It’s not all bad news

Some states manage to pull their collective heads out of their butts and and do the right thing. There’s good news from South Carolina:

Today, in a stunning reversal of votes, the State Board of Education approved the Miller/Levine Biology Textbook that was under scrutiny. The vote went from 9-7 (vote in December) in favor of dropping the Miller/Levine textbook to 10-6 in favor of keeping the textbook on the list. This is a major victory for science education in the palmetto state. Dr. Miller, along with approximately 20 SCSE members were on hand to offer advise, critiques and personal testimony in favor the Miller/Levine Biology text.

You go, South Carolina! Now all you have to do is get those 6 idiots who voted against evolution off the school board — you’re 62% of the way to joining the 20th century!


  1. WallyK says

    As a South Carolinian I would now like to change our unofficial education motto from “Thank goodness for Mississippi” to “Thank goodness for Florida.” We no longer appear to be the stupidest state in the union!

  2. says

    There’s nothing about what the Miller/Levine text would be replaced with, however. I assume that it wasn’t going to be an improvement, true, but it’s hard to know what we’re celebrating from that blurb.

    Huckabee’s still going to do well in SC, no doubt. You know, he probably did benefit from the nonsense over Gonzalez in Iowa from the Expelled crew yammering about “persecution” (creos remember these things much longer than most of us), and I wonder if this might help him marginally. Oh well, it’s still good news, I doubt Huckabee can get the nomination, and I really expect he could never win a general election (he gets very little non-evangelical support so far).

    Glen D

  3. Peter Ashby says

    It seems to me from the other side of the pond that the system is rather broken. There are many admirable things about your systems of local democracy but giving local school boards power of what is and is not taught seems to me not fit for the 21st Century knowledge economy. And just how are places like these backwoods Florida counties supposed to garner the expertise to pull themselves up by their bootstraps?

    Our national curriculums over here have their faults, but at least every teacher knows what has to be covered and every child should at least be exposed to a standard set of the basics. National standards might not be workable in the US but surely state level standards should be doable? Mind you with what is happening in Texas at State level… But then it will make it a proper election issue that the best of the state’s academics can legitimately join without expending too much time.

  4. sinned34 says

    There’s good news from South Carolina

    SC’s First Son Stephen Colbert’s gonna be pissed that his state has just denied God in science class…

  5. raven says

    The South Carolina vote helps but not as much as it could. In fundie states, many or most schools just don’t teach evolution and/or teach creationism.

    Whatever the state or federal laws and guidelines are, it seems to be trivial to ignore them.

    Most in Arkansas don’t. Texas estimated at least half. SC and Florida, no data.

    You can’t keep fundies from wallowing in ignorance anymore than you can keep a pig from wallowing in mud. Who knows, maybe it is even fun.

  6. Tulse says

    you might enjoy this case which was referred to this morning on CBC news in their “Where is God” series

    Crap — I think multiculturalism is a great idea, but accommodating wackos like this is insane. I especially like this bit: “these alternatives were contrary to the employees’ sincere religious beliefs, which prohibited the taking of any measurement of a body part that would be quantified by a number”. Presumably, these people have no idea of their shoe size, and don’t wear glasses.

  7. says

    There’s nothing about what the Miller/Levine text would be replaced with, however. I assume that it wasn’t going to be an improvement, true, but it’s hard to know what we’re celebrating from that blurb.

    Glen check out this link and follow the links on that page if you haven’t seen it already. PZ addressed this a few weeks back as well.

    FYI there is now video up of Ken Miller and others at the hearing on the South Carolinian’s for Science Education site. I’ll link next comment because comment moderation likes to eat comments with more than one link.

  8. Steve LaBonne says

    Re #16- Should have known one of those Pastafarian scientists in Texas would be none other than Andy Ellington! What fun he was back in the good old days on t.o.

  9. says

    Well to be fair, Mr. Southerland’s profession has nothing to do with the validity of his message. It’s the utter stupidity contained with in his message that makes it invalid.

  10. Donnie B. says

    Glen #7 said: “I really expect he [Huckabee] could never win a general election (he gets very little non-evangelical support so far).”

    On NPR this morning, there was an interview with a voter they’ve been tracking (from Michigan, maybe, or possibly Nevada). He’d been a Huckabee supporter. He stated that he was now back to one of the Democrats, and the reason was — wait for it — Huckabee’s rejection of evolution.

    There may be hope yet.

  11. Gregory Kusnick says

    Peter Ashby, #8:

    National standards might not be workable in the US but surely state level standards should be doable?

    State-level standards are what we’re talking about in this South Carolina case. In the Florida cases, it’s the state-level standards that local school boards are objecting to and lobbying to get changed.

  12. says

    It’s a little more than just that from the example on the other thread. He very much seems to be trying to play the I’m-bound-to-know-more-than-you card. That’s what makes it funny.

    Wow. I missed that. What an utter jackass. The hilarity of the dramatic irony of people pointing to AiG’s website and thinking it proves their intelligence and your ignorance is one of the things that keeps me going.

  13. Paul W. says

    Re the ICR situation in Texas:

    At first I thought things were looking good, with a new informal review panel and real scientists re-evaluating the issue. Now I’m not so sure.

    Higher Education Commissioner Paredes may just be covering his ass so that he can say he’s heard from both sides before making a decision.

    “A lot of people believe creationism is a legitimate point of view. I respect them,” Paredes said. “I’m an advocate of the principle that when there is a controversy and there are legitimate arguments on both sides of the conflict, my pedagogical principle is ‘teach the conflict.’ Maybe that’s a possibility here.”

    There is also some talk that Texas law & Texas Supreme Court precedent may not allow regulating this sort of thing. A recent Texas Supreme Court case decision struck down earlier rulings that kept Texas from letting diploma mills award “seminary” “degrees,” saying that it was a church-state separation thing and Texas had no business saying what was or wasn’t a real “degree” from a real “seminary.”

    As I understand it, that should *not* actually apply in this case; the ruling basically just said that Texas couldn’t say what was or wasn’t a real seminary, but allowed it to continue to say what was or wasn’t a real degree from a non-religious school.

    In light of Paredes’s comments, though, I can imagine that case being used to conveniently obfuscate the issues here and excuse “teaching the controversy,” on the grounds of prudence. (Few people would know whether it was true that denying ICR the right to grant “degrees” would run afoul of that Texas Supreme Court decision.) They could say that “our hands were tied,” when in fact they weren’t.

    Also, the issue about degree-granting is rather different than I thought previously. I’d thought that a positive decision about ICR would merely let them *apply* for accreditation from a regional accrediting body. That’s not all there is to it.

    In Texas, you can’t offer what you’re selling as a “degree” without *either* regional accreditation or an explicit decision from the Higher Education Coordinating Board.

    It may be that ICR has no real hope of getting regional accreditation, but will start selling degrees based on Texas approval, and use that approval as a kind of faux accreditation to advertise themselves and to help their students get jobs.

    Texas Citizens for Science seems to think that their plan is to sell a lot of online Texas-approved degrees all over the U.S. and all over the world, and make a lot of money at it. The imprimatur of the government of Texas shouldn’t matter much, but it may in fact matter more than I’d realized.

    There’s more interesting info on the Texas Citizens for Science web page, including background about how ICR worked the system in California and what it appears to be up to in Texas:

  14. SEF says

    Re the Californian creationist conmen pretending to offer science degrees: was anything done to document how many fraudulent degrees had already been granted and to whom or to cancel those degrees so they couldn’t be used in dishonestly occupying teaching posts or wherever else the “graduates” went?