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Blinding You With Science Class

28 Apr

french modelLet’s be very careful here. At first glance, this horrifying story brought to us by an alert but anonymous reader, looks like a trap.

As we know, sometimes the French model you met on the Internet is not a French model, and often snippets shared on Facebook can backfire on you. We all snap it up as evidence that someone (Sarah Palin, President Obama, the NRA, the Catholic Church) has said or done something unbelievably stupid, and then it turns out that the snippet is false, and now we’re the ones who look stupid for sharing it.

Like the other day I saw someone post a three year-old image of the Obamas saluting the flag with the wrong hand over their hearts. Further evidence that Obama hates America, was born in Kenya, wants to take your guns, and eats babies, yes?

No. All you have to do is google a couple of key phrases and you end up on Snopes.com, where the photo was debunked years ago. Apparently a similar photo was done of Tom Daschle back in 2003, but with less effort – his wedding ring was on the wrong hand, his buttons on his coat were on the wrong side – and so it was easy to see that it was simply a mirror image of a real photo.

The Obama image was also doctored, but far more carefully. They moved the ring, moved the buttons, and were in general very, very careful in putting together their destructive, anti-American lie which they then distributed around as evidence that the Obamas were destructive anti-Americans.

But they missed a few things – medals on a soldier’s coat in the background, the part in Michelle’s hair – and it became very easy to see that the image was mirrored and then photoshopped from a real picture of the Obamas with the correct hands over their hearts.

At a ceremony observing 9/11. That’s the level of reverence the photo-fixers have for America, dudes. They took a photo from a 9/11 ceremony, made a lie out of it, and then tons of Republicans snapped it up and made their hilarious Republican noises while they humped its leg.

Anyway, not too hard to get the truth out of it. Like taking toast from a hamster, one might say. So on that note, let’s be careful about this image, yes?

Science Quiz

Already I’m suspicious. I would expect a 4th grade science quiz to say the teacher’s name, or the chapter number, or practically anything except “4th Grade Science Quiz.” So my first impression of this was, “Probably not.”

Well, let’s see what Snopes has to say. Here’s their article on it, which has it still up in the air. They had the same obvious problems with it, but then they were contacted by someone who said he was the father of the student who took the test. This guy even provided the hilarious second page – which I got from google, not from Snopes, because Snopes sort of yells at us there about not taking their stuff. Calm down, Snopes, it’s not your quiz either, right?

Scienc Quiz page two

The questions and answers are face-palmers, that is for sure. The parent declined to reveal the school until the end of the year, for fear that the student would get suspended, or hollered at, or possibly burned at the stake as a witch, and I don’t blame him. But again, we’re suspicious, aren’t we? The mystery source of the mystery test from the mystery school.

Sure, but, I don’t think that we’re worried about this particular student; her dad already said he corrected the error – or ball of errors. I think that if you’re alarmed by this photo, you’re alarmed that it represents a real trend playing itself out in some rural schools like a live action Simpsons bit. Whether or not this particular test is real barely matters. What matters is, do people teach this at all?

In particular, that last question – What do you say when people claim the Earth is billions of years old? The accepted answer is “Were you there?”

Notice that the kid got a 100% but she forgot the question mark. Back in my day, we rode buses to school as opposed to dinosaurs, and we lost a little credit if we forgot punctuation marks. Still, one has to wonder – does anyone really think that’s a reasonable reply to someone claiming the Earth is billions of years old?

Yes. Ken Ham, for example – president and CEO (which cracks me up) of Answers In Genesis – US. That’s all he does is go around reminding people to ask scientists if they were there billions of years ago to verify the Earth’s age. And if you weren’t there, then I guess you’ll have to take Ken Ham’s word for it that it’s only a few thousand years old, even though you also weren’t there thousands of years ago, and neither was Ken Ham.

I love how Mister Ham gets defensive right off the bat on his website. The first Frequently Asked Question is Can Creationists Be Real Scientists? Mister Ham’s reply:

“Many secular and atheist groups mock Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum for not being scientific. However, some of the most influential scientists past and present have been and are creationists (see below).”

Comes right out and says he’s used to getting mocked, which is nice, and not just because it’s good to hear that folks are appropriately mocking him.

mad scientistIt’s also nice because there is only one type of scientist known for saying things like “They mocked me, thought I was mad, but I showed them, I showed them all!”

Well, that’s just mad scientists, right? Who else opens with that?

To be fair, he does show us a list of people who have degrees, and I think a list of people on your website is as good as peer review, isn’t it?

No, it’s really not. And also, you don’t find a lot of respected, peer-reviewed scientists headlining their work “Am I really a scientist? Or am I a hilarious nut case? Here’s a list of folks I know who will vouch for me.”

“Were you there?”

That’s the new Inherit the Wind moment? That’s your modern, philosophical stance?

SCIENCEWe don’t know because we weren’t there? Hell, we barely even know if there was a Holocaust by that version of the scientific method. Shit, you guys know there was a Holocaust, right? I’m not even going to google Mister Ham and The Holocaust, although if you’re starting a band, that’s what you should name it.

As for the specific test, I’m going to make a prediction, and we should find out more in June, when the Mystery Source reveals the Mystery School. I think the quiz is real, and that Mister Ham or someone like him has a general curriculum book out there with general tests and quizzes for anyone who wants to teach Christian Science, Ham-Style, and I think that’s why it’s so general – 4th Grad Science Quiz.

Do I think it’s a big deal? Not to me, I haven’t been writing checks to the Mystery School. But I’ll bet it’s a big deal to the Mystery Source. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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Earlier: Kirk Cameron and the Art of Asshattery

 

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