I am desperately curious to get inside the minds of the supporters of Accelerated Christian Education. How do they justify the lies they teach to children? What would they say when confronted? This is an open letter to Arthur Roderick, the founder of Christian Education Europe (CEE), European distributor for Accelerated Christian Education. I await their response.
Dear Mr. Roderick,
My name is Jonathan Scaramanga – possibly my name is familiar to you since we were featured on the same segment of the Radio 4 Sunday programme in 2010. I was educated with Accelerated Christian Education at Victory School from 1996 to 1999.
I am writing to request an apology, because my PACEs consistently taught falsehoods as facts. I believed these falsehoods, and they disadvantaged me educationally and socially for many years. I believe the same thing must be happening to many other students in Accelerated Christian Education. As a Christian organisation which places the highest value on truth and integrity, I believe Christian Education Europe should share my concerns.
A great many of the evidences for Creation taught as fact in the PACEs are simply untrue, and they were known to be untrue long before the PACEs went into print. I know that you believe the truth of God’s Word is immutable, so surely there is no need to distort the facts in order to make children believe. Yet untruths are taught in the PACEs repeatedly.
The Answers in Genesis website has a list of arguments for Creationism that should never be used, or which should be avoided, because they are inaccurate (http://www.answersingenesis.org/get-answers/topic/arguments-we-dont-use). The following arguments from that list still appear in the PACEs:
- There are no beneficial mutations (Science 1096 and 1107).
- No new species have been produced (Science 1096).
- There was a water vapour canopy surrounding the earth before the flood (Social Studies 1097, World Geography I).
- The Japanese trawler Zuiyo Maru caught a dead plesiosaur near New Zealand (Science 1099).
- The speed of light has decreased over time (Social Studies 1097).
- There are no transitional forms (Science 1099).
- Paluxy tracks prove that humans and dinosaurs coexisted (Science 1096 and 1099).
- Noah’s Ark has been found (World Geography 12 1108; see http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/cm/v21/n2/has-ark-of-the-covenant-been-found#Sidebar5).
In order to maintain these unscientific views, a great violence must be done to the scientific method. The scientific method matters a great deal more than any individual scientific facts. The most important factors are that any hypothesis is falsifiable, testable, and open to revision. Even our most confidently held ideas may be rejected in light of adequate evidence. Yet the PACEs tell us repeatedly that their interpretation of the Bible is fixed, and if evidence seems to contradict it, then the evidence must be discarded (eg Science 1109).
This is simply not science. Of course it is a legitimate theological position, as a matter of faith, to say that the Bible is inerrant, and you may be confident, even certain, that the Bible is correct. But science cannot proceed on this basis. The scientific method cannot tell us anything while there are certain principles it is not allowed to question. Children must be taught how to weigh evidence, and how to form hypotheses.
Many Christians accept scientific evidence while maintaining their faith in the inerrancy of Scripture. Doesn’t it make more sense to interpret the Bible in light of what scientists have used their God-given abilities to discover, rather than to lie to children in order to get them to believe?
Christianity is a faith. Jesus called on us to believe in Him as a matter of faith, not evidence (John 20:19-31). Accelerated Christian Education attempts to claim that there is incontrovertible evidence for Creation (Science 1096), and use this as a basis for belief in God. This is a house of cards. If a child’s belief is based on faith, then it is not threatened by science, for the truth has nothing to fear from inquiry. But if it is based on evidence, what is left when this evidence turns out to be false? And how about when the child discovers that this evidence was known to be false long before the textbooks were written, and the writers didn’t appear to care?
And so I repeat my request: I would like an apology. I was taught falsehoods as facts, and these disadvantaged me. I have here only discussed the ones I have identified in science; there are further pieces of misinformation (and occasional racism) I found in my politics and history education as well. These would not be so bad if the PACEs allowed the discussion and debate of different points of view, but they do not. I was wronged by the education you provided, and I want an explanation. You did not write the PACEs, but you distributed and endorsed them, and therefore you are responsible for the education you provided to British ACE students.