UK pop artist plays a key role in the disappearance of Nessie from fundie Christian science teaching

UK pop artist plays a key role in the disappearance of Nessie from fundie Christian science teaching

IN THE arsenal of a Programme of Mass Stupidification™ known a Accelerated Christian Education (ACE), one devastating weapon against Darwinism was Scotland’s beloved Nessie.

One ACE textbook that found its way into Christian schools as distant as Louisiana asks:

Are dinosaurs alive today? Scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence. Have you heard of the ‘Loch Ness Monster’ in Scotland? ‘Nessie’ for short has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur.

Jonny Scaramanga, 27, a “power-drill pop artist” who went through the ACE programme as a child, but now campaigns against Christian fundamentalism, said the Nessie claim was presented as:

Evidence that evolution couldn’t have happened … It’s a common thing among creationists to believe in sea monsters.

A promotional shot for Scaramanga's  EP, Listen, which features six tracks of loud guitars and big vocal harmonies. It was released last year.

A promotional shot for Scaramanga’s EP, ‘Listen’ which features six tracks of loud guitars and big vocal harmonies. It was released last year.

But something curious has happened in the madcap world of ACE.

Nessie has been axed from the science textbooks, without a word of explanation other than a brief statement from Arthur Roderick, founding director of Christian Education Europe, part of ACE, who said said:

As with any text books [the] curriculum is subject to revision and change.

Bath-based Scaramanga, the fella who first exposed Nessie’s presence in the ACE programme, said on his Leaving Fundamentalism blog:

I suppose I can chalk this up as a victory … They’ve taken out the old bullshit about Nessie and Zuiyo Maro, and replaced it with fresh bullshit about cave paintings and folk tales about fucking dragons.

Nessie’s disappearance has been met with dismay by The School of the Lion in Churcham, Gloucestershire, which teaches the ACE curriculum. A statement on its website said:

The Accelerated Christian Education textbooks used and appreciated by a number of Christian schools in the United Kingdom have recently been criticised for one small piece of information on one page in one book.

It added:

So what about the Loch Ness Monster? Well, you are going to have to find out about him somewhere else as the new ACE Science Textbook 1099 has left him out.


And it concludes:

As for a curriculum that lets our young people look at the wonderful world around them and see the hand of a designer and wonderful Creator, we’re not sure you will find a better one!

21 responses to “UK pop artist plays a key role in the disappearance of Nessie from fundie Christian science teaching”

  1. AgentCormac says:

    Nessie – a creature that shares the same plausibility as big foot, UFOs, phantoms, ghosts and all the other bollocks that people regularly claim are real yet strangely can’t provide a single shred of evidence to prove. Anybody remember this?

    On their way to the centre of the Earth Prof Lindenburg and his various colleagues (including, bizarrely, a duck) came across all kinds of monsters and ‘lost peoples’ etc.. But, through a series of unfortunate mishaps, could never, ever manage to photograph a single thing that people back home would believe.

    ACE = Accelerated Credibility Error

  2. Trevor Blake says:

    Tsk tsk, such an anti-Christian bias! Everybody knows that Christians don’t believe in Nessie. Christians do, however, believe in talking snakes, dragons, behemoth, leviathan, unicorns, cockatrice, fiery flying serpents, spirits, demons, four-legged insects… you know, real live living beings mentioned in God’s eternally true guide to science and history, The Bible.

  3. AgentCormac says:

    @ Trevor Blake

    You’ve put together a wonderful resource there – well done. Wonder if Crystal and Pablo will bother checking it out?

  4. Broga says:

    I remember walking along Loch Ness with my son when he was 14. I said, “Let’s look carefully and we might see the Loch Ness Monster.” He stood for a long time looking at the sky and I asked him why he was looking upwards.

    “I’m looking for flying pigs,” he said.

    I suppose there was as much chance of seeing one as there was of seeing the other.

  5. Matt+Westwood says:

    Whenever I see that passage about “behemoth” I can’t help but think of an elephant. It’s probably not beyond the realm of possibility that the writer had communicated with a source which had (directly or indirectly) had contact with such a beast – there were surely trade routes to and from India, after all. And, with that in mind, it is highly likely that is what was meant.

  6. Matt+Westwood says:

    As for “cockatrice”, a simple googikipedia session informs me that the term first appeared in the bible in Wyclif’s translation, and perhaps ought more accurately be “adder”.

  7. Harry says:

    Matt, you remind me of a letter that was written by the first European explorer to see a rhinoceros. He wrote back how amazingly different real unicorns were to their fairytale depiction, happily discarding the stories for the observed facts of the best candidate for the truth behind the myth.

  8. Trevor Blake says:

    Matt+Westwood: you may be entirely correct. The question then shifts to why Christians do not amend their Bible accordingly. My theory is that if they change the little issues, like behemoths being elephants or the number Pi being equal to 3…

    … then they will have to confront the bigger issues such as, well, you know.

  9. barriejohn says:

    I’m sure that these “mythical monsters” of the Bible were really elephants, crocodiles, rhinos, hippos, etc. Hebrew words had to be translated into English, and the overactive imaginations of superstitious mediaeval scholars went into overdrive. What i can’t understand is how certain modern fundamentalists cling to the idea that these obscure words describe dinosaurs!

  10. barriejohn says:

    I pressed submit to soon!

    It can’t be a mythical creature, because God was comparing Job’s power to that of behemoth’s. If someone compared your personality with that of a “fazzurky”, it would mean nothing to you. “Fazzurkies” don’t exist. It would seem ridiculous. We know God is never ridiculous, so behemoth obviously wasn’t a mythical creature. (My emphasis)

  11. barriejohn says:

    Now if we believe in the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible we must maintain that the words spoken about Behemoth (and also Leviathan), were spoken by their Creator, who would have known the intimate details of His own design. The description of the animals in chapters 38 to 41 is given to convince Job of his ignorance and folly. It is thus a critical observation that, when the purpose is to show how marvellous an animal is, surely the most amazing facts about that animal, and the ways in which it is different in habits or appearance from all others, should be stated…

    The whole passage in Job 40 concerning Behemoth certainly suggests a large animal, and no known living animal fits the passage adequately (for various reasons, including the detailed habitat presented).

    The most natural interpretation of the key clause Job 40:17a is that the tail of Behemoth is compared to a cedar for its great size, and there is nothing in the context which contradicts this possibility, even though the exact sense of the verb is extremely difficult to determine.

    Consequently, the most reasonable interpretation (which also takes the whole passage into account) is that Behemoth was a large animal, now extinct, which had a large tail. Thus some type of extinct dinosaur should still be considered a perfectly reasonable possibility according to our present state of knowledge.

    Does your brain hurt?

  12. barriejohn says:

    I remember Arthur C Clarke saying that he dismissed all the weird and wonderful creatures that people had supposedly seen except for Bigfoot/Yeti, as, despite the known and suspected hoaxes, they were the only ones for whom there seemed to be some believable evidence. As far as lake monsters are concerned, the stories are obviously nonsensical, as there would need to be breeding populations of them, so where do they get their food, and why aren’t groups of them seen swimming together? There wouldn’t be just one!

    Incidentally, around 40 people have been killed in an Italian coach crash overnight – all pilgrims returning home:

  13. Robster says:

    Why not ask the ol’ pope Frank about Nessie? He could pop in for a peek on the way back from Rio. If Frank says it’s nonsense, then it must be, as Frank’s a “religious leader” and therefore has a personal relationship with god and the decomposed jesus and is a much better person than the rest of us and would therefore know the answer. Right?

  14. Angela_K says:

    Christian science: How old is the earth? 6000 years. How was the earth formed? God did it – continues ad infinitum.

    I remember many years ago on a business trip to the USA talking to an American about Scotland and Nessie. This guy said because so much was written about Nessie and because of all the “sightings” the monster must exist. Christian logic again!

  15. barriejohn says:

    Thanks, jay. It’s ages since I visited xkcd; not enough hours in the day!

  16. Brian Jordan says:


    What i can’t understand is how certain modern fundamentalists cling to the idea that these obscure words describe dinosaurs!

    They have to. They can’t deny that dinosaurs existed and won’t deny that every animal was created along with Adam and represented on the Ark. Therefor dinosaurs must have existed alongside humans, but would have been known by an earlier name. One creationist told me that Adam named all the animals, but missed dinosaurs because they were living beyond the walls of Eden and he never saw them!

  17. barriejohn says:

    Brian Jordan: There is another explanation, but it’s a bit devious. Some of them argue that there was a prior creation, which was destroyed when Lucifer was cast out of heaven, hence the world being “without form, and void” etc. This ignores completely the fact that the Creation myth teaches that it was Adam’s “transgression” that introduced death into world (backed up by later writers – “Death reigned from Adam to Moses” etc), but what the hell? As you say, those pesky dinosaurs have to be accounted for somehow!

  18. Andy says:

    What, no Nessie? I’m devastated.

  19. george says:

    robster nessie is real especially if you have been smoking the bob hope