. Next chapter: Molecules and Chemistry. I love the first paragraph, which explains that our bodies are made of chemicals. And there’s millions more chemicals! “In animals, in plants, and in the earth’s crust.” Suck it, chem-phobes!

Next we have a lovely little explanation of physical and chemical properties, elements and compounds, and mixtures. Then there’s a really fun explanation of chemical terminology and its history, where we learn about funny ol’ alchemical names like “butter of antimony.” We’re told the French got tired of all these silly name shenanigans and set up the orderly system of nomenclature we use today. They have a wonderfully clear explanation of how molecules are named, including why carbon monoxide isn’t simply called carbon oxide (it’s so as to avoid any possible confusion with CO2). And the opening section finishes with an elegantly clear explanation of chemical formulas.

I’ll give these devils their due: the SPC writers are very good when they stick to pure mainstream science. Everything is not only well-written, it’s organized beautifully and the illustrations are clear and helpful.

Now I’m starting to fear the worst. And my fears increase during the section on chemical bonds: there is no creationist fuckery. Zero mention of God. Nothing at all hinky. How am I to survive without creationist BS to debunk?!

I have a spark of hope when they’re talking about forces between molecules, and explain hydrogen bonds. Surely they’ll bring up God when they talk about how the properties of the hydrogen bond cause water to get less dense as it freezes, whereas most substances get more dense. They begin talking about life, and how aquatic life couldn’t survive if water ice behaved like frozen stuff typically does, and I’m on the edge of my seat. They say hydrogen bonds are also important for the chemistry of our bodies, and I’m biting my nails. But… nothing. They go on to discuss how “molecular structure and intramolecular forces determine how the atoms of a solid arrange themselves,” and the only time they even come within a megaparsec of creationism is when they parenthetically mention that sulfur is “called brimstone in the Bible.” It’s… it’s not enough. It’s not even intrusive. It’s just a mildly interesting factoid that helps their target audience relate to science stuff. It’s legit.

And then it’s right back to sensible discussions of such things as vapor pressure and boiling points and such.

The chapter ends with a discussion of solubility, wherein we learn why sugar doesn’t dissolve in gasoline (the polar molecules of sugar aren’t very attracted to the nonpolar gasoline). And that’s it. Chapter 6 had absolutely no God talk. Not a single creationist shenanigan. And the only mention of the Bible was very nearly secular.

This hasn’t happened in any other chapter. It’s like I’m not even reading A Beka Book. I have no idea what happened! It must be some kind of miracle.

Image shows Sponge Bob Squarepants with a rainbow between his hands. Caption says, "It's a miracle!"

(Tier 1) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XXVII: Wherein We Witness a Miracle