Fundamentalists Have Fun with Nessie

In a Bible Belt bid to disprove Darwin’s theory of evolution thousands of US schoolchildren are to be taught that the Loch Ness monster is real. Next year pupils attending privately-run Christian schools in Louisiana will learn from textbooks claiming the mythological beast is a living creature.

The Accelerated Christian Education programme teaches controversial religious beliefs, aimed at disproving evolution and proving creationism. Youngsters will be told that if it can be proved that dinosaurs walked the earth at the same time as man, then Darwinism is fatally flawed, reports The Scotsman.

One ACE textbook, Biology 1099, asks: “Are dinosaurs alive today? Scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence. Have you heard of the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland? Nessie 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.

Former pupil Jonny Scaramanga, 27, who went through the ACE programme but now campaigns against Christian fundamentalism, said that the Nessie claim was presented as “evidence” that evolution could not have happened. He added: “The reason for that is they’re saying if Noah’s flood only happened 4,000 years ago, which they believe literally happened, then possibly a sea monster survived. If it was millions of years ago then that would be ridiculous. That’s their logic. It’s a common thing among creationists to believe in sea monsters.”

Boston-based researcher and writer Bruce Wilson, who specialises in the American political religious right, said: “One of these texts from Bob Jones University Press claims that dinosaurs were fire-breathing dragons. It has little to do with science as we currently understand. It’s more like medieval scholasticism.”

Wilson believes that such fundamentalist Christian teaching is going on in at least 13 American states. He added, “There’s a lot of public funding going to private schools, probably around 200,000 pupils are receiving this education. The majority of parents now home schooling their kids are Christian fundamentalists too.”

I love mythological creatures such as the phoenix and the unicorn more than most people and I’m particularly fond of dragons. Dragons exist in my heart and my imagination and perhaps in places that are beyond the world as we know it, such as the afterlife, but I doubt a dragon will be spotted flying around Scotland or Wales any time soon. The notion that the Loch Ness monster can be used as evidence of the fundamentalist Christian creation myth is ridiculous. Even if Nessie walked out of Loch Ness tomorrow the theory of evolution would not be disproved—evidence of evolution exists all around us. Tis religious fundamentalist nonsense such as this that makes me glad I am a pagan.

Sources: Orange News, The Scotsman

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