Virtual School Meanderings

May 29, 2012

Guest Blogger: Examining Accelerated Christian Education

Jonny Scaramanga was educated in England with Accelerated Christian Education from ages 11-14. He now teaches music at the undergraduate level. He is researching Accelerated Christian Education and writing about fundamentalism in Britain at his blog, Leaving Fundamentalism. As is the tradition at Virtual School Meandering, this will be the only entry today.

This blog recently asked what Accelerated Christian Education is, and what evidence there is of student achievement (see Questions About The School Of Tomorrow). Accelerated Christian Education is a pre-packaged programmed learning curriculum, which teaches fundamentalist Christianity. It has attracted controversy from Christian and secular academics alike. Criticisms centre on the teaching of Creationism, political propaganda, and an emphasis on rote recall at the expense of higher-order thinking skills.

Learning and assessment methodologies

There are several factors that cause students to take a surface learning approach.1 From teachers, these include testing for independent facts (inevitably the case when using short answer and multiple-choice tests), and the use of extrinsic motivation. From students, factors include a cynical view of education, and thinking that factual recall is adequate. All of these are found extensively within Accelerated Christian Education.

ACE tests almost exclusively consist of multiple choice, matching, or fill-in-the-blank questions. These means only test factual recall, not understanding. Even if the students are trying to take a deep learning approach, they are not given the opportunity. A surface approach is even more likely when students are tested exessively; ACE students are expected to engage in two summative tests per week.2

At the end of each PACE section, students mark their own work. They obtain permission to leave their seats before going to a score station, where they check their answers against provided answer keys.3 It is difficult to envision a system which rewards cheating, or encourages cynicism, more effectively.

ACE prescribes a system of rewards and punishments for students.4 Those who achieve academic and behavioural goals are awarded privileges such as extended break times and the freedom to move without permission. All the rewards offered are forms of extrinsic motivation, emphasising that learning itself is not the thing of value.

ACE assessments do not provide evidence that deep learning has taken place. Options on the multiple choice tests are frequently meaningless, such as “Jesus died on the (cross, toss, chrome)”.5

ACE vice president Ronald Johnson writes,6

“Our material is not written with conventional viewpoints in mind. We do not believe that education should be non-directive or speculative, or that the final interpretation of facts and events should be left up to immature, inexperienced minds, as minline secular curricula do.”

ACE rejects virtually all modern educational theory.7 It is not aiming to teach children how to think, but rather, how to see life from God’s point of view.8 Asking questions is seen as a rejection of the divine authority invested in the school’s supervisors. As a result, the curriculum is systematically purged of methods of inquiry. Inevitably, higher order thinking skills are neglected; this is intentional.9

Science

The ACE curriculum includes no practical science and accordingly no investigation. This would be troublesome for any ACE student embarking on a science higher education course.

“The PACEs are based on the reading comprehension mode of learning… There is no room within this method of learning for the negotiation of topics, for whole class problem solving, for the generation of ideas, for the formulating and testing of hypotheses, discussion of results and social application.”10

ACE science teaches Creationism. Leaving aside whether Creationism is true, ACE’s approach is unscientific. Rather than weighing evidence objectively, the ACE system rejects any science that contradicts the Bible, stating:

“True science will never contradict the Bible because God created both the universe and Scripture…If a scientific theory contradicts the Bible, then the theory is wrong and must be discarded.”11

The system also takes an intellectually dishonest approach to discrediting evolution. ACE claims12 evolutionists use the “hopeful monster” theory to save the “sinking ship” of evolution. In fact, this theory was put forward by one scientist, Richard Goldschmidt, whose ideas were dismissed by his colleagues. Another PACE claims that the Loch Ness Monster exists and is evidence for a young earth.13

Elsewhere, PACEs ridicule the theory of evolution:

“No branch of true science would make these kind of impossible claims without proof. Because evolutionists do not want to believe the only alternative – that the universe was created by God – they declare evolution is a fact and believe its impossible claims without any scientific proof!”14

They also claim that Young-Earth Creationism has “unquestionable proofs” and “unarguable evidences,”15 both deeply unscientific claims. The result is not just that ACE students learn incorrect facts, but that they are taught incorrect methods of reasoning, and gain a distorted view of the scientific method.

Racial insensitivity

The ACE curriculum shows insensitivity towards blacks, Jews, and natives.16 Cartoon strips used for the teaching of “Godly character” in the PACEs depict students attending racially segregated schools.17 ACE materials about Aborigines are unacceptable to the Aboriginal people.18 ACE’s stance on apartheid is also of concern. During apartheid, ACE claimed that if blacks were given the vote, it would destroy the South African economy.19 Subsequently, they have written about apartheid in terms that are equivocal at best:

“For many years, the four racial groups were separated politically and socially by law. This policy of racial separation is called ‘apartheid’. South Africa’s apartheid policy encouraged whites, Blacks, Coloureds, and Asians to develop their own independent ways of life. Separate living area and schools made it possible for each group to maintain and pass on their culture and heritage to their children.

“For many years, Blacks were not allowed to vote in national elections and had no voice in the national government. Reporters and broadcasters from all parts of the world stirred up feelings against the white South African government. These factors contributed to unrest within South Africa. In addition, there are at least ten separate, distinct tribal groups in the nation. Because these tribes are not a cohesive group but are often in conflict with each other, much of the violence in South Africa has been between different groups of Blacks. In spite of apartheid and the unrest in recent years, South Africa is the most developed country in Africa, and Blacks in South Africa earn more money and have higher standards of living than Blacks in other African countries.”20

Political Bias

ACE materials do not allow the consideration of any opposing point of view. This fails to develop skills required for degree-level study such as forming an argument, considering different opinions, and analysing the validity of claims. Rather than engaging with differing points of view, ACE derides them.21 ACE’s approach to politics borders on propaganda, with opinions presented as fact.22 An ACE Wisdom supplement (1987) claims that God’s values are those of right-wing politics. The further left a person moves on the political spectrum, the further they move from God’s absolutes: “Men on the left cannot walk in wisdom.”

ACE promotes coverage over depth, virtually ruling out deep engagement with the subject.23 World History, from Creation to the present, is covered in a series of 12 PACEs, each of about 40 pages. Because all the answers are contained within the PACE, the student will not learn how to conduct research or evaluate sources.

Evidence for Success

There is little research into the performance of ACE graduates in higher education, but the data available is negative. ACE used to claim that standardised test results showed their students performing up to 1.7 years above their expected grade level, but this was misleading. Speck & Prideaux explain:24

“What is less well known is the testing procedure ACE uses to arrive at these results. ACE developers use the 1957 California Achievement Test (CAT) with 1963 North American norms (Hunter, 1984, p. 59). The tests do not rely on problem-solving approaches to learning which are now current in most curricula are not useful in making reliable comparisons between ACE and other students.”

There have been just three studies comparing the performance of ACE graduates with either nearby public schools, or national averages, on standardised tests, from 1985,25 2005, and 2007. In all three cases, ACE students performed below average. This data is highly limited, but it’s all that’s available.

The only positive academic literature on ACE is from Jacqui Baumgardt, an ACE employee in South Africa. Her qualitative data (a self-selecting sample of 77 – 9% of ACE’s South African graduates in that period) indicated that South African ACE graduates in higher education were generally satisfied with their own performance. Even this, however, was not without criticism for ACE. It indicated that many ACE students struggled to get their qualifications recognised by universities, and some were refused entry entirely. One parent was told by a university, “We’re not taking any more ACE students because their performance has been unacceptable.” Baumgardt dismisses the suggestion that this is due to any weakness with ACE, arguing that it is down to a lack of awareness of the system on the part of the admissions officers.

Conclusion

The most telling aspect about ACE is that criticism comes from both Christian and secular educators, but support for it comes only from fellow fundamentalists. Even if the biased nature of its history, politics, and science education is ignored, the system can be dismissed on academic grounds. Fundamentalists are unlikely to see this, because the primary goal of Accelerated Christian Education is not education – it is religious conversion.

[1] Biggs & Tang 2007: 23, 35

[2] ACE 2010: 84

[3] ACE 2010: 111

[4] ACE 2010: 119

[5] Speck and Prideaux 1993: 286

[6] Johnson 1987: 520

[7] Berliner 1997

[8] ACE 1999: back cover

[9] Fleming and Hunt 1987: 523; Speck and Prideaux 1993: 283; Alberta 1985: 18

[10] Speck & Prideaux 1993: 290

[11] ACE 1996a: 9

[12] ACE 1996b: 24

[13] ACE 1995: 30

[14] ACE 1996b: 24

[15] ACE 1996a: 31

[16] Alberta 1985: 25

[17] ACE 2010: 20-23

[18] Speck and Prideaux 1993: 285

[19] Dent 1993; ACE 1990: 29

[20] ACE 1996c: 27

[21] Alberta 1985: 24

[22] Paterson 2003: 14; Speck & Prideaux 1993: 283

[23] Biggs & Tang 2007: 40

[24] Speck & Prideaux 1993: 283

[25] Cited in Gehrman 1989: 89

References

Accelerated Christian Education (1990) Social Studies 1086. Lewisville: Author.

Accelerated Christian Education (1995) Science 1099. Lewisville, TX: Author.

Accelerated Christian Education (1996a) Science 1096. Lewisville, TX: Author.

Accelerated Christian Education (1996b) Science 1107. Lewisville, TX: Author.

Accelerated Christian Education (1996c) Social Studies 1099. Lewisville: Author.

Accelerated Christian Education (1999) The Great Commandment and the Great Commission: God’s Mandate for Christian Education. Nashville: Author. Available online from http://aceministries.com/aboutus/pdf/Great_Commandment_Commission.pdf. Accessed 25/5/12

Accelerated Christian Education (2010) Procedures Manual I: Learning Center Essentials. Unknown: Author.

Accelerated Christian Education (2012) ‘A.C.E. Curriculum’ [Online]. Available from http://www.aceministries.com/curriculum/?content=fourthEd. Accessed 14/5/12.

Alberta Dept. of Education, Edmonton (1985) An Audit of Selected Private School Programs: Accelerated Christian Education, Alpha Omega, Mennonite Schools, Seventh-Day Adventist Schools, and A BEKA Instructional Resources. Edmonton: Author. ED 256 022

Berliner, D. (1997) ‘Educational Pyschology Meets the Christian Right: Differing Views of Children, Schooling, Teaching, and Learning’. Teachers College Record, 98 (3), pp. 381-416.

Biggs, J. and Tang, C. (2007) Teaching for Quality Learning at University. Third Edition. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Dent, D. J. (1993) ‘A Mixed Message in Blacks Schools’. New York Times, 4/4/93, Education Supplement p. 28.

Fleming, D.B. and Hunt, T.C. (1987) ‘The World as Seen by Students in Accelerated Christian Education Schools.’ Phi Delta Kappan, 68 (7), pp. 518-523.

Gehrman, M.B. (1989) ‘Reading, Writing, and Religion’. In: Basil, R., Gehrman, M.B., and Madigan, T. eds. On the Barricades: Religion and Free Inquiry in Conflict. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, pp. 81-90.

Johnson, R.E. (1987) ‘Ace Responds’. Phi Delta Kappan, 68 (7), pp. 520-521.

Kelley, L.J.L. (2005) An Analysis of Accelerated Christian Education and College Preparedness Based on ACT Scores. Ed.S. Thesis. Huntington, WV: Marshall University.

Laats, A. (2010) ‘Forging a Fundamentalist “One Best System”: Struggles Over Curriculum and Educational Philosophy for Christian Day Schools, 1970-1989’. History of Education Quarterly, 49 (1), pp. 55-83.

Paterson, F.R.A. (2003) Democracy and Intolerance: Christian School Curriciula, School Choice, and Public Policy. Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation

Speck, C. and Prideaux, D. (1993) ‘Fundamentalist Education and Creation Science’. Australian Journal of Education, 37 (3), pp. 279-295.

UK Naric (2012). ‘Benchmarking ICCE Qualifications’ [Online] ECCTIS. Available from: http://naric.org.uk/article.asp?article=106. Retrieved 14/5/12.

Jonny Scaramanga was educated in England with Accelerated Christian Education from ages 11-14. He now teaches music at the undergraduate level. He is researching Accelerated Christian Education and writing about fundamentalism in Britain at his blog, Leaving Fundamentalism.

62 Comments »

  1. Thanks for posting my guest blog!

    Comment by jonnyscaramanga — May 29, 2012 @ 12:57 pm | Reply

    • No problem Jonny! A well written and detailed entry!

      Comment by mkbnl — May 29, 2012 @ 8:35 pm | Reply

      • I just hope the ACE advocates arrive soon so the fun can really start.

        Comment by jonnyscaramanga — May 30, 2012 @ 11:57 am

      • Hopefully! I note that you didn’t use the term “School of Tomorrow,” which may mean that folks will be a few days or so finding this entry.

        Comment by mkbnl — May 30, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

  2. Really? Does “School of Tomorrow” produce better search results? I need to start tagging my own blog posts differently.

    Comment by jonnyscaramanga — May 30, 2012 @ 6:57 pm | Reply

    • I’m not sure about better. But I was sure to use both labels in my original entry, which is one of the most commented entries on my entire blog.

      Comment by mkbnl — May 30, 2012 @ 10:50 pm | Reply

      • Interesting. Could you add “School of Tomorrow” to the tags for this?

        Comment by jonnyscaramanga — May 31, 2012 @ 4:04 am

      • I did have School of Tomorrow in the tags and categories (and also included the name of the original entry that you were responding to – which had School of Tomorrow in the title). But that only makes three references, so it may take some time for folks to find it.

        Comment by mkbnl — May 31, 2012 @ 6:56 am

  3. SEO is new to me. Thanks for the tips.

    Comment by jonnyscaramanga — May 31, 2012 @ 11:46 am | Reply

    • No problem. I’ve been at this a while, and you tend to pick these things up over time. The more you do the better you’ll get.

      Comment by mkbnl — May 31, 2012 @ 6:23 pm | Reply

  4. [...] should note that only this past week there was a Guest Blogger: Examining Accelerated Christian Education. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Leave a [...]

    Pingback by Your Blog Has Earned A Nomination For The 2012 Fascination Awards « Virtual School Meanderings — June 4, 2012 @ 12:00 pm | Reply

  5. In the interests of intellectual honesty and fairness, I should add this: http://www.aceministries.com/aboutus/pdf/CollegeUniv.pdf A “partial list” of colleges and universities that have accepted Accelerated Christian Education graduates.
    It contains many small and unheard of institutions and Bible colleges, but also some top level universities – Harvard, Stanford, and Oxford all make the list. Personally, I find this jaw-dropping, but there you go.
    I would add that one thing that is potentially misleading is that in many cases ACE students are required to complete bridging courses or pass other standardised tests before being admitted to university. Since this list does not say which institutions have accepted ACE students without further qualifications or SAT results, the information is incomplete.

    Comment by jonnyscaramanga — June 5, 2012 @ 6:45 pm | Reply

    • Jonny, just so you know… In my original entry there were only two comments the day I posted it (i.e., February 2010). After two months, the comments started (usually a couple-three a month), and they are still continuing (most recent was last month).

      Comment by mkbnl — June 5, 2012 @ 8:28 pm | Reply

  6. [...] should note that only this past week there was a Guest Blogger: Examining Accelerated Christian Education. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Leave a [...]

    Pingback by Reminder: Your Blog Has Earned A Nomination For The 2012 Fascination Awards « Virtual School Meanderings — June 8, 2012 @ 10:47 am | Reply

  7. [...] Much of the ACE curriculum, as an example, is filled with racial, gender, and political bias.  Here… “For many years, the four racial groups were separated politically and socially by law. This policy of racial separation is called ‘apartheid’. South Africa’s apartheid policy encouraged whites, Blacks, Coloureds, and Asians to develop their own independent ways of life. Separate living area and schools made it possible for each group to maintain and pass on their culture and heritage to their children. [...]

    Pingback by Jindal and the Dumbing of Louisiana: Tax Payer-funded christofascist “madrasas” « Sky Dancing — June 19, 2012 @ 4:03 pm | Reply

  8. [...] Scaramanga’s broader critique of ACE takes on the curriculum’s primitive teaching methods, and its racial and cultural insensitivity: Learning and assessment methodologies…ACE tests almost exclusively consist of multiple choice, matching, or fill-in-the-blank questions. These means only test factual recall, not understanding. Even if the students are trying to take a deep learning approach, they are not given the opportunity… [...]

    Pingback by The Loch Ness Monster Is Real; The KKK Is Good: The Shocking Content of Publicly Paid for Christian School Textbooks « Freethought — June 21, 2012 @ 11:32 am | Reply

  9. [...] at Eternity Christian reportedly  “originated in Texas in the 1970s.” Part of the curriculum claims that those with liberal beliefs are basically stupid and unholy. “Men on the left cannot walk in [...]

    Pingback by Why fight it? Let’s embrace textbooks Loch, stock and barrel | TheLensNola.org : Investigative Journalism New Orleans — June 28, 2012 @ 4:52 pm | Reply

  10. [...] Guest Blogger: Examining Accelerated Christian Education [...]

    Pingback by Statistics for June 2012 « Virtual School Meanderings — July 1, 2012 @ 5:57 pm | Reply

  11. [...] Guest Blogger: Examining Accelerated Christian Education [...]

    Pingback by Statistics For 2012 « Virtual School Meanderings — January 1, 2013 @ 2:02 pm | Reply

  12. [...] Guest Blogger: Examining Accelerated Christian Education [...]

    Pingback by Statistics for January 2013 « Virtual School Meanderings — February 2, 2013 @ 7:52 pm | Reply

  13. let us start with your inaccurate comments about the science taught in ACE. Whereas public school science text books are laced with Evolutionism, the don’t make a single mention of Creationism. Simply put, students in the public school system are indoctrinated to believe Evolutionism. On the other hand, ACE presents both theories in their paces, shows all the arguments of both sides, and though they conclude in favor of Creationism, you are given the freedom to believe the theory you want to. Evolutionism fails in multiple areas. First, it has no explanation for where the matter came from involved in the Big Bang. Evolutionism says that there was this matter, don’t know where it came from, it just showed up. Creationism has a reasonable explanation for the beginning of this universe. It was created by God. You might ask “Well where did God come from?” FYI God is eternal. He never had a beginning. The fact about the universe being so orderly, including our solar system, points toward Creationism. If I showed you a wrist watch and said,” last night, out of nowhere, a bunch of raw metal somehow gathered itself together, got really compacted and then exploded.” you would say “that is impossible, you are just being really stupid.” The universe is infinitely more complex than that wrist watch, and yet you honestly believe that it made itself? Just as that watch had to have someone make it, so does the universe. Our solar system was also created. Since when do you get order from an explosion? Never! Scientists built a machine to try and replicate the big bang. They gathered some rocks together and spun them round and round in the vacuum they made after sucking the air out of the machine. Eventually, the rocks clashed together, created a big explosion, and guess what? no new matter, or elements. Matter can neither be created nor destroyed, only changed. Their experiment did an excellent job of disproving Evolution. Evolutionism teaches that the solar system was formed when a bunch of dust suddenly, without any cause( by the way might I add, is a violation of the law cause and effect which being paraphrased says that for everything there is a cause, a maker, or CREATOR) got together and began to spin. This produced our solar system. This is, however, nonsense. If that did indeed happen, all the planets should spin and orbit the same direction. However, Mercury and Saturn rotate backwards. Pluto has an orbit going backwards. Uranus is tipped on its side and rotates like a wheel. Their moons should orbit their planets in the same way the planets should if the solar system evolved, but Jupiter and a few other planets have moons orbiting in both directions around their planets. There is no other reasonable explanation for why some planets have rings and others don’t except for the explanation that they were created. You also said that “ACE is unscientific.” You refer to it teaching Creationism because it is a religion. Well I have news for you, so is Evolutionism. Both have their own teachings about God. Furthermore belief in either one is a matter of faith. None of us were there to see either one happen. Both are religious. Evolutionism is a BIG violation of the court decision of no religion in the classroom. The teaching that humans came from primates is a perfect example of de-evolution. First, the loss of the tail. The monkey and the lemour both have tails. None of the other primates that I have heard of have a tail. It used to be taught that man used to have a tail, but he lost it because he didn’t need it. That teaching was eventually scrapped because of how ridiculous they realized it was. A tail would be very useful as a third hand. Second, the loss of strength. Apes are 5 times stronger than humans. Looks to me that through the process of evolution we lost some strength. That is de-evolution.. “Well what about the ability to speak and walk upright?” you might say. There is a section in the human brain that allows us to speak. Apes don’t have that. How is something as complex as the brain going to evolve that ability. Bone structure has to be right to allow one to walk upright. How did that difference randomly evolve? The guy who posted this article about ACE has no idea what he is talking about.

    Comment by napplegate — February 7, 2013 @ 1:23 am | Reply

    • Napplegate, the reason that you won’t find creationism in a public school science curriculum is because it isn’t a scientific theory. It is a faith-based theory. The reason you will find evolution in a public school science curriculum is because it is a scientific theory. As you indicated ACE has both evolution and creationism taught as a part of its science curriculum, which confounds the very nature of science as a discipline. That confounding is a religious one.

      Comment by mkbnl — February 9, 2013 @ 1:23 am | Reply

  14. If that is an example of how a graduate of the ACE system structures a considered response, it would appear tha more than just the science is being perverted. And what on earth is “evolutionism”? Can you show me in any proper text that teaches evolution where precisely it claims a role for evolution in the generation of life on earth, or indeed. within the universe? This nonsense about apes being stronger and how that therefore we are “de-evolved” just shows how little this poster understands even the most basic concepts about what evolution teaches.

    Thats kind of the problem with these fundamentalists – they set up a straw man version of evolution, then proceed to set fire to it – all the while believing in the exceptionally improbable nonsense that it creationism. No evidence, no science no-sense.

    Comment by x_AlanT_x — February 7, 2013 @ 2:13 pm | Reply

    • Thanks for the comment AlanT! Setting aside the actual components of the poster’s argument against evolution, the comment in and of itself shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of science as a testable discipline. Something that, based on Jonny’s discussion of the curriculum and its religious and ideological underpinnings, it not surprising in the least.

      Comment by mkbnl — February 9, 2013 @ 1:25 am | Reply

  15. You have certainly made a fine case for de-evolution.

    Comment by Sarah Nash — February 8, 2013 @ 6:56 am | Reply

    • Thanks for this comment Sarah!

      Comment by mkbnl — February 9, 2013 @ 1:25 am | Reply

  16. I feel like I’ve already had my say in this debate, but I think this blog post by Steven Novella is a very good explanation of why science must use methodological naturalism. I agree with Dr. Novella’s position: Science is agnostic on the existence of God, because supernatural claims cannot be measured by scientific means. That means that supernatural claims can’t be investigated by science, and must be left out of scientific hypotheses. That’s why Creationism can’t be science.

    Here’s the post: http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/skepticism-and-religion-again/

    The other thing is that scientific knowledge is provisional and open to revision. The fundamentalist claim that God’s Word is absolute, infallible, and unchanging, then, can’t be scientific. If a claim is unfalsifiable, that doesn’t mean it definitely isn’t true, but it does mean we have no way of proving it.

    Creationism, of course, does make a number of claims that are falsifiable. And they’ve all been falsified.

    Comment by jonnyscaramanga — February 10, 2013 @ 7:21 pm | Reply

    • Jonny, as the guest author for this entry, thanks for weighing in on these latest comments that have been left.

      Comment by mkbnl — February 10, 2013 @ 7:23 pm | Reply

    • well nor is Evolution. Both are religious beliefs. Evolution has just as much to say about God as Creation does. About apes being stronger than humans is not nonsense in any way, Apes have been known to tear off the faces of people. Furthermore you are ignoring the fact that apes have sharp “claws” (if I can call them that) and we don’t. That is de- evolution. The infallibility of the Bible has been proven again and again. In the days of Christopher Columbus, people believed that the earth was flat. The book of Isaiah, however talks of “the circle of the earth” That verse states that the earth is round. Christopher Columbus, instead of believing the rest of society, went and sailed to prove that the earth was round. As a result, not only did he discover that Asia could be reached by sailing west, but also discovered the New World.The Bible may not be a science book, but when it deals with science, it is 100 percent accurate. Now let us get down to the heart of this issue. The truth is, there is no such thing as a true Athiest. You may deny the existence of God, but you know, in your heart of hearts that God exists. How do you explain the fact that every indigenous tribe in Africa or wherever they are have their own gods? Romans 1 tells us in a paraphrase that God put knowledge of His existence so deep within us that we are “without excuse.” The reason that you deny the existence of God and instead believe Evolution is because a creator means that we are responsible for what we do. ” All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) ” For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) ” For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved!” (Romans 10:13)

      Comment by napplegate — February 14, 2013 @ 1:39 am | Reply

      • As much as those of faith like to think it, contrary to their ramblings, Evolution is not a religion. It is the fundamental precept underpinning biology. Continually tested, fully accepted, entirely unremarkable except by those who see the world through a prism of faith – one that routinely distorts reality. Quoting biblical scripture does little to reinforce an argument, and trying to assert the inerrancy of the bible is risible.

        Since you demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of evolution, your comments about de-evolution can safely be dismissed as faith inspired rambling too. Apes having claws or even greater strength proves that humans have “de-evolved”? This is just an absurd reductionism. This is the same kind of specious logic that allows other faithheads to attempt to “disprove” evolution by pointing out that yeast has not yet evolved into man, Fatuous analogy.

        Your other arguments attempting to assert the bible as being 100% accurate when it comes to science are equally poor. The bible, when talking about the shape of the earth, talks about edges, and corners, and pillars. for instance.The bible is full of contradictions and errors. In all seriousness, and without wishing to be unduly offensive, anyone who seriously believes that the bible is inerrant is delusional.

        Primitive tribes having a religion all their own is unremarkable, and certainly does little to support the notion of a god, since most of their religions revolve around animism. A primitive tribe spouting the bible when first contacted might be interesting though.

        I cannot speak for all atheists, but i can tell you this. In my heart of hearts, I know there is no god, but as a scientist, I cannot speak with complete certainty, of course – There always has to be room for the highly improbable. The certainty with which you pronounce on subjects where you demonstrably know nothing illustrates the dangers of dogmatism to any impartial reader out there.

        Comment by x_AlanT_x — February 14, 2013 @ 5:53 am

      • Show me one contridiction in the Bible. And by the way, the “corners of the earth” refer to the four hemispheres of the earth. I gather that you were refering to Isaiah 11:12 “… the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” You probably were also talking about Revelation 7:1 “… I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth…” “the four corners of the earth” mentioned in the Bible refer to the four hemispheres. The four angels John saw while writing Revelation were sanding on the hemispheres, one angel on each.

        Comment by napplegate — February 14, 2013 @ 11:19 am

      • You are forcing me to read the bible now. Interesting how when challenged, you change from a literal intepretation of the bible to a metaphorical one. God obviously needs some wiggle room.
        So, here is a contradiction for you, from the bible of yours – the inerrant, 100% accurate bible ( as you claim)

        Which first–beasts or man?

        GEN 1:25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
        GEN 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

        GEN 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
        GEN 2:19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

        Now, going back to your original diatribe – you show me anywhere that a science or an evolution text has claimed that the genesis of the universe or the solar system or life on earth can be explained by evolution. Whats that? You can’t? Thought not – more evidence of your scientific illiteracy….

        Comment by x_AlanT_x — February 14, 2013 @ 2:30 pm

      • Genesis 2:8 tells us that “…the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and therehe put the man whom he had formed.” The next few verses tell us what God did in the garden in front of Adam. Now, verses 18-19 tell about Adam getting a wife. It is important to remember that Adam is still in the garden at this point. God said that “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” The next verse goes on to say that God caused all these beasts of the earth that He had already created in the rest of the world, to come out of the ground in the garden to find Adam an help meet. He gave Adam the job of naming them. He named them, but none of them proved to be a good help meet for him. So, as you can see, this is not a contradiction. Beasts were still created before man was made. The rest of the world was already finished, He just did the same in the garden in front of Adam, and then made the same animals He hade already made in the rest of the world in the garden and infront of Adam to find him a help meet.

        Comment by napplegate — February 14, 2013 @ 7:37 pm

      • You asked me to point out a contradiction in the bible. I did. You ignore it. Usual behaviour. I remind you that it is you and yours that claim the inerrancy of the bible, that claim 100% accuracy with science ( whatever that means). You then attempt to wriggle out of it when inconsistencies and inaccuracies are pointed out – It is truly astonishing how dogmatically you assert metaphor when addressing criticism or mangling the substance of a prophecy to better suit your assertions.

        How about this then?
        LEV 11:6 And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
        Neither Hares nor Rabbits chew the cud.

        or this?
        MAT 4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
        Which mountain did the devil use, that can show all the kingdoms of the world – on a spherical body like the earth?

        Which snake is it that eats dirt?
        GEN 3:14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

        There are plenty of examples of inconsistencies and inerrancies. And we have not even started on the likely selective editing for political purposes especially during its early history.
        You wish us to believe the bible offer a literal interpretation of the creation of the earth – but insist upon a metaphorical interpretation when challenged.

        Intellectual dishonesty, outright bias and rejection of science typify the mindset of the evangelical ,along with a wilful misunderstanding of what little they might think they understand about evolution. I find it immensely depressing.

        Comment by x_AlanT_x — February 15, 2013 @ 5:15 am

      • Before you have finished reading this, you will stand corrected. First, let’s start with the rabbit and the hare.The term “chew the cud”, in Hebrew, means this: to bring back up what has been partially chewed. The coney and the hare do indeed chew the cud. Just like the cow, rabbits and hares have extra “stomachs” to completely digest food. Now let us move on to Matthew 4:8. The only reason Jesus could see all the kingdomes of the earth from a mountain on this spherical earth is because Jesus was God in the flesh. God is all-powerful. Jesus did’nt need to go to the top of a mountain to see all the kingdoms of the earth. Satan was just being antagonistic toward Jesus. (for he hates God) Now we come to Genesis 3:14, when God cursed the serpant(embodied by Satan) God made the serpant go on its belly. Of course a snake is going to eat dirt. A snake “smells” with its tongue. When a snake flickers its tongue, it touches the ground and then goes back into the mouth. So, yes every snake does eat some dirt. Are there really contradictions in the Bible? No, there are not.

        Comment by napplegate — February 15, 2013 @ 8:10 pm

      • They are all inconsistencies and contradictions. No snake eats dirt. Chewing cud is a pretty specific term. As usual we get the usual re-interpretations to explain away the inconsistencies from the faithful. In other words, intellectual dishonesty, or lying for jebus.

        What were Jesus’ last words, according to the bible? ( clue: 3 different versions)
        How many months of famine did God promise David? (cliue: 2 different periods)
        How about whether God can be seen or not? ( clue: bible seems unsure)
        How did Judas die? ( At least 2 different accounts)
        How old was Jehoiachin when he started his reign ( At least 2 different ages)

        There are a lot more, but I grow bored. The bible has inconsistencies. The bible is not inerrant. Get over it.

        You still have not answered any of my questions. Where, in evolutionary teaching, does it claim that the origin of the universe, or the origin of the solar system can be explained by evolution? Where, in evolutionary teaching, does it explain how life came to be?
        Where, in evolutionary teaching, does it claim that man was descended from an ape?

        You could also answer a question for me – why does god hate amputees?

        Comment by x_AlanT_x — February 15, 2013 @ 8:45 pm

      • The last words of Jesus were recorded by all four Gospels, John was just more detailed than the others, Now we move on to the question about the years of famine God promised David. One of the accounts takes into account that 4 years of famine had already happened and were still going on. God had asked David in that account if he wanted Him to make it 7. The other account ignores the four years of famine that had already happened, and records that God asked David if he wanted 3 years of famine that had not happened yet. Now we come to the question if God can be seen. The New Testament says “No man hath seen God at any time.” This reference to God is referring to God the Father. Whenever the New Testament refers to God, it refers to the Father. When the Old Testament refers to God, it speaks of God Almighty The people that saw God were seeing God Almighty. Moving on, we come to the death of Judas. Interestingly enough, Matthew, unlike Acts, does not even describe his death. “How old was Jehoiachin when he began to reign?” Jehoiachin was 8 when he became king, but began to actually reign and make decisions for Israel when he was 18. Now I will answer one of your questions about Evolution. “Where in Evolutionary teaching does it teach that man descended from an ape or other primate?” Now my answer: Nowhere, it says that man and apes have a common ancestor.(which is downright nonsense) Finally I will answer you question about the amputees being hated by God. Let us have a reality check, God does not hate amputees just because He does not heal them or does this to them. He actually loves them just as He does everyone else(including you) John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotton Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God did not hate Paul because He refused to remove the “thorn in the flesh.” Paul asked God to remove it thrice. God finally responded, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” God merely allows things into peoples lives to draw them closer to himself and to try their faith.

        Comment by napplegate — February 17, 2013 @ 5:22 pm

      • Sophistry. You alternate between literal and metaphorical explanations whenever it suits you, in order to attempt to explain the inconsistencies and errors within the bible. It also seems that you also seem to have no grasp of paragraphs.

        You still have not answered the question; Why does god hate amputees? You offer the anodyne “god loves everyone- even you ” response, which is a response devoid of any substantive points.There are, and there will have been throughout history amputees without number who were devout believers, conscientious christians, slavishly following doctrine – And of those amputees, many will have devoutly wished for – prayed to god for – a miracle – the miraculous replacement of their missing limb.

        How often has god responded? Ermm….. never. This omnipotent, omniscient being, capable of cirumventing the laws of physics and biology and nature is either incapable of replacing the limb, or indifferent to those prayers.

        So, I ask you again – Why does your god hate amputees? Why does he refuse to answer their prayers? why does he not offer the odd miracle here and there? The simplest answer is the most likely one, and the simple answer is that there is no-one there.

        Your god has no evidence base and no plausibility. Just a heavily edited holy book that is constantly “re-interpreted” by the faithful to mean anything they want it to mean. Your refusal to question the dogma of your church leads you to reject reality, reject the real world observation and evidence supporting fundamental scientific concepts such as evolution.

        Comment by x_AlanT_x — February 18, 2013 @ 9:53 am

      • God does not hate amputees. He merely allowes them to go through that. The reason could be a number of things. The reason could be either as a trial or testing period of the person’s faith, it could be as a “whale”( or great fish) in their life, or to draw them closer to himself, or to attract them to be saved, but the reason is never because He hates the amputee. In 2 Corinthians 12:7- 9, Paul is speaking of a “thorn in the flesh.” He asked God three times to remove it only to get the same response,”no.” The third time, God said “My grace is sufficient for you.” Instead of healing Paul’s “thorn in the flesh,” God in His omnipotence decided to let Paul keep it. He decided to use that thorn in Paul’s life to attract more people to the Gospel. God did not hate Paul, He merely allowed him to go through that not only to attract people to the Gospel, but also so that Paul would grow closer to Him.

        Comment by napplegate — February 21, 2013 @ 8:54 pm

      • @Nappiegate – Do you remember ” Chemical Ali” from the war against Saddam Hussein? Got a playing card of his very own, eventually. A relentless PR stooge, mouthing platitudes to defend his boss, Saddam, and to lie about the progress of the war – to deny reality. Your ridiculous defence of your god reminds me of him.

        You say that “God does not hate amputees. He merely allowes them to go through that. The reason could be a number of things. The reason could be either as a trial or testing period of the person’s faith, it could be as a “whale”( or great fish) in their life, or to draw them closer to himself, or to attract them to be saved, but the reason is never because He hates the amputee.”

        He “merely allows them to go through that” – as if it is a mere trifle, a bagatelle, something easily dismissed. And why does he do this? Why does this omnipotent, omniscient, being who again according to you can transcend or suspend the very laws of nature in order to perform a miracle? To “Test their Faith” – And the really sick thing about this, is that you think that such a reason would be acceptable from a loving god. Why would such a god need to test them anyway? Knowing all, seeing all, god would surely know exactly how strong their faith was.

        The excuses for inaction by your supposed god become evermore stretched, everymore improbable. The bible contains inconsistencies and errors. It is a non contemporaneous book of myths, and stories and parables, but it contains no evidence, no divine wisdom.

        These are the propositions that we can conclude; If your god exists, he hates amputees, or is such an unfeeling, jealous jerk he is willing to subject them to misery and futile praying in order to “test their faith” – already knowing just how faithful they are!

        Or,

        He does not exist.

        Which is the most likely? ( hint: Real world, actual evidence supports the second option)

        Comment by x_AlanT_x — February 22, 2013 @ 9:46 am

      • First off, God does exist. The law of cause and effect supports that. Second, God does not hate amputees. You particularly argued against amputation as a ” test of faith.” You stated that an omnicient God would not need to test someone’s faith as he would already know their faith. God never tests one’s faith to get information. He does it to attract the world to the Gospel because when they endure this trial with a good spirit, the world sees that, they realize that they are different and that their Christianity is real. God allows amputees to go through their trial to do this among other reasons. When God told Abraham to take his only son Isaac to a place He would show him and to offer his son as a burnt offering, He was testing Abraham’s faith so that He could see a demonstration of his faith and so that the incident could be recorded in the Bible and retold countless times. Abraham had the faith that he knew without a doubt that even if God did indeed have him kill his son, God would bring him back to life because of the promise God had made. God’s testing of one’s faith is therefore retorical.

        Comment by napplegate — February 23, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

      • To attempt to assert that the Law of Cause and Effect provides evidence for God is to seriously misunderstand the Law of Cause and Effect, Causality, and what constitutes evidence. Again you betray an ignorance of science.

        Your attempt to defend a “trial of faith” as a marketing exercise for christianity rather than an information exercise for god is both risible and pathetic.

        The only conclusion that any sane,rational person can come to about the whole Abraham-Isaac human sacrifice thing is that Abraham was deluded maniac who decided to follow the instructions of the voices in his head to murder his son in a sacrificial manner. Hypothetically, were a deity to exist who actually instructed Abraham to commit this act, what could we conclude about that deity? Again, rationally speaking. the only conclusion we can draw is that the deity is a jealous and insecure entity, continually testing the faith of even his most faithful adherents! A somewhat difficult marketing sell, it seems to me.

        And you still have not explained just why it is god hates amputees? According to you, god is using amputees as a marketing tool, proclaiming their continued belief in a deity which, although allegedly omnipotent, decides not to exercise compassion and perform a miracle, replacing the missing limb, but would rather cynically exploit them to offer some sort of PR message!

        Does any of this sound rational, or sane or logical to you? No, the only conclusion we can draw from the lack of any miraculous replacement of a phantom limb for a devout amputee is that god does not exist; The alternative is that there is a deity- one that is so petty, so insecure, so jealous, so xenophobic of other faiths that he would goad one of his flock to murder his own child, or deny any compassionate treatment of amputees. Some god, some message.

        Comment by x_AlanT_x — February 25, 2013 @ 7:46 am

      • God doesn’t need to heal an amputee of his condition to be compasionate. In 2 Corinthians 12:7 Paul was told by God “My grace is sufficient for thee.” God giving grace to endure the hardship IS compassionate. How cruel would it be to not even give grace to endure a hardship? If you ask me, God giving grace to endure the trial is very compassionate. God could simply not give endurance grace.

        Comment by napplegate — February 25, 2013 @ 7:10 pm

      • @Nappiegate – Your defence of your gods actions grows weaker with each successive post.
        Now you suggest that devout amputees, those who have earnestly wished and prayed for just a small miracle from their supernatural creator – you know, the one that you say loves them and created them and listens and responds to their prayers – these devout people are denied even the smallest miracle from god, given the catch- all brush off – “The are given gods grace” – And sent on their way, to adapt as best they can. And many do – there are many many stories of how well amputees adapt to their condition, overcome the barriers to normal living thrown up by their condition. None of this is down to god though. This is through their own determination, their own efforts, the help of family and friends, and medical health professionals who support them.

        And you prate about god bestowing “gods grace”, as if it some measurable, quantifiable state which offers actually benefits to the recipient- when it is actually nothing of the sort. According to fellow travellers of yours, god gives his devotees this even though they do not deserve it, because he loves them! This meaningless drivel sustains the true believer but it carries no weight outside of that circle.

        Tell us all again – Why does god hate amputees? Why does he deny the devout and fervent believer of his the small miracle that they have been desperately praying for night after night, and bestow a limb upon them? Oh, they may well put a brave face on it – they may come to terms with the loss of their limb(s). They will demonstrate bravery and fortitude and resolution in adapting to their loss. But they will still pray for that miracle. And your selfish, powerless god will continue to deny them. After all, how else can you describe someone who denies people what they want, gives them nothing and tells them to be grateful they get even that?

        I wll tell you why- because he does not exist except in the confines of the believers mind. An outdated precept of superstitious origin, created by frightened people to explain the natural phenomena and our place in the universe. We now know better, we have no need for such a man -made construct. It is time to put away our toys.

        Comment by x_AlanT_x — February 26, 2013 @ 7:37 am

      • Without God, you can do nothing. Without God, the amputee could not overcome his handicap. Without God, we would not exist. God can just speak a word and every amputee would be dead. If God hates amputees like you claim, why hasn’t God killed them?

        Comment by napplegate — February 26, 2013 @ 7:56 pm

      • Wow now your arguments have really hit rock-bottom havent they?
        You yet again claim that god exists – that without god we would not exist- but you offer no proof, no evidence – its just faith, its just voices in your head, its just delusion.

        Then you talk about how powerful god is. You claim that god cannot hate amputees, because with just one word, he could kill them all.The fact that he hasn’t is evidence in your mind that he does not hate amputees? Only in the mind of the deluded could that piece of circular logic actually seem like evidence. And the opposite is equally true – If god is as powerful as you claim , able to suspend or circumvent the laws of nature and become a mass murderer just by uttering a word, then he should, just by uttering a word, be able to regrow all those amputees missing limbs. Surely a loving god, one who is capable of such miraculous feats would do this? Think of all the undying gratitude and renewed faith of the believers! Think of all the new converts!

        No, more fairy-tale thinking on your part i am sorry to say. The evidence says that a deity is extremely improbable.And if there is a god, it is either uncaring of the plight of its worshippers, or positively hates them.

        So – once more, I ask you – Why does god hate amputees? Why does god not give all those devout amputees the miracle they all crave – a new limb?

        Comment by x_AlanT_x — February 27, 2013 @ 5:17 am

      • In the book of Matthew, Jesus said that if you even hate someone, you have already murdered them. If God hated amputees, He would be breaking His own commandments, and would therefor be a hypocrite. However, it is imposible for God to sin. It is imposible for God to hate mankind because God IS love. God therefor, can’t hate amutees for those two reasons. 1. God is love. 2. It is imposible for God to sin.

        Comment by napplegate — February 27, 2013 @ 8:03 pm

      • More empty blathering. Your god is protected from any consequence of either action or inaction by some rule or other you can find in your holy book of myth and legend, How lucky for him. You attempt to protect your god from logical scrutiny by attempting to invoke such gems, such “it is impossible for god to sin”.

        You have still failed to explain why it is that, if your god has the kind of power that would allow him to murder all the amputees with but a single word, he cannot equally grant them all the miracle they so devoutly wish for and restore their missing limb. All those rededicated worshippers! All those new converts!

        From you, as with every other fundamentalist believer i have ever had the misfortune to have to engage with, we just get empty platitudes and a verse from the bible. Often pretty, but with little function or relevance.God is Love? No, actions speak louder than a platitude, and there is no real world evidence of that. And granting amputees their wish for a restored limb would be a fantastic act of love – a worldwide declaration of love,and power and a willingness to use it to shelter and support humanity. But no, what we do get is, ermm, nothing at all – because there is no one there.

        This idea that god would just strike down all he hates, so the fact that there has not been a genocide of amputees is evidence of a lack of gods hate for amputees is so lacking in logic, so circular, that I am surprised you are not burning in shame for offering it in a public forum. So tell us all again – why does god hate amputees so much that he cannot be bothered to grant them their most earnest wish? To put their faith on trial for everyone else to see? Must be a sociopath then. Or it it because they do not exist?

        Comment by x_AlanT_x — February 28, 2013 @ 3:48 am

      • Now you have questioned that God is love. Really? John 3:16 “For God so LOVED the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God demonstrated His love for every person in the world. That includes you. God sent His Son to die for all the sins that we have committed, and all the sins we ever will commit. God did this so that we don’t have to spend eternity in a real place called Hell. Do you know where you will spend eternity?

        Comment by napplegate — March 2, 2013 @ 12:55 pm

      • I have been reluctant to jump into this conversation, as it has moved beyond the realm of K-12 online learning into a dogmatic discussion that has more to do with zealously than anything else.

        However, since you mention the Gospel of John it is worth mentioning that scholars have agreed that of the four gospels, the words and actions attributed to Jesus in the Gospel of John are the least historically accurate. The work of Jesus Seminar – which does include conservative Christian scholars from fundamentalist seminaries, as well as those who have a more liberal view of the New Testament – have come to a consensus based on their understanding of textual analysis that most of Mark is likely things the historic figure of Jesus actually said or did; Matthew and Luke have a bit of historical accuracy and a bit of fiction added by later scribes, translation issues/errors, or simply revisions to present a certain orthodoxy; while John is primarily content added by later scribes, translation issues/errors, or simply revisions to present a certain orthodoxy.

        I would actually challenge you to sit with the book of Genesis and a notepad, and write down what God did on each of the first seven days each time it is mentioned. You can similarly sit down with the four gospels and write a chronology of the life of Jesus. In both instances you will find that things are out of order. What God does on each day of the week changes with its different descriptions, and the things that are described in terms of the life of Jesus also fall out of order from one Gospel to the next (and interestingly enough, when the same story is told in two or more Gospels it is often at odds in the details).

        As a scholar, I did want to add this to the discussion – as the contributions that you, napplegate, have made to this discussion thus far have been based solely on a changing intepretation of your good book… Literal in some instances and figurative or metaphorical in others. It would do you good to actually do some research – using scholarly, as opposed to dogmatic sources – to see how the Bible, and in particular the New Testament, was arrived at and the rationale for the decisions about inclusion and exclusion of the various books. It would also do you well to learn something about textual analysis, so you can see how much of what you are clinging to has been added by scribed and biblical leaders well after the original orthodoxy was established to suit the dogma of one group over another. I’d be happy to recommend some books that have been written by scholar for popular audiences (as not to be too academic), if you’re interested. I suspect that you own dogma will mean a negative response, but I felt it proper to offer it all the same.

        Comment by mkbnl — February 17, 2013 @ 5:36 pm

      • The reason that the events of Jesus’ life “fall out of order” is because of the different styles that each human author that God used employed. While one wrote the events in chronological order, another wrote them in order of importance or how significant they were. Another wrote them in spatial order. This has been a really fun debate, enjoyed every moment of it. It was also a great learning experience of how those who doubt the Bible answer questions about Evolution and the Bible and whwere you come from when you answer them. As far as the books you would recommend, I would have to decline the offer for now, but thank you though.

        Comment by napplegate — February 17, 2013 @ 6:53 pm

  17. [...] you’re not bored yet, you can read the epic thread which started all this nonsense, over at Michael Barbour’s Virtual Schooling blog, where [...]

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  20. Some of you folks really need to start reading the Bible and find yourself a good church to attend.

    Comment by Johnny Crawford — October 17, 2013 @ 9:18 pm | Reply

    • And which folks would that be Johnny?

      Comment by mkbnl — October 17, 2013 @ 9:20 pm | Reply

  21. […] Guest Blogger: Examining Accelerated Christian Education […]

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