Pseudoscience I was taught at a British creationist school

Sep 27, 2014

Image credit: Gerben Oppermans/Getty

By Jonny Scaramanga

Students at Accelerated Christian Education schools don’t graduate with GCSEs or A levels: they complete the International Certificate of Christian Education. As BBC Newsnight pointed out last month, the ICCE is unrecognised by the qualifications authority for England, Ofqual. Nevertheless, according to responses to Freedom of Information requests received by the British Humanist Association in recent weeks, four universities – Bath, Cardiff, Essex and Nottingham – recognise the ICCE as an entrance qualification.

I went to an Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) school from the age of 11 to 14, and I can think of many reasons why this kind of education is a poor preparation for university. I spent half of every school day alone in a cubicle, working silently through PACEs (Packets of Accelerated Christian Education) – workbooks that incorporate religious instruction into every academic subject, for example teaching that evolution is a hoax.

These bastions of fundamentalism have been operating in Britain since the early 1980s. In 2010 the BBC reported that there were 60 in the UK.

In 2012 I began a PhD studying ACE, and discovered that little had changed since I left in 1999. I have campaigned against ACE, with some success. The shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt has described its stance on homosexuality as “dangerous” and “backwards”; the Advertising Standards Authority ruled last month that some ACE schools were mis-selling their qualifications; and the pressfinally noticed they were teaching that wives must submit to their husbands.


 

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20 comments on “Pseudoscience I was taught at a British creationist school

  • The kids attending these types of schools are being seriously disadvantaged when it comes to the prospect of a future career. Kudus to the poster on being able to rise above it, but pity all those not blessed with the sort of enquiring mind needed to search for better information.

    A similar thought passed through my mind recently when a news clip showed boys studying the Qu’ran in their newly established Islamic school. Their education was exclusively centred on this pursuit. What sort of careers will be available to them on leaving school? Are they going to fill the ranks of the professions? I think not. They’ll be forced into lower level, lowly- paid employment fostering further resentment.



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  • 3
    Miserablegit says:

    First thing that needs to be done here is to stop universities recognising the international certificate of Christian education, such a thing will always be an oxymoron. Then the UK government has to shut down the propaganda ministries disguised as schools and say that there is no place for this sort of nonsense in our education system or more and more children are going to have their lives ruined.



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  • @OP – I spent half of every school day alone in a cubicle, working silently through PACEs (Packets of Accelerated Christian Education) – workbooks that incorporate religious instruction into every academic subject,

    These are designed as swot-boxes to achieve examination results by rote learning, along with indoctrination.

    They seem to have the objective of socially isolating the children except in their religious gatherings.

    This will produce the appearance of academic success to impress gullible parents, while producing social cripples. Some private schools have been doing this for years to a lesser extent.



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  • This sacrifices whole lives. I rarely use the word wicked, but this is wicked. And Abrahamic in its most literal meaning. Sons and daughters led up a mountain and offered up.

    I hope we might see stronger kids, aware off this betrayal of their trust sue both parents and “”educators””.

    Sorry, make that “parents”.

    And sorry too you libertarian types. Kids are not property as you should well know. The state has a clear duty here.



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  • 7
    inquisador says:

    I thought these schools were confined to the US.

    My vote is with the rest of us: sounds like there should be an inquiry, followed by closure of these places if they are as bad this.



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  • inquisador Sep 28, 2014 at 7:30 am

    I thought these schools were confined to the US.

    My vote is with the rest of us: sounds like there should be an inquiry, followed by closure of these places if they are as bad this.

    There is a whole spectrum of school systems which have had loopholes in the supervision systems deliberately put in them by Tory-twits seeking opportunities for privileges, ideologies, and religions, to be inserted into schools.

    They gawp in amazement, when when other people take advantage of the loopholes they deliberately inserted in legislation to be used by their own supporters.

    This can be seen in the Islamist “Trojan Horse” scandal in Bradford which looks like it is going to surface elsewhere!



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  • Are there not associations of alumni of these few universities, who could apply pressure to them ? Not sure if there is any tradition of alumni donating funds to their alma mater in the UK (as there is in N. America and perhaps other places) but if so, vocal opposition to this might have some effect.



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  • Perhaps some properly educated scientists need to explain to some of the “politically correct”, in these universities, that academic freedom does not include the freedom to make up your own “facts”!



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  • …make up your own “facts”!

    Exhibit A from OP: Physical Science book 1114 – Earth was once surrounded (maybe) by a hydrogen canopy, bathing the world in pink light and stimulating the process of norepinephrine.

    I.e., goD, in his perfection, conjured pink light so mankind could feel groovy morn, noon, night. Textbook example of how creationists link the bible and science.

    I’ll take cognitive dissonance for $200 Alex…



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  • bonnie Sep 28, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    …make up your own “facts”!

    Exhibit A from OP: Physical Science book 1114 – Earth was once surrounded (maybe) by a hydrogen canopy, bathing the world in pink light

    Perhaps it provided an artistic contrast with the nitrogen tinted blue-rinse of the oceans! Those angels on the celestial spheres must really have fancied the latest fashion in colours!

    and stimulating the process of norepinephrine.

    OOOOOoooo! that’s a nice big sciency sounding word which should really impress those too dim to know the difference between planetary accretion and medicine!

    http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/norepinephrine



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  • Braterman points out, hydrogen is transparent in the visible part of the spectrum, there is no such thing as “pink light”

    This could have been better expressed. Early hadean skies were possibly pink because of the hydrogen still fluxing out into outer space. Hydrogen dicharges at low pressures are decidedly pink. (The Balmer series of red blue.)This is likely to occur under hadean conditions.

    But still that was 4 billion years ago a bit before norepinephrine and adrenal glands.

    These latter are stimulated by light as part of the circadian clock, but the specific colour that generates “daytime” signals is 482nm (turquoise) where some non imaging retinal glial cells peak. Our current sky colour tuned us in to this.



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  • ” Garbage in, garbage out” as George Carlin said.
    Religion is indoctrination into intolerance, whether it’s ” christianity, islam etc.
    It’s never been about education.



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  • But the truth will out. If they’re embarking on degrees in Biology or Physics or anything that relies on those sciences they’ll simply hit brick walls the entire way through, ending up with a fail.

    Are these universities particularly low down on the funding list or do they have places empty each new term? Why on earth would they start accepting students without proper qualifications? It’s not really fair to them is it.



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  • This can be seen in the Islamist “Trojan Horse” scandal in Bradford which looks like it is going to surface elsewhere!

    Meanwhile some time later – back in Bradford!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-29613448

    There are still significant problems at the five Birmingham schools placed into special measures following concerns about a hard-line Islamist takeover.

    England’s schools watchdog Ofsted says the action plans are still “not fit for purpose” in some of the five.

    At one, “staff do not trust each other”, it says. And “safeguarding remains a serious concern” at another.

    The trust, which runs three of the schools, said it was “determined to maintain rapid and sustained progress”.

    The five schools were inspected – on an unannounced basis – between the 8 and 12 September, and in some cases new governors and heads had only just started work.

    ‘Very little action’

    Inspectors raised concerns it had taken too much time to appoint new governors and senior leaders at these schools.

    This meant “very little action” had been taken to address the serious concerns raised about their performance.

    In a letter to the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw said “too much poor practice remained unchallenged during the summer term”.

    While plans had been put in place to improve the curriculum at each of the five schools, they often lacked the detail required to ensure that effective action would be taken to “actively promote” fundamental British values and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs.

    For example, in Golden Hillock School, religious education GCSE students had to teach themselves for options other than Islam.

    In one case, at Park View Academy, “little had been done” to tackle segregation between the sexes and encourage boys and girls to sit together in lessons and share ideas, inspectors warned.

    It should be no surprise that the divisions and pressures which led to the problems outlined in reports published by the Department for Education, Ofsted, the Education Funding Agency and Birmingham city council, still exist.

    Each found evidence that staff had come under pressure from parents and governors with strongly held religious beliefs, and in some cases had forced changes to the curriculum which made them resemble faith schools, when in fact they were state-funded secular ones.

    At an event last month I saw a former governor at one of the schools in a heated argument with one of the new trustees who had taken over. Two weeks ago, police had to be called to another school, after a head teacher was confronted by a group of parents who objected to elements of the PSHE (personal, social and health education) syllabus.



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