Creationism, abstinence, mental ill health: life for a struggling student at Emmanuel College

This anonymous guest post from a woman who attended Emmanuel College, Gateshead, as a child. It was sent in response to last week’s guest post on the same subject. A Christian school, Emmanuel College was among the first academies (schools which can receive additional funding from corporate sponsors). It was championed by Tony Blair. I started life at Emmanuel College eccentric-but-happy, with one of the most promising academic futures of my primary school class. Sadly I became ill with depression aged 13,... Read more

A New Zealand school openly flouted corporal punishment law for years and no one cared

Let me introduce Drury Christian School in Auckland, New Zealand. It is famous because it exploited a loophole in New Zealand’s ban on school corporal punishment: they made the parents do it instead. This made local news in 2007, and there was going to be a legal challenge against the school for it. In May 2007, however, New Zealand banned corporal punishment in the home, effectively closing this loophole. As a result, the legal challenge was dropped and everyone forgot about Drury... Read more

Coming Out Queer at Emmanuel College, Gateshead

This guest post is by a young woman who attended Emmanuel College, Gateshead, the Christian Academy famed for the accusations it has taught creationism (accusations it has always denied). This is the second time this blog has been contacted by a former Emmanuel student. My parents took me out of Emmanuel College after three years; that was as long as they could take, seeing me deteriorating to the point where I would scream through the night, hear voices, self-harm, contemplate... Read more

No, Trump didn’t ask how balloons fly. Stop making fake memes, lefties.

I am sick of fake news about Donald Trump. This popped up in my Twitter feed this morning. It’s made up, by the way. “How does a balloon stay in the air? Nobody knows. That’s what makes them so wonderful at parades – the mystery of their flight, Maggie.” It’s not just fake. It’s maliciously fake. It’s edited to look like a screenshot from the New York Times website. The NYT did just run the transcript of an interview between Trump and Haberman, and... Read more

Humanist court challenge over place on Religious Education council

A parent in Wales is taking her local authority to court after it refused to put a humanist on the local body responsible for overseeing religious education. Humanists UK chief exec Andrew Copson described this as “an archaic prejudice”. Humanists UK are supporting the court challenge. If this challenge is successful, it is likely that similar councils across the country will also have to include humanists as well as religious representatives. Speaking to the TES, the parent bringing the challenge,... Read more

A dictatorship which does not aim to teach but to control

  This is an anonymous guest post. For more context on why I find this post so remarkable, see my comments at the end. With every sentence of writing this I have felt guilty but have come to understand that this feeling is familiar as long as I’m doing anything I know ‘they’ would not like. So, I carry this guilt, and have already decided that if this can save one person from the struggle that I have had to face... Read more

How should skeptics view qualitative research?

A phrase I hear a lot from skeptics is “The plural of anecdote is not data”. I first heard it from my partner’s sister, and then in Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science. I laughed out loud the first time I heard it, and I’ve used it many times since. It’s rubbish. The usual way the phrase is deployed is like this: Skeptic: There’s no evidence that homeopathy can cure eczema. Woo Badger: Well you say that, but my friend’s nan went to a homeopathist... Read more

Accelerated Christian Education survivors respond to PhD research

My PhD thesis has been online for a week now, and former ACE students have begun sending me their feedback. In academia, peer review is our quality assurance process, and it meant a lot to me to have my thesis validated by two professors whose work I respect and admire. I regard feedback from other ACE-escapees as another kind of peer review (they are, after all, also my peers). My main research aim was to give readers a sense of what... Read more

What do you want from this blog?

This post is directed at regular readers of Leaving Fundamentalism. If that’s not you, you probably won’t be interested, although you’re welcome to give your input. I haven’t known what to blog about lately, and I’d like your thoughts. There are a few reasons besides burnout from my PhD that have discouraged me from blogging lately: It sucks that I’ve put so much effort into becoming a recognised expert at a time when public trust in experts is at an... Read more

ACE deletes Facebook reviews page after 1-star reviews

For most of the time I’ve been blogging about them, Accelerated Christian Education has had little social media presence, as is befitting of an organisation which refuses to accept that the world is changing. Nevertheless, ACE has recently and with vigour launched its marketing department into 2006 with a revamped website and an official Facebook page. ACE’s Facebook reviews page, as of last Thursday, had 74 reviews, of which 70 awarded five stars and the rest gave four stars. Then... Read more