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Yesterday, I began a series on DailyKos noting the explicitly dominionist curricula package "A-Beka"--which is one of three or four curricula packages used in "Christian Homeschooling" and private schools run by dominionist churches.

Due to the length of the essay, we were only able to post the first part--and today, we continue our exploration of Dominionist Curricula 101--specifically by reviewing the science (and that term is to be taken lightly) and language arts sections of the curricula.

Now, on to the bit everyone is talking about (A-Beka's "science" curriculum--yes, there's a reason I use quotes on that!)
Science/Health
It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. --Proverbs 25:2

Science is the study of God's order, provision, and reasonableness as revealed in His physical creation.

While secular science textbooks present modern science as the opposite of faith, the A Beka Book science texts teach that modern science is the product of Western man's return to the Scriptures after the Protestant Reformation, leading to his desire to understand and subdue the earth, which he saw as the orderly, law-abiding creation of the God of the Bible.

The A Beka Book Science and Health Program presents the universe as the direct creation of God and refutes the man-made idea of evolution. Further, the books present God as the Great Designer and Lawgiver, without Whom the evident design and laws of nature would be inexplicable. They give a solid foundation in all areas of science -- a foundation firmly anchored to Scriptural truth. Teachability is assured through accurate, interesting writing, carefully planned demonstrations that can be performed with a minimum of equipment, chapter terms and questions, full-color illustrations, consideration of the interests and comprehension skills of students at each grade level, and detailed Curriculum / Lesson Plans.


There is so much with this that is pure bovine excrement (such as a level that even Hercules himself would have trouble clearing the stables of it!) that it's not funny (and has required me to split this to a two-part post in its original format in Dark Christianity!). I will begin best as I can, however:

a) Science, not even modern science, is "against God" or "against faith". Many scientists--much like the alchemists of earlier times--see their scientific work as a way of finding how God does his thing, and actually finding science renewing of their religious faith.  (At the end of this section, I'll detail a little bit about one of those folks, paleontologist and minister Robert Bakker.)

What science does teach is the specific testing of a theory--based on available evidence--and, if the evidence shows the theory doesn't fit, changing the theory. (This is, incidentially, EXACTLY what mainstream Christians and Jews and Moslems do! Even the Catholic Church--based on the evidence--at least partially accepts evolution, even if they feel it was directed by God; the dominionist groups are quite literally the only branches of Christianity that are holding onto young-earth, 7-day creationism even despite reams of evidence to the contrary. Most of the rest of us accept the scribes of ancient Israel didn't know of microbes, Archaeopteryx et al and move on.)

As dominionist groups that use A-Beka--and the A-Beka curriculum itself--is a heavily dominionist and even borderline Christian Reconstructionist educational curriculum, scientific testing (either in the case of mathematical proofs, as noted above, or scientific proofs of theories based on evidence) cannot be tolerated because the basic theology holds everything in the Bible as being not only inerrant but literally dictated by God Himself. To entertain the concept of even questioning things like whether God meant "seven days" or "seven ages" (much less HOW he created the animals and plants and whatnot) is considered literal blasphemy and (in some circles) even "allowing footholds for demons of rebellion"; if you remove the plank of young-earth creationism, not only does the whole theological stack of cards come down, but--even more dangerously for dominionist groups--one begins testing things and logically thinking.

Dominionist groups--and in fact all coercive religious groups--actively discourage independent thinking. (In most dominionist groups it's actually denounced as Satanic in some form; at best you are told you are "walking by sight" and not "walking by faith", and very frequently one is told one is either being oppressed by "demons of doubt" or is "allowing footholds for Satan to enter your life and steal your salvation".) If one thinks independently, one can compare, and realise that the situation is harmful; the recommended technique in dominionist groups if one is starting to doubt things (like the Bible's inerrancy) is to pray even harder and read the Bible even more.

These are all classic coercive tactics--as noted, the curriculum itself is designed to essentially work as a form or extension of existing "thought reform" techniques practiced by dominionist groups--as documented here:

5. SACRED SCIENCE. The group's perspective is absolutely true and completely adequate to explain EVERYTHING. The doctrine is not subject to amendments or question. ABSOLUTE conformity to the doctrine is required.

and also:
7. DOCTRINE OVER PERSON. Pre-group experience and group experience are narrowly and decisively interpreted through the absolute doctrine, even when experience contradicts the doctrine.

(emphasis mine)

Any sort of "reality testing" is specifically discouraged in coercive religious groups, including dominionist groups; it is not a surprise that it is explicitly discouraged here.

(As a lot of the tactics that are used over and over again by spiritually abusive groups, I will be doing a series on that as well.  So much of what goes on in dominionism--the isolation and indoctrination of kids, religiously motivated child abuse, the entire "parallel economy" which exists--is so bound up in what amounts to massive spiritual abuse that there can be little understanding of "hard-core" dominionism without backgrounder on this.)

b) The science curriculum is blatantly dominionist (in terms of theology).

One of the lines here--specifically the bit about subduing the earth--is a blatant giveaway that the curriculum, here as in the rest of it, is blatantly dominionist.

Most of you know this already, but I'll go ahead and refresh for those new here. The term "dominionism"--and the specific "code phrase" they're using--both are referring to the same Bible verses, Genesis 1:26:

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

(original emphasis in Wikipedia entry on dominionism)

The sentiment is made even more explicit two verses down, Genesis 1:28:

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
(emphasis mine)

I have heard the latter verse literally used both as biblical justification for dominionism (in particular, the "deliverance ministry" and "spiritual warfare" sorts of dominionism) and as biblical justification for destruction of the environment.

On the latter point, there is actually a new book on the subject--Stephanie Hendricks has just published Divine Destruction: Dominion Theology and American Environmental Policy which goes much further into the subject of how dominion theology, and in particular premillenial dispensationalist "Rapture Theory", plays into stuff related to the "Wise Use" movement. Seattle Weekly has excerpts from the book here, including this relevant bit:

The precise link between the environment and dominion theology lies in a popular interpretation of a well-known passage from the Bible's book of Genesis: "God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." (The passage was, according to the dominion theologists, written by Moses, along with the rest of the book of Genesis, in 1445 B.C.)

After a discussion of "Creation Care" and other evangelical Christian environmentalist efforts, the article notes in specific relation to dominion theology:
However, there are those who take the Genesis passage to mean something entirely different: that man has the right to rule over the natural world and use it (or use it up) as he sees fit. This view, when combined with the belief that the End Times are near, leads some to believe that either there is no need to take care of the environment, or, alternatively, that actively exhausting the environment will speed the Second Coming.

As a Counterpunch.org report by Joe Bageant puts it, "Reconstructionist doctrine calls for the scrapping of environmental protection of all kinds, because there will be no need for this planet earth once The Rapture occurs." Or, as noted environmental reporter Glenn Scherer has observed, "Many Christian fundamentalists feel that concern for the future of our planet is irrelevant, because it has no future. They believe we are living in the End Time, when the son of God will return, the righteous will enter heaven, and sinners will be condemned to eternal hellfire. They may also believe, along with millions of other Christian fundamentalists, that environmental destruction is not only to be disregarded but actually welcomed--even hastened--as a sign of the coming Apocalypse." Although this may sound like the extremist views of a fringe group, the belief in the End Times scenario spelled out in the Bible's book of Revelation is actually widespread. In fact, a solid majority of Americans believe it, if recent polls are to be believed. A Time/CNN poll conducted in 2002 reported that over 59 percent of Americans take the prophecies of Revelation literally. A 2004 Newsweek poll put it at over 55 percent. For the majority of Americans, in other words, there is an obvious lack of incentive to preserve the environment, particularly amongst those who believe that Revelation's guaranteed ending will happen soon. Why concern yourself with fossil fuels or their emissions? Or destroying the greenbelt habitat, so crucial for climate and species protection? Why worry about what to do with hazardous waste or nuclear waste? For that matter, why even worry about the use of nuclear weapons?


The book even mentions this being a major problem in the context of dominionist curricula:
It is a problem, especially as Reconstructionist and dominionist ideas continue to be promulgated, that will only get worse with time. Indeed, as Glenn Scherer has pointed out, Christian children are often reared on Reconstructionist textbooks, among them America's Providential History, which teaches that:
The Christian knows that the potential in God is unlimited and that there is no shortage of resources in God's Earth. The resources are waiting to be tapped. . . . The secular or socialist has a limited resource mentality and views the world as a pie . . . that needs to be cut up so everyone can get a piece.

This belief alone--which is being fed to an unknown number of schoolchildren--teaches that the world's resources are sufficient, that there is no need to protect or fret about the environment. The dominionist paradigm talks of "limited resource mentality," as if environmentalists lacked a proper imagination. As the textbook explains further: "While many secularists view the world as overpopulated, Christians know that God has made the earth sufficiently large with plenty of resources to accommodate all of the people."

(Sadly, the amount of kids being taught this is far from being non-negligible; many homeschool associations have been hijacked by dominionists, and aside from the large dominionist correspondence-school industry there are also a large number of private schools using this material--including, notably, most neopentecostal "nondenominational" megachurches, the Assemblies of God (the largest pentecostal denomination worldwide with anywhere between a million to two million members worldwide; the largest single church congregation in the world is a South Korean Assemblies church with a claimed membership of over 780,000 members alone, mostly through satellite churches), and--increasingly--some Southern Baptist school systems.  It's entirely possible that over a million kids in North America, mostly in the US, are being taught using these curricula.)

(Also, as an aside, I am preparing a review of "America's Providential History" myself, to be posted at a later date.)

c) The book promotes a flavour of creationism seen as extreme even in most Christian circles.

Per Talk.origins, there is confirmation that A-Beka books explicitly teach 7-day young-earth creationism. As I've noted previously, just about the only groups pushing the whole "world made in 6 days and then God took Saturday off" theory are religious groups affiliated with dominionism.

In fact, people who were taught using the curriculum also confirm the promotion of "7-day young-earth creation".

Most Christian groups either endorse (if creationist at all in the traditional sense) either "old earth" creationism (aka creationism that fits the geneological record) or some flavour of evolution (either "directed evolution" where God set up evolution as the method of creation and gave friendly nudges now and again--this is the flavour the Catholic church has accepted so far--or traditional evolution with God giving the "spark of life"). Talk.origins has a wonderful series of FAQs regarding the matter.

As it is, one of the interesting predictions of the theory of evolution--one that has been proven scientifically--is the concept of genes (ironically originally discovered by Gregor Mendel, who was a monk working with various breeds of pea in attempts at hybridisation, and the ultimate basis being found in chromosomes and genes later).

Another interesting prediction--recently proven in rather spectacular fashion--is the concept of "transitional species"--aka species evolving from a common ancestor that show changes over time. This has been observed so far in not just microbes, but with fruit flies even without geological records.

Most of us know about the various sorts of "cavemen" and australopithecines; very recently (within the past three years) an absolutely astounding number of remarkable dinosaur finds have been found with feathers and, in particular, lots of transitional forms between Archaeopteryx-like birds and dromaeosaurs (like Velociraptor and Deinonychus) and feathers (and other birdy traits, like four-chambered hearts and most recently birdlike "bellows" lungs) have been found in dinosaurs that are rather more removed from birds.

The Chinese dinosaur remains are especially interesting as many of the dinosaurs (including groups like oviraptors that aren't as related to Archaeopteryx as, say, velociraptors) were literally brooding like chickens when they died (and in fact, reportedly a brooding dromaeosaur--the same group that Velociraptor is in--has been reported as well, in an almost identical manner as brooding oviraptors); there have also been relatives of velociraptors (Microraptor gui) found that have flight feathers on all four limbs, showing for the first time that both the ancestors of Archie and Velociraptor (and Sinornithosaurus, one of the other feathered dromies found) were feathered and that birds probably evolved from gliders. (In fact, a very recent paper that has re-studied Archaeopteryx has found that it, too, was a "four-winged" protobird much like Microraptor gui, indicating that Archie is not all that far from being a "gliding raptor" itself.)

We now actually have an almost complete transitional series between Archaeopteryx and Utahraptor (the largest of the dromaeosaurs)--and enough fossils of non-flying dinosaurs with very birdy traits (including, most recently, a feathered tyrannosaur named Dilong paradoxus that is a very basal tyrannosaurid; also, the first "feathered dino" found, Sinosauropteryx, is a small compsognathid--a relatively basal theropod dinosaur; in the same finds it was discovered that theriziniosaurs were in fact theropods and quite feathery (if anything, they looked like rather birdy ground sloths, and it appears they had roughly the same evolutionary niche too); and finally, a non-theropod dinosaur has been found with feathers (a psittasaur, a branch of dinosaurs related to Triceratops and other ceratopsians--has been found with feather "quills" resembling porcupine quills or display feathers of some birds)--that even ornithologists who've resisted the idea (and been believers in the theory of evolution, but theorising Archaeopteryx was something other than a dinosaur) are now starting to come around to the idea that modern birds are the last surviving dinosaurs.  

(A rough analogy with modern critters is if every lineage of mammals with the exception of insectivorous bats went extinct--including you, dogs, duckbilled platypuses, cows, and even fruit-eating bats.  That's pretty much what happened with dinosaurs, paleontologists think--all of them went extinct save for the dinosaurian analogue of "insectivorous bats", which we know know as ostriches and sparrows and ducks and chicken and peacocks and parrots and such.)

(Yes, I am an unashamed paleontology geek. :)  I'm also one of those folks who finds paleontology enhances one's spirituality, so to speak.)

Of course, some creationists (including young-earth creationists) think that the scientists are deliberately making fossils (yes, I have heard this seriously argued) or that God put them there to "test our faith" or even that dinosaurian remains are "lies of Satan".

d) The books give an inaccurate description of science history, and of history period.

Firstly, they claim man "returned to the Scriptures after the Protestant Reformation", again pointing to their belief (mentioned in the last article) on how supposedly Catholics and Eastern Orthodox are not Christians at all (by the way, this is why dominionist chaplains in the military are targeting even Iraqi Catholics and Iraqi Orthodox for conversion, even though the chaplains' own religious tradition is not yet 100 years old and the Iraqis' are closer to 2000).

Secondly, many of the people who were practicing scientists were Deists or alchemists who were actively trying to puzzle out how God created things (in the specific case of the alchemists, in hopes of getting closer to God); also, much of the practices in alchemy were pre-Christian (sometimes substantially so; many religious and philosophical groups that descended from alchemical colleges trace their history back to ancient Greece or even Egypt, and there is a fair amount of historical record to back this up; Hermes Trigesimus, for instance, is an ancient representation in alchemy that is obviously derived from Hermes, and has also in some alchemical traditions been equated with the Egyptian Ptah). A great deal of alchemical imagery was specifically wrapped up in Christian imagery to protect its practitioners from being burned as witches or sorcerors (a very real risk in those times).

Thirdly, many of the philosophies represented by dominionists as "getting back with God post-Reformation" are in fact very recent innovations; in fact, for instance, the entire concept of the Rapture has only been in Christian theology since the late 1800s.

Now, mind, this is just my criticism on the bits regarding evolution. Their "health" texts essentially tell kids not to stick their naughty bits in anything till they're married and to not even THINK of admitting you're gay. :P Public health authorities in general have already stated their mortification at the sort of "preventative health" taught in A-Beka's courses et al.  (With the statements on LGBT individuals in particular, most non-dominionist health associations have in fact condemned it, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and practically every group offering accreditation in psychiatry, psychology, or sociology; in fact, with quite a few of these groups (the American Psychological Association in particular) accreditation can be revoked for promoting "de-gaying therapy" (and in most states, this means effectively they lose their license).  Dominionists have pushed their own dominionist run "alternate" accreditation boards as a result--the "American College of Pediatricians" is a dominionist-run "parallel economy" alternative to the legit AAP and is pushing for recognition in states as an accreditation board for purposes of licensure, and NARTH has been pushing to be recognised as an alternate accrediting board (for purposes of state licensure) for psychiatry and psychology (even though ministers can join NARTH with no formal training in social work or psychology whatsoever).)

Needless to say, again, it's not exactly shocking why University of California sees this as unfit.

As a minor aside: This is an example of how dominionists will even happily damn other Christians in the interests of pushing an agenda.  One of the paleontologists that has done the most in regards to advancement of our views of dinosaurs is Robert Bakker (the famous paleontologist and author of the book "The Dinosaur Heresies" which--in large part--kickstarted much of the modern revolution of dinosaur science (including, among other things, the eventual realisation that birds are in fact surviving dinosaurs)).

One of the things less well known in the press is that Robert Bakker is actually an ordained minister (in fact, according to several sources he may in fact be a pentecostal minister though it's uncertain what denomination he's affiliated with--based on some of his views, I'm willing to bet he is more involved with an evangelical or moderate charismatic group rather than, say, the Assemblies of God et al, especially seeing as the Assemblies are per their own statement of faith young-earth creationist).

Robert Bakker does believe in evolution (in fact, he was one of the earliest proponents of birds being descended from dinosaurs, and even of birds being a surviving group of dinosaurs), and in fact (during a crisis of faith) referred to no less than the works of St. Augustine himself to work through this--realising that Christianity and evolution aren't incompatible:

Bakker sees little conflict between religion and science. A Pentecostal preacher, he says scientists and creationists alike would do well to read Augustine, the fifth century scholar and source of much of the Christian tradition and belief. In addition to studying textual revelation, Augustine sought to interpret the scriptures in light of natural revelation. "And after reading Genesis and thinking about it he came up with the conclusion that the story in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 was not a simple historical sequence of events. It just couldn't be. It's not what the words meant. It just wasn't."

Of note, Bakker also regularly conducts talks at theological seminaries regarding the important part that moderate Christianity and even pastors have had in promoting and preserving science including specifically the study of evolution:

(re a planned update to his book "The Dinosaur Heresies")

Another new section describes the important -- but largely unheralded -- work of the Reverend Edward Hitchcock, a prominent Protestant theologian of the early nineteenth century. Hitchcock, who discovered and analyzed dinosaur footprints, concluded that dinosaurs were "prehistoric ground birds." And even more than that, Bakker says, Hitchcock, a pastor, preached that "these discoveries in the rocks ... agreed with the best interpretations of Genesis. Today, in the year 2000, this rich history, this rich intertwined story of Old Testament scholars and rock scholars is just about forgotten."

Bakker is even writing a book about theology and science:
Bob is currently working on Bones, Bibles, and Creation, a book about "how theology -- good, solid Biblical theology -- went hand in hand with the discovery of fossils and deep time. The press certainly doesn't realize that."

Bakker doesn't shy away from debating on a theological level, either; in fact, he was one of the major pro-evolution participants in an online moderated debate against persons involved with a group called "Creation Moments".  (Notably, the debate eventually had to be shut down after dominionists attempted to disrupt it and attempted character assassination against the pro-evolution speakers--after refusing to remain on topic for the debate and having been called on it by the debate moderators.)

Bakker, during this debate, posted a wonderful essay called The Pope's Velociraptor--And The KKK which is a wonderful example of "spiritual science" in action--and also gives you a taste for the kind of talks he does for theological seminaries.  

And no less than Bakker--an ordained charismatic minister himself--states that creationism needs to stay in comparative religion classes and evolution in science classes:

A few anti-Darwinists insist that "Evolution=Atheism." Hey - the Pope John Paul II was NOT an atheist!

And that's why we should be careful about creationism in public schools. Catholic-Protestant tensions color the creation-evolution debate. Our country did go through a sad period of anti-Catholic bias. When the KKK marched in Indiana in the Depression, they were against integration, Jews, Darwin and.....Catholics. Some of today's anti-Darwin feeling began when Protestants linked evolution to those "Pointy-headed Modernists, Papal heretics and the Whore of Babylon." I heard that growing up in the 1950's.

A simple proposal: discuss various brands of creationism in philosophy classes and in the history of religion. All kids should learn about our diverse religious heritage.

Put Darwinism when it belongs. In science classes.

Velociraptor belongs to everyone - Catholics, Unitarians, Southern Baptists, Holy Rollers. And threatens no one's real theology.


(As an aside, Robert Bakker is one of those Christians this old pagan deeply respects :3)

Also, incidentially, Bakker's essay "The Pope's Velociraptor" has been posted on Christian Forums--where the respondents even note (in a bit of shock--"Christian Forums" generally is a forum for moderate Christians) where the main participant on the pro-creationism side literally called Robert Bakker an atheist simply because he believed in evolution (mind, this is the same Robert Bakker who is an ordained minister in an evangelical church!).

As noted, this was originally a two-part essay; as the essay itself is over 72KB in length, I'm having to split it.

Continuing from the last post here, I'd mentioned Robert Bakker (who is not only a world-famous paleontologist, but also a pentecostal minister who has noted how, when challenged by the conflict between the Genesis creation story and what he knew from paleontology, turned to Augustine's writings):

An example of one of Bakker's writings on this--which was part of a debate with a young-earth creationist--is here.

And now the last bit, English courses:

English
How forcible are right words! --Job 6:25

Because God has given us the great commission of communicating His truth to mankind, we must give our students the finest tools available to carry out this goal in a reasonable, well-articulated manner.

God gave us our powers of thought and language and chose to reveal His will and His ways to us in a written form, the Bible; thus we need to pay particular attention to the teaching of grammar, spelling, vocabulary, composition, and literature as we seek to educate students from a Christian perspective.

Since Darwin, linguists have sought in vain for a credible explanation for the origin of language. Having accepted evolutionary philosophy, they can only think that language must be simply a response to a stimulus, an emotional outcry, an imitation of animals.

If such foolishness were true, then any talk of language being governed by rules or any claims that some expressions are better than others would be inappropriate, and relativism would rule. This explains many English programs today. But as Christians, we still believe that the Bible provides the only credible explanation for the universe, of man, and of language. Therefore, it is easy to see in language a structure which reflects the logic, reasonableness, and orderliness of the One who created man and his language.

On this basis, we believe that there are standards for man to adhere to in language as in all of life. This is why our A Beka Book grammar books emphasize structure, rules, analysis, and the kind of practice that aims at mastery. This is why we place an importance on correct spelling and the continual enlargement of each student's vocabulary. This is why we aspire to provide students with examples of the very best literature of the ages, and this is why we emphasize the continual improvement of writing abilities.


And again, the curriculum falls on its face from a scientific viewpoint:

a) Linguistics studies (trying to find the primeval language) have been going on for far, far longer than Darwin (try the earliest records being as of 500 BC among East Indian cultures, and at a similar time period for the Greek).  The first European person to study linguistic evolution in the modern fashion was Sir William Jones who proposed Sanskrit and Persian's relation to other languages in Europe (and was the initial foundation for research into what we now term Indo-European languages, see below).

In fact, a LOT of people were working on this in the late 1700's and early 1800's--ironically, in an attempt to recapture the "Adamic Language", the primeval language that was spoken in the Garden of Eden.  (Yes, even Christians were doing this--again, this points to the levels of historical revisionism of all sorts rampant in the dominionist community.)

Von Humboldt also discovered, shortly after, that languages are rule-based (one of the things that has actually helped us study the relationship between languages).

b) Contrary to dominionist claims, we've actually gotten pretty damn far at deciphering the roots of language families (much better so with Indo-European and Ural-Altaic and Semitic, getting better with the four or five Native American language families and the four or five major African families, they and many of the Australian Aboriginal and Pacific Islands languages are more difficult because there's not a good list of vocabularies to compare in several cases).

In fact, we've gone past reconstructing the probable original Indo-European language and are now working on Proto-Indo-European (which may finally link Indo-European as being a sister group of the Ural-Altaic languages; the latter include languages such as Finnish, Turkish, Mongolian, and possibly Japanese and Korean (the latter two with heavy Chinese influence/loanwords)); Proto-Semitic is also felt to be pretty solid as a reconstructed "ur-language", and some (admittedly controversial) proposals even have the ur-language as Nostratic (which would include almost all known language groups aside from a few isolated groups; admittedly, the arguments for Nostratic and most language groupings below proto-Indo-European are controversial).

c) Studies of language--just like studies of evolution in other things--show that languages over time do change, pick up words (and even on occasion largely cross-pollinate) from other languages, etc.

The evolution of English as well as the evolution of the various Romance languages is well documented (English is a particularly interesting case, as Old English and even early Middle English are very similar to Old Dutch and other Germanic tongues, but by late Middle English actually had started gaining characteristics of being a mix between early Middle English and Old French--to the point philologists have had serious discussions on whether Middle English should be considered a patois like Kreyol in Haiti!; Flemish in Belgium is somewhat similarly (though to lesser degree) influenced by French, and in turn Wallon is influenced by Dutch (to the point Dutch-based Wallon orthographies exist!)...so yes, there is admixture).

Another few languages where evolution is quite well documented: Greek (between Homeric Greek, Koine Greek (as used in the Bible), Byzantine Greek, and Modern Greek); the Semitic languages (including Hebrew; much of the more interesting things re Biblical research going on is how several of the terms for God in the original Hebrew do seem to be derived from Babylonian (which is a very closely related language, and whose Phonecian alphabet is the immediate predecessor of both the Greek and Roman alphabets); much of the research on the evolution of the Semitic language families, in fact, is from Biblical-history research and archaeological study of the coexisting cultures of the time.

As I've noted before, actual study of Biblical history taking into account cultural references of the times tends to be frowned upon--the main interest in Biblical research among dominionists seems to be in proving places in the Bible existed and that "Biblical miracles really occured".  There is far less interest, for instance, in research showing that Judaism may be a monotheistic religion based on rejection of plural gods in Babylonian practice, that the "golden calf" mentioned in the Bible was actually a representation of Baal-Hadad (the Lord of Hadad, a major deity of Babylonian belief)--thus missing HOW SIGNIFIGANT the fact people were worshipping the calf was, but a reference people of the time or in the area would have understood straightaway.  Much the same for Christ's own story about the Good Samaritan (Samaritans were, and still are, a very early side-branch of Judaism that was considered extremely heretical because they rejected the authority of kings and priests; they follow the Pentateuch but no other books in the Torah, and are the only remaining group in Judaism that practices the annual sacrifices as depicted in Leviticus et al; this would have been quite obvious in his day, and would be equivalent in modern days to dominionists passing a mugged guy in the street but someone from a "gay church" helping the guy to the hospital).

It is fairly obvious from the description that they are, just as they do with everything else, believing that ALL languages originated from the incident at the Tower of Babel and have not changed since.  (A mere look at the King James Bible would be enough to disprove this, one would think)

It's also fairly apparent that their tactic in English education consists of rote memorisation and "phonics".  Unfortunately, different kids learn in different ways, and it's entirely possible kids with learning disabilities (or even different styles of learning that some other method--say, hands-on work, or whole-word reading) may fall behind.  (Then again, as noted previously, it seems A-Beka officially thinks that folks with learning disabilities are just in it for the money.)

Again, it's not exactly rocket science why the University of California finds this unacceptable--especially considering that they operate a linguistics school.

The scary thing is, this is just a brief look at dominionist education and the dominionist mindset.  Next, in the beginning of a two-part essay, we look at dominionism from a different perspective than most people have taken so far--the idea that dominionism, especially hard dominionism, actively uses spiritually abusive and coercive tactics to keep people terrified and to keep them from leaving--and to keep them being "good dominionists", voting the right way, giving lots of money to dominionist causes, and so forth.

Originally posted to dogemperor on Fri Sep 29, 2006 at 09:02 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip jar (12+ / 0-)

    Tip jar and commentary goes here--y'all know the drill, I'm honestly still figuring it out :3

    •  OMG - Thank you! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AmericanRiverCanyon

      My son flourished in a Christian school which had a brilliant older woman teaching grades 4 and 5. Even the science was good!
      In the fall of 1988 he came home from his first day of 6th grade with A Beka books. They were atrocious - and really scary. Next day I enrolled him in the public school, feeling like I'd been betrayed but dodged the bullet.
      No one agreed with me. Tough shit, said I. No way would I allow my son's greedy brain to be exposed to such unmitigated bullshit and sick, twisted fiction.
      You have made me feel validated after all these years, for which I thank you. Is it commonly known how long this has been going on?

      Look Out ~ the meek are getting ready!

      by DvCM on Sat Sep 30, 2006 at 07:58:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Quite fascinating and I hope this gets (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dannyinla

    more attention. Frankly wish it had been rescued yesterday, not that that would have made much difference. You see the maelstrom this place is in right now.

    I am curious if you have plans to write much about the "creation care" people or movement and specifically how they are faring. In some ways they seem better positioned, because of their politics, to challenge the nuts on environmental issues. I have been looking at it a little but suspect you are light years ahead of me.

    Also wonder what you make of E. O. Wilson. He started off with a letter printed in the TNR which didn't seem to add up to a hill of beans. I see he is back in the news now with his crusade to bridge the gap. It seems to me his appeal will be limited pretty much to those who already get it.

    Also wondering what your thoughts might be on the group A Rocha with whom I am quite impressed so far.

  •  One question (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KiaRioGrl79

    I'm a parent who very seriously considered homeschooling my child two years ago.  Not for religious reasons but because my child is a kinesthetic learner and her then school was not set up for anything but aural/visual learning.  She was simply falling by the wayside.

    Anyway, I did quite a bit of research on "secular" programs for distance learning.  I ignored A Beka simply because I personally believe using the Bible to teach school is so much crap.  

    On to my question...is A Beka accredited as a distance learning program? E.G...can a child who studies under A Beka transfer back into public school or university without having to take placement tests or furnish a GED?  

    You see, that was MY criteria for serious consideration.  I required a curriculum which met the standards of regular school.  The curricula I researched had to be accredited by the national accrediting bodies.  If it didn't, I didn't even bother to look at it.  

    Thankfully, we moved before I had to pull my daughter out of school.  The school she is in right now DOES utilize kinesthetic learning as well as aural/visual skills, so she is doing much better academically AND emotionally.  If that weren't the case though, I have no doubts that the curriculum I had chosen for my child would have been absolutely successful.  I planned it that way.

    A politician is an arse upon which everyone has sat, except a man. e.e.cummings. -6.25 -5.69

    by Heiuan on Fri Sep 29, 2006 at 09:41:37 AM PDT

    •  It varies between states (3+ / 0-)

      A Beka and similar programs actually tend to fall under a very broad loophole that is large enough to drive a space station through; religious schools and programs are exempted from practically all educational requirements in a number of states.

      In states with stricter requirements (like Tennessee, which requires a bachelorate to teach homeschool save through correspondence-school programs) generally A Beka homeschoolers are set up as "satellite campuses" of the main campus--sometimes a local church, sometimes Pensacola Christian College.

      Pensacola Christian is entirely unaccredited, but the dominionist schools promoting A Beka and the grade-schools that Pensacola Christian College runs are accredited through a group called ACSI--Association of Christian Schools and Instructors.  ACSI is essentially an accreditation mill; to join, one merely needs to send in a form and pay money and sign a statement of faith; if you're using curricula from a group already having ACSI accreditation, no other info is needed.  As ACSI doesn't accredit colleges and universities, they are not subject to oversight on a federal level and pretty much state rules vary widely--generally not wanting to touch accreditation or curriculum rules with a 40-foot barge pole.  (This is understandable, seeing as the dominionist homeschool group HSLDA and dominionist legal groups like American Center for Law and Justice tend to sue in these cases.)

      So far, the only state that's ruled that ACSI is in fact an accreditation mill is the state of California, and even then only for purposes of college admission to the University of California system.

      •  That's what I was wondering. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AmericanRiverCanyon

        The curriculum that I would have wound up using is Oak Meadows, which is a nationally accredited distance learning program as opposed to a "homeschool" program.  

        I did a lot of research because I wanted a real education for my child as opposed to a "life learning" experience.  I wanted her to be able to slide seamlessly back into regular school when she was older.  

        This school's curriculum fit the bill and their high school diplomas are accepted at most modern colleges and universities because of their accreditation through Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

        All that aside, I give thanks every day that my daughter's new school works for her.  

        Thanks for the series of diaries.  This is great information.

        A politician is an arse upon which everyone has sat, except a man. e.e.cummings. -6.25 -5.69

        by Heiuan on Fri Sep 29, 2006 at 12:03:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Dominionism (0+ / 0-)

    Since seeing Michelle Goldberg talk about her book, Kingdom Coming,  on CSPAN II, I've felt that Dominionism is a real threat to our democracy (or what's left of it).  The plutocrats will be pushed out of the way by the Dominionist true believers when the hammer finally falls.

    Thanks for paying attention to this stuff.  I fear that I have some cousins who are bringing their children up this way.

    Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at http://solarray.blogspot.com/2006/03/solar-video.html

    by gmoke on Fri Sep 29, 2006 at 08:37:14 PM PDT

    •  Plutocrats vs. Dominionists (0+ / 0-)

      The center of political power these days appears to be an unholy alliance between the Old Guard Republican Plutocrats, the Neoconservatives, and the Dominionists.  They appear United now, but behind closed doors each is playing the other two groups for fools.  If left unchecked, eventually one of those three groups will try to push aside the other two, but it's unclear to me exactly who has the upper hand here.

      Not to disagree with you, clearly the Dominionists intend to do exactly as you say, and I'd say they've got a much more than 1 in 3 chance of being the group with the upper hand, since they clearly have more members, and more of their members are politically engaged, than the other two.

      Hopefully, we will depose all three players, and never have to learn the real answer to the question of which one will lead.

  •  The Washington Post article linked in your (0+ / 0-)

    diary :"demonationist chaplains in the military are targeting..." contains no mention of military chaplains.

    It does quote Bagdad's Roman Catholic Archbishop commenting that the preachers arrived with the soldiers but all those mentioned in the article are appear to be civilians.

    Please provide a link reporting that chaplains are involved or re-word your link statement.

  •  Holy smokes! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KiaRioGrl79

    This was very,very informative.
    One of the very best reasons for being a member here,you can learn things.
    Very well done diary.
    Kudos.

  •  Science = anti-faith? OMG, these folks must still (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AmericanRiverCanyon

    ... resent the modern verdict of contempt for the Church's silencing of Galileo and insist on re-fighting that battle after near on 400 years.

  •  Excellent (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AmericanRiverCanyon

    expose on A Beka. I had the chance to review A Beka being used by several private christian schools in my area a few years ago. It is just as you say. The curriculumn absolutely discourages the two main factors in turning out well educated students, creative thinking and problem solving. IMO A Beka is designed to turn out rote zombies quoting scripture for geology and earth science and not well educated citizens. I remember overhearing the principle of one of these A Beka curriculumn schools telling some fifth graders that the public schools do not teach science but rely on myth. "They think" he told the children that "a whale walked up on a beach and became a man." I don't know whether the chuckle he gave after his statement just seemed maniacal to me or really was.
    At any rate I decided that the school and the A Beka curriculumn would not be worth recommending to anyone.

  •  Thank you, I've been studying a list of quotes (0+ / 0-)

    ....compiled by some web search engine on my incumbent Republican congressperson.  At first I thought he was just exceedingly dull, but with this, now it's obvious he's speaking in a different dialect of English than the rest of the country, and he's frequently using pet code phrases that would resonate with the Dominionists.
    It's always worked with him before to get him re elected. I notice he had somebody redesign his web page recently so he comes off as being more concerned about traditional liberal issues, UNTIL you study his voting record, which is solidly right of Hitler. So he at least understands that to maintain power a certain amount of deceit is going to be involved.

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