The School That Gave Students a Creationist Science Quiz Says They’re Making Money Off of It

You all remember the fourth grade “science” test that was circulating online?

It was later found to be an actual quiz given at Blue Ridge Christian Academy.

Valerie Strauss, an education writer for the Washington Post, says that she got a press release from the school. Administrators aren’t apologizing for their ignorance or for teaching nonsense to impressionable children.

Nope. Instead, they would like everyone to know they’re raking in the money thanks to the controversy:

The media attention has brought awareness of the school reaching from the upstate of South Carolina, throughout the US and into over 70 countries around the world. Donations have been given ranging in amounts from $1 – $1000. Encouraging notes and emails have poured in from around world to offset the thousands of hateful comments that are not only circulating the internet and Facebook, but also direct mail, emails and phone calls to the school.

Diana Baker, Administrator at BRCA, commented on the controversy, “It is unmistakable that our culture greatly needs well-equipped warriors for Christ. Even though the attack on the school was meant to be harmful, God has used it to provide affirmation regarding the importance of our work. We are hopeful that the recent unexpected interest in our school and in Christian Education will provide support for a future for BRCA.

It doesn’t bother me in the least since I assumed they were already flush with cash. They’re Creationists supported by Ken Ham — it’s not like their donors have anywhere else to go.

But since the BRCA doesn’t mention exactly how much they’ve taken in in donations, I’m tempted to assume it’s a relatively low amount and this press release is really about them playing defense after being throughly embarrassed on a national scale.

Even if I’m wrong, exposing the sort of curriculum BRCA uses was well worth it. Hopefully, some potential customers realized they would be hurting their own children by sending them to a private Christian school like this.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Michael

    If the press release is factual then they have received at least two donations, with the biggest being $1000.

    I notice they don’t specify that these are new donors.

    • http://backroomcatholic.com/ EpicusMontaigne

      Maybe one $1, and one $1,000 donation.

      Yeah cashflow!

  • Space Cadet

    From the “raking in the money” article:

    The school’s science curriculum does include the theory of evolution

    WHAT?!?

    Listen, Blue Ridge Christian Academy, you can’t teach that everything is black and then teach that some things are white. That is a contradiction. Just like the ToE is in direct contradiction to the idea that a global flood is the reason we have fossils, or that humans and dinosaurs lived together.

    I mean, seriously, how could you even think that?

    Were you there?

    • JKPS

      My guess is they mean one of two things by that. One, they include it by teaching how wrong it is. Two, they include it by teaching that “microevolution” is okay, but “macroevolution” is bad. That’s what I was taught.

      • Charles Honeycutt

        I love the “micro/macro” thing. It’s exactly like arguing that no matter how many bites you take out of a Snickers bar, you can never eat an entire Snickers bar.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Reed/692599362 Paul Reed

      To be fair, their curriculum probably does include evolution, but the entire lesson probably consists of “Evolution is wrong!”

  • jdm8

    Do “hateful comments” cost money? I didn’t know money can offset hateful comments. What is the exchange rate these days?

    • Spuddie

      Sounds like a great way for extortion. You can stop my hateful comments by giving me cash. I could make millions!

      • Artor

        That’s a nice school you got there. Shame if some hateful comments happened to it.

  • http://twitter.com/johnnykaje K. Johnston

    I created a counter quiz in response to this quiz. Just in case one wants to undo the damage after unknowingly taking this class.

    http://johnnykaje.wordpress.com/2013/05/05/4th-grade-creation-science-counter-quiz/

    (Do not actually give this quiz to your fourth grader, unless they are mature enough to know what the Behemoth’s “tail” probably is a reference to.)

    • Gus Snarp

      Fascinating. I did not know that one. Has anybody made a Bible that is really just an effort at the best possible translations of everything in readable English, leaving out all religious bias in favor of cleaning things up? Because that might make Bible reading at least somewhat bearable.

      • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

        Closest you’ll probably find is the Jefferson Bible. All the life lessons, a lot less holy spook woo.

      • Alice

        No, but there is the Amplified Bible which gives a list of possible translations for words that have multiple meanings. However, studying Hebrew and Greek is the only way to get away from translation bias, and even then you still have the bias of the scribes who copied and preserved the manuscripts, since so many of the copies have discrepancies.

  • http://twitter.com/Kirk_Robinson Kirk Robinson

    This makes me very sad. I can’t believe in this day and age that a parent would want their kid to learn this nonsense. If science is so wrong maybe their shouldn’t partake in any of the pleasures that science provides us. Just go sit in the corner and read your book.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Scott.McElhiney Redorblack Nigelbottom

      Except they burned the guy who first mass produced that book (prior to Gutenburg)… so maybe they shouldn’t even do that, since it has long been about someone telling you what it meant rather than the sheep actually reading it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matt.potter.73 Matt Potter

    So we should believe a group whose knock down argument against evolution is ‘were you there’, right.

    • Sinfanti

      This always strikes me as the argument most prone to backfire. They base most of their worldview on the writings Mathew, Mark, Luke and John – none of whom “were there” for the events they wrote about.

      • Free

        Scientists were there in the beginning. Thank God!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1351473675 Matthew Baker

    This isn’t too surprising given that Ken Ham’s scree about this turned into begging for donations about half way though since that is what this whole enterprise is about moving money.

  • Lori F – MN

    The saddest thing is how unprepared these children are going to be for the real world. Creationism depends on ‘facts’ in the bible. Science depends on facts from hundreds of years and thousands of people of discovery. After all, didn’t science prove the world wasn’t flat? And the earth revolved around the sun?

    • KMR

      The kids are unprepared for a career in science. That is certainly a shame but the fact of the matter is that most will go on to do quite well in other careers since the vast majority of these kids come from rather affluent families. The tuition for these schools are no joke.

    • Artor

      Lies straight from the pits of hell, doncha know.

    • Free

      Evolutionists assume evolution is true, then write endlessly about when and where it happened, rates and lineages, etc. Macroevolution has be proven physically impossible in the real world. This means all the rest of that line of scientific theory is fantasy. There are only two possibilities. Either every part of every living thing arose by random chance, or an intelligence designed them. It is now clear that the theory of evolution’s only mechanism for building new parts and creatures, mutation-natural selection, is totally, utterly, pathetically inadequate based on current accepted science. In spite of overwhelming evidence that the theory of evolution is dead wrong, many of you are not ready to throw in the towel. You desperately hope that some natural process will be found that causes things to fall together into organized complexity. You are people of great faith! And so afraid of connecting God with science that, like the Japanese Army of World War II, they would rather die than surrender. Unfortunately, the staunchest defenders sit in places of esteem and authority as professors, scientists, and editors, and have the full faith of the news media. The public is naturally in awe of their prestige. But once the facts are understood it becomes obvious that the theory of evolution is long overdue for the trash can, and to perpetuate it is fraud and true hypocrisy. Perhaps it made sense for what was known when On the Origin of Species was published in 1859, but not today.

      • Lenx1624

        We’re you there?

      • Isaac

        None of what you stated is an actual fact. If you would like to learn what those are and how to find them, I’m sure your local library or secular school can point you in the correct direction.

      • Jim Jones

        > Evolutionists assume evolution is true

        Nope. Two sexes.

        Evolution is proved.

  • sudon’t

    Are we sure this is real? I’ve been fooled before by internet hoaxsters and this is pretty over-the-top. I mean, nobody’s that stupid, right? ….right?

    • KMR

      Christian private schools (and the South is flush with them) teach Creationism. If they mention evolution it is only to teach the bare basics and then to give the children apologetic arguments against it. For anyone else asking about accreditation, no, most are not accredited. But at this time, it doesn’t really matter since southern colleges will accept those students anyway as long as their test scores are fine. And there are tons of kids who come out of those schools with fantastic scores since science knowledge at this time isn’t part of the SAT’s.

      • Anna

        Yes, when this story first appeared, I went looking for other schools and I found at least 26 in South Carolina alone with creationist science curriculum listed on their websites.

        • KMR

          Yeah to be honest I’m not quite sure why there seems to be so much surprise by this curriculum but maybe most people who read this blog regularly don’t come from areas where Christian private schools are plentiful. I lived in SC. There were tons and they all advertised like it was a badge of honor their devotion to teaching young earth creationism. They don’t hide it and anyone who sends their kids there and then has the nerve to express outrage at the curriculum should just be mad at themselves for not doing their homework. And some of these schools are actually pretty good at teaching the other subjects which is why their kids normally have no problem getting into colleges, even the secular ones.

          • Anna

            Heck, I live in the most liberal part of California, and we have dozens of Christian private schools teaching the exact same thing. It’s not as obvious because our evangelical population is so small and those schools are way outnumbered by Catholic schools and non-fundamentalist and secular private schools, but they are definitely out there.

            • KMR

              Secular private schools?? Non-fundamentalist schools?? What the hell are those ;)

              • Anna

                Yikes, what on earth do normal parents do? If the public schools are terrible, what about professional, educated people who want their children to have a shot at Harvard or Yale? You’d think there would be a market for at least one secular private school, especially in larger towns and cities. It would appeal not just to non-religious parents, but also what few (I’m assuming) Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists live in the area.

    • Artor

      The test has been confirmed & verified. The school has proudly admitted to it. Yes Virginia, some people really are that fucking stupid.

  • rhodent

    Donations are pouring in? Sounds like a classic example of “A fool and his money” if you ask me.

  • Gus Snarp

    Does this school have any kind of accreditation? Because the outcome that I’d like to see is that no legitimate college will accept students from this school and vouchers cannot be used there. A diploma from this school should not count as a high school diploma for government employment purposes.

    • Anna

      This is from their website:

      The K5 – 12th grade program at BRCA is accredited by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and SACS-CASI (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools as part of AdvancED). We are a member school of Christian Schools International (CSI). BRCA’s K4 Program is not required to obtain state licensure. However, we consistently self-monitor our program using appropriate guidelines from both ACSI and state agencies.

      One of their accreditations is secular:

      http://www.advanc-ed.org/webfm_send/288

      http://www.advanc-ed.org/why-does-it-matter
      Apparently, the content of the curriculum is not taken into account?

      • awa78

        Apparently not. I contacted SACS/AdvancED and asked about this, but got blown off. Their CS agent told me it was a hoax and dismissed all the other questions I had.

        Their (BRCA’s) website makes it very clear that the curriculum is creation based. SACS isn’t some fly by night organization, either – they accredit nearly all the public school systems, and clearly many private schools as well, in the southern region of the US along with most of the public and private universities.

  • Sue Blue

    No education at all would be better than this tripe. Why not just tell the parents they’re paying thousands of dollars to have the Bible read to their kids for six hours a day? I’m sure at least some parents would say, “Hmmm. I can read the bible to my kids every day for way less than that. I could have bought a boat by now! And a new huntin’ rifle! Damn!”

    No way are these kids going to be prepared for anything but Liberty University or Bob Jones University or Hillsdale College….if that. Of course, those colleges do prepare you to become Republican representatives in order to perpetuate the stupid on a government level, but even that’s not much to brag about these days.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002579724323 Jeremy Iverson

    better not happen at my sons school

  • Shouldbeworkin’

    This is a good thing. They can start a fund to support their students who are unable to get a job.

  • abombt1

    Thank FSM that 26,000 people aren’t dying of hunger per day; so Christians have plenty of money left over to send to shit like this.

  • Anna

    If there’s a silver lining in any of this, it may be that those children who had no idea that the vast majority of the developed world looks upon creationism with shock and horror now realize that what their school is teaching is not mainstream or normal in the slightest.

  • Anna

    It doesn’t bother me in the least since I assumed they were already flush with cash. They’re Creationists supported by Ken Ham — it’s not like their donors have anywhere else to go.

    Oh, I wouldn’t say that. This is a tiny private school. There’s no reason to assume that they’re rolling in money. Like other schools, they rely on tuition and donations. And they’re not supported by Ken Ham, not financially at any rate. They simply ordered one of his DVDs to use in their classroom, like tons of other Christian schools do.

    It could very well be that this publicity has helped them drum up some money. I don’t know if they’ve raised a large amount, or if they’re just trying to stick it to the media by implying that’s the case, but fundamentalists would be very likely to see such a story and send money to the poor, “persecuted” school in question. And, sadly, there’s no lack of places for fundamentalists to send their money.

    • Jitterbits

      Absolutely true!

      And then when getting into discussions about charity (because they’re pretty much all political conservatives who want to abolish the social safety net), they’ll totally count this as sif

  • Darlene

    I know parents who don’t believe in creationism or ID who still send their kids to uber-christian schools, just because the local public schools are just that bad. You can still teach your kid otherwise at home, much like the religious kids in public school are taught to not believe the biology classes there.

    • Anna

      Given that situation, I’m not sure what I would do. I hate the idea of homeschooling, but if my choice is between a failing public school and a Christian school that proselytizes and teaches false science, revisionist history, sexism, and homophobia, I don’t know what other option there is. Sending my children to a fundamentalist school would be like sending them into the lion’s den.

      Don’t these areas have any non-fundamentalist private schools? I know there aren’t as many Catholics in the South, but there have got to be some. At least with a Catholic school, you could be certain that your children were being taught proper science and history. What do Jews or Hindus or Muslims do? I’m guessing there aren’t a lot of them in those areas, but surely they couldn’t be okay with handing their kids over to fundamentalist Christians.

      • Alice

        Sometimes people of other religions send their children to Christian fundamentalist schools so that they will be in an environment of “good morals” even though they disagree with almost all of the theology. It doesn’t make any sense to me either.

        I know several families who moved to a better school district in their city, but that would be a giant pain in the neck and not financially feasible for most people.

        • Jitterbits

          I was sent to uber-fundamentalist christian schools, so I’m really glad to see what they do in secrecy come to light. Furthermore, I’ve been saying for years hear that my parents sacrificed my education for my indoctrination, likening the ordeal to intellectual abuse, and to hear people echo my sentiments feels incredible. I thought I was the only one in the world who felt as I do or viewed the experience as I do.

          As for the environment of good morals, that is absolutely true. Even more common, however, especially when you get to junior high and beyond is parents sending their miscreant kids to these schools, thinking of it as sort of a last ditch effort before reform school. The only year I attended public school was my senior year and during that last year in a school with literally 100x more students, the ratio of students on drugs was far less that year (like, half of all students compared to one in maybe fifteen), as was the ratio of girls who got pregnant.

          In public school, not only did I learn far more, but I finally had a chance to pursue elective studies (besides foreign language) which was incredible for me. I enjoyed the experience much more and for the first time in my life, instead of being pretty much the sole outcast, I finally had a ton of friends. I wonder often how my life would have been different had I been sent to public schools my entire life, and I can draw no other conclusion than that it would be far better and far different.

          When I first learned about evolution (my own studies when I was in my 20′s), I was absolutely flabbergasted by the simplicity and obviousness of the whole thing, as well as how it had been presented so terribly with no basis in reality. I know there probably Christians who are ignorant when it comes to evolution and so to them, creationism really DOES make more sense, but what disgusts me is the absolute fact that there are Christians in leadership position who knowingly and frequently stoop to deception to convince those who are ignorant (unlearned, not stupid). Lying for Jesus. Just, ick. And then having the gall of accusing scientists of doing the same thing… well, perhaps they’re just projecting and they imagine since nearly everything they say is a lie, the same must be true for everyone else. After all, they’re “good christians” and scientists are heathen atheists.

          /end ramble

  • rgcustomer

    So, what employer or university is going to accept a diploma from this … place … as reason to hire or admit someone?

  • Robster

    It’s all lies, like their silly dogma. They aren’t able to tell the truth, can’t do it. To admit that their “test” is a nonsense and the school has two remaining students, their repuation ruined and their donations total $16 dollars and some green stamps would be closer to the truth and as such will never happen.

  • http://bsoi.st/ bsoist

    I told you they would be proud to be called out on this. It’s shameful to teach this to students in a science classroom.

  • thatguybill

    I became a teacher in large part because I’m a Christian, and people like this are quite annoying, as they seem like neither.

  • Jitterbits

    I was sent to uber-fundamentalist christian schools, so I’m really glad to see what they do in secrecy come to light. For years I’ve been saying that my parents sacrificed my education for my indoctrination, likening the ordeal to intellectual abuse, and to hear people echo my sentiments feels incredible. I thought I was the only one in the world who felt as I do or viewed the experience as I do.

    Unfortunately for parents like mine who sent me there to be as steeped in religion as possible and away from the iniquities “so common” in public schools, especially when you get to junior high and beyond, many parents send their miscreant kids to these schools, thinking of it as sort of a last ditch effort before reform school. The only year I attended public school was my senior year and during that last year in a school with literally 100x more students, the ratio of students on drugs was far less that year (like, half of all students compared to one in maybe fifteen), and one-fifth of the private school girls got pregnant compared to fewer than one per hundred.

    In public school, not only did I learn far more, but I finally had a chance to pursue elective studies (besides foreign language) which was incredible for me. I enjoyed the experience much more and for the first time in my life, instead of being pretty much the sole outcast, I finally had a ton of friends. I wonder often how my life would have been different had I been sent to public schools my entire life, and I can draw no other conclusion than that it would be far better and far
    different.

    When I first learned about evolution (through my own studies when I was in my 20′s), I was absolutely flabbergasted by the simplicity and obviousness of the whole thing, as well as how it had been presented so terribly with no basis in reality the entire time I went to Christian schools (and because of moving, I went to 4 different schools, all of whom toed the same party line). I know there probably Christians who are ignorant when it comes to evolution and so to them, creationism really DOES make more sense, but what disgusts me is the absolute FACT that there are Christians in leadership positions who knowingly and frequently stoop to deception just to convince those who are ignorant (unlearned, not stupid). Lying for Jesus is just, ick. And then having the gall of accusing scientists of doing the same thing… well, perhaps they’re projecting and they imagine since nearly everything they say is a lie, the same must be true for everyone else. After all, they’re “good Christians” and scientists are heathen atheists.

    /end ramble


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