Blue Ridge Christian Academy: The School That Gave Fourth Graders the Creationism Test Heard Around the Internet April 30, 2013

Blue Ridge Christian Academy: The School That Gave Fourth Graders the Creationism Test Heard Around the Internet

The mystery has been solved.

A few days ago, I posted images of a fourth grade science test that was circulating online:

The story was that a Reddit user had gotten the images from his friend, whose daughter attended the unnamed school. Neither of them wanted to verify the name of the school… but the material was out there, so it wouldn’t have been long before we found out. Even the stellar Snopes website was on the hunt, saying they had contacted a school that could plausibly have given the test and were awaiting confirmation.

So the search continued… until today.

Answers in Genesis President Ken Ham was happy to reveal the name of the school as he criticized atheists for “lashing out” against the school, the test, the teacher, and everyone else involved in the embarrassment:

… take a look at the following quotes to give you an idea of some of the things that have been said by secularists who are undertaking this attack on Blue Ridge Christian Academy. The school received some vicious emails from atheists.

The “vicious” emails, as Ham quotes, are mostly from people who can’t fathom that any school would actually teach this bullshit:

This science test was originally posted on r/atheism. picked it up thinking it was a hoax. Surely, no one with their wits about them would teach a child these things. Sadly, this is an actual test. This is what passes for “science” in at least one Christian school.

I truly fear for humanity.

Science is not trivial. If the school fails at science THIS dramatically (giving wrong information is worse than giving no information), how good they are with other subjects hardly makes up for it . . . I won’t get into a religious debate here but religion is not science and does not help us know about the natural world. The Bible is a [word removed] textbook on nature. Belief is not scientific and does not belong in a science class.

Ham added:

These atheists have willfully suppressed the truth that there is a Creator and that His Word is true. We need to sincerely pray that these people will come to repentance and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ before it’s too late.

Science: A conspiracy run by atheists hell-bent on discovering reality.

In the article accompanying Ham’s blog post, Ham and colleague Mark Looy explain what happened in this class:

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.

The school administrator, relatively new as the head of the academy, was shocked to find her school becoming the target of atheist attacks and even some threats. Articles on mainstream websites (like a Seattle TV station over 2,500 miles away), a UK website, and other places on the internet made the controversy grow even larger.

Now, this Christian academy is not a large school. Yet the atheists went after it with incredible fervor. The school administrator informed us she knew that the school would be involved in a spiritual battle after the quiz went public, but she was not expecting such ferocity. She told us she was shocked at the level of hate that the atheists poured down upon her, the teacher, and the school in general.

Obviously, no one is condoning hate against the school’s administrators or teachers. But criticism against a perversion of science? Absolutely. Keep it coming. And that’s what I saw across the Internet — jaws dropping everywhere over the fact that this is what passed for science in an American school (albeit a private Christian one), that kids were being brainwashed by Christian educators who have no respect for evidence or the scientific method, that this student was being led to believe she’s a good science student when in fact she’s probably learning very little about it.

Blue Ridge’s curriculum doesn’t hide what it teaches young children, either:

Science lessons are creation-based, student-centered and hands-on. Topics covered in the elementary grades lay the foundation for the sciences taught in middle and high school. Students are exposed to the natural resources surrounding us as well as the best of other resources and publications.

History is no better:

Our students are taught history in light of Christ’s supremacy.

Incidentally, I had contacted Blue Ridge’s administrators last week when trying to figure out which school was responsible for this test. Neither Administrator Diana Baker nor Board President Joy Hartsell responded to my inquiry.

However, one of the other school I contacted did respond to me. The administrator there said the test wasn’t theirs, but it might as well have been:

Dear Sir,

This particular student is NOT from our school… I would have to say that we completely agree with Mr. Ken Ham and his stand on a young earth. Like the school in the article, we firmly stand behind our beliefs. As the parents, knowing our stands, choose to send their students to our school, we do not apologize for our beliefs, nor what we teach to each student.

As an institution, we applaud the courage of this particle school to stand up for the cause of Christ.

So, yes, Blue Ridge Christian Academy lies to children about science and history and who knows what else. But they’re not alone.

I get why Christian parents would want to send their children to a school like this — it keeps them in a bubble and withholds the truth about the world that other students are exposed to from a young age. But for parents like the friend of the Redditor who posted the quiz online, this was a surprise. Ken Ham was right about one thing: None of this should have been news to the parents. It’s their responsibility to send their children to quality schools instead of ones like this, that use Ken Ham’s curriculum.

I’ll continue to stay in touch with the Redditor and his friend to see if there’s any pushback from the school over this. But really, the damage is done. I hope he pulls his daughter out of that horrible school next fall.

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