Kansas leads the way … into the future!


Creationism is only the beginning. Kansas is showing us a whole new way of thinking about everything on the curriculum.

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Comments

  1. says

    I read somewhere that the same people who object to sex education because it might promote irresponsible behavior are the ones who support gun safety education because it will support responsible behavior.

  2. valhar2000 says

    Yeah, sex is worse than violence; that tells you all you need to know about these people.

  3. Andy says

    Well, sex is responsible for violence – if everyone stopped having sex, wars would be relegated to history within the next century.

  4. another says

    I disagree, Andy. Despite their names, I don’t think Dick and Bush are in the war business for the sex.

  5. Peter Kemp says

    Forgot where I saw that cartoon of the “stork” carrying, not babies, but wire coat-hangers, to some southern State. I guess Kansas is a candidate for them as well.

  6. says

    Sheer nonsense, Andy. It’s the other way around. If we were all having sex with each other, we’d have no desire to kill each other.

    The USA has now had troops fighting in Iraq for four years and the place just keeps getting more violent. If we’d dropped 150,000 hookers and rent boys into the place instead, the smoke rising from Baghdad would be post-coital cigarettes instead of car bombs by now.

  7. andrea says

    Gee, if I click the heels of my red boots three times, will I magically be transported OUT of Kansas?

    (and does OZ have a tube stop that will lead me back to London?)

  8. Ben says

    Back when I took Shop we were supposed to use another piece of wood to manipulate the wood we were cutting when cutting one that small.

  9. Torbjörn Larsson, OM says

    So you say “safe sex” is just when you don’t shoot?

    But as I hear it, you can also fix to have blank ammo.

  10. Torbjörn Larsson, OM says

    So you say “safe sex” is just when you don’t shoot?

    But as I hear it, you can also fix to have blank ammo.

  11. waldteufel says

    What is the source of that cartoon strip?

    It also reflects how the fundies think in Texas.

  12. Hen3ry says

    I think that Andy means that without sex, there will be no more humans within a century…

  13. Apikoros says

    If everyone stopped having sex, that would end war within a century.

    If everyone stopped having sex with Neocons, that might end war sooner–see Lysistrata.

    If everyone stopped having sex with Republicans, that would end prostitution.

  14. says

    The really sad part about that last panel is that “magic” is exactly what far too many people think of chemistry already.

    (And what’s that scientist guy standing in front of? A C.S. Lewis dot structure?)

  15. raven says

    Most of the voluntary ignorance, hardcore looniness, and make up lies and believe them crowd seems to be in Kansas, Texas, and Florida.

    Is the troll heartland that bad or do they just have lots of time to make life miserable for everyone else? I’m sure there must be some non-reality denying non-cultists living there and keeping their head down.

    I’ve been to all 3 states for one reason or another. Have no intention of visiting again unless there are compelling reasons. It’s a big world and life is short.

  16. says

    Hmmm, that lower left panel about trig has suddenly made me understand a part of the Bible: Let he who is without SIN cast the first stone!

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Man, I’m funny.

  17. Nathan Parker says

    While the cartoon is useful for ridicule, it does misrepresent the position of the religous right.

    Students, in general, have no interest in crossing the Alps with elephants, so showing them how it’s done does not facilitate that or make it more likely to happen.

    Most of the cartoon panels set up straw men (except for the last) and it hurts our credibility.

  18. stogoe says

    I love the last panel. The drawing on the chalkboard there seems to be a carbohydrate held together with by Jebons.

  19. les says

    “Students, in general, have no interest in crossing the Alps with elephants”

    Have you asked? Certainly would interest me…

  20. says

    Kansas, at least, has welcomed Darwin back into the fold.

    I have to say that this goes FAR beyond Kansas. I don’t think I’ve taught in a district where there wasn’t PRECISELY this attitude in deciding what teachers could and could not teach in the classroom.

  21. says

    ‘I won’t teach you how to critically appraise what you read, because then you might start doing it’.

    LOL

  22. says

    Well, to be fair, at least we managed to take back the school board here in Kansas.

    As a member of KCFS, I can say the fight isn’t over, though. They breed stupid like rabbits, here in Kansas.

  23. Mats says

    Nathan Parker

    While the cartoon is useful for ridicule, it does misrepresent the position of the religous right.
    (…)
    Most of the cartoon panels set up straw men (except for the last) and it hurts our credibility.

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Funny thing is that the owner of this “science” blog whines about Dr Egnor not being representing his words properly, but he does the same, and goes on misrepresenting the good people of Kansas, and those who are skeptical of unguided evolutionism.
    No wonder that the general public is more and more suspicious of the Darwin Only lobby.

  24. says

    Mr. Parker @ #19 and Mats @ #26:

    I would consider this as our version of a Chick Tract. However, we mean and view it as humorous.

    Please lighten up. If a believer could find it funny, maybe you could relax and see the humor, too.

    Here’s hoping that humorectomies are reversable.

  25. says

    Oh, my. Explaining a cartoon rather wrings the juice out of it, but in the face of such astonishing stupidity, I’m going to have to try.

    Look at the second panel, where it says “I don’t teach you about safe sex because it might encourage you to be promiscuous”. This is an actual position of the Religious Right — they even go further and don’t want girls to be vaccinated against HPV for the same reason.

    Now keep reading, but realize that what the comic is doing is showing the absurdity of that argument by applying it to other common classroom situations. Nobody really thinks we have to worry about the prom being invaded by elephants, either, but using the ludicrous reasoning of the religious in their argument about sex education, well, maybe we should. Ha ha.

    It’s a technique called the reductio ad absurdum. Look it up.

    The lesson you should take from it is that we should teach our kids all kinds of useful information, from sex education to science, and that arguing against it from completely imaginary consequences is wrong.

    I’m sorry, Mats, but that I have to take extra time out of class to instruct you in these basics means you aren’t performing up to your grade level. We’re going to have to put you in the special class for some remedial instruction.

  26. says

    Abstinence Education Faces an Uncertain Future The NYT recently did a piece on Abstinence education in Texas. The overriding theme: supporters of abstinence-only education aren’t concerned with health issues, only the ‘sanctity’ of marriage. There’s no concern about teen pregnancy or STDs, but rather ruining oneself emotionally for marriage – since we are all supposed to be getting married before 22 and have a gaggle of sapien spawn by 30.

    —-

    “You have to look at why sex was created,” Eric Love, the director of the East Texas Abstinence Program, which runs Virginity Rules, said one day, the sounds of Christian contemporary music humming faintly in his Longview office. “Sex was designed to bond two people together.”

    To make the point, Mr. Love grabbed a tape dispenser and snapped off two fresh pieces. He slapped them to his filing cabinet and the floor; they trapped dirt, lint, a small metal bolt. “Now when it comes time for them to get married, the marriage pulls apart so easily,” he said, trying to unite the grimy strips. “Why? Because they gave the stickiness away.”

    —-

    It’s about protecting marriage – not saving lives.

  27. Nathan Parker says

    PZ Myers wrote:

    Look at the second panel, where it says “I don’t teach you about safe sex because it might encourage you to be promiscuous”. This is an actual position of the Religious Right

    Of course it is. The entire cartoon is intended to shoot down that point of view by setting up straw men. If you consider pre-marital sex to be immoral (I do not), then their position is makes sense. Their problem is with their premises, not their logic.

    It’s a technique called the reductio ad absurdum. Look it up.

    I have. It’s listed under “logical fallacies.”

  28. Nathan Parker says

    Berlzebug wrote:

    < >

    Sorry, I view the methods of science as a means to think correctly. Our side too readily descends into sloppy thinking when it supports our point of view.

    This, in general, is why we cannot reach the anti-science crowd.

  29. stogoe says

    Parker, you humorless twit. Reductio ad absurdum is a rhetorical tool, not a logical fallacy.

    I could call you a rhetorical Tool, but then you’d go all argumentum ad baculum on my shiny metal ass.

  30. frog says

    Nathan must be an auto-parody. He says: “Most of the cartoon panels set up straw men (except for the last) and it hurts our credibility.” Then claims to understand reductio ad absurdum!

    He seems to miss the point, even after having it explained to him in language even a small child could understand. It’s the problem with the internets — back in the old days, it took an ounce of brains to get your words published.

    “Their problem is with their premises, not their logic.” You see Nathan, that is the whole point of a reductio ad absurdum. You take a premise, then follow the logical implications of such a premise. When you find absurd results, you can then dismiss the premise.

    The premise is not that “Pre-marital sex is immoral,” it is that, “If pre-marital sex is immoral, then one should abstain from teaching about sex.” That statement is faulty on two counts: first, it is empirically incorrect, insofar as it is inconsistent with actually lowering levels of pre-marital sex, unwed pregnancy and STDs, which is an avowed goal of these groups; and secondly, applying such a principle in general, as seen in this cartoon, leads to absurd results. We don’t even have to ask the question whether pre-marital sex is immoral in order to show that abstinence-only education could only arrive in the mind of the deranged or sadistic.

    If it’s still unclear, please request some help from some more sapient being than yourself, such as an ammonoid – modern cephalopods would just talk over your head.

  31. Nathan Parker says

    Reductio ad absurdum is a rhetorical tool, not a logical fallacy.

    False dichotomy. A fallacy can be a rhetorical tool. Anyway, google on logical fallacies and you’ll see “Reductio ad absurdum” listed quite often.

    Parker, you humorless twit.

    Ah, ad hominem. You’re on a roll today. Shouldn’t we expect a higher caliber of discourse on a science blog?

  32. frog says

    Nathan,

    Stogoe is right — you are a humorless twit. “Sorry, I view the methods of science as a means to think correctly. Our side too readily descends into sloppy thinking when it supports our point of view.

    This, in general, is why we cannot reach the anti-science crowd.”

    You wouldn’t understand “correct thinking” if it bit you on the ass, then crawled proctologically into your empty cranium. On top of that, you screwed up the thread because you don’t know how to close your damn html tags.

    Heaven save us from religionists of science!

  33. frog says

    Wait, the stupidity keeps on rolling. Nathan is actually trying to claim that reductio ad absurdum is solely a rhetorical device!

    Please, please open up an introductory logic textbook. The use of proof by contradiction is an essential mathematical tool that has been used for centuries.

    And you know, mathematics is the Queen of the Sciences!

    Nathan – not just a humorless twit, but an ignorant one as well.

  34. Nathan Parker says

    frog wrote:

    It’s the problem with the internets — back in the old days, it took an ounce of brains to get your words published.

    The problem with the internet is that it allows anonymous people to be assholes without having to look other people in the eye. If you have a point, why can’t you make it politely?

    You see Nathan, that is the whole point of a reductio ad absurdum. You take a premise, then follow the logical implications of such a premise. When you find absurd results, you can then dismiss the premise.

    This is what you should have said, without the ad hominem.

    Your usage of “reductio ad absurdum” only has merit when the structure of the arguments are the same, and they aren’t here. What’s being reduced to absurdity here is the complexity of the argument and the number of suppressed premises. Once the premises are brought to light, the aguments are all very different.

  35. frog says

    Nathan,
    I explained the parallelism of the arguments up-thread, to which you did not respond, but simply asserted that they are not parallel. I wonder why?

    And no, the problem isn’t that I can be an asshole without having to look you in the eye. I’m an asshole because you lack shame in persevering with an asinine argument; in meat-space, you would have long ago shut-up as folks rolled their eyes in disgust at a clear example of humorless pedantry revealing an unjustified intellectual arrogance.

    Finally, you still couldn’t be bothered to close your damn italics, so you lack the minimal of internet graces. It’s probably not long since you stopped typing in all caps, eh?

  36. says

    Nathan Parker:

    I don’t think the cartoon sets up straw men, actually. The cartoon’s thesis is, “Telling kids how the consequences of action X can be ameliorated by preventive measure Y does not increase their likelihood of doing X.”

    It doesn’t matter whether action X is something very unlikely for kids to do or something which it is certain some kids will do. Kids who weren’t going to have sex (action X) aren’t suddenly going to decide to have sex (action X) because they are taught about disease and pregnancy prevention (preventive measure Y).

    The panel of the cartoon about crashing and air bags is, therefore, directly analogous to this: Kids who weren’t going to crash a car (action X) aren’t suddenly going to decide to crash a car (action X) because they are taught about airbags (preventive measure Y).

    Some of the other panels, like the elephant panel, attack another false premise offered by “abstinence-only” advocates: that simply teaching kids about some activity (activity X) will cause them to engage in that activity (activity Y). It still doesn’t matter whether it is an activity that all kids are aware of or an activity few kids are aware of.

    Teaching kids about preventing disease and pregnancy during sex (activity X) isn’t likely to make them want to engage in sex (activity X), since they have more compelling factors influencing them (one way or the other), such as hormones and upbringing. By the same token, telling kids about how Hannibal went over the alps with elephants (action X) isn’t likely to make kids want to attack the prom with elephants either, since other more compelling factors will make that choice for them, such as lack of elephants.

    I don’t think they are straw men. They are examples of how the logic used by the “abstinence only” crowd doesn’t make any sense. The analogies aren’t perfect, they’re picked for humor’s sake, but they are still apt. The difference between those analogies and the position of the “abstinence only” crowd is not relevant to the point being made.

  37. Nathan Parker says

    frog wrote:

    I explained the parallelism of the arguments up-thread, to which you did not respond, but simply asserted that they are not parallel. I wonder why?

    Why? The reason is that it’s tedious in this format, and the lack of parallelism is extensive. No one would say crossing the alps on elephants is immoral, kids don’t want to do this anyway and it’s almost impossible to do it undiscovered by their parents. The parallelism is extremely superficial.

    Only someone who is greatly desirous of heaping ridicule on fundies would fall for this analogy.

    humorless pedantry revealing an unjustified intellectual arrogance.

    Is it pedantry and arrogance to suggest that the reasons that people hold odd ideas are more complex than can be demolished in a comic strip?

    The humor behind the strip suggests a groupthink that cripples the mission that we claim to have. Could we be perhaps more interested in looking down on others than in educating them?

    Finally, you still couldn’t be bothered to close your damn italics, so you lack the minimal of internet graces. It’s probably not long since you stopped typing in all caps, eh?

    Ah, couldn’t resist another ad hominem, huh?

  38. says

    Nathan @ #32:

    Berlzebug wrote:

    Please lighten up. If a believer could find it funny, maybe you could relax and see the humor, too.>>

    Sorry, I view the methods of science as a means to think correctly. Our side too readily descends into sloppy thinking when it supports our point of view.

    This, in general, is why we cannot reach the anti-science crowd.

    Okay, I’m going to assume Berlzebug was a misspelling, and not an ad hominem.

    Actually, I view the cartoon as both humorous and logical. As many have pointed out, it pursues the rationale of the religious right’s proposals further, and exposes the errors of their rationalization when it does.

    Now, as for the anti-science crowd, I suggest that is not why you can’t reach them. They have been brainwashed since birth to believe in a two-thousand year old book, instead of the textbooks that were printed within the last five years.

    What you’re suggesting is framing, and we all know what PZ thinks of that. If they can’t learn through education, maybe ridicule will get it into their thick skulls.

  39. Nathan Parker says

    mooglar wrote:

    Telling kids how the consequences of action X can be ameliorated by preventive measure Y does not increase their likelihood of doing X

    That’s a data issue, not a logic issue, and it assuredly depends on the activity in question. A skydiver friend of mine noted that the fatality statistics have remained about the same for several decades, in spite of the great improvement in safety equipment. Why? In his opinion, people take more chances knowing they’ve got some equipment that increases their safety.

    Likewise, every winter, there are lots of articles about 4WD vehicles sliding off the road, because their owners felt safer at high speeds due to the 4WD. I know that I drove slower in the rain in my rear-wheel drive car than I do in my present 4WD.

    So this argument is only going to be won with data, IMO.

  40. says

    Oops… The blockquote should have continued on through “This, in general, is why we cannot reach the anti-science crowd.”

    My response starts at “Okay, I’m going to assume Berlzebug was a misspelling, and not an ad hominem.”

  41. Nathan Parker says

    Berlzebub wrote:

    Okay, I’m going to assume Berlzebug was a misspelling, and not an ad hominem.

    Sorry, I was so focused on not typing “Beelzebub” that I didn’t pay attention to the ending.

    What you’re suggesting is framing, and we all know what PZ thinks of that. If they can’t learn through education, maybe ridicule will get it into their thick skulls.

    To some degree yes, but I also think we need to set a positive example. A lot of times, it’s hard to see much difference in behavior between the pro- and anti-science crowds.

  42. Steve_C says

    It’s already been won on the data.

    Abstinence only sex education doesn’t work. And all those kids taking purity pledges are taking more risks and getting more STDs.

  43. frog says

    Nathan: “Is it pedantry and arrogance to suggest that the reasons that people hold odd ideas are more complex than can be demolished in a comic strip?”

    Yes, exactly. Everyone knows that the issues are more complex than a comic-strip, you repetitive, monomanaic simple-minded serf. A comic-strip is a comedic device, that broadly shows the absurdity of a position. Just like when Seinfeld talks about absurd minutae, he is not doing a full-scale thesis on the underlying sociological phenomena, but simply suggesting them.

    You’re probably the kind of moron who critizes Picasso for an inability to draw “real” women!

    And those aren’t ad-hominems, strictly speaking, 80 IQ-boy. Those are bald-faced insults. There is a difference – I’m not implying that people shouldn’t listen to you because you are a moron, I’m stating it clearly and unambiguously. I assume that most readers can identify the vacuity of your argument without needing my prodding.

    Really, I’d prefer it if you joined the anti-science crowd. It would make our job easier.

  44. says

    Nathan, what are the complexities behind the position “I can’t teach you about safe sex because then you might become promiscuous” such that “I can’t teach you about airbags because then you might crash into things” is a strawman?

    If you could explain how the former represents a cogent argument and the latter doesn’t, then maybe some of us will be convinced of your point.

  45. Renton says

    So then, Nathan, draw us a hilarious cartoon that illustrates the premise in a way that you deem to be correct. Using your superior intellect in which humour must always be mercilessly controlled by the cat o’ nine tails of logic, what uproariously-funny-but-logically-sound arguments will your characters strawmanlessly be putting forth?

  46. Azkyroth says

    Re: Nathan Parker

    I *can’t* be the only one who’s getting an intense Concern Troll vibe here.

  47. a lurker says

    Azkyroth, my Concern Troll sensor blew out and my irony meter melted down. Hey, those things are expensive…where do I send the bill. But notice how nicely he framed his request that we not call him a bithering idiot.

  48. says

    Hey, Nathan, you’ve got a name-stealing problem–someone posing as you made a joke about Catholic values on the Monahan thread.

    Surely it can’t have been you, because that comment was actually quite funny.

  49. Kagehi says

    I’m sorry, Mats, but that I have to take extra time out of class to instruct you in these basics means you aren’t performing up to your grade level.

    He is calling evolution “unguided”, despite the bloody obvious fact, for anyone paying attention, that this is purely BS in the first place. Mind you, there is a **huge** difference between “the laws of physics, the environment and other things that constrain species to develop walking, instead of , for example, teleportation, as a means of travel” *guiding* evolution, as apposed to something that for no apparent reason decided that creates *had to* walk, fly or swim, when being a supreme being, he **could have** given the ability to just teleport…

    But what do you expect. If they understood science well enough to stop bringing up the asinine complaint of it being either random or unguided, they would presumably understand it well enough to not insist that ID or creationism makes more sense in the first place.

  50. Nathan Parker says

    Steve_C wrote:

    It’s already been won on the data.

    Then that’s the argument that should be made. It wasn’t.

  51. Graculus says

    Nathan, callig you a humourless twit is not an ad hominem. If you are going to bandy terms about, please try to understand what they mean.

  52. Nathan Parker says

    Nathan, what are the complexities behind the position “I can’t teach you about safe sex because then you might become promiscuous” such that “I can’t teach you about airbags because then you might crash into things” is a strawman?

    P1: Sex is a lot of fun
    P2: Teenagers like to do things that are fun
    P3: Teenagers like sex
    P4: Teenagers will do things they like, unless the consquences are bad
    P5: Pregnancy is a consequence of sex
    P5: Pregnancy is bad
    Therefore: Teenagers will not have sex

    Now, if you negate P5, then the conclusion becomes “Teenagers will have sex.”

    Now let’s compare the airbags argument:

    P1: Crashing is a lot of fun

    Oops.

  53. Nathan Parker says

    A comic-strip is a comedic device, that broadly shows the absurdity of a position. Just like when Seinfeld talks about absurd minutae, he is not doing a full-scale thesis on the underlying sociological phenomena, but simply suggesting them.

    That’s the point, it doesn’t *show* anything at all. It merely displays your emotion about the subject.

    Those are bald-faced insults.

    Yes, curious that you feel the need to do so, when I’ve been quite polite to you.

    most readers can identify the vacuity of your argument without needing my prodding.

    Dave Scott says similar things.

  54. Nathan Parker says

    what uproariously-funny-but-logically-sound arguments will your characters strawmanlessly be putting forth?

    That probably cannot be done. Ridicule is mainly of benefit to the adherents of a particular position, more of a device to build social cohesion. Perhaps it also plays a role in establishing power, too.

    If it plays a role in persuasion, it could possibly work through the power mechanism. A person who has a minority opinion could perhaps be induced to change it if he were convinced his opinion was indeed an outlier and maintaining that opinion would make him a social outcast.

  55. says

    P1: Crashing is a lot of fun

    Oops.

    Nathan, that’s exactly my point. If you think that
    P1: Crashing is a lot of fun
    isn’t true, you must not have known too many young male drivers.

  56. says

    Actually, I’ll be more specific. Dangerous driving (and crashing in some instances, eg. demolition derbies, etc.) is one of those activities that young males and, to a lesser extent, females engage in, in which the goal is to perform the activity and risk but not incur the bad consequence (i.e. death or serious injury)

    Witness Jackass, Jackass II, playing ‘chicken’, street racing, monster truck rallies, etc.

    Seatbelts, airbags, rollbars, and other safety features lessen but do not entirely mitigate the likelihood of death or serious injury in such activities.

    For the purposes of this cartoon, the parallel between crashing and sex is complete.

  57. Nathan Parker says

    Brownian wrote:

    Dangerous driving…is one of those activities that young males and, to a

    You’re altering the words of the cartoon to make it less ridiculous and less funny. (but more accurate)

    The cartoon did not say that airbags would encourage people to engage in reckless driving, it said it would “make you think it’s ok to start crashing into things.”

    That’s a significant distortion of the argument.

  58. says

    Nathan wrote:

    That’s a data issue, not a logic issue, and it assuredly depends on the activity in question. A skydiver friend of mine noted that the fatality statistics have remained about the same for several decades, in spite of the great improvement in safety equipment. Why? In his opinion, people take more chances knowing they’ve got some equipment that increases their safety.

    Nathan:

    I was addressing your contention that this cartoon set up straw men to knock down. Whether this is a “data issue” or not is a whole other issue apart from whether the examples in the cartoon are straw men or apt analogies. You previously argued they were straw men, now you’re saying that this argument can’t be made by analogy at all but only by data. If that is your position, you should have made that argument in the first place, because making it now without addressing my critique of your previous point makes it look like you’re trying to move the goalposts.

    Secondly, your points about skydiving and SUV driving are not relevant. The cartoon’s argument addresses whether telling someone about a way to ameloriate the risk in an activity makes them more or less likely to engage in that activity, not whether or not it will make them more reckless when engaging in that activity.

    For your examples to be good analogies, we would need to be talking about whether kids who are aware of safer sex and engage in safer sex will be more reckless in their sexual behavior, say, in having sex with more or riskier partners, for example. That is not what this cartoon or the debate about “abstinence only” education is about… it’s about whether sex education will make kids have sex in the first place. If they’re engaging in sex already, whether they are more or less reckless because of safer sex, they are outside the scope of this discussion.

    In fact, the argument is specifically not about the issue of whether kids having safer sex will be more reckless then kids who aren’t. Thus your examples about skydiving and SUVs are inapt and irrelevant to the discussion.