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A creationist school administrator digs himself deeper

You know that inane school superintendent, Ricky Line, who objected to the teaching of evolution as a science? Now we have a full, complete copy of his letter, and oh, boy, is it crammed full of the stupid.

Would you believe he opens with an anecdote about a fellow in WWII getting shot for refusing to tear down an American flag? After hoisting himself up on the martyr’s cross, he then goes on and on, demonstrating his abysmal ignorance of science and biology.

Comments

  1. says

    I take no issue with the teaching of microevolution, the documented proof that a species changes over time, just as humans are taller on the average than they were fifty years ago, I also take no issue with macroevolution being taught as a theory

    I take no issue with teaching microdevelopment, the documented proof (!) that children grow into adults, and I also take no issue with macrodevelopment being taught as a theory. No one has been able to watch a single cell develop into a neonate, after all.

    By the way, dimwit, the evidence of derivation showed that microevolution occurred before we had been able to watch it happen. Macroevolution uses the same evidence as what accurately predicted that microevolution could occur, dumbass. Unless you have evidence that some idiot-designer copies evolution or uses GAs to design, you’re just an anti-empirical anti-evidence halfwit. And you don’t have any such evidence.

    Glen Davidson

  2. Brownian says

    So, uh, what do we do, here?

    Does this count as a personal directive or a living will? Is he in pain? His incoherent ramblings certainly sound like they’re coming from someone with something terminally cranial.

    Is there a plug we can pull?

  3. says

    I take no issue with the teaching of microevolution, the documented proof that a species changes over time, just as humans are taller on the average than they were fifty years ago

    In other words, he has no issue with teaching evolution, as long as we teach it wrong.

  4. says

    Ya gotta read the response from Terry Holliday (Kentucky Commissioner on Education) at the bottom of PZ’s link. Holliday nicely (very nicely) roasts Line on the meaning of the word “theory” and also nicely explains why they have such standards. He also simply avoids the histrionics of the WWII story by not responding to it.

    The letter ends with:

    I appreciate your viewpoint and hope this information assists you in understanding KDE’s position. Thank you for all that you do to positively impact the lives of the students in your school district.

    Perfect non-confrontational ending to a polite letter. I wonder if Superintendent Line will read it differently.

  5. Luc says

    But remember, religion is all about some personal, private, ineffable Mystery and has nothing at all to do with society or politics, and in no way possible does it conflict with science.

  6. Brownian says

    Perfect non-confrontational ending to a polite letter.

    I agree. Now, if the accommodationists are right, Superintendent Line will immediately pursue a PhD in Evolutionary Biology and fight tirelessly for same sex marriage.

  7. janine says

    I take no issue with the teaching of microevolution, the documented proof that a species changes over time, just as humans are taller on the average than they were fifty years ago.

    This person is willing to give microevolution the credit for taller human when it lays else where. What is funny that microevolution, in his terms, works faster then evolution itself.

    I am sure that no biologist, let alone a dietician, proof read this letter.

  8. Luc says

    Although I think he got one thing straight:

    …”to believe that they evolved from lower forms of life and, therefore, have no inherent purpose other than that which man invents, and even more significantly, there is no life after death.”

    Spot on, no? You’re responsible to figure what to do with the time you’ve got. This is a sandbox roleplaying game. Explore the world and meet its eclectic inhabitants :)

    It’s also a fun exercise to respond to his questions:

    1. Fact. Evolutionary theory explains the factuality of macroevolution.
    2. Yes. Evolutionary theory doesn’t appeal to any external forces.
    3. Of course, why would anyone want to avoid teaching facts?
    4. Yes, to ensure all kids from that state receive the same quality education. If it were up to me, it would probably be mandated at the national level.

  9. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    I used to do teacher training in science in Kentucky, and while the state has some astounding assclams, there are also some formidable individuals who are open to considering the evidence and will not back down when the evidence is on their side. The folks in Eastern Kentucky had a saying: “If a minister is leaving a woman’s house, he’ll either picking his teeth or zipping his fly.” That is not the attitude of a credulous people.

    So kudos to Terry Holliday. He’s the real story here. Line–well a line is the shortest distance between two points, but in this case the points happen to be stupidity and idiocy.

  10. says

    The idiot for the dead Jeebus got something right: “This teaching will have an extremely negative impact on parents’ decisions to send their children to public schools.

    The Christian extremists who infest Kentucky will home school their children to prevent them from learning anything about science.

    I also noticed he calls science education “indoctrination”.

    In a normal country this uneducated moron would have been fired a long time ago.

  11. natashayar-routh says

    One little point about his WW II anecdote, he has the teacher being shot on December 10th 1941 on Luzon. Problem is that the Japanese didn’t land on Luzon until December 12th. So our teacher must have been shot be a time traveling Japanese officer! As the only way to win a war against a time traveling enemy is to have time travel yourself so the U.S. has time travel!

    Hey it makes as much sense as anything else he says.

  12. says

    Holliday nicely (very nicely) roasts Line on the meaning of the word “theory” and also nicely explains why they have such standards.

    That’s interesting but I noticed this in the news article: “Holliday insisted Monday that Kentucky will not be teaching evolution as fact.”

    Why would Holliday say that unless he was as stupid as Ricky Line?

    Perhaps Holliday was told what to write in that letter “by our legal and curriculum staffs.”

  13. Happiestsadist says

    natashayar-routh@ #14: Are you saying a good True Christian could possibly be lying or clueless? I am shocked and appalled at the very idea.

  14. says

    I find it ironic how much quote mining gold there is to be found in that letter if, you know, we had to rely on pathetic stunts like that instead of facts and evidence.

  15. mikelaing says

    What’s with this micro evolution biz? One million times a micro evolution equals one evolution. If humans have gained 2 in. in height in the last fifty years, in fifty million years they will be 166,666′ 8″ tall, sorry, 166,672 feet tall for one evolution to occur.
    Now, would that qualify as a new species? The criteria I was learned in spare moments while stillin ‘shine with my pappy/brother(I was home skooled) was if they can no longer have viable descendants that are capable of procreatin when mating with the original folk, that is a new species.

    Now I may have consumed my fair share of 90% methanol, but I see problems already. Personally, I reason that it takes far fewer micro evolutions to render reproduction problematic, *hic*, but sure as a hound dog’s sheet smells arfully sour, when folk are 25 – 30 foot tall, thet be a knew species?

    Gotta go and test the next batch. You folk sure are polite an all and ah’d like to offer to sanctify Mr Line’s efforts – seal if you will – tell im ta shtop by any ole tine *hic* time! :)

  16. sunnydale75 says

    >Line–well a line is the shortest distance between two points, but in this case the points happen to be stupidity and idiocy. <

    -That was so funny I almost blew soup from my nose. We need a t-shirt with sayings like that. Or maybe a "bible" belt.

    Tony

  17. Midnight Rambler says

    I was expecting the bit about the dean being shot in the Philippines to be a copy-and-paste job, but apparently he assembled it himself from a widely-repeated story, apparently spread around (and embellished) by both Christians and Filipinos. The only mention I could find of the date was from a 1945 newspaper article about Gen. Homma’s war crimes trial. Also, the Japanese did make their first landings on Luzon on the 10th, according the the One True Source.

  18. woodyemanuel says

    I think it’s pretty clear that Ricky Line must now stick to his principles and put his money where his mouth is and resign as superintendent.

  19. palefury says

    “Forcing them to consider a theory as factual and then requiring 20% or more of their time be spent on this content is nothing more than indoctrination”

    Wow – OK indoctrination is teaching evolutionary biology to kids at high school for 8x18week semesters for 1 hour. That is 144 hours or 6 days worth of time total.

    What do you call dragging a child to church an hour every Sunday for 18 years 52×18 = that is 936 hours or 39days or about 5 and a half weeks (and some services are more than an hour, not to mention Sunday school, youth groups, holiday programs, etc)

    What are you worried about – Surely the one with the most indoctrination time will win?

    Unless… oh wait… are you afraid that evolution has a convincing argument?

  20. Russell says

    Line’s views are deeply offensive to Sixth Day Adventists, who know as a matter of metaphysical certainty that as nothing moves except as God wills it, and He is loath to labor for more than six days, resting in the Sabbath, time itself can operate but six days out of seven, which means that Creation is at most 5155 years old.

    Yet though it is universally agreed that the Lord declared first light in 4004 BC, Line dates his letter Anno Domini 2011, thereby subscribing to an additional and extrabiblical forty-three score years, which every theologically sound educator knows can only be of the Devil’s creation. We therefore demand he be cast out of the educational system of Kentucky, lest it slide down the slippery slope of Old Earth Creationism- once our children’s chronology debauches beyond the proper span of 5155 years, not even a kentucky Colonel can stop it from lurching past 6015 into the heathen billions.

    Forbid it almighty God!

  21. petzl20 says

    I love the way the Holliday kills him with kindness. He helpfully instructs him on what a Theory is, pats the little boy on the head, then says “It getting late and your mother must be fretting about you; you hurry home now!”

  22. radpumpkin says

    There’s so much facepalmy goodness in there, I just don’t know where to start! Well, why not the beginning, and one of my favorite appeals to authority:

    […] while totally omitting the creation story by a God who is bigger than all of us. I do not believe in macroevolution, and I do believe in creation by our God. I now stand to certify, and seal, my convictions.

    Well, Mr. Line, if your god is so big, how come we killed him so easily? Sorry buddy, I do not recognize the authority of dead deities…

  23. unclefrogy says

    there at the end of his letter he makes a negative reference to standards in education. Someone correct me if I am wrong but I do not work in education so aren’t the conservatives the ones pushing for testing and standards in education as a way to control education and reform education because they think we are paying too much and getting poor results?
    While at the same time fools like this want to teach make be-leave instead of science. Just how is that going to improve education and therefore our ability to compete in the modern world economy?

    trying to figure them out makes me confused.

    uncle frogy

  24. says

    It’s difficult to know what’s real and what’s not real.

    The administrator’s letter starts off with a story about the dean of a school in the Philippines. I was immediately suspicious that the story was bogus, even if the administrator believed it.

    After poking around the web, I found two, nearly identical versions of the administrators story, without attribution.

    And another version of the story – which may be the original – takes place in a John Wayne film, “Back to Bataan.”

    I would love to know where the administrator got his story. Maybe I’ll try to ask him.

  25. Aquaria says

    What do you call dragging a child to church an hour every Sunday for 18 years 52×18 = that is 936 hours or 39days or about 5 and a half weeks (and some services are more than an hour, not to mention Sunday school, youth groups, holiday programs, etc)

    In the Southern Baptist church I was dragged off to whenever my mother would get a wild hair about fitting in with morons, or thinking maybe the spirit was moving her (rather than just having some gas), the services when the Cowboys weren’t playing would easily exceed 2 hours. When the Cowboys were playing, we’d all be out in time to go watch the game.

    Curious, that.

  26. drxym says

    Never understood how creationists could concede microevolution but not macroevolution. It’s like conceding people can walk one step at a time but refusing to believe they can transport themselves from one town to another through a series of such steps.

  27. totalretard says

    I think everyone is ignoring the inescapable conclusion that if a guy is shot for refusing to tear down the American flag that it immediately follows that Creation Science is True. Don’t they teach logic outside Kentucky?

  28. says

    I find it ironic how much quote mining gold there is to be found in that letter if, you know, we had to rely on pathetic stunts like that instead of facts and evidence.

    Quotemining? More like standing in a pig pen, 3 inches deep in loose wellies. No, no quote “mining” is necessary here.

    It’s only a shame i can’t apply bleach to my cerebral cortex.

  29. anubisprime says

    How do these dingbats get themselves into such a job where a modicum of reality actually is required not to mention a decent education.
    The dude is clearly unsuited to the intellectual and mental attributes a public position demands by default.

    And to think that a generation of kids are at the beck and call of this muppet’s whims and smelly brain farts is not only frightening but deeply disturbing for the future of Kentucky with a rational and well informed work force.

  30. says

    It is now time to separate “Real American Science”™ (RAS) from “Communist Plot Science” (CPS)!!! Only non-Real American believe in this communist plot called Evolution. In fact, most of the people working in Biology Departments in the US are Chinese, or Indian, or Russian, or European, and are therefore in to this communist plot. PZ Myers is a traitor of RAS in that he sides with foreigners and communists. The Nobel prize is a communist plot: it is devoted exclusively to so-called scientists of CPS and it is given out in Oslo, Norway! Let’s invent our own Bibel prize given out each year to the most relevant research result in RAS, and organize a big ceremony in Oslo, Minnesota, US!

  31. says

    If the version of the letter shown is true and accurate you’ve only got to look at the addressees to see pretty-much all you need to know about Line. He can’t even count the ‘L’s in Holliday’s name

  32. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    It is now time to separate “Real American Science”™ (RAS) from “Communist Plot Science” (CPS)!!! Only non-Real American believe in this communist plot called Evolution. In fact, most of the people working in Biology Departments in the US are Chinese, or Indian, or Russian, or European, and are therefore in to this communist plot. PZ Myers is a traitor of RAS in that he sides with foreigners and communists. The Nobel prize is a communist plot: it is devoted exclusively to so-called scientists of CPS and it is given out in Oslo, Norway! Let’s invent our own Bibel prize given out each year to the most relevant research result in RAS, and organize a big ceremony in Oslo, Minnesota, US!

    4/10

  33. tbp1 says

    I live in Kentucky. It’s deeply distressing that someone as abysmally uninformed as Mr. Line could have any position of authority in any school system anywhere in the world, let alone the state I live in. On the other hand, it’s wonderful to see the terrific response of Terry Holliday, Commissioner of Education, who sets him straight in clear, succinct language. His response is unfailingly polite, and all the more devastating for being so.

  34. wholething says

    Ricky Line thinks humans being taller than they were 50 years ago is an example of microevolution and he thinks he is qualified to discuss evolution as science. At least a superintendent has very little direct contact with students.

  35. shouldbeworking says

    Yeah but he may be able to influence the hiring and/ or the rentention of science teachers. He should not be associated with education in any capacity.

  36. Loud says

    Doesn’t such obvious religious bias and complete lack of understanding of basic science compromise his position at the school? Does it not set alarm bells ringing with the board of education?

    Or am I being naive?

  37. bbgunn says

    I think I would have preferred something more like this:

    I appreciate your viewpoint and hope this information assists you in understanding KDE’s position. Thank you for all that you do to positively impact the lives of the students in you’ve done for
    your school district. Now don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

  38. Active Margin says

    Assuming the posted response by Holliday is genuine, I have reached a point in my readership that I have to certify – to seal, if you will – that Ricky Line was put in his place. However, I wont hold my breath waiting for Line to understand.

    He throws out all the typical worn out canards, and then tops it off with the subtle comment about not believing humans evolved from “lower life forms”. It speaks volumes about his understanding of evolution, and that’s all he really needed to say IMO.

    Thankfully, no matter how hard he or others protest, there’s no placing humans back into the center of the universe.

  39. julietdefarge says

    Fine. Teach evolution as a theory. Juggle the curriculum a bit, and teach the theories of heliocentricity, electromagnetism, atomic structure, cell theory, plate tectonics, or whatever is most appropriate for the grade level before addressing evolution. I’ve found that simply teaching the definition of a scientific examples is not enough. Kids need examples of theories that they can easily agree with before moving on to a topic where they are forced to choose which authority figure to trust. For kids, it often boils down to “I can’t accept evolution because I love my parents and don’t want to doubt them.”

  40. coralline says

    Kids need examples of theories that they can easily agree with before moving on to a topic where they are forced to choose which authority figure to trust. For kids, it often boils down to “I can’t accept evolution because I love my parents and don’t want to doubt them.”

    Good. Then after a generation has passed, there’ll be no need of the mollycoddling crap, and kids can be taught the current best understanding of the world.

    Oh, wait — that should have happened already.

    By the way, in which curriculum should heliocentricity be a prerequisite to understanding evolution? Or electromagnetism be a prerequisite? Or atomic structure? The only one of those examples which is slightly apropos is “cell theory”, and that is still not necessary to understand that certain traits are heritable, and that these can change with time.

  41. Rasmus Odinga Gambolputty de von Ausfern....of Ulm says

    Why do I continue to be surprised when I hear the “Evilution is just a theory!” bullshit from people high up in the education system?

  42. peterh says

    @ #36:

    I am stealing that! It’s simple and direct. I know some fundies who have trouble walking a straight line; not sure they’ll be able to follow, but it’s worth a try.

    @ #39:

    You asked,
    “How do these dingbats get themselves into such a job where a modicum of reality actually is required not to mention a decent education.”

    If Kentucky schools are like those here, the members of the school board are elected by the public and the board hires the superintendent. It seems in that district there’s a ready supply of stupid.

  43. David Marjanović says

    Good. Then after a generation has passed, there’ll be no need of the mollycoddling crap, and kids can be taught the current best understanding of the world.

    Oh, wait — that should have happened already.

    It happened long ago in all halfway Western countries except the USA and Turkey.

    Telling that I have to include Turkey here to make the US not stand out so much.

  44. says

    Accepting “microevolution” but not “macroevolution” is like agreeing that you can walk to the shops but denying that anyone could ever eventually walk all the way into town. It’s just a crazy thing.

  45. michaelswanson says

    It’s depressing that such a fool can rise to the station of superintendent of an entire school district, and more depressing that it’s not an uncommon occurrence.

  46. jentokulano says

    Japan’s imperialist plan was to force Deans at gunpoint to remove American flags? How productive. (and apocryphal, I fear)

  47. davewyman says

    “Japan’s imperialist plan was to force Deans at gunpoint to remove American flags? How productive. (and apocryphal, I fear)”

    Don’t fear, jentokulano – it apparently happened. The “dean” appeared at a war trial in Manila after the war and gave some testimony. Although there’s no way to know if the man on the stand was who he said he was, or if he spoke the truth. Not without a lot of research.

    The story about Bello has included different endings, including the movie version, in which Bello dies by hanging, and a version in which he’s bayoneted to death.

    By the way, for whatever perverse reason, I’ve wanted to track down more details of the original story – whether or not it’s true, why it got picked up by various religious writers, and in fact I’d like to know how the screen writer for Back to Bataan got hold of the story, and what the real Mr. Bello thought about the movie.

    To that end, I’ve had a pleasant exchange of emails with Supt. Line. He’s a nice person. I asked him about the story of Buenaventura Bello. Line offered to send me his copy of the book where he found the story. Of course, I didn’t tell him specifically what I thought about his reasons for writing his letter. It would have served no purpose and I wouldn’t have gotten the answer to my question about his source for his story.