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Jul 16 2012

How is Britain like Louisiana?

They’re not much alike, except in one thing: they’re both supporting creationist schools.

A group of creationists has gained approval from the Government to open a fully state-funded Free School in 2013. The group are behind the plans for ‘Exemplar – Newark Business Academy’, a revised bid from the same people who proposed ‘Everyday Champion’s Academy’ last year. Everyday Champion’s Academy, which was formally backed by Everyday Champions Church, was explicitly rejected due to concerns surrounding the teaching of creationism.

In February 2011, while promoting the Everyday Champions Academy bid, Everyday Champions Church leader Gareth Morgan stated that ‘Creationism will be taught as the belief of the leadership of the school. It will not be taught exclusively in the sciences, for example. At the same time, evolution will be taught as a theory.’

And the United Kingdom won’t even have the compensatory advantages of great jazz, cajun food, and a willingness to party all night long. Creationism, boiled cabbage, and Morris dancing? There’s not one win anywhere in there.

Follow the link, read the details, and complain to your government!

47 comments

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  1. 1
    Pen

    Boiled cabbage? Otherwise, please send your minions to the rescue. The current government sucks and our idiot prime minister keeps trying to tell us we’re Christians in case he can trick us into believing it.

  2. 2
    richardelguru

    PZ you are way off the mark and about a quarter of a century out of date if that’s your description of British food.

    Once it was true, but we evolved. (Also morris dancing is one of the best excuses for partying known to civilised man—Hey diddle diss. Let’s go and get pissed….etc.etc.)

    Of course the creationism comment is justified, and worrying.

  3. 3
    martinhafner

    Your readers may want to help Zack Kopplin to “Stop Governor Jindal’s Creationist Voucher Program” (http://www.repealcreationism.com/697/stop-governor-jindals-creationist-voucher-program-before-governor-romney-takes-it-nationwide/“) and ask your US readers to sign his online petiton to “Halt the implementation of Louisiana’s creationist voucher program” (http://www.change.org/petitions/the-governor-of-la-halt-the-implementation-of-louisiana-s-creationist-voucher-program)
    Unfortunately, I am not living in the US and guess that I thus can and should not sign.

  4. 4
    patterson

    Mnn boiled cabbage, throw in some boiled liver, some boiled onions, and perhaps a boiled sausage or two, then sit back with a warm pint and watch the Morris dancing. Life doesn’t get much better.

  5. 5
    jamesfish

    Where did this boiled cabbage cliche, that Americans so like to toss around, even come from? In all my years living here I never once encountered a boiled specimen of the cabbage family, and I used to have school dinners.

  6. 6
    Pen

    For what it’s worth there is a petition to the government against this school here. I’m sure it could use more than 78 signatures.

    British citizens or residents only though, please.

  7. 7
    Gnumann+,with no bloody irony at all (just an anti-essentialist feminist with a shotgun)

    Actually, boiled cabbage is quite good (especially with some bits of lamb thrown in.

    The trick is to boil the shit out of the little smelly motherfucker. Unless you are using a pressure-boiler, boil for at least an hour.

    (An autumn staple in my neck of the woods is sheepin-cabbage. Put diverse bits of sheep (or lamb if you are delicate (you might want to be)) in layers separated by cabbage, salt and a bit of flour between the layers and a small shitload of black peppercorns., fill with water and boil gently for 1,5 hours. Smells like sheepy farts, looks like hell, tastes divine.)

  8. 8
    revjimbob

    In Scotland we don’t boil cabbage.
    We deep-fry it.

  9. 9
    richardelguru

    jamesfish (‘n’chips??)

    I think it’s largely from self-deprecating British jokes (“spam, spam, spam, spam…” or ‘The British Railways sandwich that’s taken out and dusted every week or so’). British food has always been good, and now that we’re so multicultural we get incredible ‘fusion foods’.

  10. 10
    PZ Myers

    I just knew the snarky remark about boiled cabbage would get the Brits even more defensive than the fact that they’re sponsoring a CREATIONIST SCHOOL. Priorities, people! Whine about my gross misconceptions about British cooking after you’ve taken care of the next of vipers in your home.

    Besides, I know that all you eat over there is curries, anyway.

  11. 11
    Gnumann+,with no bloody irony at all (just an anti-essentialist feminist with a shotgun)

    Just for the record:
    I’m not a Brit, and would never publicly defend traditional British cookery.

    (If you find pictures of me me gnawing on a lambs leg dipped in mint sauce in the closet in the middle of the night, those are private and I want them back right now!)

  12. 12
    Fred Salvador, Onion Jumbler

    In all my years living here I never once encountered a boiled specimen of the cabbage family

    We used to get it with Sunday roasts. Never eaten it on it’s own (or with Sunday roasts either – white cabbage is filthy), although I believe the Germans are fond of boiled cabbage for boiled cabbage’s sake. It’s perfectly possible that a Yank has gotten Germany and the UK confused, what with Yanks being a bunch of dribbling buffoons.

    Then again they’re not the ones pulling money out of a perfectly good socialised healthcare system and giving it to any religious “school” that asks for it.

    Largely because they don’t have a socialised healthcare system to begin with, but that’s by the by.

  13. 13
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Besides, I know that all you eat over there is curries, anyway.

    And kebabs

  14. 14
    Rip Steakface

    (Also morris dancing is one of the best excuses for partying known to civilised man—Hey diddle diss. Let’s go and get pissed….etc.etc.)

    Swing dancing is from Louisiana (thanks to jazz being born there), and swing dancing is an even better excuse for partying.

  15. 15
    paleotrent

    Other things Britain and Louisiana have in common:

    Rainy weather, and sausage is one of the major food groups. Other than that, not much.

    And please sign Zack’s petition. He’s a great kid (young adult, more appropriately) I had the pleasure of meeting when we tried to overturn Jindal’s stupid-ass “alternative science materials” law. And to think that Bobby Jindal has a friggin’ biology degree from Brown. My idea is to make a t-shirt with his picture on it that says “Louisiana: Even our Rhodes Scholars are Idiots.”

  16. 16
    Fred Salvador, Onion Jumbler

    Other than that, not much.

    They both have scorpions.

  17. 17
    Menyambal

    Vindaloo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLph6ePNkGQ is kinda like some Cajun food. And that vid looks like New Orleans on a fun night.

    With Prince Chucko and Governor Jindal, there’s a few more similarities. Yeah, let’s get the government to pay for indoctrination into cults.

  18. 18
    raven

    that ‘Creationism will be taught as the belief of the leadership of the school. It will not be taught exclusively in the sciences, for example. At the same time, evolution will be taught as a theory.’

    This is almost certainly a flat out lie.

    What the creationists do at best is teach a cartoonish version of evolution. “Evolution says dogs give birth to cats and you should eat people.”

    A creationist teacher supposedly was teaching the Wedge “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution program of the Dishonesty Institute. Someone asked her what she thought the strengths of evolutionary theory was.

    “Well, there aren’t any so I just skip over that part.”

  19. 19
    Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc

    It’s bullshit that would send my departed Anglican-but-nowhere-near-a-creationist teacher father’s ashes revolving. Our governments seem to enjoy selling off/PFI-ing schools, hospitals, police services, the whole fucking lot. All of the main parties that I as a Brit can vote for are venal or foolish… Grr.

  20. 20
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    And we used to laugh at the primitive creation myths and beliefs of native peoples.

  21. 21
    cartomancer

    I’m certainly no fan of our glorious plasticine overlord and his posh boy cronies. This whole “free schools” thing is appalling (if it were up to me I’d make private education illegal and have everything run by the state) but, credit where credit is due, they’re not all bad on everything education-related.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/jul/15/free-access-british-scientific-research?INTCMP=SRCH

    On the subject of boiled cabbage, it is very traditional European fare indeed. In the Middle Ages we boiled just about all the vegetables to death, because we used human and animal excrement on the fields as fertilizer, and thus unboiled vegetables were usually unsafe to eat. Though you could spice your boiled vegetable chunks up with a bit of beer or rainwater to make a kind of nasty, gritty pottage if you were so inclined.

    Which perhaps provides the solution to the creationist schools problem. If we insisted that they resort to medieval cuisine as well as medieval science then I doubt anyone would put up with it for very long.

  22. 22
    birgerjohansson

    I know why creationists might thrive in Britain, or at last Northern Ireland; there are no snakes there for them to handle. Without predators they multiply in numbers that enable them to colonise the other British islas.

  23. 23
    birgerjohansson

    North Swedish bloke: “boiled cabbage…mmmm. I’ll serve it with the fermented fish”.

  24. 24
    Rich Woods

    @cartomancer #21:

    Which perhaps provides the solution to the creationist schools problem. If we insisted that they resort to medieval cuisine as well as medieval science then I doubt anyone would put up with it for very long.

    I doubt anyone would survive on it for very long.

    @PZ #10:

    Besides, I know that all you eat over there is curries, anyway.

    He’s got us there! Seriously, if you’d grown up on a diet of boiled vegetables and blandly roasted meats, you too would want to spend your entire adult life living on ‘foreign’ food. Embrace and extend, I say.

    As for the funding of creationists schools, the government will only listen to reason when the number of votes which may be lost over the decision looks like it will exceed the number of votes gained. These are not principled people we are dealing with, just Tory scum (remarkably similar to the recent batch of unprincipled New Labour scum).

  25. 25
    Q.E.D

    Nothing gets me quite as enraged as the fact that I pay my taxes to the Inland Revenue and the Tory government (and Labour before it)then gives my money to religious institutions to which they have outsourced state education.

    As a result religious schools receiving taxpayer funds can discriminate against my child and refuse her an education because her parents aren’t CofE/Catholic/Jewish etc. This is true even if no state school place is available in my borough.

    Now the government is giving money to fucking creationist schools?

    Time for me to to open a Church of FSM school.

  26. 26
    ben2012

    As a Brit, I feel honour-bound to point out that we have great jazz… a veritable history of it.
    http://www.hertsjazzfestival.co.uk/

    That said, it is a deplorable thing to share the creationism fancying along with the fine music. As Rich Woods above put it, they’ll take note when it comes to how many votes they lose because of idiotic half-baked chicanery like this.

  27. 27
    coleslaw

    I always thought the complaints about British food were exaggerated until I went there last summer. We did go to some good Indian restaurants, but otherwise the food seemed bland – not overcooked (no boiled cabbage), but innocent of anything resembling seasoning, including in Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant in London. That surprised me because didn’t England own a whole chunk of the middle and far east once just to get their hands on some spices? Breakfasts were good, and nothing was really horrible, it’s just the only place I wanted to go back to is Tayyab’s. I was also amused to see something called a Cajun chicken sandwich on the menu of many pubs. I suspect no true Cajuns were harmed in the making of those sandwiches. I was never motivated to try one and see.

  28. 28
    Q.E.D

    Oh, and another way Britain and Louisiana are similar (I have lived in both):

    Both London and New Orleans have a thin veneer of first world respectability under which exists the reality of a third world capital.

    more similarities:

    - crumbling infrastructure
    - “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” approach to maintenance
    - risibly bad public transportation
    - great public parks
    - incompetent builders with no qualifications
    - 19th century plumbing in the 21st century
    - public drunkenness as a way of life
    - great pubs/bars
    - dog friendly
    - crumbling heritage sites with no state funds for preservation
    - an overweening interest in civil wars

  29. 29
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    our glorious plasticine overlord

    Having been off work today and stuck with BBC News and the train-line investment press conference, I LOL-ed.

    That said, it was the earlier, perma-tanned overlord who invented the concept.

    *hack* *spit*

    I know why creationists might thrive in Britain, or at last Northern Ireland; there are no snakes there for them to handle.

    Hey, we have Adders! (OK, not so scary, but …)

    I just knew the snarky remark about boiled cabbage would get the Brits even more defensive than the fact that they’re sponsoring a CREATIONIST SCHOOL.

    Trolling, huh?

    Cabbage braised with juniper, maybe bacon, maybe chestnuts? A splash of something fruity and acidic like cider vinegar? Maybe even raisins? Lots of black pepper, for sure. This is modern British cabbage. ;)

    I’m trying to beat down a Christian school proposal here in CM-ville. But they’re infuriatingly popular, even amongst atheists, on the basis of “but my kids won’t have to mix with those kids” (where “those” is “people who can’t be bothered to pretend to be religious to get their kids into a nicer school”). It’s really annoying.

  30. 30
    David Hart

    Hey, I’m British, and I’m willing to party all night long if it’ll keep the creationists out of our schools…

    Wait, what?

  31. 31
    lanceleuven

    raven:

    ‘What the creationists do at best is teach a cartoonish version of evolution. “Evolution says dogs give birth to cats and you should eat people.”’

    In what way is that a cartoonish version? Seems pretty accurate to me. Accept of course the obvious omission of the question of why there are still chimpanzees and where are all the crocoducks (they look so cute!). Either way I still use it as my go to excuse for baby eating.

    Anyway, petition signed. And also, as I recall wasn’t Blair mainly to blame for the birth of this free school nonsense?

  32. 32
    auntbenjy

    Have to admit I laughed when I read this today (in NZ).

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/7289090/School-Bible-lessons-un-Christian-reverend

  33. 33
    A. R

    Gah, I hate curry! (15 somethingith generation English-American, so what do my taste buds mean to the general British sense of taste anyway)

  34. 34
    gardengnome

    “At the same time, evolution will be taught as a theory.’” (Added italics)

    In other words as the half-baked speculation of a long-dead naturalist, now debunked.

    Signed the petition, but in the land of Beeching, Sandys and (ugh) Thatcher I don’t expect too much.

    ‘Boiled cabbage’ originated with the French who like to think the Brits boil all their food and eat it with mint sauce – read Asterix in Britain. It has been an effective campaign as Americans now obviously believe the furphy.

  35. 35
    Troy Britain

    I am nothing like Louisiana and I resent the fact that you would make the comparison…

  36. 36
    zmidponk

    There is a small, but important, detail in that article which may change things:

    Here, the creationists have realised they cannot get away with that, and so appear to be doing the next best thing, which is to argue that creationism should be taught in RE only.

    ‘RE’, in case you’re not aware, stands for ‘Religious Education’, which is a class that teaches religious views, usually of several different religions. Now, the BHA does not trust the creationists running the school, and fear that this is nothing more than a variation on the ‘wedge strategy’, and that they will somehow use this opportunity to try to finagle creationism into the science curriculum, or have it legitimised in some other way. I can certainly understand this concern, but the simple fact of the matter is that creationism is actually entirely appropriate for this class, as it is categorically a religious view.

  37. 37
    Ingdigo Jump

    Edgar Allen Poe wrote on both!

    ….wait.

  38. 38
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ Bri’ish Pharyngulites

    Re: Cabbage… British style

    FIFY:

    Hot and Sour Cabbage, Sichuan Style

    Ingredients:
    200g cabbage
    1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
    3 cloves garlic, crushed
    2 dried red chilies, seeded and coarsely chopped
    2 sprigs spring onion, sectioned
    1 tsp cooking wine

    Sauce:
    1 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
    1/2 tsp black vinegar
    1/2 tsp soy sauce
    1 1/2 tsp sugar
    1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

    Stir fry together, adding chopped (bite size) cabbage last. Cook until cabbage tender. Serve with rice or eat as is. Omnomnom.

    theophontes, saviour of the pom palates.

  39. 39
    nomaduk

    There is no circle of Hell deep enough for the Tories, but it should be remembered that the whole idea of ‘Faith Schools’ was promulgated by New Labour under the execrable and now very Catholic Tony Blair (there have been state-funded Christian and Jewish schools since 1990, but New Labour opened it up to everyone).

  40. 40
    corkscrew

    And the United Kingdom won’t even have the compensatory advantages of great jazz, cajun food, and a willingness to party all night long.

    Hey, who says we don’t party all night long?

    Seriously, though, this sucks. The whole PFI* thing is basically an accounting scam: it lets the government get certain liabilities off the books. I’m amazed any government tries this after what happened to Greece. And it’s not like they’re exactly cost-effective either.

    * Private Finance Initiative.

  41. 41
    latsot

    What is wrong with us?

  42. 42
    Matt Penfold

    Anyway, petition signed. And also, as I recall wasn’t Blair mainly to blame for the birth of this free school nonsense?

    Actually in the case of Free Schools Tony Blair is for once blameless. What blame there, and there is a lot, belongs almost entirely to Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, and the rest of the Government for not realising he was insane and stopping him.

  43. 43
    richardh

    Pharyngulated. Come on, British readers, a petition to HMGov surely deserves worth more than 120 signatures?

    For those who didn’t get it, here’s the link again.

  44. 44
    Doc Dish

    British Citizen: check.
    Petition signed: check.
    Forwarding to all my friends: double-check.

    146 now.

  45. 45
    clastum3

    Sticking close to the theme: the real problem is the destruction of education in England by the left.

    The only counter-measure which might have a chance of success is pluralism, and, as chairman Mao (or was it Deng?) said, if you open the windows you have to accept that some flies come in.

    No, I’m not going to sign: it’s a question of priorities.

  46. 46
    richardh

    the destruction of education in England by the left.

    … and your evidence is an opinion piece in the Daily Mail?

    The only counter-measure which might have a chance of success is pluralism

    So the only choices are to have education in England destroyed by the left, or to have it destroyed by fundamentalism. I think there might be a teensy fallacy lurking somewhere in there.

  47. 47
    jennifer

    OK, so there appear to be three petitions:
    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/1230
    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/6858
    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/1617

    Admittedly the third one is more general, rather than being about these specific schools, but it’s still relevant and with more signatures is a little less likely to be ignored.

    Let’s sign all three?

    The British Humanist Association provides a handy email-your-mp facility here:
    http://campaign.publicaffairsbriefing.co.uk/emailsupport.aspx?cid=15c17839-a50b-42eb-99aa-a2c16019b817

    And you can also email Micheal Gove:
    http://campaign.publicaffairsbriefing.co.uk/emailsupport.aspx?cid=4954df81-cde3-44ea-bf34-ee7b9a38956e

    Oh and by the way … I <3 morris dancing :-P

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