The story behind those creationism test papers

The Blue Ridge Christian Academy 4th grade 'science' quiz that went viral.

The Blue Ridge Christian Academy 4th grade ‘science’ quiz that went viral. Click to embiggen.

You’ve probably seen these images before. They’ve been circulating around the internet for the last month or so. An American 4th grade ‘science’ test from a school that’s clearly teaching Young Earth Creationism. The student has gotten full marks, for answering the most ludicrous questions.

According to the test, dinosaurs were the size of sheep, lived with humans on a planet less than a billion years old. Fossils were caused by a ‘global flood’, and the Bible is the ‘history book of the universe’. To anyone who challenges these ideas, the child should simply ask “Where you there?”. Yeah, that’ll show ’em.

So it’s not surprising this test went viral. The claims are so ridiculous, they are ripe for condemnation. Identifying the school that supplied the test turned out to be a challenge. To the degree that even thought they could be faked (at the time of writing, it’s status is ‘Undetermined’)  – surely no school could actually be teaching that sort of stuff? But eventually Australian ex-patriot Ken Ham, President of Answers in Genesis, revealed the school in a blog post.

In South Carolina recently, a fourth-grade teacher at Blue Ridge Christian Academy (a nondenominational K–12 Christian school) showed students a DVD of a children’s program, in which AiG song-writer and dinosaur sculptor Buddy Davis and I are featured. In this DVD, we teach children the history of the universe from the Bible, with a special emphasis on teaching dinosaurs from a biblical perspective (as we do inside our Creation Museum). The teacher handed out a question sheet to the children to test what they learned from the DVD…
A friend of one of the parents who has a child enrolled in the fourth grade class posted the quiz sheets on the internet. The parent, like all parents who have children enrolled at this academy, had signed a statement, which acknowledged an understanding that sending their child to this Christian school would mean they would be taught biblical Christianity. The parent expressed dismay that his daughter was taught a biblical approach to dinosaurs. The quiz’s posting to the internet resulted in a number of atheist websites reposting the questions and answers, and many of them responded in rage and vehement attacks on the school.

If,  when Ken describes “rage and vehement attacks”, he means threats of violence or personal attacks, then that’s something I cannot condone. But I suspect he’s actually referring to people ridiculing his beliefs and criticising the brainwashing of children with nonsense. If that’s the case, it’s to be encouraged. Young Earth Creationism is something that has been so thoroughly debunked it has absolutely no place being taught in a science class. This is a timely reminder that we need to actively campaign to keep religion – especially Young Earth Creationism – out of science class.

For the full story of the Blue Ridge Christian Academy science quiz papers, including samples of the ‘attacks’ and summaries of some of the other subjects taught at the school, read The Friendly Atheist’s post.