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The Goyder Line

Posted by RIP Joe Bloe , 22 June 2012 · 4,097 views

For more than 20 years the fundamentalists have been using Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) to teach their children stuff like this:

  • Man should never trust his own reasoning – his reasoning may be incorrect because man’s reasoning is not God’s reasoning.
  • If a scientific theory contradicts the Bible, then the theory is wrong and must be discarded.
  • In your study of science, you should always remember that what you read is the work of a scientist who had certain presuppositions before he began his experimentation. All scientific ‘facts’ must be interpreted on the basis of God’s Word, the infallible source of knowledge.
Source: Accelerated Christian Education Science PACE 1109, Physical Science 1, (1996) pp. 5, 7, 9

As I contemplated the utter stupidity of such pig-headed ignorance, I recalled something that happened in my home State of South Australia about 150 years ago. It was 1865 and the colony had been founded only 30 years earlier so the residents were still feeling their way (so to speak). All of the arable land in the south had been put under cultivation and farmers started looking northwards, but they had to be careful because the further north they went, the less reliable was the rainfall - and the land eventually turned into desert.

So the Government sent the surveyor-general (George Goyder) to Ceduna in the far west and instructed him to travel eastwards across the State, taking note of the "cut-off" point where the annual rainfall was too low to support crop growing farms. It seemed like an impossible task, but Goyder noticed a distinct change in the type of natural vegetation. In the south the land was covered with small trees known as mallee scrub, but to the north it was covered with saltbush. Goyder realised that this was the "cut-off" point and within two months he had drawn a line across the map of South Australia - The Goyder Line.

This enabled the Government to advise farmers that they could plant crops south of the Goyder Line, but all land north of the line was suitable only for grazing - and very light grazing at that. In England the farmers would measure their farm's capacity by the number of sheep per acre. In South Australia the measurement was the number of acres per sheep!

But then what happened?

The rains came. The best rains ever in the 30 year history of the State - and farmers immediately decided that Goyder's Line was complete and utter bullshit. They headed north and planted their crops. Within a few years the land north of the Goyder Line was one of the biggest wheat growing areas in the country and new towns were springing up everywhere. Towns with hotels, banks, ballrooms, and racetracks. Plans were made to have railway lines extended into this hugely profitable area and land was set aside for the permanent way and streets were given names like Railway Terrace as the locals anticipated the arrival of the trains.

And then the rains stopped!

The boom times had lasted for less than ten years and the farmers were forced to walk off their land and head back south. Nature had won out. Entire towns and farms were abandoned when longer-term average rainfall returned. The Goyder Line had proved remarkably accurate.

In the 150 years since the boom times, the wooden buildings have decayed to dust, but you can still see the abandoned remains of some of the more substantial buildings - hotels and banks with marble facades, majestically lined up along Railway Terrace, and hundreds of miles from the nearest railway line!

The lesson is clear: Don't argue with the experts - they really DO know what they are talking about.

Unfortunately the 21st century fundamentalists haven't learned the lesson and I can only wonder what will happen to those poor deluded ACE students who will soon be looking for work in a world where they truly believe that "If a scientific theory contradicts the Bible, then the theory is wrong and must be discarded."

This is Goyder's Line as he drew it on the map in 1865:

Posted Image

And this is a satellite photo of South Australia which shows just how accurately Goyder had drawn his line.
(greenish vegatation below the line and reddish-brown desert above it)

Posted Image

Cousin Ricky
Jun 22 2012 07:20 AM
Mother nature thinks in much longer terms than 10 years. The mallee scrub "know" this.

Mother nature thinks in much longer terms than 10 years. The mallee scrub "know" this.

That was my thought too. The vegetation was the indicator of the amount of rainfall.

As for fundamentalist's teaching accelerated Christian education, it's really nothing more than Christian indoctrination of children in to Christianity. Maybe the people that write these programs truly believe that any science that contradicts the Bible must be discarded and maybe they don't. Or maybe, the main goal of ACE is to indoctrinate for Christianity. I don't know.

I say this because I find it so hard for anyone to believe such nonsense in the 21st century. So, the first thing I think is, the main objective of ACE is to convert children to their religion. But, I also know people do truly believe this nonsense. I suppose what I am asking is, is it possible that the Christians that run the ACE program, know that it's all bullshit but they use it to indoctrinate? Is the main goal of ACE to convert children to religion?

When the Christian fundamentalist figured out they were not going to be able to teach Creationism in public schools, did they then come up with the ACE program? Which is basically a way around that. Fundamentalist Christians are nothing if not devious when it comes to teaching this crap. If they can't get in the front door, they use the back and side doors and when that fails, they dig a tunnel underneath. I'm wondering if ACE isn't their answer to failing in the courts to teach Creationism in public schools.
RIP Joe Bloe
Jun 26 2012 10:33 AM
Yes, they know they are telling lies, but they just keep telling them! This, for example, comes from the Skeptic Society in an article about a lying creationist known as Duane Gish:

I examined many of Gish's published writings, as well as transcripts and tapes of his debates, and discovered countless examples of questionable tactics and misleading arguments. The majority of Gish's arguments I found to be a morass of errors, omissions, misquotes, old data, distortions, and non sequiturs. Even worse is my discovery that many scientists have publicly corrected Gish in his presence, but Gish has gone on to repeat the same errors in later debates and writings.


Another example: In 1977 a large decaying carcass was pulled from the ocean and photographed. It appeared to have a large body and a very long neck and it was described as a Plesiosaur, long thought to have been extinct. In 1978 scientists studied the remains and discovered that it was a basking shark. What looked like a long neck was merely a slab of rotting flesh that had split apart from the main body of the fish. Eleven years later in 1989 the ACE team included a sketch of the original photograph in their "Science PACE 1099" text book along with this description:

A Japanese fishing vessel brought up the decomposing body of a dinosaurlike sea creature off the coast of New Zealand. Caught at a depth of 900 feet, the creature weight 4,000 pounds, measured 32 feet in length, and was seen and photgraphed by the crew members. The animal could not be matched with any living species but certainly resembles a supposedly extinct species of dinosaur.

Despite being told of the error, ACE continued to publish the lie in subsequent editions of "Science PACE 1099".
That they knowingly teach lies is reprehensible.