Creationism alive in Scottish state primary school

Today I can reveal that children in a Scottish primary school have learned that humans once rode on carts pulled by triceratops.

DinoPicB

The estimable Paul Braterman, of the British Centre for Science Education, sent me these pictures which are apparently from a book handed out to pupils at the school.

The Scottish Daily Record reports:

HORRIFIED parents fear an extremist religious sect has been trying to brainwash their kids after it was allowed to infiltrate a Scots primary school.

A head teacher invited the US Church of Christ, which rubbishes evolution and counts homosexuality as a sin, to minister to pupils.

Many parents at 400-pupil Kirktonholme Primary in East Kilbride only realised their children were being exposed to the evangelical group’s agenda when kids brought home alarming books they had been handed at assembly.

The creationist books, defended by head teacher Sandra MacKenzie, denounce the theory of evolution and warn pupils that, without God, they risk being murdered in a harmful, disgusting world.

Parents have called for emergency talks with education chiefs, where they will demand the sect’s removal from the school.

Good old Scotland. Having seen the way ACE gets covered by the local press in the USA, I’m pretty sure American media would have given this story a different slant.

Still, I’m not sure if I would have reacted quite the same way as some parents have (admittedly, I’m not a parent):

One angry dad, Paul Sanderson, 33, told how his five-year-old son burst into tears when he took the books away.

He said: “I think it’s fair to call it brainwashing because when I took them from him he started crying.

“When I asked why he was crying, he said the man who gave them to him told him they were really, really important.”

What do you do in that situation? I’d be tempted to let the child keep the book, tell him it’s just what some Christians believe, and give the child a load of good quality science books for children as well. But how on earth is a primary school meant to weigh the evidence properly?

But the Record can reveal sinister undertones to their eight-year involvement at the school.

The Church of Christ have targeted Kirktonholme as a “mission” and have several members helping with classes and giving lessons in religion.

Church members like Blakeman – photographed as a scary Pirates of the Caribbean character – were allowed in to work as classroom assistants and help with homework and in other mainstream roles.

Parents were also furious to learn that cash raised by children which they thought was intended for school funds had been given to the sect to build a church nearby.

One of the church members, Evelyn Galvan Graciano, 22, from Mexico, describes Scotland as “a place full of darkness and emptiness that is in a big need of Jesus”.

And she has told pals she uses classes to get into the heads of Kirktonholme pupils. She said: “They all are very receptive and willing to listen and learn.

“Hopefully at least we can let the kids know who Jesus is. Maybe someday that seed we’ve planted can be grown by God.”

The Church of Christ, based in the US Deep South, believe the Bible predicts the future and is 100 per cent accurate. They have called Scotland “A Field Ripe for Harvest”.

Church leaders told their US flock in a video blog about their “work” at the school, and claimed that, out of a population of 5.1million, Scotland has only 700 practising Christians.

One of the informants for my PhD recently observed that you can spot a fundamentalist whenever they refuse to accept any label other than “Christian”. They tend to reject terms like “evangelical”, and denominational ties. They’re simply “Christians” – and anyone who doesn’t believe what they believe isn’t a Christian. Hence the number of 700 Christians in Scotland – all the Catholics, Methodists, and Presbyterians don’t count.

Read the rest of the article here. It’s worth it.

Paul also sent me these pictures from the book:

Cart pulled by dinosaurAnd check this out:

Added together, these three numbers equal about six thousand years. It may be that a few hundred years could be added within the geneaologies, but it is impossible for millions of years to fit in them... We can know for sure by consulting the biblical genealogies that the Earth is not millions or billions of years old, but only a few thousand years old.

Added together, these three numbers equal about six thousand years. It may be that a few hundred years could be added within the geneaologies, but it is impossible for millions of years to fit in them… We can know for sure by consulting the biblical genealogies that the Earth is not millions or billions of years old, but only a few thousand years old.

Now, cue the creationists claiming that we are the intolerant and closed-minded ones for not wanting their ideas to be presented alongside those of mainstream science. I think that should be the subject of a post sometime. Do any of my scientist readers want to write a guest post?

UPDATE: More reporting from the Daily Record on this story.

School bosses kick out extremist US religious cult as parents demand answers from head teacher after Daily Record’s revelations

And, slightly sensationalist (but not wrong, in my view): The facepainted man behind extremist agenda at Kirktonholme and Greenburn schools

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