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Dec 18 2013

Texas Gov. Candidates United on Creationism

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to hear that all of the men running for the Republican nomination to be the next governor of Texas agree that creationism should be taught in public schools. Asked that question during a debate, they all agreed on that position.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said he happens “to believe in creationism.”

“I believe that in fairness we need to expose students to both sides of this,” he said. “That’s why I’ve supported including in our textbooks the discussion of the biblical account of life and creation, and I understand there are a lot of people who disagree with me, and believe in evolution.”

Both sides? If we must teach religious alternatives to scientific theories, there are thousands of sides, not just to evolution but to every other theory. So obviously we’ll need to teach Christian Science, crystal therapy and homeopathy in addition to the germ theory of disease. And flat earthism. And hollow earthism. And Raelianism. Oh wait, we don’t? You only want to teach Christian alternatives? What a coincidence.

Both state Sen. Dan Patrick of Houston and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples echoed Dewhurst’s remarks, saying that as Christians they believe students should learn the biblical view of creation in school.

“Our students … must really be confused. They go to Sunday School on Sunday and then they go into school on Monday and we tell them they can’t talk about God,” said Patrick. “I’m sick and tired of a minority in our country who want us to turn our back on God.”

I know, right? They go to Sunday School and learn one thing, then go to school and learn another. Of course, different churches teach radically different things in Sunday School, so I guess we should just close up public schools completely to avoid such “confusion.”

Patterson did not mention creationism in his response directly but said he thought schools had focused too much on political correctness out of what he called a mistaken belief that the U.S. Constitution mandated the separation of church and state.

“Show me where that’s in the Constitution, because it’s not in the Constitution,” he said. “I see nothing wrong with standing up at least for a moment of silence, let those who wish to pray pray in their own faith. I see nothing wrong with having a prayer before a high school football game.”

Seriously. Someone who says something that stupid may be the next governor of Texas. In fact, saying something that stupid undoubtedly makes it more likely that he’ll be elected.

25 comments

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  1. 1
    dmcclean

    Of course, different churches teach radically different things in Sunday School, so I guess we should just close up public schools completely to avoid such “confusion.”

    Don’t go giving them any ideas.

  2. 2
    Modusoperandi

    Both sides? If we must teach religious alternatives to scientific theories, there are thousands of sides, not just to evolution but to every other theory.

    No. There are only two sides: the Creationist side and the wrong side.

     

    Someone who says something that stupid may be the next governor of Texas. In fact, saying something that stupid undoubtedly makes it more likely that he’ll be elected.

    What part of “of the People” don’t you understand?

  3. 3
    Abby Normal

    I learned about creationism in school and I’m very glad I did. Of course it was an elective course named Mythology and the Christian creation story was just a small part of it. But still, I found the class to be one of the more enriching experiences I had in HS.

  4. 4
    Conservative Newswire

    Given that religous ideas are just ideas, does this mean the government can also force political ideas on kids? I don’t recall anything in that great Constitution in the sky prohibiting the use of Das Kapital as an introductory economics textbook.

  5. 5
    Sastra

    Both sides? If we must teach religious alternatives to scientific theories, there are thousands of sides, not just to evolution but to every other theory. So obviously we’ll need to teach Christian Science, crystal therapy and homeopathy in addition to the germ theory of disease.

    If this is supposed to be a reductio ad absurdum then you’ve failed. Welcome to what’s called “Quackademic medicine” – though I see you’re already well informed on this one. Iirc Orac has set up a search engine somewhere which checks to see which medical schools are teaching courses on “alternative medicine.” I can’t find it right now, but I’d be very surprised if there isn’t already one in Texas.

    And yes, teaching “homeopathy in addition to the germ theory of disease” is also being framed as a fair and balanced appreciation of all “sides.” Let people choose according to their conscience, the ultimate human arbitrator. The public is apparently infuriated with the idea that science can say that some things are actually wrong and overrule the conscience. If truth is best learned through intuition, personal experience, and mystical communication, then it shouldn’t matter what a bunch of over-educated “experts” say.

    We’re all supposed to be experts, whatever the scientific topic. Spirit/God and a “humble heart” on the part of the seeker ensures that.

  6. 6
    somnus

    The scientific evidence very clearly supports the FACT that Odin carved the world from the body of a slain frost giant. Features like the Grand Canyon and mountain ranges are his tool marks.

  7. 7
    birgerjohansson

    “If we must teach religious alternatives to scientific theories, there are thousands of sides, not just to evolution but to every other theory.”

    Sir, you have the solution to how to deal with demands to “teach the controversy”.

    If the state demands the teaching of beliefs opposing science, the teachers should simply provide a summary of creation stories. Hindu, maya, viking , the creation story of the !Kung bushmen, the various versions of Aboriginean creation stories (if you go in alphabetical order, this should come first).
    “Back in The Dream, Kangaroo Bloke created the Earth…”

  8. 8
    Loqi

    Presumably, they’ll also be teaching Loqiism, the theory that life began when Pangalactic Overlord Loqi decided he was hungry for a planet-scale taco. He then seeded the planet with future ingredients. It is prophesized that one day, he will return to devour the Great Taco. Those who prepare for his return by flagellating themselves with a meat tenderizer or otherwise making themselves delicious will find salvation in his colon. Those who rebel and cause him indigestion will burn forever in a lake of hydrochloric acid.

  9. 9
    Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    Seriously. Someone who says something that stupid may be the next governor of Texas.

    I’ve got three words for you. Two of them are “Rick Perry”, and I forget the third one.

  10. 10
    Modusoperandi

    somnus “The scientific evidence very clearly supports the FACT that Odin carved the world from the body of a slain frost giant.”
    If it’s a slain frost giant, then why are there still earthquakes? Checkmate, Odinism!

  11. 11
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Someone who says something that stupid may be the next governor of Texas.

    It’s kind of a tradition that we have down here. I’m not sure why any one is surprised. Look at the last two yahoos. Hell. Perry didn’t even know in 2011 that his side lost, and revealed as much to a young boy:

    I hear your mom was asking about evolution and, you know, it’s a theory that’s out there. It’s got some gaps in it, but in Texas we teach both creationism and evolution in our public schools, because I figure you’re smart enough to figure out which one is right.

  12. 12
    Taz

    These are the candidates for Lieutenant Governor, not Governor.

  13. 13
    besomyka

    I’ll be voting for Wendy Davis.

  14. 14
    magistramarla

    Leticia Van de Putte is the Democratic candidate for Lt. Gov.
    She’s been fighting for reason against these GOTP fools here in Texas for a long time.
    I think that the team of Wendy Davis and Leticia Va de Putte would be very good for this state.
    The added bonus if they are elected would be watching conservative heads exploding all over the state.

  15. 15
    loren

    “I’m sure it will come as no surprise to hear that all of the men running for the Republican nomination to be the next governor of Texas agree that creationism should be taught in public schools.”

    1) As pointed out by another commenter, these were candidates for lieutenant governor, not governor.

    2) I don’t see how one can conclude that “all” of the men “agree that creationism should be taught in public schools,” when one of them (Jerry Patterson) didn’t mention creationism at all. Frankly, his comments read like a politician who recognized that taking a non-creationist stand would be poor campaigning in front of this particular crowd, so he changed the subject to something he *did* agree with them on. The actual question appears to have been whether creationism should be taught in schools, so his avoiding giving an explicit “yes” like the others suggests he’s not quite in the same boat as the others.

    In any case, it should be telling that every news story about this seems to be reporting it as “3 out of 4 candidates” endorsed creationism, not “all”. Maybe Patterson *does* believe creationism should be taught in schools, but nothing he actually said in this debate seems to support that conclusion.

  16. 16
    Ben P

    1) As pointed out by another commenter, these were candidates for lieutenant governor, not governor.

    Actually in texas the Liutenant Governor is considered a more powerful position than the Governor.

    The governor in texas is the head of the executive branch, however, virtually all officials in his “cabinet” are themselves directly elected. Most executive agencies in texas are run by multi-person commissions with members who serve very long terms. Aside from that the Governor is the commander of the national guard and has the power to sign or veto bills (Subject to an override) and grant pardons.

    The liutenant governor, on the other hand, presides over the Senate, appoints the Senate’s committees and committee chairs, controls the flow of bills to the floor, and co-chairs the powerful Legislative Budget Board, effectively controlling all the laws the state house will enact.

  17. 17
    robb

    I think creationism *should* be in science textbooks. in a chapter that teaches the difference between good and bad science.

  18. 18
    jnorris

    Sorry Ed, but Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson is too timid to be the Republican candidate. One has to be full-tilt bozo for the Republican Tea Party.

  19. 19
    felidae

    I have no objection to teaching creation myths in schools as long as they teach the FULL SPECTRUM OF THEM so that the kids can compare them and make up thier own mind or come to the logical conclusion that they are all made up shit

  20. 20
    Doug Little

    I believe that in fairness we need to expose students to both sides of this

    i believe that we need to set up a sound system that is capable of at least 135dB place this fool in the middle and then say…

    THERE IS NO FUCKING OTHER SIDE.

    Maybe that will get it through his fucking fundie head.

  21. 21
    Ichthyic

    I think creationism *should* be in science textbooks. in a chapter that teaches the difference between good and bad science.

    no Robb, you’re wrong for two reason, the main one being it isn’t even bad science, it’s not science at all, and two being the space premium in a textbook to begin with, which really can’t be wasted on even a single line to clarify that creationism isn’t science, since there are millions of other things that aren’t science either.

  22. 22
    billyeager

    Let us bow our head in . . .the air and recite the pledge of reason,
    “For the love of . . .sanity, please let it be understood by everyone here, there and everywhere, that the word, ‘theory’ when used in relation to a proven hypothesis, actually serves to define the fact that said hypothesis is, in no uncertain terms, proven. It is a well-substantiated explanation, based on knowledge that has been, lest we forget, repeatedly confirmed through observation and experimentation and, while science is compelled to accept new data that may refute previously understood principles, the general gist is that the word ‘theory’ does not mean what fungelical idiots appear to think it means, you know, in the “hey, I have a theory how that happened. . .” type of speculation. We commit our minds to work together in harmony to educate the crap out of them, ah men and women and those either side or in-between”.

  23. 23
    Michael Heath

    billyeager @ 22 – Proof are for math. Your explanation of a theory is therefore defective.

    Theories are explanatory models that explain facts and provide a model in order make predictions. But even those theories held with the highest confidence and consensus are still held both provisionally and frequently modified as new evidence and explanations emerge out of the scientific process.

  24. 24
    freehand

    Michael Heath: billyeager @ 22 – Proof are for math. Your explanation of a theory is therefore defective.

    This is true, but…

    If only these people were capable of understanding the concept that all knowledge about the universe is uncertain. Theories, of course, are tested and as reliable as any explanations can be. But these people only hear uncertainty when the scientist is qualifying assertions with phrases like “seems like” or “most likely” or “needs more study”. They think that sounding more certain means that the speaker is more likely to be correct.

    When a Southern Baptist preacher says that he “knows” God exists, he means that he is emotionally incapable of considering the possibility that he might be wrong. And of course, that makes him emotionally incapable of understanding that observation.

    These people are seriously crippled, largely by what you characterize as child abuse – a childhood-long indoctrination that prevents introspection, testing against reality, healthy doubt, or understanding the most basic but important aspects of human behavior (e.g. they think we can choose our desires). They cannot acknowledge that reality plays an important role in science – and truth. They cannot acknowledge that it is unreasonable to accept scientific claims that they like and reject others that they don’t like. Truth is not a matter of desire, tribal affiliation, or repetition. The universe is not necessarily comprehensible (that is, there is no reason to expect that it can all be understood by even the smartest of us). They do not understand that the best way to understand the universe is by scientific methodology – they couldn’t describe scientific methodology in any acceptable way if their life depended on it.

    I do not know how to fix this in time.

  25. 25
    Michael Heath

    freehand,

    I read your post a couple of times because I couldn’t discern whether you were criticizing my criticizing billyeager or instead, merely elaborating on a divergent point from mine. Because you addressed your post to me, I’ll assume the former. I think the reasonable person might think your post was a critique of mine; if you were merely going off on a tangent, than please accept my apologies for being defensive. However

    I’m well aware of the fact conservative Christians are predominately illiterate when it comes to theories and scientific methodology, far more than most since I was raised to be a fundie (it never took). My criticism was specific to billyeager getting it wrong from a different perspective.

    I see no justification giving a pass to billyeager’s type of definitional failure simply because conservative Christians ignorantly and dishonestly exploit the provisional characteristic of scientific theories; or are unable to comprehend what it means to credibly know something which makes it confusing and difficult for them to accept theories presented with all sorts of caveats – as we see when it comes some of the predictive aspects of granular theories within the overall AGW theory.

    Advocates of science are winning because we hold the moral and credible high ground; where that’s coupled to our results versus religionists’ and political ideologists’ false beliefs – which are increasingly revealed as science advances. It’s a strategic failure on our part to compromise on whom we criticize and who we avoid criticizing because one side’s an opponent and the other takes on the position of mere ignorance. Inconsistency on our criticisms opens the door to conservative Christians arguing that science is mere scientism in the form of political tribalism, an ideology/religion which makes adherents of science no better than religionists. We’re winning precisely because we reject tribalism and adhere to high standards, so I unabashedly concede I’m ultra-sensitive when our side behaves badly.

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