Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Biblically Correct Tours of Science Museums

Thanks to Dangerous Intersection for the tip on this ABC News Report about a group that offers tours of Denver area places like the zoo or the museum, but do so from a "biblical perspective". Which, of course, means "wrong and utterly mistaken perspective". As far as I can tell, this does little more than poison the well for these student's future education. This is the problem with homeschooling... at some point I believe it becomes child-abuse. I don't know quite where that point is, as I mentioned here, but it's certainly doing them a disservice. Here's a lesson:

"If you want to map out life through time, the fossil record is really great for doing that," he continued. "There's a really nice record of what happened on this planet from the first real life forms we know of about 3.4 billion years ago until today."

Out on the museum floor, Jack and Carter stopped the group in front of a window display that contains samples of sandstone that have ripples created by water and fossils of ancient life. Bill Jack asked his group, "How do they date the fossil? By the layer in which they find it. They date the layer by the fossil and the fossil by the layer," he said. "That's circular reasoning."

In the next moment he stepped past and turned his back to a display on radiometric dating, the method by which scientists determine the age of rocks through the rate of decay of their natural radioactivity.

When later asked why he skipped the display, Jack said simply, "We can't cover everything."

Inside the museum's expansive bone and fossil storage room, Johnson said, "They have no clue about how accurate it is … Now it's plus or minus a tenth of a percent."

How does +/- .1% equate to "no idea how accurate it is"? I guess they haven't covered statistics in their homeschooling yet. Ha, you've got to love the chief curator's response. "Regardless of what the tour guide is saying, some of those kids are going to start thinking for themselves," says Kirk Johnson, chief curator.

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