Electricity is a Mystery

A few months ago, Gus posted a link to an image purporting to be a scan from a children's science textbook:Gus was skeptical of the image's authenticity. Obviously the image had been altered to show a gun in the girl's hand rather than what the hairdryer that was probably in the original. But the text was partly believable as genuine fanaticism. To see if Poe's Law was really at work here, I did a little research and discovered that the book was apparently genuine. I tracked down a copy and bought it to be sure:It was published by Bob Jones University Press as a 4th Grade science textbook for use in Christian schools. Here's the page from the FailBlog image:

You won't find the book on Bob Jones University Press' Website anymore, because shortly after attention was drawn to it by the above page scan, they removed the second edition from their Website, replacing it with a redirect to the third edition, which has very different text. BJUP makes the third edition's chapter on electricity available as a free preview on their site. Before the second edition was removed from the BJUP site, the preview chapter was the first one, on the history of the moon, which I present here:
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The book does not discuss the scientific method at all. The only treatment of methodology is found on p.2, in the "History of the Moon" chapter above:

Science can be defined as "information gained by using our senses." Faith means "holding beliefs without seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, or touching the proof of them."

When the moon came into being, were there any people there to get facts through their senses? Then do all our ideas about where the moon came from rest on science or faith? What anyone believes about the beginning of things rests on faith, not science.

That's it. No mention, even in a grade-school way, of deduction or induction. A flat rejection of reason. In the opening paragraphs of a science textbook.

The book has no hierarchy. It is arranged haphazardly. The table of contents looks like this:

  1. History of the Moon
  2. Insects, Arachnids, and Myriapods
  3. Electricity
  4. Plants
  5. Length, Area, and Volume
  6. Digestion
  7. The Moon's Structure and Motions
  8. Animal Defenses
  9. Light
  10. Machines
  11. Trees
  12. How Earth's Crust Wears Down

This appears to me to be deliberately disorganized so as to prevent students from making connections between the topics discussed. But I suppose it could also be a result of a profound misunderstanding of the empirical scientific method. It's scattershot.

That such a book was ever used by anyone to attempt to teach science to children is simply appalling.

Tom G Varik