Today in American science:
This would be funny if it weren’t so, well, not funny.
A biology textbook used by a Christian school in Louisiana that will be accepting students with publicly funded vouchers in the fall says that the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland is real. And it isn’t just any monster but a dinosaur — an effort to debunk evolution and bolster creationist theory.
The story, reported in the Scotsman newspaper in Scotland, says that Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake is one of the many Christian schools in the United States that uses these books published by Accelerated Christian Education.
The Biology 1099 edition includes a passage about the Loch Ness Monster that says, in part, according to the newspaper:
“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.”
But it’s not all good-natured wackiness; there’s also this little tidbit:
Marie Carrier, principal of Eternity Christian Academy, was quoted by the New York Daily News as saying that she would like to accept 135 voucher students for next year to join the 38 children already attending the school in grades 1 through 8.
The reason all of this matters now to the public is that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal recently signed a law that sets up the largest voucher program of any state in the country. Some 125 private and religious schools from across the state are qualified to participate in the Louisiana Believes program, which gives families public money to pay school tuition for their children.
It is interesting to note that one of the schools originally on the list, the Islamic School of Greater New Orleans, withdrew its application for voucher students after an outcry about its participation by some lawmakers.
So, if you’re keeping score at home, that means that lawmakers would like to use public funds to send children to a Christian school that teaches the Loch Ness monster is real but they bristle at public money being used to send children to an Islamic school.
I guess the Muslim position on whether or not Nessie is a dinosaur is holding them back …