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Education Idle Science

Fundamentalist Schools Using "Nessie" To Disprove Evolution 936

Posted by samzenpus
from the tell-them-about-the-banana dept.
The debate between creationists and proponents of evolution isn't ending any time soon, but now some creationists have a secret weapon, "Nessie!" Certain fundamentalist schools in Louisiana plan to teach children that the Loch Ness monster is real in a bid to disprove Darwin's theory of evolution. From the article: "One ACE textbook – Biology 1099, Accelerated Christian Education Inc – reads: 'Are dinosaurs alive today? Scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence. Have you heard of the "Loch Ness Monster" in Scotland? "Nessie" for short has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur.' Another claim taught is that a Japanese whaling boat once caught a dinosaur. It's unclear if the movie Godzilla was the inspiration for this lesson."
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Fundamentalist Schools Using "Nessie" To Disprove Evolution

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 25, 2012 @02:04PM (#40442291)

    Just asking....

    • by Reasonable Facsimile (2478544) on Monday June 25, 2012 @02:10PM (#40442381)

      Just asking....

      No, just cuddling....

      http://cdn.twentytwowords.com/wp-content/uploads/Jesus-and-dinosaur-e1299096274567-634x865.jpg

    • by ubergeek65536 (862868) on Monday June 25, 2012 @02:34PM (#40442845)

      I found proof and I doubt it's a fake since they didn't have photoshop 2000 years ago.

      http://www.dailysquib.co.uk/most-popular/1236-scientists-prove-jesus-walked-with-dinosaurs.html [dailysquib.co.uk]

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 25, 2012 @02:51PM (#40443185)

      The best possible outcome of all this would be an event to REALLY fuck up EVERYBODY. Specifically, it turns out God IS real, and, out of sheer frustration, comes down to Louisiana, and explains: "No, you stupid, stupid dipshits! What part of that makes ANY sense? I swear, I thought I made you morons with some amount of intelligence, but THAT?!? Look, it's evolution! The answer is evolution! Seriously, it is! I know you idiots can't see it from your perspective, but from where I am, it's really, really fuckin' awesome. I mean, I pick a planet from the random number generator, toss in a bit of genetic material, and in billions of years, civilization happens without me having to hand-hold you little dingbats every step of the way! Seriously, how can you tell me THAT isn't awesome?"

    • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Monday June 25, 2012 @03:09PM (#40443493)

      Don't be silly. Jesus rides a Harley.

  • by cfulton (543949) on Monday June 25, 2012 @02:06PM (#40442311)
    Finding a live dinosaur does not in any way disprove evolution. It would simply mean that some very few dinosaurs lived through the extinction event. These Christians really need to take a class in evolution. That way they would know what they need to disprove.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 25, 2012 @02:13PM (#40442449)

      You're right. In contrast, finding Chewbacca would prove that evolution doesn't make sense.

      • by Curupira (1899458) on Monday June 25, 2012 @02:55PM (#40443255)

        You're right. In contrast, finding Chewbacca would prove that evolution doesn't make sense.

        Do you know what would disprove the evolution? This is Chewbacca. Now think about that for one moment -- that does not make sense. Why am I talking about Chewbacca when a man's life is on the line? Why? I'll tell you why: I don't know. It does not make sense. If Chewbacca does not make sense, you must acquit!

    • by C0R1D4N (970153) on Monday June 25, 2012 @02:13PM (#40442457)
      You beat me to it. If tyey want a living fossil to disprove darwin there are plenty of real ones (I prefer horseshoe crabs myself). I suppose it shows some species havent evolved considerably for millions of years, but these idiots generally believe the Earty started with the neolithic revolution so it doesnt really help them.
      • by erroneus (253617) on Monday June 25, 2012 @02:25PM (#40442697) Homepage

        If they want a "living fossil" they only need to look in a mirror.

        If you can tell me the difference between religion and mythology, I'd be interested to know.

        I wonder what "the dark ages 2.0" will be like. With so many people like this out there, we can't be too far away from another knowledge and development extinction event.

        • by Niris (1443675)
          You may be interested in the book Canticle for Leibowitz. Not the same way of getting into that dark age, but the same idea none the less. A fun read.
          • by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Monday June 25, 2012 @02:40PM (#40442957)
            Somewhat different approach, though - instead of getting the Dark Age 2.0 forced upon us by Christian fundamentalists, Canticle has the remains of the Catholic Church after the nuclear holocaust preserve books and knowledge... While the book is great, I do not think that it is applicable to this topic.
        • by mr1911 (1942298) on Monday June 25, 2012 @02:37PM (#40442925)

          If you can tell me the difference between religion and mythology, I'd be interested to know.

          It is obvious - they are spelled differently.

          OK, seriously. Religion is what you believe. Mythology is what "unenlightened" people that believe differently than you believe.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by UnknownSoldier (67820)

          > If you can tell me the difference between religion and mythology, I'd be interested to know.

          True religion (little r) is living the lifestyle necessary to prove your beliefs, aka, faith is putting your beliefs into practice. (If you never do anything with your beliefs, they are just that, beliefs.)

          Fake Religion (big R) is the crap that passes for religion today. God _always_ needs more money somehow (with apologies to George Carlen). Oh, and you're not worthy. You need this special parent to kill th

          • by alexo (9335) on Monday June 25, 2012 @03:13PM (#40443577) Journal

            The problem is Theism and Atheism are both based on ignorance (a belief or lack of belief, not Truth nor facts.)

            An absence of belief in god(s) is not the same as a belief in their absence.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by richpoore (925284)
            Part of me hesitates to comment on these discussions. I do understand evolution and, if there isn't a God who created the world and moved people to write it down, then evolution is the best model to describe the formation of what we have. It has many gaping holes, but it's the best thing excluding God. If, however, there is a God, the evidence fits neatly into the Biblical model also. I agree that agnosticism is a good scientific place to be and if we could be unbiased we could look for holes in each mo
            • by tnk1 (899206) on Monday June 25, 2012 @04:13PM (#40444501)

              The stupid thing is that the debate has nothing to do with God.

              God could use natural selection to create humans just as much as he could make them appear of nothingness in a blink of an eye.

              Some people want to believe in a very literal interpretation of a set of books that started as verbal stories and then were written, re-written, edited, translated, re-translated, and then re-translated again, by committee, into a language that didn't even exist when any of the Bible took place. Taking the Bible completely literally is a bad idea, and it doesn't help when verses get cherry-picked out of context.

              Furthermore, you could easily posit that God did make it all appear in a blink of an eye, but did it in such a way as to look like evolution happened. After that point, normal processes kicked in, and continued to shape the world as we would expect. Which means that a) both creationism and natural selection are correct in their own time and place, and b) that there is no reason you can't respect that God made a world where science obviously helps explain it.

              Fact is, the problem has nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with pride and stubbornness.

          • by bky1701 (979071) on Monday June 25, 2012 @03:50PM (#40444145) Homepage
            "The problem is Theism and Atheism are both based on ignorance (a belief or lack of belief, not Truth nor facts.) Agnosticism is a step in the right direction -- wisdom _begins_ when you realize you know nothing. Only the mystic has Truth (due to experience.)"

            "Agnostics" saying this more does not make it more true.

            Courtesy of the scientific method and burden of proof, a positive claim is false until proven. That doesn't imply ignorance. God does not exist until god is proven to exist. Further, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, so god is extremely unlikely until some sort of proof starts showing up.

            Here's a test. When it comes to elves, do you say you are "agnostic?" Elves have just as much proof as god. In fact, both Icelandic and LOTR elves have the exact same proof; so you should be agnostic to them both coexisting. Yet no sane person would say "I am not sure" - they would say, "no, elves do not exist."

            That's the problem with agnostics. The word means nothing. Atheists ARE agnostics in the strict sense: if god were proven, we would have to accept that god exists (even if that god is evil/incompetent). Until then, we do not say "well, god MIGHT exist, so we should use a special word to make it look like we're not against religion, just in cane," just like you do not say "hmm, well..." when asked if you believe Middle Earth is literally located in New Zealand. The difference that I see existing between atheists and self-proclaimed "agnostics" (most of whom are actually deists trying to sound more intelligent) is that one understands logical processes and probability, and one does not.

            Please stop insulting people using your misunderstanding of common words.
        • by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Monday June 25, 2012 @02:56PM (#40443277)
          Oh, and regarding the mythology and religion distinction: I'd put it this way - mythology is the narrative body, religion is a way to interpret it and act upon it. Greek mythology is the story about the Gods, the Cosmogony and so on. Greek religion is going to the temple and sacrificing to those Gods.
      • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Monday June 25, 2012 @02:38PM (#40442933)

        All the current, known "living fossils" can be traced through fossils in multiple sediment layers. Logically, because they were alive during the years those sediment layers were laid down.

        But that contradicts their "theory" that the sediment layers all formed during the same period (the "Flood").

        So if they can find a single species that still exists but where the only fossils are in a specific sediment layer then it must "prove" that the Biblical account of Noah and The Flood is correct and evolution is wrong because "God did it".

        That is because it would "disprove" the scientific theory (despite all supporting evidence) that the sediment layers formed over hundred of millions of years. Because they were all laid down within several weeks.

        And , therefore, evolution is a lie. God did it.

    • by CokeJunky (51666) on Monday June 25, 2012 @02:14PM (#40442471)

      There are many examples of "living fossils" -- living things that are essentially unchanged from dinosaur era fossil records including some varieties of crocodiles, fish, turtles, etc. A live 'dinosaur' would just be a bonus for these people.

      What I find most telling is that these 'schools' choose the most ridiculous possible example rather than look for the obvious ones. The argument still wouldn't stand up to the vast number of samples of extinct and changing fossils over time, but it would at least be based on scientific observations that are reliable and readily confirmed.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Indeed, weren't alligators and crocodiles around when dinasaurs were? Yep. [wikipedia.org] Animals only need to evolve when their environments change.

      (Ok, they have shanged some since the cretatious as the wiki article says)

      • by Obfuscant (592200)

        Animals only need to evolve when their environments change.

        The disproving the nonsense of some "global climate change". They haven't changed, thus there must not be a need.

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hagfish [wikipedia.org]
      "They are the only living animals that have a skull but not a vertebral column. Along with lampreys, hagfish are jawless and are living fossils; hagfish are basal to vertebrates, and living hagfish remain similar to hagfish 300 million years ago"

      Then there is our friend Coelacanth :

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coelacanth

      and I pass many others which did not evolve much since those time.


      Creationist don't do such things to convince others anyway, but rather to make
    • by belthize (990217) on Monday June 25, 2012 @02:17PM (#40442541)

      Have you really seen any evidence that simple logical arguments will carry any weight. I certainly haven't. The agenda isn't to disprove evolution, the agenda is to assert the correctness of a literal interpretation of the Bible. There's virtually no way to have a debate with them, the only hope is a sufficiently large number of people will realize how woefully wrong they are.

    • by next_ghost (1868792) on Monday June 25, 2012 @02:18PM (#40442557)

      Funny thing is, when you use proper genetic classification of species, it turns out there are still living dinosaurs even today: birds! Every time you eat chicken, you eat a dinosaur.

    • by Pfhorrest (545131) on Monday June 25, 2012 @02:29PM (#40442769) Homepage Journal

      I think their line of "reasoning" here is probably similar to the "argument" that "if humans evolved from chimps, why are there still chimps around?"

      They're trying to go "Look, dinosaurs still exist! So how could anything new have evolved since them if they're still around, eh?"

      It's a failure to realize that evolution is a branching of the tree of life, not the creep of one single vine of life or something.

    • They need to take courses in a lot of things. Basic logic would be a very good start.

    • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Monday June 25, 2012 @02:33PM (#40442831)

      These Christians really need to take a class in evolution.

      Actually, "these Christians" are Fundamentalists. Being religious does not automatically make you dangerous until you cross the line and require people to believe what you believe.

  • by 0123456789 (467085) on Monday June 25, 2012 @02:08PM (#40442357)
    I think the Lousiana schools are ignoring important documentary footage of the family of Nessie from the 80s, as described here [wikipedia.org].
  • by tekrat (242117) on Monday June 25, 2012 @02:09PM (#40442373) Homepage Journal

    OK seriously, if they are teaching that Nessie is real, why not the Flying Spaghetti Monster? And how about all the other urban legends, such as the Jersey Devil, Flying Saucers/Roswell, Bigfoot, Yeti, Dragons, Unicorns, Mermaids, Hobgoblins, and Trolls?

    Yes, I know that Trolls are real, we feed them all the time on Slashdot.

  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Monday June 25, 2012 @02:12PM (#40442417) Homepage Journal
    from this site [slashdot.org], the answer to the question, based on this article, is yes. We are failing. Miserably.

    When we continue to try and refute or attempt to disprove a scientific fact simply because our mythological beliefs conflict with the facts, we are failing.

    If they really wanted to try and "refute" evolution, they would have used the coelecanth as evidence of a dinosaur we once thought was extinct but which is happily living on in our time.

    But then, evolution says nothing about whether an animal can exist for millions of years, so there's still nothing to refute.
  • by Kurt Granroth (9052) on Monday June 25, 2012 @02:15PM (#40442497)

    This reasoning fails in at least three fundamental ways.

    First, the Loch Ness Monster simply doesn't exist. No reputable scientist would claim that it does, or even that it could exist in the way that it is commonly portrayed.

    Second, it's not even necessary for dinosaurs to still exist to support their argument. There are already well-known animals alive today that have been virtually unchanged since the dinosaur times. Alligators and crocodiles are the best examples I can think of, off the top of my head.

    Third, as the existence of alligators shows, even if dinosaurs did still exist, that doesn't in any possible way "disprove" the Theory of Evolution. I'm not entirely certain what reasoning would have to apply so that their existence would matter at all.

    Really, this mostly just goes to show that any "debate" on the topic is fruitless when one side thinks that an argument like this completely invalidates proven scientific fact. How can you argue against that?

  • by oh_my_080980980 (773867) on Monday June 25, 2012 @02:28PM (#40442753)
    More Jobs for China....
  • Intelligence test (Score:5, Insightful)

    by optimism (2183618) on Monday June 25, 2012 @02:29PM (#40442773)

    Hopefully some kid in one of those wing-nut schools (which are absolutely not representative of American education) will raise their hand and ask:

    "Um...how can we find a static shipwreck on the floor of the vast North Atlantic, 12,000 ft underwater, but we can't find a huge moving sea monster in a lake with less than 2 cu mi volume, less than 450 ft average depth?"

    And hopefully their teacher actually thinks about the question.

    Lake Tahoe, which has 20 times the volume of Loch Ness, marketed a "Tessie" monster for a while. They had cute plush toys, stickers, buttons, a little museum, and all that. But it was just a joke, like Nessie.

    The best lessons to teach kids with this, are in gullibility, and tourism marketing.

  • by oldmac31310 (1845668) on Monday June 25, 2012 @02:29PM (#40442777) Homepage
    It can only serve to further discredit the people who peddle this pseudo-scientific nonsense.
  • by BlueKitties (1541613) <bluekitties616@gmail.com> on Monday June 25, 2012 @02:32PM (#40442819)
    From 2nd grade to 12th grade, my primary curriculum was based on the "PACE" system. The way PACE works is, each subject (math, science, etc) is broken down into individual sub-subjects called a "PACE." Each PACE has reading sections, exercises, and a final test, all of which cover a very specific topic. I clearly remember that my one of my PACE physics books (devoted to gases) used the second law of thermodynamics to "disprove" evolution. The "evidence against evolution" was even on the test at the end of the PACE. I also remember one of my early science PACE books covering the "hydrosphere" -- a sphere of frozen hydrogen which covered the Earth in ancient times -- which supposedly collapsed during Noah's flood. Despite some of these quirks, the PACE system was actually pretty solid. The explanations, questions, etc, were all very well structured. Honestly, looking at some of my niece's/nephew's course work in my local public school system, the PACE system was bread-and-butter by comparison.
  • by idji (984038) on Monday June 25, 2012 @03:25PM (#40443773)
    Because Genesis 1:21 [mechon-mamre.org] says that God created the sea-monsters tannin [icr.org], and everyone translator since Luther has tried to translate that word as whale/fish/dragon/waterspout/crocodile/greatSeaCreature or anything else other than the plain meaning of sea monster. Obviously now they have decided to embrace the sea monster and equate it with plesiosaur, instead of reading the text as it plainly is - a polemic against all foreign gods whether they are the sun, moon, stars, monsters, darkness, chaos, weather, fertility.
  • by Velex (120469) on Monday June 25, 2012 @06:04PM (#40445983) Journal

    I saw this article was I was at work, and since I usually don't log in there, this comment will probably be lost in the sea of outrage, but...

    Back when I was in high school, I took a semister of debate, and I forget the exact proposition, but it had to do with improving school systems. My partner and I ran a pretty air-tight voucher proposition, and since I actually believed in my proposition, I've tended to use similar points in meat-space discussions about the school systems that have come up since then. Of course, never ventured outside of my room back then except to go to school and my partner didn't have much ambition, either, so we never actually competed and I may never know how air tight or not it actually was, but I digress.

    I think this article has shown me for the first time some solid evidence why a voucher system could fail. If I were doing negative against my old proposition, all I would have needed to do were jump forward in time to Slashdot in 2012 where I could read about how parents really, really want their kids to fail in the global marketplace just so that their kids won't get eaten by the devil.

    Jeebus, the implications are frightening. I've seen how a few choice quotes from the Bible with some wiles (that I suppose this Satan guy might be impressed by) can turn an otherwise intelligent and rational man into a racist homophobe (my ex-father), but just holy shit. Claiming that the Loch Ness monster is real? Please say it ain't so and the article is doing some strawmanning of its own!

    Although, I can see it. And that's the problem.

    One thing that conservatives or at least "internet tough guys" like to rail against is the idea of relative values. Relative values is, on its surface, the idea that different cultures are all just as valid, which can degrade into arguing that opinions are just as real as facts.

    However, it's become apparent to me that conservatives have their own notion of relative values, and they have their own opinions and facts. Except, unlike with its liberal counterpart, the conservative relative values argument starts with the axiom (yes, axiom, not assumption, because an assumption can be refuted) that god exists and that the Bible is fundamentally influenced by him and is intended to be his message to the world.

    Therefore, if I conclude that the Loch Ness monster must exist based on some theological contortion, then my opinion has just as much privelege as the complete lack of evidence that Nessie exists. If I decide that blacks should be slaves because of part of Noah's story, then my opinion has just as much privelege as any argument that blacks are just as capable as whites. Q. E. D.

    It's really mind-blowing. I work around a lot of people who do not have a basic grasp of maths, geography, reading, or writing. Therefore, to these people, science is just as much mysticism and hand-waving as religion. To these people, science is a religion. And from the temples of science come computers, which are sufficiently advanced technology. That's right! To these people, computers are indistinguishable from magic. Just a very kind of wonky and klunky magic, but I'm beginning to believe that they are serious when they call me a wizard. The fact that I'm obviously LGBT and obviously not a good ol' boy probably drives that superstition home.

    It's sad and pathetic, and I don't know what the answer is. I have trouble understanding how I could possibly be the same species as what are essentially hairless apes that wear clothes and can talk. If there were an answer, I suppose that it could only be that perhaps people of all races and genders who really want to live in the real world instead of some medieval fairy story and want to progress their technology to the point where scarcity has been eliminated (at least for them) need to get together and stop contributing our taxes to this madness.

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