Christian school criticized over dinosaur test

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GREENVILLE, S.C. — It was labeled “4th grade science quiz. Dinosaurs: Genesis and the Gospel.”

Joy Hartsell (left), board chair of Blue Ridge Christian Academy in Greenville, S.C., and Dianna Barker, director, talk about a recent 4th grade science quiz that caused controversy on the Internet .  KEN OSBURN/THE GREENVILLE NEWS/ASSOCIATED PRESS
KEN OSBURN/THE GREENVILLE NEWS/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Joy Hartsell (left), board chair of Blue Ridge Christian Academy in Greenville, S.C., and Dianna Barker, director, talk about a recent 4th grade science quiz that caused controversy on the Internet .

Eighteen questions. The first four were true or false.

The earth is billions of years old. A lopsided pencil mark circled false.

Dinosaurs lived millions of years ago, another circle: false.

It went on from there, testing students on the beginning of the world according to creationism, the belief that the literal interpretation of the first book of the Bible explains it all. Both were marked correct.

Before long, the quiz was posted on the social news Web site Reddit, unleashing a firestorm of criticism on Blue Ridge Christian Academy, a tiny private Christian school in northern Greenville County.

In what board chairwoman Joy Hartsell says shows God is at work in the world, the controversy might be what saves the school from closing.

ABOUT SIX WEEKS AGO, parents were told that the school would close May 31 because the founder and major donor would no longer make up the loss in operating expenses, said Diana Baker, the director.

“We may have found the path to get the money,” Hartsell said Friday.

So far, about $10,000 toward the $200,000 needed to stay open next fall has been received and more checks arrive in the mail every day, Baker said.

In addition, dozens of people have called, e-mailed or written letters to school officials, critics and supporters alike. One Christian organization in town sent Baker flowers.

More than 3,600 posts about the test have been made on Reddit, most of them harshly critical.

“I went to a school like this in South Carolina. Now I’m a college professor who spends his days trying to undo the damage this rubbish has done,” said one poster.

Another: “I feel bad for this kid once he goes anywhere public and expresses this belief and is ridiculed.”

School leaders were called child abusers, brainwashers and ignorant. One person said they wanted to chop off Baker’s head while another said they hoped the teacher would die a horrible death.

Jill and E.J. Bird founded the school nine years ago after they moved from Connecticut to a home at the Cliffs.

Baker said the Birds had kept the school afloat since its founding, making up annual shortfalls of as much as $500,000.

The school carries $2.8 million in debt, Baker said. It has about 150 students in grade kindergarten through 12.

THE ORIGINAL REDDIT post was made by a friend of a parent whose child is in the fourth grade at the academy. Pher Reinman, a stagehand and photographer who grew up in Greer, said he posted it thinking, “people will get a kick out of this.”

He said the reaction surprised him.

“I think it’s opened a lot of people’s eyes,” he said. “They are entitled to their beliefs but it’s incredibly wrong. It definitely didn’t happen like this.”

The original post did not name the school, but it didn’t take too much deduction once someone said a small Christian school north of Greer, S.C., to find out it was Blue Ridge.

Baker said she learned about it from a board member whose son, a senior, saw something about the controversy on Facebook. The board member asked if this was Blue Ridge. Baker checked with the teacher, who confirmed she gave the test after students watched a DVD produced by Answers in Genesis, which promotes the idea that the Bible states clearly that God created the world in six days, not in a process of evolution extending through millions of years. Ken Ham, the founder of Answers in Genesis, also runs the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky.

“This was one slice of one day in our curriculum,” Baker said. “Our school is so much bigger than this. They have unfairly judged what we’re all about.”

Baker said the school teaches all subjects from a Biblical perspective but does not require that students or parents all believe the same thing.

She said students are taught that evolution is a theory. Secular textbooks are used in the older grades, she said.

“Our students are well versed,” said Hartsell, who has three children in the school. “They know evolution. The big bang theory. They are taught what the world believes. We believe the Bible and we teach from that context.”

The school is accredited and the teachers have high academic standards, Baker said. This year’s senior class — eight students in all — are a diverse group who are going on to public and private colleges and studying such disciplines as pre-medicine, missions and education.

Some of the school’s recent financial support has been generated by Ham’s retelling of the controversy on his blog, which within a short period had 70,000 hits, Baker said. His usual number is about 3,000, she said.

Ham visited the school while in the Upstate recently to speak at a convention.

Baker said she did not seek to find out which parent gave out the quiz and in fact doesn’t want to know.

There are 11 children in the school’s one fourth-grade class.

“We want to deal in kindness and unity,” she said. “On the things we disagree with we deal with each other in love and mercy and grace.”

Hartsell said she hopes to announce soon that the school will remain open.

“We have a lot of faith in a big and gracious God,” Baker said.

Reinman said: “Unintended consequences of bringing their shenanigans to light, but I don’t care. I live in California now.”

Comments (45) Add comment
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Ms.Anthrope
502
Points
Ms.Anthrope 05/26/13 - 10:23 am
3
6
fiat....
Unpublished

you have a nice day too !!!!
you are one of the funniest "very serious person"s that it has been my pleasure to laugh about today.....=)
so you will not say what you are?
then..... in WHATEVER we trust...... LOL

itsanotherday1
42826
Points
itsanotherday1 05/26/13 - 10:28 am
3
1
For the record Ms., I am an

For the record Ms., I am an independent voter and do not attend church. Politically, I am much closer to Libertarian than either Republican or Democrat.

Ms.Anthrope
502
Points
Ms.Anthrope 05/26/13 - 10:30 am
1
5
thank you , giants all day
Unpublished

Your link gave me a healthy laugh....
here is another link for a laugh....
http://www.opposingviews.com/i/religion/christianity/catholicism/stephen...
.
I think I love you..........
LOL

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 05/26/13 - 10:49 am
3
2
Isn't it astounding......

That these two posts can actually come from the same person:

"Also, it is so humble of you to tolerate the ignorance promoted by biblical myths."

Calling the Bible and those who believe it; ignorant.

Then saying "I do not agree with you..... then you think that I have no respect ...."

Does this person even know what respect is?

I have absolutely ZERO problem with an athiest; and do have several friends who are NOT believers. BUT, with people like this and Giantsallday; I have serious problem with. Because they are NOT respectful; just the opposite. They have deep seated hatred for Christians and it's clear in their OWN WORDS. The can't simply disagree with us; they have to call us demeaning names, claim we are ALL stupid, idiots, morons, etc.

Ms. Anthrope; do you seriously consider your name calling and demeaning commets, respectful disagreement?
.

dstewartsr
20389
Points
dstewartsr 05/26/13 - 11:03 am
4
0
I've posted this before:

A quote from Lincoln, after being accused of being an open scoffer of Christianity, responded with a statement that he belonged to no church but affirming that, "I have never spoken iwth intentional disrespect of religion in general, or of any denomination of Christians in particular ... Leaving the higher matter of eternal consequences between him and his Maker. I do not think any man has the right thus to insult the feelings and injure the morals of the community in which he may live."

By that mild standard, the question is; precisely how are the Christians insulting the beliefs, morality and feelings of the anti-religion crowd?

"

Ms.Anthrope
502
Points
Ms.Anthrope 05/26/13 - 11:08 am
1
5
mf15
Unpublished

I just love you for all the laughter that your words cause to bubble up in me......no hatred here...... You are so hurt that I do not give you respect when you and your ilk have no respect for President Obama.
Seriously.... all I have said that people with these beliefs are ignorant or are stupid .....and you morph that into me having a "deep seated hatred" for christians. Also..... by the way..... the only words that I have used are ignorant and stupid..... and you keep embellishing or trying to rewrite what I have said as something else. You are making an outrage out of nothing.... but then.... that is the usual modus operandi for your sort.
hey..... in GOP we trust.... I'm a believer !!!!
LOL

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 05/26/13 - 11:22 am
3
2
There certainly is plenty of
Unpublished

There certainly is plenty of disrespect to go around, from both sides of the aisle and whether one is in a pew or not.

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 05/26/13 - 11:29 am
3
2
You two should love each

You two should love each other; you're EXACTLY alike!! Snide, demeaning, hate filled individuals.

I've had MANY arguments/debates on here with MANY different commentors. I don't have a problem with their opinions at all. But YOU TWO, who claim to be Oooooh sooooo compassionate; seem to show NONE towards those you disagree with.

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 05/26/13 - 11:35 am
4
2
So you don't respect me,

So you don't respect me, because I don't respect Obama? Seriously? What is he, your dad? I certainly didn't disrespect people because they didn't agree with Bush. I couldn't care less how people felt about Bush, I never met the man and he is a politicians, which opens him up for scrutiny; well I guess except for the Obamasiah. But hey, thats the type of "rational logic" you get with people like you.

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 05/26/13 - 11:44 am
4
2
"Seriously.... all I have

"Seriously.... all I have said that people with these beliefs are ignorant or are stupid"

Point PROVEN!! I said you and Giantsallday call names and demean people, and you just ADMITTED it. But somehow in your "Rational logic" that is perfectly respectful I suppose?

Please, go back to my previous posts and pull up how many times I've called people stupid or ignorant for not believing as I do. I'll save you the time and tell you, you won't find them. Why? Because I CAN disagree with people on religion and politics and NOT call their DEEP SEATED BELIEFS stupid and ignorant. I've debated evolution with MANY people and never called them stupid for believing the way they believe. You have NO CLUE what respectful debate and disagreeing is, obviously.

But thats ok, because the more people like you and Giantsallday open your mouths or type words; the more you show your intolerance of others and people will see through you're disguise of being the "Compassionate and Caring" side.

allhans
23615
Points
allhans 05/26/13 - 11:55 am
5
2
I have never understood why

I have never understood why those who claim to be atheists bother to complain about something they don't believe in....Funneeeeeeeeeeee.

Fiat_Lux
15342
Points
Fiat_Lux 05/26/13 - 12:24 pm
6
2
Personally, I don't like being called ignorant or stupid

Even you, Misanthrope (a very sad statement about oneself, BTW), surely realize that a person only throws out that kind of insult at intelligent, educated people to provoke them. It's the kind of thing learned early in some families and usually peaks in middle school and certainly by high school. It's a weakling's version of bullying.

I choose what I believe based on my native intelligence applied to my experience, observations and all the information I have at my disposal. Everyone else does the same. I may believe you are stupid, but I'm not going to tell you that unless you provoke me. And even then, I will most likely try to couch it in terms that are somewhat equivocal rather than making an outright statement of the bare, unvarnished facts as I see them.

I don't know if you are stupid or not, Misanthrope; clearly you can read although your style of writing is a bit fragmented and unpunctual for my taste. I do know you have bad manners in public discourse. The logical conclusion, therefore, given the destructive nature of such communication and the impediment it places in the path of attaining one's goal of convincing others to your position or of appearing admirable, is fairly inescapable. If you catch my meaning.

Nevertheless, I have complete respect for your inherent right to believe whatever you choose. That right is sacred and I hold it in the highest regard because it is the ultimate and defining feature of human dignity and the eternal, surpassing worth of each individual person. God Himself has given you free will; who am I, your fellow creature, to challenge His wisdom and faith in you?

faithson
5156
Points
faithson 05/26/13 - 12:49 pm
2
6
Pennsylvania...

hope most have heard the story about the parents who did not take their child to a physician and believed that their spiritual power would heal the child. Both parents were charged with neglect by the courts. To keep from going to jail, they committed to the judge that should anyone of their other 8 children get sick, they would take them to a Doctor. Well, last week their 8 month old son died. The parents are charged with murder and incareracted. their preacher's comment is telling, 'they just did not have enough 'spiritual power'.

if teaching children the literal interpretation of the bible results in deaths like this, approx 12 each year, then something is terribly WRONG, period.

Ms.Anthrope
502
Points
Ms.Anthrope 05/26/13 - 01:51 pm
2
6
imagine...............
Unpublished

Let's all believe........
I believe that all religions are the source of wars and hate in this world.
.....in goP we trust......

dstewartsr
20389
Points
dstewartsr 05/26/13 - 02:34 pm
6
2
Thank you, Sean

... for the "ignore user" toggle.

Darby
25495
Points
Darby 05/26/13 - 02:45 pm
4
0
Those folks are teaching their kids their faith

as they understand it. It is their right. Their kids may be hurt by it, but that's none of your business, or mine.

I consider myself religious but also embrace the theory of evolution as many people of faith do.

Consider this. How do you and I explain in layman's terms how the Earth, our solar system, and the entire universe including all the other countless solar systems and galaxies in that universe come from the explosion of a tiny speck of matter no larger than a grain of sand, as is the theory put forth by scientists.

That may, in fact, be true but takes at least as much trust in the unproven as does the belief in a supreme being. So if you atheists think you lack faith, think again...

One last thing.... Where did that tiny speck come from to begin with???

Darby
25495
Points
Darby 05/26/13 - 02:46 pm
4
2
"....in goP we trust......"

Someone appears to be in a rut...

SB3
3934
Points
SB3 05/26/13 - 03:20 pm
6
2
Thank you dstewartsr

For pointing out the "ignore user" toggle. I will try to remember that others may be responding to that exceptionally angry and intolerant fool with the ignorant tag line. At least I won't have to see them from now on. They're just trying to provoke others. No thought behind their posts beyond that.

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 05/26/13 - 03:48 pm
2
2
@faithson

Do you not understand, there are looney people in all walks of life? Every race, color, creed on earth has their looney people; trust me, I get to experience them on almost a daily basis. Because a FEW people (Christians) don't understand how God works, does that make ALL as looney as they are? It's quite simple, MANY of God's miracles are wrought THROUGH MEN. God gave many people an amazing ability; they are called DOCTORS amoung many others; and we should be more than willing to use them. Luke of the Bible was also a medical doctor.

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 05/26/13 - 03:46 pm
3
2
Isn't it curious how LP's are

Isn't it curious how LP's are supposed to be the champions of diversity, and NOT sterotyping people into one category. Yet, when it comes to Christians; they are MORE than willing to throw us all into one basket. You can't have it both ways!! As I stated; the more they keep opening their mouths and typing; the more people will see just what hypocrits they really are.

scoopdedoop64
2366
Points
scoopdedoop64 05/26/13 - 04:42 pm
4
1
People sure do get testy on here, LOL

Keeping with the subject of the story I think they are an accredited school so they must be teaching other theories than their own although creationism will be taught with a bias because it is a Christian school. I graduated from Columbia International University, Columbia SC. A very conservative Christian College and Grad School. We spent extensive amount of time in classes studying evolution and why people believe it. My professor had taught evolution at Yale for 10 years before coming to a point of realizing that indeed he was only teaching a theory and had now come to a point where he saw some great flaws in what he was teaching. He later became a Christian. Believe me when I say it is possible to fully learn the ins and outs of a issue without having the same conclusions others have. Finally a couple of statements about origin and time lines. One poster said they believe that did not believe that the days of Genesis created were 24 hour days. It is possible they are not BUT you can not draw this conclusion based what the age of the earth looks like. Let me explain. In Genesis it says that God created a "man" who's name was Adam. And made a "woman" named Eve. God made an adult man and woman and not children. They were fully aged when they were made. Thus, when he made the earth He very easily could build a mature complete earth that would by our scientific data appear to be millions of years old. To the poster who said that no where in the Bible does it say that the earth is 6-9 thousand years old. He/she is right BUT when you follow the genealogies from Adam to Abraham to Christ then we can correctly conclude the earth to be between 6-8 thousand years old. I am not arrogant enough to think I know it all but neither is my conclusions without much thought and study.

InChristLove
22472
Points
InChristLove 05/26/13 - 04:56 pm
5
2
It appears that GAD skipped

It appears that GAD skipped another Bible study class. He posted a link to an article in huffingtonpost where Pop Francis says that everyone was redeemed through Jesus, including atheists, and somehow believe that means he's going to heaven.

What is apparent is the lack of understanding of the English language and the oversight of what it means "redeemed through Jesus". Surely you do not think it just falls into our lap without any participation on our part. When it says "redeemed through Jesus" this means through Jesus' free gift of eternal life we must come to him humbly on our knees and confess our sins and accept Him as our redeemer. Yes we have a way to heaven THROUGH the redemption power of JESUS. So yes an atheist can be redeemed by accepting Christ, but then you are a new creation and no longer an atheist......so are you still so sure you will spend eternity in Heaven GAD, or are you still an atheist. You can't have it both ways.

InChristLove
22472
Points
InChristLove 05/26/13 - 05:25 pm
3
1
Ahhh.....I'm so relieved.

Ahhh.....I'm so relieved. Haven't been posting much lately and glad to see my TSD followers haven't forgotten me. LOL

GiantsAllDay
9572
Points
GiantsAllDay 05/26/13 - 07:01 pm
1
5
ICL, you're not saying the

ICL, you're not saying the pope is WRONG, are you? He wears the ring of St. Peter, the very first pope. He is in direct succession of St. Peter himself.

faithson
5156
Points
faithson 05/26/13 - 07:20 pm
0
2
gian

and your point is......

Darby
25495
Points
Darby 05/26/13 - 07:31 pm
4
2
"Religion is not about "comforts" it is about

"guidelines" to control mass populations of ignorant people."

.
I remember from my classes in Soviet Government and Politics that Karl Marx said almost the exact same thing.

Fiat_Lux
15342
Points
Fiat_Lux 05/26/13 - 07:53 pm
2
1
Pope Francis didn't say atheists would go to heaven.

What he said was that atheists that do good could be considered good people. It's not at all the same as saying they are saved by the good they do, which he never, ever, not in a bazillion years would say.

Go look up the quote if you don't believe me.

InChristLove
22472
Points
InChristLove 05/26/13 - 08:43 pm
1
1
Fiat, GAD won't look up the

Fiat, GAD won't look up the quote or he'll revise it to suit his distorted view. It's what he does best.

GAD, I'm not saying the pope is wrong, what I'm saying is that he didn't say what you said he said. You said he said atheist were going to heaven. I said he said no such thing. What he said is that even atheist can be redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, which is true.

AutumnLeaves
7591
Points
AutumnLeaves 05/27/13 - 03:50 pm
1
0
Haven't you noticed....

Haven't you noticed the poster's name is Ms.Anthrope, which is obviously, by the tone of the posts under it, the poster's mindset? The definition of misanthrope is "a person who hates or distrusts humankind". Which is why I'm considering the person someone who trolls online; therefore, not to be taken seriously. I wouldn't waste any more of my time on his or her posts, since the person in writing exhibits the qualities of a misanthrope: cynicism, criticism, skepticism, negativity and so on....

Darby
25495
Points
Darby 05/27/13 - 09:29 pm
1
0
Considering the alternative and what total

ineptness and incompetency the OzBama administration has come to represent and personify, I can only say......

In the GOP I will trust.. In the GOP I will trust.. In the GOP I will trust.. In the GOP I will trust.. In the GOP I will trust.. In the GOP I will trust.. In the GOP I will trust.. In the GOP I will trust.. In the GOP I will trust.. In the GOP I will trust.. In the GOP I will trust.. In the GOP I will trust.. In the GOP I will trust.. In the GOP I will trust.. In the GOP I will trust.. In the GOP I will trust.. In the GOP I will trust.. In the GOP I will trust.. In the GOP I will trust.. In the GOP I will trust.. In the GOP I will trust.. In the GOP I will trust.. In the GOP I will trust.. In the GOP I will trust.. In the GOP I will trust.. In the GOP I will trust.. In the GOP I will trust.. In the GOP I will trust.. In the GOP I will trust.. In the GOP I will trust..

As Elvis often said,
Thank you very much.

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