The Loch Ness Monster, also known affectionately as “Nessie,” is a continuously debated creature that proponents claim resides in Loch Ness, a body of water in Scotland. While scientists dismiss the dinosaur-like monster’s presence as mere myth, those who embrace it believe that Nessie may be a plesiosaur, a meat-eating reptile that existed — according to experts — millions of years ago and somehow, unlike its other ancestors, lives on.
This week, a Christian Biology textbook is raising eyebrows, as it purportedly tells students that Nessie is real and that the sea creature may serve as prime evidence to corroborate creationism.
It’s no secret that the Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) program embraces creationism, but its Biology 1099 book that sits at the center of this controversy takes this belief a bit further that some evangelicals would support. In fact, it allegedly embraces the notion that Nessie is a modern-day dinosaur and that she is a missing-link of sorts in the creationism vs. evolution battle.
“Are dinosaurs alive today? Scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence,” reads the alleged content of the Biology book. “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.”
Obviously, this is enough to send atheists and anyone who rejects creationism into a tizzy. But the situation becomes even more complicated in states like Louisiana, where education reform laws mean that students may be sent with public voucher money to private schools that use the ACE curriculum.
In fact, one school, Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake, is at the center of the controversy, as it uses the curriculum and will be receiving state funds next year for students to attend (there is no definitive evidence that this particular biology book is being used to teach these tenets at the school, though). The response to this has been intense to say the least.
“This is where support of vouchers is leading us — to the public paying for a child to learn that the Loch Ness Monster was a dinosaur and co-existed with humans,” writes Valerie Strauss in a Washington Post op-ed. “This is important to Young Earth Creationists, who believe that Earth was created no longer than 10,000 years ago, not the 4.5 billion years estimated by science. They also believe that dinosaurs were on Noah’s Ark.”
Even some on the evangelical side disagree with the way in which the textbook handles the issue. The Christian Post has more about the opposition to the use of Nessie to back creationism:
Casey Luskin, a research coordinator with the Discovery Institute, is currently writing an intelligent design textbook titled, “Discovering Intelligent Design,” which will likely be published later this year. The textbook is purely scientific, he says, and won’t contain any Bible verses as evidence.
Luskin believes that it is unwise for ACE to use the Loch Ness Monster as evidence.
“Anytime you’re invoking Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster as evidence for your position, that’s not a very good route to go,” Luskin told The Christian Post on Tuesday.
He says there is a difference between creationism, which starts with the Bible and then looks at data, and intelligent design, which uses data as its starting point for research. Young earth creationism also differs in that it views the Earth as being only a few thousand years old, he says, while intelligent design theorists accept “the conventional geological time scale.”
The debate over creationism and evolution is nothing new. While some may dislike the notion that Nessie is being heralded as a key to proving evolution is a farce, the real issue at the center of the debate seems to be whether taxpayer dollars should go to these schools. In the end, though, this is just another notch in the ongoing debate over the origins of man and how this issue should be communicated to impressionable minds.
ACE hasn’t yet responded to the controversy.
(H/T: Christian Post)