Last week The New Star published an article reporting on the dismal education of some state-funded private Louisiana schools with creationist agendas. According to the Louisiana constitution, non-public schools must certify that they provide “curriculum or specialized courses of study of quality at least equal to that prescribed for similar public schools.”

The article inspired many critics, including Buzzfeed’s Andrew Kaczynski, to expose the anti-science bias present in many private Louisiana schools, which fail to meet the requirements enforced by the state. Kaczynski displayed in one of his articles the pages from a fifth grade science textbook, which teaches evolution and creationism as competing theories. The textbook introduces evolutionary teaching with lines such as “according to evolutionists,” suggesting that an evolutionist and a Christian simply look at fossils in different ways.

One page, titled “What the Bible teaches us,” discusses how dinosaurs were (in quotes) “discovered” by an English scientist in the 1600s, but follows up the statement with a long biblical argument detailing God’s creation of the animals on the fifth and sixth days and man on the sixth, concluding that dinosaurs and man would have lived side by side. The text states that we know that God spared some of the dinosaurs in the Flood and literally reads, “God’s word is always accurate. We can always trust it to be true even in the face of science.”

Paleontologists have proven that the last of the dinosaurs disappeared during the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event, which occurred around 65 million years ago. Homo sapiens, on the other hand, evolved between 250,000 and 400,000 years ago — not even remotely close to the age of dinosaurs. Creationists (without any scientific evidence) believe the Earth is much newer in origin, claiming that God created the earth in six days about 6,000 years ago. Carbon dating has proven this to be wrong, dating the earth’s creation to about 4.54 billion years ago.

It seems fairly obvious from this textbook what is going on here. Educators are essentially being forced to teach evolution in schools, and their reluctance to do so is shining through their words. They’ve come up with a way to teach children evolution, but scare them into disbelieving it.

By telling kids who were most likely raised in a religious setting that God disagrees with what they are learning and reminding them that God is always right, of course we are going to end up with generation after generation of people in this country who refuse to call science what it really is: fact. This is brainwashing at its best and subjecting vulnerable children to this total rejection of reality isn’t just deceptive — it abuses their young minds.

Evolution is a scientific theory, but creationists refuse to understand that the word “theory” has a different meaning in the scientific community than in everyday use. When used in the non-scientific context, “theory” can suggest that something is just an unproven idea. A scientific theory by definition is “a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment.”

Evolution is fact, and God is not. That is not to say that believing in God is wrong; believe as you wish. But there is a huge difference between believing in God and practicing religion, while completely denying fact. Teaching religion in place of natural science is undeniably wrong. This is a regressive learning environment, purposely designed to confuse children and brainwash them into fearing the truth and to exclude people of other or no denomination.