Episode 2 of Positively Doubtful is now live. On this episode, we discuss SETI, Jade Helm 15 conspiracy theories, and the portrayal of atheists on ABC's series What Would You Do?.
So I did a thing.
I bought a copy of the infamous Science 4 for Christian Schools from Amazon for about a penny plus shipping. This is the book known best for not being a hoax when people share an image of a page with a girl blow drying her hair, and telling readers that 'Electricity is a mystery' (this thread shows how popular this meme is and how many people think this nonsense is a Poe.)
That this book is used in any classroom is not funny. I'm not sure what the target age is, but I'm guessing 4th grade. Holy shit is this bad. There are bible quotes everywhere. Sure, I don't expect Hawking or even Nye level explanations for a grade school book, but this is just ridiculous. Some quickly picked gems include
"God designed each animal with the equipment and behavior it needs for survival"
"God has given you two such marvelous pieces of equipment---your eyes. Scientists cannot explain everything about how the eyes work. They can only describe what happens when light enters the eye."
"Creationists look into the [Grand] canyon and see the power of God and find evidence of the great Flood."
Of course, I don't expect anything other than this from a textbook produced by Bob Jones University (side note, there is a phone number in the cover to call them, 1-800-BJ-AND-ME , I wonder if a happy ending is available). The problem, of course, is that fiat statements claiming 'God did it' isn't science. A textbook aimed at fourth graders is not the place for extensive documentation of the evidence for or against a position, but the students deserve more than is found here.
Just as bad, here are the chapters of this 'general science' textbook:
1. History of the Moon
2. Insects, Arachnids, and Myriapods
5. Length, Area, and Volume
7. The Moon's Structure and Motions
8. Animal Defenses
12. How Earth's Crust Wears Down
Seriously. There are chapters on 'Animal Defenses', 'Digestion', and two different chapters on the Moon. Where is the geology? Astronomy? Marine sciences, atmospheric sciences, paleontology? Not fit for 4th grade, apparently.
The order above is the actual order of the chapters, as if they were randomly assigned a spot in the final work. There's no direction, no flow, no introduction to science as a process, no history of the ideas being discussed, no reason not to just jump into the history of the moon as the first topic on the board. And, as you might imagine, there is zero about the arguments and evidence for evolution.
The writing is Fifty Shades of Grey quality, meandering from factoid to banal question to factoid without any structure or point. Example:
"The curled-up fronds are called fiddleheads. Can you guess why? In the northeastern United States people eat fiddleheads. You can buy them there in some grocery stores."
I feel incredibly sad for students who are given this and only this during their 4th grade year. They are misinformed, misled, and 'left behind' by others who get a better textbook.
The book I purchased has a name inside the cover, a girl who I assume had to use this textbook to "learn" something at some point in her young life. I really, really hope she got an opportunity to learn real science, to explore more than just fiddleheads are sold in grocery stores, and had a chance to question whether the evidence showed that "God did it."
Anyway, I bought a copy of this book not to make fun of it, but to have a tangible example of what we are up against.
Also, now there is one less copy of this bullshit available on the market. That's a win in my book.
I was on Stratosphere Sarasota on Wednesday and had a great time discussing homeopathy, the anti-vax movement, and the Pope's comments on climate change with Andrea and Nancy. If you'd like to listen to the show, you can do so here.