Bobby Jindal opened his mouth again

He was asked about education. He replied with a tired creationist excuse.

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Bottom line, at the end of the day, we want our kids to be exposed to the best facts. Let’s teach them about the big bang theory, let’s teach them about evolution, let’s teach them — I’ve got no problem if a school board, a local school board, says we want to teach our kids about creationism, that people, some people, have these beliefs as well, let’s teach them about ‘intelligent design.’

The first sentence is sort of OK — yes, let’s teach the best ideas, the best evidence, the best science, the facts as we know them, and that includes good science like evolution and the big bang. But what Jindal then throws up as examples are bad science, claims without evidence, bad ideas that are contradicted by the evidence. Creationism and Intelligent Design Creationism are not the “best facts”, they don’t even cut it as “adequate facts” — they are bad and they are non-facts.

Can Jindal not tell the difference?

And since when is good education about teaching kids what their less-well-educated parents want them to know? How about if we teach them the truth, instead?

Comments

  1. tfkreference says

    “best facts”

    Best? And I thought “true facts” was silly (even when used ironically).

  2. Ogvorbis, broken failure. says

    we want our kids to be exposed to the best facts

    and

    some people, have these beliefs as well,

    Wow. Just, wow.

    In his mind (actually, in the minds of lots of Americans — especially social, cultural and economic fundamentalists), facts and beliefs really are equal. Says a lot about what he wants to do to my entire country, not just education.

  3. paulburnett says

    This is from a guy who studied biology at Brown University! Pandering to the “party of stupid” base is obviously more important.

  4. mikeyb says

    Teach our kids not to be “educated” in environments that elect dumb as a skunk gov’s like Texas and Louisiana.

  5. chrisv says

    “This is from a guy who studied biology at Brown University!” Did he get a passing grade? If so, shame on Brown. Turn in your ivy.

  6. Lausten North says

    He wants to sound conciliatory by saying “let’s teach critical thinking skills”, but he doesn’t want anyone to actually acquire those skills. In our local HS, kids discuss 9/11 conspiracy theories and are allowed to decide for themselves what is true. They are told this is a lesson in critical thinking, and are not graded on their conclusions. Unfortunately, this results in some kids coming to what I would call the wrong conclusion, but I think this is better than telling them to think for themselves then turning around and telling them they got the wrong answer. Teaching people to think is not easy.

  7. milpa says

    He was edumacated in Louisiana. What do you expect? He is product of the education system that he supports.

  8. slatham says

    I read this and asked myself: “I wonder if the creationist mob would settle for being allowed to include their history and their other crappy ideas in a religions class rather than in the science classroom?” I answered myself in the negative. But then I asked myself a more difficult question: “Should defenders of science want to settle for such a compromise?” Thoughts?

  9. John Morales says

    slatham, thoughts?

    Sure: It’s neither a difficult question nor a compromise.

  10. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    “Should defenders of science want to settle for such a compromise?” Thoughts?

    Why not? Truth in advertising. It is a religious idea. I can be taught in classes on mythology, philosophy, or religion without any problem. But not in science class, unless they can cite sufficient papers from the peer reviewed scientific literature to show there is a real debate in science. Say at least one-tenth the number that support evolution, both directly and indirectly.

  11. sqlrob says

    I read this and asked myself: “I wonder if the creationist mob would settle for being allowed to include their history and their other crappy ideas in a religions class rather than in the science classroom?”

    I would love to see a real religion class. Not proselytizing, but something that looked at each and every major religion and their claims. It would put an end to the “Jesus is unique” crap right quick, as well as expose creationism for what it is.

    Of course, there’s near zero chance of a class like this being taught properly in most public schools.

  12. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Shame is Jindal probably isn’t stupid. He went to an award winning magnet school then went on to Brown and then was a Rhodes scholar. That’s not the path of a stupid person.

    His policies are stupid but he’s likely not. He knows what side his bread is buttered and he’s got that old wrecker of reason driving him, his faith.

  13. robro says

    Teaching people creationism and “Intelligent Design” would be OK, as long as it’s in a class on critical thinking and being used as illustrations of how belief systems, ideologies, religions, and pseudo-science work. I once had a college Art History teacher do a couple of weeks on In Search of Ancient Astronauts and Chariots of the Gods. We watched the program, read the book, and then he tore them apart. It was a great lesson and it got all of us thinking more critically. Of course, I realize that Jindal and his ilk don’t have any intention of teaching critical thinking skills to young people because that gets in the way of manipulating voters.

  14. slatham says

    Thanks for responses above. My worry is that, if it’s not taught correctly (inevitable), the religions class would tell comforting and familiar fairy tales while science class would offer scary challenges, and a lot of kids would get turned off of science.

  15. Randomfactor says

    That’s not the path of a stupid person.

    So he’s just lying then. Maybe the media should call him on that.

    (I crack myself up sometimes.)

  16. dukeofomnium says

    Jindal graduated from an Ivy League university, and he’s been desperately atoning for it ever since.

  17. yubal says

    I see no problem in teaching children on creationism “or” ID. those are great examples for bad ways to address a question and should be considered as lecture material to demonstrate exactly that. How NOT to approach a problem.

  18. microraptor says

    The problem, yubal, is that what idiots like Jindal are proposing is simply teaching religion and ID alongside science as if they’re equally valid. It’s not going to be an objective look at how the religious/ID explanation fail to account for the evidence. It’s also going to take away class time that could have been spent teaching the students something that is true.

  19. sigurd jorsalfar says

    Jindal knows the difference. The difference just isn’t important to him because he’s a very ambitious politician with a nut-job base to suck up to.

  20. Azuma Hazuki says

    Apropos of not much, Jindal looks like that awful ventriloquist Jeff Dunham’s redneck dummy, just several shades darker. (Dunham’s technical skills are amazing but his actual jokes…eesh, he’s only good when he sticks to breaking the fourth wall).

    That aside, it strikes me that the people who OUGHT to know better and still spout this crap are sociopaths, plain and simple. What politicians do will echo through history, and he’s one of the ones who wants to create a new dark age. I refuse to believe he can’t think far ahead; he is, as mentioned upthread, an ambitious up-and-coming politician, and he has made a conscious decision to throw reality under the bus for that end.

    Disgusting.

  21. unclefrogy says

    my suspicious mind just can’t believe any thing I hear from many republicans.
    If Bobby did go to a magnet school and and a prestigious university and has a biology degree it raises a flag for me.
    He did not go into research or teaching nor did he move away. He lives in Louisiana
    He will say anything that will assure he wins political power. I doubt he has any beliefs at all.
    What he is doing has the stink of ambition for power.
    uncle frogy

  22. suttkus says

    He says the Republicans need to stop being the stupid party, and keeps demonstrating that they don’t have the foggiest notion what that would entail.

  23. thumper1990 says

    And since when is good education about teaching kids what their less-well-educated parents want them to know?

    I tried explaining this idea to someone yesterday on Sky news. A homophobic teacher has been fired and banned from teaching over here in the UK, and this guy was incensed that he does not have the right to ensure that his kids are “taught” the evils of homosexuality. These people do not understand the difference between teaching and indoctrination. Hint: one is the entrenchment of facts within the brain, the other of ideology.

  24. thumper1990 says

    Hmm, left out the main thrust of my point: why do parents believe they have the right to teach their kids whatever nonsense they want?

  25. Gregory Greenwood says

    Lets just do a little word substitution to show how ridiculous and dangerous Jindal’s position really is;

    Bottom line, at the end of the day, we want our kids to be exposed to the best facts. Let’s teach them about the germ theory of disease, let’s teach them about epidemiology, let’s teach them — I’ve got no problem if a school board, a local school board, says we want to teach our kids about the role of foul humours in the air causing illness, that people, some people, have these beliefs as well, let’s teach them about ‘disease as a result of demonic possession/god’s judgment on the sinful.’

    I wonder if Jindal would be prepared to put his name to that? It is the same… ‘logic’, just applied to a different arm of biological science education.

    Then again, he is a rightwing politician – he would probably put his name to anything he believes would garner him votes, without a second thought to the consequences.

  26. Abdul Alhazred says

    We’ve had at least one Republican president who was guided by astrology, but that’s not fashionable these days.

  27. rogerfirth says

    Hmm, left out the main thrust of my point: why do parents believe they have the right to teach their kids whatever nonsense they want?

    They already do.

    They just don’t have the right to force public school teachers to teach their kids (and our kids as well) whatever nonsense they want.

  28. thumper1990 says

    @rogerfirth

    I mean parents seem to believe they have some sort of moral right to infect their children with whatever bad idea they wish; e.g. this man explicitly wishing to bring his children up as homophobes. As far as I’m concerned, deliberately infecting your children with bad and harmful ideas is profoundly immoral. There’s also the fact the the notion “They are MY children, I can teach them what I want” implys ownership of the child, which is immoral in itself.

  29. John Morales says

    thumper1990, you imagine that such parents believe the ideas they wish to teach their children are bad and harmful?

  30. thumper1990 says

    No… no. I just wish they would. I realise they think they are doing right, and that there’s really not alot we can do except try to counteract their indoctrination. But it still pisses me off.

  31. says

    WHICH creationism? That is the question we should throw back when people start blathering on about “teaching the controversy.” I’m in favor of Young Omphalos creationism, which says that everything was created five minutes ago, including the memories of everything earlier. FSM creationism has its attractions, too, and I have a friend who is a vehement Asatru creationist.

  32. Reginald Selkirk says

    I’ve got no problem if a school board, a local school board, says we want to teach our kids about creationism, that people, some people, have these beliefs as well, let’s teach them about ‘intelligent design.’

    Apparently he considers Creationism and Intelligent Design to be interchangable terms. That should give the Discovery Institute fits.

  33. fernando says

    In my opinion, and to shut up all the people that crying about schools not teaching the “controversy”, the following should happen:

    Classes of Quimic, Classes of Physics, Classes of Biology: to teach Science.
    Classes of Christianity, Classes of Judaism, Classes of Islamism: to teach religious myths.

    Im sure thee children, because they aren´t stupid, would find the diference between the Science, that help us to explain and understand the Cosmos, but is always capable of admiting her errors, and correct a wrong idea, no matter how much apealing she is; from Religion, an account of myths, some appealing and some horrendous, but something that is stuck with the idea of infability of their religious ideas, refusing to accept the truth, because she is against the reality.

  34. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Apparently he considers Creationism and Intelligent Design to be interchangable terms. That should give the Discovery Institute fits.

    That was the conclusion from Dover v. Kitzmiller. What the DI thinks is irrelevant to the truth.

  35. Sastra says

    Ogvorbis #2 wrote:

    In his mind (actually, in the minds of lots of Americans — especially social, cultural and economic fundamentalists), facts and beliefs really are equal.

    QFFT. I think the belief that all beliefs — no matter how strongly evidenced and supported — are really only opinions comes out of an unhealthy cultural cocktail — a combination of religious faith, postmodernism, a thirst for certainty, a respect for the rebel, and a runaway version of the belief that we should never ever hurt anybody’s feelings or tell them their “path” is not good enough. It’s not nice; it’s not fair. We know nothing for sure so we know nothing at all, really.

    Sometimes people drink this cocktail because they don’t think the topic really matters. What really counts is how each individual feels about themselves at the end of the day. But other times they seem to equate fact and faith out of darker motives. Stephen Colbert coined the word “truthiness” — “a quality characterizing a ‘truth’ that a person making an argument or assertion claims to know intuitively ‘from the gut’ or because it ‘feels right’ without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts.”

    Combine truthiness with the conviction that ESP/faith will always lead YOU towards truth and it seems to me that we can figure out how a seemingly pomo mindset is capable of being held by pre-modern minds.

    Gregory Greenwood #32 wrote:

    Lets just do a little word substitution to show how ridiculous and dangerous Jindal’s position really is;…

    No, no cookie for you. Ever hear of alternative medicine? The infiltration of “Quackademic medicine” into medical academia? Many forms of alt med do indeed deny germ theory. For all we know Jindal uses Traditional Chinese Medicine or homeopathy or some other popular form of bullshit and is poised to try to get even MORE of this into schools (it’s already there.) Teach the controversy — germ theory is sooo Western medicine.

    So comparing evolution denial to germ theory denial is no more revealing than comparing it to climate change denial. All three versions of anti-science are wending their way into schools and policy and the odds are that none of them would make Jindal blink. To make your point I think you have to pick something like flat-earthism.

  36. WharGarbl says

    @Sastra
    #45

    Lets just do a little word substitution to show how ridiculous and dangerous Jindal’s position really is;…

    No, no cookie for you. Ever hear of alternative medicine? The infiltration of “Quackademic medicine” into medical academia? Many forms of alt med do indeed deny germ theory.

    Um… i don’t think Greenwood is denying germ theory. Read Jindal’s original quote and compared it to Greenwood’s substitution.
    Unless you’re claiming Greenwood is against evolution.

  37. anteprepro says

    Um… i don’t think Greenwood is denying germ theory. Read Jindal’s original quote and compared it to Greenwood’s substitution.

    Um…I don’t think Sastra is saying that Gregory was denying germ theory. She’s saying that the substitution is not as plainly absurd as Gregory Greenwood might expect, because there are New Age-y types who actually do reject the germ theory of disease.

  38. Gregory Greenwood says

    John Morales @ 36;

    Most kind, but I think that others on the thread may beg to differ…

    ————————————————————————————————————————–

    Sastra @ 45;

    No, no cookie for you.

    Darn, I like cookies

    Ever hear of alternative medicine? The infiltration of “Quackademic medicine” into medical academia? Many forms of alt med do indeed deny germ theory. For all we know Jindal uses Traditional Chinese Medicine or homeopathy or some other popular form of bullshit and is poised to try to get even MORE of this into schools (it’s already there.) Teach the controversy — germ theory is sooo Western medicine.

    Ah yes – the scourge of quack ‘traditional/alternative’ medicine. I don’t think it has quite the disturbing level of high profile political adherents in the US as creationism, but I can see the parallels.

    So comparing evolution denial to germ theory denial is no more revealing than comparing it to climate change denial. All three versions of anti-science are wending their way into schools and policy and the odds are that none of them would make Jindal blink. To make your point I think you have to pick something like flat-earthism.

    *Sigh* I underestimated the sheer power and ubiquity (not to mention political usefulness to the unscrupulous) of teh stoopid again, didn’t I?

    Excuse me while I curl up in a corner and weep for humanity…
    ———————————————————————————————————————-

    WharGarbl @ 46;

    Um… i don’t think Greenwood is denying germ theory. Read Jindal’s original quote and compared it to Greenwood’s substitution.
    Unless you’re claiming Greenwood is against evolution.

    Like Anteprepro @ 47, I am pretty sure that Sastra is pointing out that my example – that was intended to humourously show how ridiculous Jindal’s stance on this ‘teach the controversy’ stuff is – simply doesn’t go far enough, because their are any number of people (including individuals who hold high public office) who would be quite prepared to deny the Germ Theory of Disease, and plenty more xian fanatics with large followings who regularly assert that various medical conditions are the product of demonic possession or the wrath of the sky fairy.

    My reductio ad absurdum was inadequate, because a terrifying number of people would not see those arguments as absurd at all, but rather would accept them without question as expressions of ‘ancient wisdom’ that is (worryingly) considered by vast swathes of the public to be automatically superior to modern scientifically verified knowledge – which is enough to give any free thinking rationalist nightmares all by itself…

  39. says

    Thumper1990

    Hmm, left out the main thrust of my point: why do parents believe they have the right to teach their kids whatever nonsense they want?

    Because the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says they have? Mind, section 3, in addition to being profoundly immoral, as you noted, is also directly contradictory to sections 1 and 2, so I really don’t know what it’s doing there, but there it is.

  40. Sastra says

    @WarGarbl #46:

    Yes; I would never make the mistake of thinking Gregory Greenwood would be so green as to deny germ theory. It was just a mild complaint about the analogy. The folks at Science-Based-Medicine regularly complain about 1.) quackademic medicine and 2.) the atheist/skeptic/humanist community underestimating how insidious and powerful so-called alternative medicine is.

    Years ago I heard Lawrence Krauss complain in one of his lectures that creationism ought to be considered as silly, falsified, and marginalized as vitalism. I stood up in the Q&A and told him he needed to get out more. Yes, the scientific community has dismissed the theory of vitalism. But the general public still eats it up in one form or another. It’s practically ‘common wisdom’ that life itself is a type of energy. It’s especially prevalent in — you guessed it — alt med.

  41. nullifidian says

    Sastra @ #51:
    Years ago I heard Lawrence Krauss complain in one of his lectures that creationism ought to be considered as silly, falsified, and marginalized as vitalism. I stood up in the Q&A and told him he needed to get out more. Yes, the scientific community has dismissed the theory of vitalism. But the general public still eats it up in one form or another. It’s practically ‘common wisdom’ that life itself is a type of energy. It’s especially prevalent in — you guessed it — alt med.

    It’s also prevalent in creationism/ID itself. All those claims that “life can only come from life” only have intellectual force if one believes in some sort of elan vital that is forever absent in mere “dead” matter.

  42. microraptor says

    It’s also prevalent in creationism/ID itself. All those claims that “life can only come from life” only have intellectual force if one believes in some sort of elan vital that is forever absent in mere “dead” matter.

    Which is really funny, since that’s exactly what creationists claim: nonliving dust/clay was turned into a living man.

  43. hypatiasdaughter says

    slatham, GA tried that and it failed big time. The high schools offered electives in the OT and NT as cultural and literary influences. They were cancelled after a few years for lack of participation because the fundie kids wouldn’t take them when they found out they weren’t pitching the Bible as “God’s inspired Word”. And the non-fundie kids weren’t interested.
    Parents are owed the right to have schools educate their children and prepare them for the real world, not to have their every personal whim and belief catered to, especially if that interferes with the primary goal.

  44. hypatiasdaughter says

    And I think it was Jindal who signed an act in LA that protects teachers if they want to teach “alternative” theories to evolution and bring in non-approved material – an academic “freedom” act (AFA).
    AFA’s are the newest twist on getting CreoID in the schools, and bashing evolution. They use a model bill created by the DI.
    They have an on-line AF petition sponsored by the DI (Casey Luskin is the contact person) and guess which prominent celeb is lending his support to it? Our old pal, Ben Stein!
    http://www.academicfreedompetition.com/freedom.php

    Barbara Forrest, from the Dover trial, has several videos where she talks about the problems and dangers of AFA’s.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fx_9UM2RF6E

    So, yeah, in that video, Jindal is pitching the pig in the poke he already he already sold to LA..

  45. David Marjanović says

    Mind, section 3, in addition to being profoundly immoral, as you noted, is also directly contradictory to sections 1 and 2

    Ah, that depends on what you count as “education”. The way I read it, anything that contradicts sections 1 and 2 is not education for the purposes of section 3.

    Which is really funny, since that’s exactly what creationists claim: nonliving dust/clay was turned into a living man.

    Not at all: they claim that the combination of dust/clay plus God’s Breath (élan vital) was turned into a living man.

  46. says

    Ah, that depends on what you count as “education”. The way I read it, anything that contradicts sections 1 and 2 is not education for the purposes of section 3.

    In that case, it seems deeply pointless, really.