Evolutionism explained

From an unspecified creationist "science" textbook, a worksheet of dubious pedagogical value. I mean, not only is this bad science, but it's a bad way to teach bad science. What is the point of a "test" that tells you what to write in the blanks?

This is beyond ridiculous (via Reddit)


    1. It appears to be real.  Here is a larger document on a Christian homeschooling website containing the exact same page (see page 19 of the PDF):


      It appears to be the teacher’s manual sample from this larger work available for purchase from the publisher:


      Edited to add: This seems to be a Bible textbook and not a science textbook. That doesn’t make it any less ridiculous, but Cory’s description isn’t really accurate.

        1. So THAT explains how the Tea Party managed to come into being. It’s been a long, slow process of instupidization.

        2. Apparently they didn’t catch the slight errors in the science part as this is the third edition (copyright 2010).

          1.  Oh, yes.  He used to be a champion of the poor and oppressed but lately he has become an advocate for right wing groups.

      1. LinkMan, how dare you post a link to a version that includes the answers to the study questions.  If the students find out about this, they can just copy the answers without having to receive proper divine revelation!  This sort of thing is exactly why our children isn’t learning. 

  1. Oh you don’t have to be a creationist to produce terrible teaching materials.  My son has brought home, over the years, hundreds of worksheets that are just as bad, and he’s enrolled now at Secular-Humanist High.

  2. This is exactly like every textbook I had to read while being forced to attend an evangelical private highschool. All of our textbooks were made at either Pensacola Christian College or Bob Jones University and were WRITTEN BY STUDENTS. Yes, fundamentalist 19-year-olds were writing the textbooks for 17-year-olds. Ignorant teenagers writing the schoolbooks for slightly-younger ignorant teenagers. Is it any wonder these textbooks are trash?

  3. I’m confused by the table – for options 1 and 3, who created God?  Did he evolve out of nothing?  In the end don’t all 3 rows in the table of creation of matter simplify to one row: something out of nothing?  Which is so obviously ridiculous and unscientific…

    1.  “I’m confused by the table – for options 1 and 3, who created God?”

      “He just appeared from nothing or has always existed” is what they’d say without realizing they could skip a step and just say that the universe appeared from nothing (quantum physics) or has always existed.  But to them, that would be “obviously ridiculous and unscientific.”

  4. “How is it that an infant can grow several inches and gain several pounds by the time they’re teenagers?  It’s because God is continually re-creating that child.  Scientists will tell you that something called ‘growth’ is responsible for the changes in that child, and that eating contributes to growth.  This is a lie, because, as mentioned before, God guides this transformation.  You may get hungry, and have the desire to eat, but God put that hunger there as a test of our faith, and as a means of exposing those who would promote false ‘scientific’ concepts such as growth.  Remember — eating, in itself, is not a sin, but just remember that this is why we pray before we have our meals.”

      1. I… I didn’t know…

        “The theory states that the illusion of efficient causation between mundane events arises out of God’s causing of one event after another. However, there is no necessary connection between the two: it is not that the first event causes God to cause the second event: rather, God first causes one and then causes the other.”

        Seriously. Why have this “reality” thing to begin with, then? They tell you atheists have nothing to live for since “it’s all arbitrary”. Surely doubling down all the way to “everything is determined where things don’t even interact as god must do pretty much everything” must be the more sinister concept here!

  5. Bad science turns my stomach…  Any idea on the source?  I happen to be familiar with a creationist curriculum or two.  I’d love to know which one this belongs to so I can unequivocally nail it to the wall in case anybody I know is considering using it.

    1. On the other hand, I would bet plenty of students begin to develop some critical thinking when they read junk like this. It’s so patently flawed that it just invites criticism. You start with the easy stuff (these are the *only* three explanations? ) and move on from there.

      1.  Unfortunately, Petzl is right; the takes ARE too high. Critical thinking is considered a bug, rather than a feature, in this culture- I grew up in it, and it took years of being away from it all for me to overcome the ingrained tendency to view everything said by ‘scientists’ as suspect.
        That being said, kids these days have much wider access to information (both accurate and flawed), so there is a higher likelihood that some will run across life-changing information while doing random research.

        1. I actually agree with you both. Mostly just trying to look at the silver lining. Poor textbooks or tests always biased me against certain subjects or teachers.

        2. I’m not sure these kids are going to have access to much more information.  My experience is that the parents who are interested in things like this are also quite authoritarian and very proactive at protecting their kids from outside influences.  This is a Home School workbook after all.  You can bet your britches that any internet or media time the kids have is tightly regulated and heavily supervised.  The kids won’t have access to life-changing information until they’re already heavily ingrained with their parents beliefs. 

          It’s not impossible to break a kid out of that cycle, but it’s against human nature.

          1. Fortunately, the urge to rebel against stupid, arbitrary oppression is also a fundamental feature of human nature.

            While Public Libraries may be losing books and losing funding, the internet (with all of its warts and shaky truth) is still available for the curious but stifled kid. All the energy those kids are NOT devoting to schoolwork as unchallenging as this will be devoted to figuring out ways to sneak and lie to better educate themselves.

            Ask me for more details!

            While I do believe that de-funding of public schools and libraries is part of a general trend towards keeping a democratic populace uneducated, and while I am heart-broken at the fostering of the Stupid, I still have faith in the ingenuity of the kids who are burning to explore and learn. They will always exist.

            And I think that my job as a former kid trapped in an abusive, oppressive, anti-learning environment is to nurture the curious and contribute to the availability of resources for those who want to learn.

  6. Is there a mental disorder that causes people to randomly tack “ic” and “ism” to words to make them sound more scary? I also recall reading a vegan tract that liked to create compound words like “chickenmeat”. 

      1.  Not to be confused with the even more delicious chickenegg sandwich. Mmmm.

        Although far superior to the chickenfeather sandwich, I think we can agree.

    1. Adding “ism” is just another (silly) attempt to make evolution sound like a religion, so it is more easily dismissed by the believers of the one true religion.

    2. “I also recall reading a vegan tract that liked to create compound words like “chickenmeat”.”

      English might be a second language. I can recall some vegans being horrified when they were informed that the fish or chicken in their Chinese food was “not meat”.

    1. I love that comic… except the part where she concedes the point.  Because you get those types in our classes too, usually complaining that we talk too much about slavery and not enough about how perfect and god-like the founding fathers were. I’ve been lucky enough to avoid getting students like that in my very short time teaching, but I’ve known plenty of my fellow grad students and plenty of professors who have.

      It’s a general across the board attempt to “infiltrate” the supposedly “radical” academy (little do they know how not radical it is, especially in the top tier schools). Even at the Grad level, you get “why can’t we use ‘conservative’ books” etc and so on.  The postmodern turn especially has really sent conservative heads spinning, because there is no “truth” in much of it, only interpretations of the truth (and of course, they think it’s a bunch of commies, but it’s not – historical materialists and postmodernist are certainly not interchangeable). Since it’s at times kind of relativistic, they see it as an assault on the enlightenment project, hence an attack on western values. In addition – I think many people would just love to do away with a broadbased liberal arts system, or only make it available to a chosen few, and have all us plebeians involved in a more “practical” education, that will “prepare us for the modern economy” rather than one that will make us think critically about our world.  Oh, and make universities more like for profit colleges, cause it’s only worthwhile if someone is making bank…

      Sorry.  That’s a bit of a bitter and off-topic rant, wasn’t it?  :-/

      1.  Nice rant, though.  And to bring it back, the only reason to fear po mo deconstruction is if you suspect or believe your worldview is so shaky it can’t stand up to a little bit of skepticism.  You can see a very similar reluctance to critically examine one’s worldview in the worksheet in the OP.

        You should let them use conservative books and then take points off any time they uncritically cite those books.  I wonder what happens when you force such students to critique their own biases as encountered in someone else’s work.

    1.  Not in California it isn’t. There’s actually a written policy that states evolution has to be taught (in secondary school anyway). Nevertheless, as a teacher educator I was shocked to find that several of my students getting elementary credentials weren’t sure that evolution was a science, but were pretty sure that astrology was  :(

  7. Even in a religious textbook the chart is ridiculous. As a Philosophy Major I still fondly recall discussions about “the unmoved mover” and “existence precedes essence”. The problem with creationism is that it deals with a Philosophical question and yet seeks to make scientific claims. I still remember the dawning earth shattering awareness I experienced as a child upon realizing that the explanations for creation that I’d been fed as Catholic were bunkum. This cognitive dissonance lead to my love of both Science and Philosophy. For all you “hard materialists” out there I share the following quote regarding the Big Bang – “Give me one free miracle and from there the entire thing will proceed with a seamless, causal explanation.”- Terence McKenna

    1. “The problem with creationism is that it deals with a Philosophical question and yet seeks to make scientific claims”

      That’s a feature, not a bug to them.

  8. Christian schools (and much of what passes as Christian-based education) exist in an echo-chamber. They actively repel outside influences in order to minimise the possibility of failure, and almost without exception, counter-arguments are presented like this:

    “So-and-so was a highly successful biochemist (or geologist, or astronomer, etc) who was engaged in high-level research at [famous university]. Sneering at what he perceived to be the anti-science attitude of some of his undergrads, he set out to prove to them once and for all that their religion was incompatible with modern scientific process and critical thinking skills. Unfortunately for his premise, he discovered that the Bible contains irrefutable evidence of God’s hand in scientific principles. This led him to further investigate the Bible’s claims of inerrancy, and being the responsible scientist he is (as opposed to the dishonest masses who shut off their brains when they get their doctorate), he had to admit that the literal facts of Life, the Universe, and Everything as presented by the Bible made much more sense than those touted by mainstream scientists- many of whom he called colleagues. Astronomers, of course, are the most egregiously offensive bunch, due to their insistence in measuring stellar distances in ‘light-years’, and So-and-so has made it his mission to expose their faulty calculations and ignorance to all. Buy his astounding new book ‘How Heliocentrism Defies Christ and is Proven Wrong by Biblical Accounts’ and learn for yourself how Science has usurped the power of the Holy Spirit!”

    True Story.

    1. That sounds so crankish I was caught in a hilarity-induced laughing fit for a moment.

      For whathaveyou’s sake, how can they possibly use such an explanation in Science education when it’s so intensely riddled with the makings of pseudoscience, crankery and quackery?

      You’d never get this by my tweenage nieces and nephews without serious skepticism and a lot of questions that can’t be answered with such hand waving and woo.

      1. “For whathaveyou’s sake, how can they possibly use such an explanation in Science education when it’s so intensely riddled with the makings of pseudoscience, crankery and quackery?”

        Because in evangelical Christianist (see what I did there?) environments, adherents are spoon-fed a special diet of ‘Science Lite’ that, minus the bits about biological evolution, has just enough fact in it to discourage thorough research and fact-checking by the listeners. They quote just enough data from reputable publications to make it sound like the two viewpoints are in agreement, and due to most people’s laziness, these ‘facts’ are very seldom checked up on. A flood of pseudoscientific publications from posers with lots of letters after their names (most of which were obtained from dodgy sources or divinity schools) serves to keep the natural scientific curiosity of these folks sated just enough to make them feel knowledgeable, so they can have intellectual-sounding conversations with others in their echo-chamber. Conversations only, of course- because debate is not only frowned upon, it is actually impossible due to the depth of ignorance among the parties involved.

        The general response to inquisitive students is “These are not the facts you are looking for”, and a suggestion to ingest some more Ken Ham materials.

        Just for amusement’s sake, here are a few of the things I was taught during my time in Christian and home schools:

        The geological timeline proves the global scope of the Genesis Flood. Geological strata, far from being laid down over millennia through well-proven processes, were instead deposited instantly during a cataclysmic upheaval of the earth’s crust, couple with the rapid release of the entire atmosphere’s water vapour.

        Dinosaur bones also prove the story of the Flood, because if they’d been slowly fossilised over long periods of time, they a) would have decomposed faster that they could be buried and b) we’d find Human remains alongside them.

        When God created the stars, He created them with their light already reaching Earth, despite the vast distances between them. (Before we could conclusively prove ideas like Red-shift and gaseous spectral analysis, the stars were simply pinpricks in a giant dome over the Earth.)

        It is possible to prove through large-scale, Earth-based optical experimentation, that the Earth actually IS the centre of the Universe. No word of a lie, this was in the Nineties.

        Chemically, the Bombardier Beetle proves the foolishness of Evolution (in the Darwinian sense of the concept). Kaboom!

        Chronological organic dating methods such as C-14 are useless, because of blah blah blah and how C-14 decays, etc. Other dating methods such as tree ring correlations, sediment layering, and glacier particle entrapment are equally suspect, because they fail to take into account the devastating and immediate effects of the Flood, which we *know* happened 4,000 years ago (on a Tuesday, I think?) because of some pretty straightforward arithmetic in the Bible.

        There are, of course, no intermediate fossils to prove biological evolution, particularly among Humans, who have remained unchanged since Creation. Discoveries concerning other Hominids are either mistakes (like the Piltdown Man), or utter fabrications (Lucy).

        And of course, most famously: Because I said so.

  9. As a Philosophy major, reading the opening table without any reference to what the book was, I thought it was either a logic table or maybe foundational statements for some sort of metaphysical philosophical system. But since none of the statements were logical, I had to keep reading down to discover WTF was really going on.

    1. i thought the “matter evolves” bit was cute as well.   the authors clearly show that they don’t even have the most rudimentary grasp of the basic principals which they are discussing.

  10. Where did the “Big Bang” come from? Matter can neither be created nor destroyed, so how did any matter come into being in the first place? Even Einstein believed in God in the end.

    It’s very hypocritical for atheists to mock believers because atheism is itself a belief system. So teaching evolution is preaching the gospel of secular humanism. Atheists believe in whatever they can experience with their carnal senses and therefore believe that they are not answerable to a higher power for their actions or deeds. So, what defines “right” or “wrong”? Nothing. It’s a very easy lifestyle because one only needs to be concerned with his or herself.

    It always puzzles me how an atheist can be sad when a person dies for example. What’s the point of being sad if there is nothing afterwards? If humanity is a happenstance of billions of years of evolution and the supernatural only a myth (because it cannot be measured by science) there is no point to life–there is no point to care for your fellow man or mourn for him when he is gone.

    For thousands of years people have enjoyed their own understanding of scientific principles, which have continued to change with the ages. For creationists, the book of Job has an interesting section where God rebukes Job for thinking ‘he knows it all’ and proceeds to tell Job of things science had not yet discovered, but things we now understand. For creationists there is a supernatural purpose for why the laws of physics are still in place and why all matter has not spontaneously disintegrated or changed in another domino effect like the “Big Bang”.

    Some of you may believe humanity is the result of atomic chaos and therefore without purpose. If so, then don’t be hypocritical and attack those who believe in creationism and want to raise their children the way they believe is right and not the way you believe is right. Creationist parents get upset because they believe they have a responsibility to God in how they should raise their children.

    But since atheists are answerable to no one, I guess creationists should not be surprised with their hateful attitudes of self importance. It’s all rather twisted when you think about about it: a person who believes in no god caring so much about preventing children from believing in God… I guess in the end it’s all about power. If a child grows up without knowing God, then he or she only knows man and will have a mindset like one of those North Korean kids who cry when they encounter their “leader”. Everyone worships something whether they admit it or not.

      1. Wish I could linger for the festivities; gotta go to Ikea to pick up a new bed.  Otherwise I’d love to engage with this one.  My sugar levels are just right this afternoon.

        1. Aw, shit, Sweedish KMart.  We gotta make a trip ourselves probably this weekend to get a bookshelf for the little guy.  ;-)

      1. Hey, he’s a decent, God-fearing Christian; he doesn’t do any “conflating”, no matter what you think you saw behind the feed store.

    1.  That’s right, dehumanize those atheists! If they’re all monsters who don’t have compassion and act like either robots or psychopaths, you don’t have to feel any guilt or think twice about your hypocritical hatred and contempt for them. Keep on forcing your Bronze Age myths on people against their will, ignoring the mountains of evidence against it and the fact that morality and Christianity are not the same thing. Because atheists are the arrogant and self-important ones.

      1. The scary part is that Christians who believe in Hell and eternal damnation generally think that those are good things. They endorse the system of damnation. If the Christian God created everything and planned how things would turn out, then in addition to being the God of Love and Forgiveness and Charity, he must also be the Creator of Evil and Suffering and Pain. The God of Eternal Damnation. Christians of that type are advocates of eternal damnation, as if that would be just punishment for finite transgressions. 

    2. It’s alway great to run into a fellow believer, who can see the obvious truth that lack of belief in the great lord Ahura Mazda is just as much belief as belief in him, and can see the true hatefulness of those infidels and followers of false gods like יהוה who would keep children from his light.

    3. Pretty sure you’re trolling, but what the hell, it’s Friday. I’ll get things started.

      It’s very hypocritical for atheists to mock believers because atheism is itself a belief system. So teaching evolution is preaching the gospel of secular humanism. Atheists believe in whatever they can experience with their carnal senses and therefore believe that they are not answerable to a higher power for their actions or deeds.

      No, atheism is not a belief system. It’s a lack of belief in something. Most atheists do believe in science, though. That is to say, we believe in things that are measurable and repeatable. Since we are not able to measure everything, there are lots of things we don’t know for sure yet. Most of us tend to think it’s strange, in those cases, to default to a position of “a magic man did it and you have to have blind faith in him or else”. Instead, we look for reasonable hypotheses that explain what we see around us, and also fit in with what we’ve been able to verify with evidence. The long list of things we used to attribute directly to the actions of gods that we now know have other expalinations tends to suggest we are on the right track, I think.

      It only becomes hypocritical if someone comes up with some measurable and repeatable evidence that god exists, and we all choose to ignore it. As far as I know, that hasn’t happened yet (hence all the focus on having faith). I’m no scientist, but the false equivilancy with theism always bugs me. One starts from a position of looking at the world around us and trying to figure out how it works. The other starts with a position of unwavering certainty about how the world works, and then tries to explain everything we see through that lens.

      1. I’m no the brightest bulb about such things, so I’ll ask:
        Is atheism is the absence of belief, where does the certitude come from?  I’ve read and enjoyed Hitchens and Dawkins, but come away with a vague unease about how certain they are that God doesn’t exist.  Absence of evidence, etc.  Seems to me agnosticism is a much more rational position to take.

        1. i am certain the moon is not made of cheese.  i might wish it was, but it isn’t.  thinking the moon may or may not be made of cheese is as foolish as thinking it is made of cheese.  clearly the beleif that it isn’t made of cheese is the one that makes the most sense as none of the facts point to or support the notion of a cheese based moon.  if there was equal evidence for and against then a less certain position would be more tenable.

          it isn’t the abscense of evidence against the existance of god that makes atheism the most tenable positon, it is the abscense of evidence for god.

          oversimplification, but i hope it helps answers the question you pose.

        2. “Is atheism is the absence of belief, where does the certitude come from?”

          From lack of belief.

          ” Seems to me agnosticism is a much more rational position to take.”

          If you’re prone to weak Pascal wagers.

        3. “Is atheism is the absence of belief, where does the certitude come from?”

          Ego.  Atheists are humans, just like theists.

    4. You, sir, are a maroon. I would bet dollars against donuts that you know MANY atheists that hide their disbelief from you out of personal respect, even though you appear to be incapable of the same. I’m an atheist, always have been, yet I easily know Right from Wrong. How can this be? And you know what? I do good works all the time, without anyone prodding me or threatening me with Eternal Damnation. I also lost my 13 year old son in a tragic accident two years ago, and I still cry. I cry because I miss him, his touch, his mind, his personality and especially his potential. To flip it, why would any Chrisiian grieve when all your fellows will meet up again in Heaven? See how your logic is nonexistent there? Why are YOU afraid to die? Why don’t you, as a True Believer, take risks with your land your family members’s every day knowing that you face God in Heaven when you depart? You need to reread what you wrote and try to find a little love and charity in your heart, and if that doesn’t work, you should read your post to your pastor or your children. I think they can show you the errors in your thinking.

      1. The comfort people claim to find in faith is to me the strongest argument against religion.  It’s just too convenient, you know?   I suppose that’s really just a restatement of “If God did not exist, man would find it necessary to create him.” 

      2. If sincere, this sort of person is prone to all sorts of unGodly fibs and fabrications in every facet of their life. I wouldn’t concern yourself with them.

    5. I only care to address the science-related statements.

      First, Einstein did not believe in God. He occasionally used the word “God” as a whimsical euphemism for the nature of the universe, but not in the way that religions use it. Here are some direct quotes from Einstein himself:

      “The word God for me is nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”


      “It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”

      Anyone who claims Einstein believed in God is perpetuating a lie.

      Second, I find it funny that religionists love to disparage science, but yet hold up a preeminent scientist to validate their views. They also try to call Creationism a science, and teach it in science classes. At some level, they must realize that logic and science underlie all valid reasoning processes. If they didn’t it would be pointless to try to use science and scientists to validate their religious beliefs. This must cause some intense internal discord.

    6. “Where did the Big Bang come from?” Don’t stop there. If you think God is a better explanation, then where did God come from? If you’re willing to claim that God always existed and did not develop or come from something else, then why question the Big Bang?

      Sorry. God & faith & religion are not the automatic default explanations for everything that we haven’t figured out.

      It puzzles me how Christians are usually sad when their loved ones die. Isn’t it nice to know they’re in Heaven? Or is it hard to believe that family & friends have made it into Heaven? Seems like they’re paying lip-service to the idea, but don’t really believe it.

    7. So, only religious people are allowed to be sad if a loved one dies, but even then they are only allowed to be sad if said loved one is burning in hell? You must have interesting funerals.

    8. “Where did the “Big Bang” come from? Matter can neither be created nor destroyed, so how did any matter come into being in the first place?”

      A Universe from Nothing


      “Quantum theory, and specifically Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, provide a natural explanation for how that energy may have come out of nothing. Throughout the universe, particles and antiparticles spontaneously form and quickly annihilate each other without violating the law of energy conservation. These spontaneous births and deaths of so-called “virtual particle” pairs are known as “quantum fluctuations.” Indeed, laboratory experiments have proven that quantum fluctuations occur everywhere, all the time. Virtual particle pairs (such as electrons and positrons) directly affect the energy levels of atoms, and the predicted energy levels disagree with the experimentally measured levels unless quantum fluctuations are taken into account.

      Perhaps many quantum fluctuations occurred before the birth of our universe. Most of them quickly disappeared. But one lived sufficiently long and had the right conditions for inflation to have been initiated. Thereafter, the original tiny volume inflated by an enormous factor, and our macroscopic universe was born. The original particle-antiparticle pair (or pairs) may have subsequently annihilated each other – but even if they didn’t, the violation of energy conservation would be minuscule, not large enough to be measurable.

      If this admittedly speculative hypothesis is correct, then the answer to the ultimate question is that the universe is the ultimate free lunch! It came from nothing, and its total energy is zero, but it nevertheless has incredible structure and complexity.”

  11. What is the point of a “test” that tells you what to write in the blanks?

    From the student’s perspective, it’s great, since you get all the answers right. Never mind what it’s telling you to think.

    Seriously, the idea of “theistic evolutionism” is a step up from what I was taught when I was a kid. My folks believe in the inerrancy of scripture, and also believe that when it says God created the heavens and the earth in 7 days, it was literally created in 7 days.

  12. I guess this is real, but the section about how it’s “so obviously ridiculous and unscientific” that “most honest scientists” embrace creationism sounds like it’s positively dripping with sarcasm. I’m amazed that anyone could write that and NOT be deliberately mocking creationism.

    1. I have to agree that this is one of the finest examples of Poe’s Law that I’ve seen in some time.  Apparently this time it is not parody–one of the earlier commenters in this thread discovered the original source. 

  13. Well, Tim Minchin can probably express my thoughts on this better than me, so I’ll just leave this here:

  14. How a nation with such books could ever have flown to the moon remains one of the few unsolved scientific mysteries of our time.

    1. Actually, it’s quite easy to answer. Let’s say there are 200 mln functioning young adults and adults in the US. 0.1% of that population, or 200 thousand people are in the lowest 0.1 percentile by any measure you can imagine, including intelligence, scientific literacy, etc. There is also 0.1% of population in the highest 0.1% by any measure. That makes for plenty of room for both incredible achievement and incredible stupidity to seem widespread.

  15. The labels are to help you figure out what they want you to think. If things don’t make sense on their own you need a strong guide.

  16. i thought the “matter evolves” bit was cute.   the authors clearly show that they don’t even have the most rudimentary grasp of the basic principals which they are discussing.

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