No! Not Sarah too!

For those of you who don’t keep up with Ed Brayton’s enjoyable blog Dispatches from the Culture Wars, he has a funny post today featuring an excerpt from Sarah Palin’s new book that does a pretty fair job of illustrating why the lady hasn’t got what it takes to be elected dogcatcher let alone leader of the free world, followed by some hearty criticisms. Go read and enjoy. But I thought I’d just mention that I couldn’t help being struck by one passage from the book in particular. Here’s Sarah kvetching about how incredibly controlling Nicolle Wallace, Sarah’s official minder on the McCain campaign, supposedly was.

But something always struck me as peculiar about the way [Wallace] recalled her days in the White House, when she was speaking on behalf of President George W. Bush. She didn’t have much to say that was positive about her former boss or the job in general. Whenever I wanted to give a shout-out to the White House’s homeland security efforts after 9/11, we were told we couldn’t do it.

ZOMG! Oh noes! Did Sarah actually use the phrase…shudder…”shout-out”!?!? Dear Lord in Hebbin, she must be an inner-city gangbanger! Somebody quick…alert Brannon Howse!


PS: I never cease to be amazed at the way the GOP continues to elevate Sarah Palin to rockstar status despite her consistent ineptitude and penchant for whining and casting blame on others for her shortcomings. I have a little hypothesis as to why this is so, and it goes like this (ahem): Take a look at the kinds of people who make up arch-conservatism and the radical right in America these days — you know, the teabaggers, the Glenn Beck zombies, etc. — and you’ll see, in the phrasing of vintage Mad magazine, the usual gang of idiots. To wit, fundamentalist Christians whose favorite sport is their strident denial of anything in the world of politics and science that contradicts their cherished beliefs and ideologies. In their world, intellectualism, education and expertise are all bugs rather than features. They love Sarah because she represents them to a tee in her combination of intellectual mediocrity, hubris, and embarrassing lack of self-awareness or any sense of irony. Sarah famously could not name the three countries covered by NAFTA, and yet she’s seriously being pushed as the Republican front-runner to challenge Obama in 2012. She’s so clueless that she can actually write this in her book, about her respect for Hillary Clinton…

Compared to the guys [Clinton] squared off against, a lot of her supporters think she proved what Margaret Thatcher proclaimed, ‘If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.’

…and her fans will be so clueless that they’ll read this and not immediately roll their eyes that such a remark came from the keypad of a woman who couldn’t be bothered to finish out even her first term as governor. Way to get it done, Sarah!

Well, every political party gets the candidate it deserves. And the rise of Sarah Palin’s superstardom, at a point in her career when she should be treated as little more than a joke whose fifteen minutes were up long ago, demonstrates just how low the formerly Grand Old Party has sunk. Yes, there are plenty of moderates in the GOP outside of the “base” who are groaning in dismay that Sarah has become the party’s glamour girl and hope for the future. Heck, the rising schism has me heating up the popcorn…

Kirk n’ Ray’s latest folly

By now I’m sure everyone knows about Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort’s plan to give away their own edition of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, complete with their own 50-page introduction packed with contemptible creotard lies, at 50 college campuses this November. UT-Austin is one of those campuses, and you can bet I’ll be there to get my copy! I heartily encourage Atheist Longhorns and literally everyone from the university’s Biology department to snap up copies as well, until they run out. And of course, make sure the uneducated drones giving away the book’s are appropriately humiliated and schooled. They evidently haven’t considered the likely consequences of showing up in an environment where people are, by and large, well educated, and trying to spread their ignorant twaddle. Let’s ensure they leave with a full understanding of those consequences.

Jim Emerson’s Scanners blog (Jim edits rogerebert.com, and both he and Ebert are outspoken science supporters) offers a very funny takedown of Kirk and Ray’s idiocy, and I think it’s a good thing that this whole exercise receives as much derision in advance of the actual event as possible. What an awesome thing it would be if those dispatched to give away these books encountered, at all 50 universities (and I’ve read reports there may be more than 100 universities by now), a horde of fearless and outspoken experts in science who calmly shoot down their foolishness and lies, like shooting clay pigeons out of the sky. This ought to be an event they live to regret.

The dark, frightening abyss that is Brannon Howse’s world

It always helps to be reminded of a salient fact when dealing with the fundamentalist extremist: literally every single aspect of their lives is governed by fear. It is a dark and frightening world in which they live, made all the more grim by the way the dark fearfulness of it is so easily embraced by the believer, who disguises it under a thin veneer of righteousness and the sense of empowerment that comes from believing one is part of an oppressed minority.

I have brought up Brannon Howse and his personal neurosis factory, the Christian Worldview Network, for mockery here many times. I regularly get their email newsletters, and believe me, this guy has never met an over-the-top paranoid Obama conspiracy theory he didn’t like. His contributors are a rogue’s gallery of the spiritually psychotic: David Noebel, Ray Comfort, Phyllis Schlafly, David Barton, Kan Ham.

Howse’s latest ridiculous rant is one of those revealing moments in fundie bloviation that serves to remind those of us in the reality-based community just what this country has to deal with. It has the ominous title “Is America at a Dangerous Tipping Point for Receiving God’s Judgment?”, which is entirely in character, as Howse only does ominous titles. Remember when I said that every aspect of the extremist’s life is governed by fear? Well, that doesn’t just apply to Obama, teh gayz, libruls, evilutionists, or (Howse’s favorite villain-of-the-week) “Fabian Socialists.” There’s one thing the Howses of the world are even more scared of than all those things: their God. This week, Howse cannot stop wringing his hands (mostly in fear, but one detects a hint of sadistic glee as well) over the destruction he is sure God is about to wreak upon America, because, apparently…

…our nation has murdered nearly 50 million unborn children, states are rushing toward homosexual marriage, God is outlawed in our nation’s public schools, the criminalization of Christianity is greatly increasing, only 1% of adults have a Christian worldview and false-teaching and pagan spirituality has become mainstream.

I must say I found a lot of that surprising. Only 1% of American adults are Christians? If only! Of course, Howse really means that, by his estimation (and it’s one that lets him play the “me so persecuted” card with shameless impunity), only 1% of Americans are True Christians™ like him. The others are all misled fools who’ve embraced false teachings and “pagan spirituality.” Hmm. Okay. Though I must admit, this imaginary Scary America that exists between Howse’s ears is one I wouldn’t mind living in.

And what’s all this about the “criminalization of Christianity”? Seriously? You’d think if this were the case, then law enforcement would have a hard time overlooking all these hundreds of churches that appear on every fucking block in every town in the country, and be about raiding them Waco-style with greater efficiency than they seem to be employing at present. I mean, let’s look at something in our country that is criminalized, like drugs. So if we lived in some bizarro parallel universe in which drugs were “criminalized” to the same degree Howse thinks Christianity is, then this would be a parallel universe in which meth labs operated on every street corner like drive-in burger joints, vending machines sold both Coke and…coke, and you could pick up Master Kush and Purple Haze marijuana buds at your local nursery or Home Depot.

Truly, Howse is a silly, silly man. But the kind of fear he spouts — an all-consuming, comprehensive existential terror in which you are literally never safe from anything, including the God you profess to love — somehow hits huge numbers of people where they live. It speaks to them. And that, more than anything, is the tragedy of the religious mind. The brighter the beliefs look to the believer, the darker the abyss they actually inhabit.


PS: I just remembered…Howse did one of his Code Blue rallies here in Austin two days ago. No idea how it went yet. I’ll do some digging.

The Worldview Wackaloons are coming to Austin

Not like I’m going. I mean, part of me thinks, from a journalistic standpoint, it would be an intriguingly revealing peek into the mindset (generously assuming there will be minds present at all) of the mad. But then the idea of being bombarded with that much 50-kiloton thermostupid all at once is simply more than I can bear. Still, Brannon Howse and his big Christian Clown Car will be here on September 13, offering us an eye into the alternate universe he inhabits between his ears, of which the following topic list is representative.

How This Happened to America, Where We Are Going and The Biblical Response; How This Can Be The Greatest Hour For the American Church; How to Prepare the Remnant For What is Coming; The Worldviews and People Destroying America From the Grave and How Every Teen and Adult Must Respond To Be Protected; Refuting Evolution; What Happened to the Dinosaurs; The Impact of Evolution on America; Political Correctness is Cultural Marxism; How to Contend For The Faith in the 21st Century; Why Oprah’s Pagan Spirituality is Doubling in America Every Eighteen Months and a Christian Response; Why Worldview Training Matters and Students Want it; What The Bible Has to Say About The Coming One-World Religion, One-World Economy and Global Governance.

If that isn’t a concentrated spasm of atavistic “Mommy help me the monster is under the bed!” terror, I don’t know what is. Surprising that he left out anything about teh gayz, but maybe one of them will remember before the big tour begins.

I mean, I’d consider covering this for the blog and TV show, you know, but seriously, the amount of abuse my poor brain would endure would make me insist that, I dunno, every AXP reader send me $100 for medical expenses or something. So I guess we’re left to our imaginations, which, even at their wildest, I’m sure would not be the equal to the parade of delusion these rallies will exhibit!

Because it’s all just so depressing, that’s why

I have, as many of you have doubtless noticed, been absent from the blog for most of August, preferring to concentrate on some other things and take a bit of a break from the whole atheist-activism thing. Mainly, this has been due to a real need to decompress. I am frankly in a state of despair regarding America as a whole. The right wing — duplicitous, self-serving and dishonest at the best of times — have simply descended into bugfuck insanity and psychosis. I mean, for Set’s sake, we’ve actually got Republican politicians openly “joking” about killing Obama. What the blue blazing phuque is wrong with these maniacs?

I’ve never seen anything like the mass insanity surrounding the health-care reform “debate,” which hasn’t been so much a debate as a mindless, frothing mob going absolutely apeshit over the most preposterous lies that such bobblehead demagogues as Limbaugh and Beck can cook up. Apparently, Obama is going to send the SS to kick down your door, gun down grandma, and hold you down while they forcibly administer HPV vaccines whether you’re a girl or not. That so many of these people just believe the shit they’re being spoonfed without so much as a pause for thought (a skill they evidently don’t possess) makes it dismayingly clear just how far this country has sunk into near-savagery. The neocon Christian right are no longer even recognizably human; they are simply wild animals driven into a Pavlovian rage at the mere sight of a sliver of red meat, even when (especially when) it’s a wholly imaginary sliver. (After all, as Matt Taibbi has pointed on in Rolling Stone, what kind of fucking morons must these people be to decry as “socialism” a health-care reform proposal designed to preserve as much of the private sector as it can?)

I just don’t want to be in the same dimension with these, um, “people.” I’d rather read lots of sci-fi or hang out with my dogs. Unreason, fear, hate, anger, racism, and literalist Christianity are sending America down the toilet fast, and I think we’re already too far down the U-bend to be drawn back up with even the heartiest application of a plunger.

So. How’s your day?

Yes, I repeat, we should ignore Ray

Recent comments in my previous post about Ray Comfort, the World’s Stupidest Christian™, keep explaining that’s he’s sufficiently funny in his stupidity that, well, taking him down is great sport. And then I’m pointed to his post today, in which he makes what I suspect he considers a brilliant “Gotcha!” point, the burden of which is that if atheists really don’t believe in God, then we have no business criticizing all the killing that occupies God’s time throughout so much of the Bible. After all, if we don’t believe God exists, then we also don’t believe he did any of that killing, so why get our panties in a twist about killings that never really occurred, eh?

See, gang, this is why Ray is the World’s Stupidest Christian™. He’s too limited between the ears to comprehend even the elementary distinction between believing or not believing in the existence of something, yet still condemning ideas on moral grounds, especially when those ideas are held to be true by roughly one-third of the Earth’s population. Christians plug their religion, among other ways, on the selling point that God is supposedly this being of transcendent love. John 3:16 and all that. Therefore, it is entirely justified for atheist critics of Christianity to point out instances of divine atrocities in the Bible (let alone the whole “and if you don’t love me back yer goin ta hell” thing), and note how these actions are not exactly consistent with statements you often hear from Christians like “God is love.” You’d think a 9-year-old could get that distinction, and you’d be right. Ray isn’t even that intelligent. Many atheists in Ray’s comments have already given the example of fiction: you can watch a movie and read a book, and understand that it’s all made up, and still hiss the villain.

So I repeat: we just should ignore this mentally constipated lackwit. I mean, come on, gang, how much more obvious does it need to be that he’s descended to sub-troll levels, and his whole shtick at this point is his getting the attention (which equates, in all three of his brain cells, to validation) of atheists. Hell, it’s why he renamed his blog “Atheist Central” from “Ray Comfort Food.” Have we all forgotten the meaning of the word flamebait?

Seriously, he’s useless, people. Find a better hobby.

Attention, every atheist alive: Why aren’t we ignoring Ray?

“For frak’s sake, what’s the point?” That’s all the reaction I can muster to the news we’ve been getting from a jillion folks via email, to the effect that Ray Comfort, The World’s Stupidest Christian™, has agreed to debate noted science YouTuber thunderf00t. No disrespect to thunderf00t, whose videos are among the best I’ve seen. But really, bud, talk about tilting at windmills.

That thunderf00t will clean Ray’s clock is irrelevant, because Ray is the most egregiously dishonest person alive. What will happen will be the same thing that happened when Ray and his pal Kirk Cameron debated the Rational Response Squad on ABC some time back. Ray will make inane points, thunderf00t will decisively and unequivocally refute them, and then Ray will simply ignore everything thunderf00t said and repeat the limp arguments that were just blasted to smithereens by his opponent. Of course, Ray and Kirk looked like the dumbasses they are coming out of the RRS debate. The point is, they didn’t, and couldn’t, notice.

Ray, apart from being The World’s Stupidest Christian™, is, more succinctly, a narcissist and a liar. And as he himself, perhaps ironically, has pointed out, the only reason he has any prominence at all is due to atheists. The unplumbed depths to which he allows his fractal wrongness to sink have been red meat to us, and a lot of us have bitten. But the net result of that has been to give Ray the validation he wants. If atheists are so fierce about attacking every moronic utterance Ray spews, then, obviously, that means he’s got us scared and circling the wagons! Right? Uh-huh.

So, frankly, any “debate” with this supreme idiot will be a farcical waste of time, because Ray isn’t interested in truth (as in the “verifiable, objective facts” definition of the term), just his own brand of fundagelical truthiness. And these little charades simply pump up his ego by reinforcing his ego-gratifying need to believe that the simple fact atheists want to take him on proves he’s right. The content of the debate is irrelevant. That it’s happening at all is, to him, victory.

So can we just forget this cretin already? He ought to be relegated to the obscurity he richly deserves. Let him end up evangelizing at one of those non-denominational congregations that meet in half-empty strip malls in the dodgy part of town. It’s where he deserves to be.

Jonathan Park and the Mind Pathetically Misled: a rant

This is the kind of bilge guys like Don McLeroy and Ken Mercer would like to see taught in science classes here in Texas, and no mistake. One loses count of the scientifically illiterate creationist poltroons who have claimed to have disproved Darwin over the years, only to faceplant into a briar patch of epic fail. But that hasn’t daunted the intrepid folks at San Antonio’s Vision Forum Ministries, who have created a 12-episode radio series called Jonathan Park and the Journey Never Taken, spreading, one presumes, the usual McDonald’s menu of tepid, reheated anti-science lies. Let’s see how they do in their “disproofs”…

“While Darwinism’s impact remains far-reaching, its clutch on the culture is beginning to slip,” concluded [Vision Forum Ministries president Doug] Phillips. “Programs like Jonathan Park illustrate the growing number of people who reject the notion that the world came to be through random chance and chaos, recognizing instead that the creation speaks forth of a Creator.”

Annnnd…FAIL! Let’s count the errors, shall we? First, Darwin’s theory is not a theory regarding how the “world came to be,” and second, nowhere does any model of evolution supported by science make the claim that it is a process of “random chance and chaos”. So, wow, right there in an introductory web post, Phillips reveals his utter ignorance of the science he claims his stupid little program disproves. One can only imagine how bad the actual shows are.

Such a sad, dark little life of ignorance fundamentalism requires you to lead. I recently read Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle, and it has to be the ultimate in travel writing. Imagine if Darwin had had his own blog during the seminal travels of his life, and you’ll get an idea of what’s it’s like. And if it reveals one thing more clearly than anything else, it’s that Charles Darwin possessed a sense of wonder and sheer unbridled awe about the beauty and majesty of life and the world we live in immeasurably greater than any felt by the pitiful creationists at Vision Forum Ministries — or any other creationist institution dedicated to the desperate clinging to the skirts of Bronze Age mythology instead of the real wonders that science and knowledge reveal to us.

They’re gearing this crap towards children, in the hopes their natural wonder about the world and hunger for learning will be stifled before it has a chance to form. And all in the interests of maintaining ancient beliefs and the ministries that sell them. This is why we fight. Minds are at stake. Somewhere in the world is a student who will go on to cure AIDS, extend human life expectancy, and solve other ills that befall us, and that student will have to understand evolution. Creationists fear this, and want this destroyed at all costs. Religion doesn’t care what destruction it leaves in its wake, as long as it comes out on top in the end.


Addendum: It didn’t take long for Pat Roy, writer of the radio show in question, to turn up in the comments to defend his efforts. Game of Pat to show up and comment. I’m replying here as Blogger limits the character length of comments, and my rebuttal goes on at length.

Pat writes, after quoting some writing of Erasmus’ Darwin’s:

Notice how [Erasmus] mentions the formation of the earth from chaos. And we can show that Charles accepted most of his father’s [sic] ideas. Do these statements specifically address biological evolution? No. And that may be your point. However, I believe Mr. Phillip’s statements were referring to the theory of “evolution” as many do — from Big Bang to complex humans – which we see very clearly in Erasmus’ quote (and many others). So you are wrong on your post, many evolutionists do attempt to explain the formation of the world from chaos.

“Many” — at least among scientists and the scientifically literate — do not in fact conflate such cosmological theories as the Big Bang with biological evolution, and if your radio show says they do, it is lying. It is the case that scientists who accept evolution also tend to accept such theories as the Big Bang, but to say that they refer to every field of study regarding origins under the all-purpose umbrella of “evolution” is deceptive. It’s precisely the kind of little deception that creationists engage in as a matter of course; the idea being that many little deceptions add to a student’s mistrust of the reliability of science and the scientific method, until, crack, the proverbial camel’s back proverbially breaks.

Can you in fact name these “many evolutionists” who “attempt to explain the formation of the world from chaos”? (Apart from Chuck D.’s grandad, that is? Science has progressed on the question somewhat since his day, you understand.) Because, from the studying I’ve done, scientists explain the formation of the world as following from known laws of physics. That an accretion disc of dust and nebular materials condensed around a young hot star and formed our solar system using such tried-and-true methods as gravity, and electrostatic and centrifugal forces. Sure, prior to all this going on, the original solar nebula may have been a somewhat chaotic glob of matter. But we wouldn’t have gotten a solar system out of it had physics not taken a role. That’s not simple chaos, and no respectable scientist would describe it so.

So, I’m sorry, your response so far does not leave me with much confidence in your presenting accurate science to your young audience.

Next, Doug Phillips and a team from Vision Forum have just returned from an amazing trip to from the Galapagos. I read the men’s’ accounts on their own voyage to these islands. They too, were filled with the awe and diversity of the animals there. They were inspired by the wonder, beauty, and sense of wonder at the islands. As a matter of fact, the VF team marveled at the incredible design of each animal – appreciating the very ingenuity that went into each one — whereas Charles Darwin attributed the beauty to non-intelligent processes. To say Darwin could appreciate the beauty and purpose more than a creationist isn’t based on anything other than an emotional response!

Phillips and his team went to the Galapagos and returned with more awe of their God. Darwin found awe in nature, without needing any recourse to the supernatural. This is the distinction I meant. Darwin went to the Galapagos and found himself learning new things and formulating original ideas. Your boys went there pretending to be open-minded admirers of science, all the while simply looking to shore up beliefs they already held.

The “design” evident in the animals of the Galapagos, and the whole world, results from an understood process: that of evolution by natural selection, sometimes called descent with modification. That this process is not “intelligent,” not teleological, does not invalidate it. Indeed, there are many problems that begin to crop up in our understanding of biology, and of all the sciences, the minute one tries to shoehorn a magical, all-powerful God into the equation. One is now obliged to explain how and why this God has created things the way he did. One is obliged to reconcile very clear instances of bad “design” — in human beings, for instance, our spines curve in such a way as to risk very bad back problems late in life, our knees bend the wrong way for maximal locomotion, and a woman’s birth canal is not large enough to admit a baby’s head without severe agony and possibly life-threatening consequences for the mother — on the part of this supposedly all-knowing and all-powerful creator. Tellingly, the only way creationists and religionists can reconcile these problems is through recourse to myths that, by their very nature, cannot be examined or confirmed: women’s birth pains are explained as a consequnce of Eve’s “fall,” for instance.

To put it
politely, this isn’t science. Nor is wandering around the Galapagos going, “Wow, look at that tortoise, isn’t God a great designer!”

As far as stifling children… I can say that I have had email after email from children (for many years) that have gotten excited about science and discovering the world around them as a direct result of the production. As a matter of fact, we end each episode with the tag-line, “This is our Father’s world. God created it. We can explore it. Now live the adventure.” Does that sound like we’re “stifling” children, or encouraging them to explore?

It sounds like you’re stifling them without understanding how you’re doing it. Real science, real learning, is done by withholding conclusions about your findings until you’ve seen where the evidence leads. Based on your comments here, it sounds like your entire presentation in these shows follows the creationist playbook: Present kids with nature; offer the false choice between “unintelligent, chaotic processes” and “intelligent design”; cast the choice in terms of a “Duh!” moment (after all, who could believe that all this amazing design in nature could possibly be the result of random chance?!!?1!); and voila — teh God!

Do you truly, accurately present the evidence for evolution in your series? Do you allow pro-evolution scientists who also happen to be Christians — Kenneth Miller, Francisco Alaya, among others — to make guest appearances on the show to explain what the evidence actually tells us? I don’t for an instant believe you do. And that’s not an emotional response. It’s rooted in a long history of dealing with creationists and their dishonesty. What actual, scientifically falsifiable evidence do you present to support the claims “This is our Father’s world. God created it” (in the way science education provides falsifiable evidence for evolution, I mean)? Or are you just telling kids this? If the latter, then, once more with feeling: That isn’t science, Pat, it’s simply religion looking for intellectual cred by donning a lab coat.

I don’t doubt you’ve gotten praiseworthy emails from kids, Pat. But that doesn’t confirm the content of what you teach is true, only that kids with no prior knowledge of science and no way to verify or disconfirm what you taught them enjoyed the experience. I will admit, in fairness, that you may inadvertently have done some of these kids some good. Some of them may well have gone on to study science as they got further along in their educations. And then they’d have discovered that the actual evidence doesn’t quite support what you taught them. Then, some of them may thank you again &#151 if for a very different reason.

Here is the biggest problem with your statement: most of the founding fathers of science were creationists. So to say that creation stifles scientific discovery is just untrue — as proven by history.

Well of course, Pat! Science is about discovery, and developing new theories to supplant old ones when the evidence calls for it. Are you really trying to offer me “Scientists long before Darwin believed in creation” as if it were an argument that validated creation? I mean, you could just as easily say that, because most early doctors were Galenists who believed in the four “humors,” this in no way stifles medical discovery.

Of course early scientists were creationists, because, until Darwin, no one had established a theory of evolution with a solid body of evidence behind it. Early scientists can hardly be expected to have held an idea that did not yet exist, let alone have a strong, evidence-backed theory behind it.

When medicine began to be informed by such things as the germ theory of disease, archaic notions like the humors were discarded as no longer useful or factual. If any doctors today still held to Galenism and the humors, they wouldn’t be good doctors. By the same token, evolution has been confirmed by such a vast body of evidence, and continues to be confirmed by new discoveries all the time. To hang onto an old idea that denies evolution, despite the evidence, is not good science. Creationists who reject evolution in this day and age are like doctors who are still Galenists, holding onto an outmoded idea and bizarrely defending it by pointing out that this is how people long ago thought!

So, thanks for the friendly response. But I’m afraid I’ve found nothing in it to think your program is going to be any less rubbish than all the other creationist efforts I’ve encountered. And if you think my critique was a little on the harsh side, I’d advise you to strap on the Kevlar once actual biologists hear what you’re filling impressionable little minds with.

Christian Right defecating selves over McLeroy rejection

And as always, whenever someone of that ilk (I love words like “ilk” — they sound so yuckily apropos in instances like these) opens his yap, lies flow like especially pungent and curdled vomit. Remember, creationists can’t not lie. Here are some quotes from a fundagelical email making the rounds, playing the usual Christian “persecution” card. Crazy Hint #1: strategic use of ALL CAPS.

…The highly partisan Sen. Kirk Watson and Sen. Eliot Shapleigh and the highly partisan TEXAS FREEDOM NETWORK, have successfully brought the Satanic art of “BORKING” to Texas … ; they recently managed to smear Dr. Don McLeroy, a good and decent man, with sickening LIES. This tag-team of DEMONS claimed that Dr. McLeroy tried to force CREATIONISM into the Science Classroom, and they told this brazen LIE over and over again.

Yes, let’s all ignore the fact that members of the creationist special interest group known fondly to us all as The Discovery Institute were appointed by the SBOE under McLeroy to review science education and TEKS test standards. Let’s ignore the fact that that bimbo Terri Leo let her creationist freak-flag fly proudly by publicly spouting such creotard phraseology as “militant Darwinists” in front of SRO public meetings. Let’s ignore the fact that Ken Mercer repeatedly makes an ass of himself by publicly spewing criticisms of nonexistent “weaknesses” of evolution that come straight from creationist literature (there’s evidence for “microevolution” and none for “macroevolution,” and similar bullshit). Let’s ignore that fact that Mac has just plain come right out and stated he believes the Earth is 6000 years old, a belief as moronically contrafactual as saying Los Angeles is a hundred yards from New York City, and that a person that frakkin’ stupid has no business determining the educations of millions of schoolchildren. Nope, no creationism on this board, nosiree.

I have to disagree with one piece of equivocation TFN insists on making (perhaps in an effort not to alienate more liberal and pro-science minded theists), that Mac’s religious beliefs were not the reason he was so vehemently opposed, his incompetence and ideology were.

Mac’s religious beliefs indeed would not have been an issue…until he made them the issue by trying to inject them into curricula.

Mac’s desperate defenders try to peddle the absurd spin that Mac simply wanted students to have the “academic freedom” to examine the evidence, pro and con. You know, the not-so-crafty lie that the creationists have constructed so as to make them seem like they’re the scientifically-minded and intellectually “honest” ones. But the transparency of that spin is readily apparent to anyone who has followed the recent history of American creationism and seen precisely how the movement has evolved to take advantage of political realities.

The “teach the controversy” and “academic freedom” rhetoric they advance now is specifically designed to sow basic doubts in students’ minds about the validity of and support for evolutionary science. Overtly teaching creationism is something they know they can’t do, but they’ve discovered something even more weaselly effective: simply plant the nugget of doubt that evolution is well-supported by evidence, and then everything the student encounters in his extracurricular life — validation from equally ignorant and ill-educated church members; crazy conspiracy theories from Ben Stein; “reasonable” sounding design arguments like irreducible complexity — will do the rest.

They don’t really care about knowledge or the scientific method. The only agenda of the believer is to protect the belief. Even if that requires posing as an “open-minded” science supporter when you actually seek to completely gut science and everything it teaches us about reality.

So, yes, I will come right out and say that Mac’s religious beliefs were at the root of why he was rejected from a position he was totally unqualified to hold. And it’s because he chose to inject those beliefs inappropriately into his work, disguising them (poorly) in the rhetoric of the increasingly politically savvy anti-evolution movement.

Our idiot blithers:

The TRUTH is that Dr. McLeroy and the SBOE have simply asked that the SCIENTIFIC METHOD be applied fairly and universally in the Science Classroom; in particular, they have ask that the SCIENTIFIC METHOD even be applied to two SACRED-COWS/RELIGIONS of the Liberal Democrats, namely, (1) Darwinian Evolution and (2) Global Warming.

Newsflash, butt-biscuit-for-brains. The scientific method has been applied to those concepts (we leave sacred cows and religions to fools like you). Guess what? They passed. You failed. Run along now. Play with your blocks. But be careful. They might be too educational.

The world McLeroy wants

A recent report reveals what those of us who value science education and its benefits to society have long since feared: American students’ comprehension of the biosciences can be summed up in two words, epic fail.

Middle and high school students across the country are generally falling behind in life sciences, and the nation is at risk of producing a dearth of qualified workers for the fast-growing bioscience industry, according to a report released Monday.

Students are showing less interest in taking life sciences and science courses, and high schools are doing a poor job of preparing students for college-level science, says the report, funded and researched by Columbus, Ohio-based Battelle, the Biotechnology Industry Organization and the Biotechnology Institute.

The deficiencies will hurt the country’s competitiveness with the rest of the world in the knowledge-based economy, the report concludes.

What the news article doesn’t mention is that ever-expanding elephant in the room. There’s a reason this is happening, and it isn’t just that students would rather spend time with their 360s and PS3s. The interest in science education is waning because of a powerful and orchestrated right-wing Christian anti-science movement, which has seen its most appalling and flagrant expression in the Texas State Board of Education under Don McLeroy, who thinks experts are bad guys he needs to “stand up” to. Yes, well, I’m sure when you reach those pearly gates, Don, St. Peter will hand you your harp and halo and say, “Well fought, brave soldier.” At least, I’m sure that’s how the scene plays out in Mac’s rapturous fantasies.

But as the report makes plain, the effort to protect religion via the outright demolition of education is having a disastrous effect, not merely on the minds of students (there’s nothing worse you can do to a mind than rob it of the very will to learn, but the fundies, naturally, would disagree), but on the nation’s economic future.

The biosciences are going to be one of the most important growth industries this century. And with the Christian War on Education in full swing, you can rest assured, that growth won’t be happening here. We’ve long since been on the downward slide towards becoming an intellectual third world country. Now it seems we run the risk of becoming one across the board.

Texans, feel free to bring the findings of this report up when contacting your state senator with your opposition to McLeroy’s appointment. I plan to. It may be a futile effort at this point, but the truth is always worth fighting for. The fact the fundies fear it so much is all the incentive you should need to keep fighting for it.