When I was a child, I read books about modern legends such as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster (in between reading books published by Crestwood House about movie monsters, of course). I would often get the books out of my elementary school library, with the certainty that these supposedly "real" monsters would never be discussed in any of my classes. How times have changed.
According to several news articles that I've read across the Internet, private religious schools in Louisiana are using a textbook published by the Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) Inc. that identifies the Loch Ness Monster as proof that dinosaurs still exist in the modern world and thus validates "Young Earth Creationism", the idea that the Earth is only a few thousand years old, and invalidates the theory of evolution. Many of the articles reprint the textbook passage that mentions Nessie, which I will also do so here:
“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.”
It should also be noted that the school in question, the Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake, is accepting students through publicly funded vouchers. In other words, taxpayer money is being used to teach kids that the Loch Ness Monster conclusively disproves the work of Charles Darwin and all of his successors. Really.
I'd normally laugh at this, except that someone is getting paid with government money to perpetuate such a preposterous idea. I mean, if you're going to challenge a widely-accepted scientific theory, shouldn't you be using something that actually qualifies as, you know, evidence? Claiming that the modern legend of the Loch Ness Monster invalidates evolution is like claiming that the Elvis sightings from the 80s and 90s invalidates the idea that repeatedly ingesting drug cocktails of Valmid, Quaaludes, codeine, Placidyl and phenobarbitol can be lethal.
Have you seen me lately?
Then again, maybe I should write an angry letter to ACE that claims discrimination over their curriculum's omission of Raystown Ray, the lake monster from my home state of Pennsylvania. Why should taxpayers fund private schools to talk about foreign monsters when we have plenty of perfectly good monsters right here in the US of A?
All I can say is that if the Loch Ness Monster is going to stay in a creationist-centric biology curriculum that's funded by taxpayer money and used in private religious schools, then The Crater Lake Monster (1977) must be mandatory viewing for the students. Each viewing will then be followed by an essay test where students must describe in detail how they'd use construction equipment to fight a rampaging dinosaur.
Teach the controversy!