While we were all distracted by the recent Crackerclysm, we shouldn’t forget the shenanigans in Texas. The hearings have begun, led by the mad creationist dentist, Don McLeroy, and the Texas Board of Education is gearing up to dilute science education further, and introduce new silliness. Stand up for science with the Texas Freedom Network!
Like I’ve said before; it is bleak in Texas. These morons do not even realize that evolution is integral to a huge part of the Texas economy: oil.
//led by the mad creationist dentist, Don McLeroy//
Pictures of Steve Martin in leathergear in my mind…..
I am so Wise says
Lincoln should have freed the slaves and southern unionists and then expelled the South from the Union for their treasonous ways for all time.
Of course, had he done that, we’d be here complaining about illegal rednecks crossing the Potomac to steal our jobs.
I am, you so are.
Appealing to scientific evidence is fine, but it will only get you so far in a state filled with fundies. Fundamentalists see the question of human origin as religious, and as such, worthy of extreme fervor and exempt from the need for evidence. Trying to get them to move the topic from the religious realm to the realm of science is futile, because it’s covered explicitly in the Bible. Debunking the Bible as the word of God gets to the foundation of the problem.
If evolution could be shown to be fatally flawed, that would not give the slightest evidence that
creationism godditintelligent design is correct.
Benjamin Franklin says
New ‘Texas Style’ ChristOCrackers – with 6,000 year old fluoride
We can only hope that there’s an outside chance they will make the sane decision. Still, knowing the Texas Courts, that’s not very likely.
James F says
What’s particularly effective about the TFN is that it has a religious component (from its mission statement, it is a “nonpartisan, grassroots organization of more than 28,000 religious and community leaders”), which helps stifle the fundamentalists’ inevitable claim that hordes of “Darwinists” are attacking religion. Texas Citizens for Science is also championing the cause, and groups like the Clergy Letter Project and, of course, the NCSE are providing support. Against weapons-grade ignorance like this, they’ll need all the help they can muster.
I drove through the Texas panhandle once. Never again. Those people are proud of their elective insanity.
To the tune of the song: “The crap of Texas are upon you, all the live long day”. Morons.
And then there is Austin, which shows they CAN get it right if they just tried. While Austin endures there is hope for Texas.
It is truly amazing that the state of Texas is based on extracting fossil fuels that are 65 to 200 million years old.
That the entire state would collapse if Texans couldn’t fill up their pickup tanks with the refined 65 to 200 million year old fossil fuel known as gasoline.
While they are spending their oil money and filling up with unleaded gasoline, a significant fraction believes the earth is 6,000 years old. The cognitive dissonance must be serious. Actually if your brain is in neutral, it probably is around zero.
Palm, meet forehead.
I graduated from a distinguished public high school in Texas, and I can only be glad I was taught by two biology teachers who knew when to call bullshit, bullshit (one was even religious, but had enough sense to keep it to herself).
Now, I hope biology teachers across Texas will still choose to teach evolution the right way, in spite of the TBE.
Chuck P says
Don McLeroy and the other fundies on the Texas SBoE know that their actions will affect much more than just what the students in Texas are taught.
Texas buys more textbooks than almost any other state. That being the case, publishers cater to the wishes of the SBoE so their textbooks will be placed on the list of books approved for use by Texas schools. If the SBoE tells the publishers to water down the chapters on the ToE or to point out(what the SBoE believes to be) flaws in the ToE, the publishers will do so.
Many states, if not most, use the same textbooks that are published for use by Texas schools. The Texas SBoE’s actions will have the effect of alienating from reality, not only Texas students, but students across the country.
It’s scary to realize that such a small group of scientifically challenged individuals possess the power to damage the education of so many.
Rayven Alandria says
Not everyone in Texas is insane. I am from Texas and I know many Atheists in Texas.
IDiots are trying this kind of crap in every state they think it has a chance of working in. This is just a another technique. They recently tried to pass a *teach ID in the classrooms* bill in Oklahoma and the Governor vetoed it. Our letters may have influenced his decision, so perhaps we should all take a minute to pop off a letter to the folks in Texas.
Science Goddess says
There’s an op-ed piece in the Washington Post this morning about trying to accommodate religion’s teaching on “moral values” into evolution education. They’re making the point that evolution cannot teach us about values.
I sent them a letter immediately outlining how erroneous this is. You know, tribal behavior in animals and humans, control of mating, access to resources, etc, etc, etc.
Science Avenger says
Is there a better link to the story? I can’t get that one to work, and here is at least one rational big mouth in Texas that isn’t going to take this quietly.
Bryson Brown says
Now I see there’s a ‘compromise’ proposal on the table, from two sociologists: Evolving Toward a Compromise
Their suggestion is that teachers should add the fact that evolution doesn’t dictate a dog-eat-dog moral nihilism to their lesson plans. (The alternative, they believe, is to face a never-ending series of dodges and laws aimed at undermining education about evolution.)
Utterly hopeless, I’d say– creationists and IDiots won’t stop spreading moral panic about evolution just because a teacher says it’s not justified. The is/ought gap isn’t exactly a new idea, and efforts to undermine evolution education will continue even if it’s pointed out to students. The problem is that opposition to evolution comes first, in general; the argumentum ad Nazium comes second, and principally as a rhetorical device (if you can’t beat them with facts, scream about immorality).
I had to suffer through Texas public education and even back when I was there a few years ago, things were really bad.
I didn’t learn the slightest bit about evolution until my freshman year in college and I had a lot of catching up to do.
Keith B says
Well, this atheist Texan just joined the Texas Freedom Network.
Chuck P says
Rayven Alandria said:
[i]… They recently tried to pass a *teach ID in the classrooms* bill in Oklahoma and the Governor vetoed it. Our letters may have influenced his decision, so perhaps we should all take a minute to pop off a letter to the folks in Texas.”[/i]
Writing to Governor Perry would probably be an exercise in futility. Texas Governor Rick Perry is the one who appointed Don Mcleroy as chairman of the SBoE. He’s solidly on the side of the fundamental creationists. Perry would sooner cut off his right hand than to veto such a bill.
Bryson Brown says
Shoot. Here’s that link again: Evolving Toward a Compromise.
James F says
What really needs to be taught is the difference between methodological naturalism and philosophical naturalism, and that teaching science from the former rather than the latter philosophy is in keeping with the Establishment Clause. Otherwise, as Science Goddess noted, you may overlook biological influence on human behavior. Furthermore, it would help students understand how ID violates methodological naturalism.
It’s nice that these sociologists want to help the cause, but I have to wonder how much input they got from biologists.
People like Don McLeroy who want to destroy America’s science education are worse than Muslim terrorists. They should be put in prison for treason.
I’m surprised to hear that Don McLeroy is a bible thumping literal creationist because he really doesn’t look like one in his picture.
Rayven Alandria says
That’s why the letters must be creative. He will not respond to requests for Atheistic teaching, but he might respond if he’s threatened with the idea of other religions getting equal time for their myths. That was exactly how the Oklahoma governor worded his reasons for vetoing the bill. He seemed to fear,(or pretended to fear), the idea that other religion’s creation theories would be taught in schools as well.
Throw some satanist or wiccan demands for equal time in there and it might scare him into action.
Ron in Houston says
Yes, please stop mocking crackers and cracker lovers and come down to Texas to mock people who are trying to pollute the minds of future generations.
Sigh… As much as I like living in Texas, I swear this takes the cake…I will not live in a place where my future children will have to be taught dribble that isn’t scientifically sound in a science classroom!
I recently sent an email to the Texas SBOE about teaching Bible classes. Here is the response I got:
“I totally agree with you. But as long as David Bradley and Don McLeroy and his cronies are running the show at the SBOE: they have the votes to do what they please.
One thing you can do. If you have friends or relatives in Beaumont, tell them to vote against Bradley in his bid for re-election. Laura Ewing is running against him. In Spring, there is a Write In Candidate for the position there. Make sure to tell anyone you know there to Write in the
name of the person running in that district.We must get everyone’s attention as the SBOE is being run by religious fanatics.”
So if there’s anyone in Beaumont or Spring – help us out here! I have a daughter that will be going to school next year and really don’t want her exposed to this religious crap.
Thanks for noticing us, our politics are a madhouse here in Texas. There are many smart people here, but many, many people who have never attended college or graduated high school as well. Having lived in Houston for all of my life (I just moved to Austin, now that I go to UT)I can say that those who don’t go to college never hear of evolution as a fact, if they even here of it at all, in Texas high schools. My family moved around often, but we always stayed in Houston, so I’ve sampled 5 different high schools. Not in a single one did I hear of evolution presented even as a leading theory. Is it like that generally, readers of the world? There’s a very heavy emphasis on standardized testing here, which focuses on math and reading, but leaves hard science on the periphery of education, out there with gym class and health (sigh, abstinence class, I’m afraid, for the youngsters). High school is a dungeon. Maybe public colleges should make a pact to require remedial natural science courses for all students who haven’t taken evolution, the same way remedial math courses are required where high school education was lacking. Just a thought…
It’s always difficult to blog about something after PZ has dealt with it. But I was inspired by what PZ wrote to lead off my discussion the Texas situation with a pic of the insane dentist who was torturing Dustin Hoffman in that old movie, “Marathon Man.”
Robert Byers says
Canadian creationist at the helm.
What is it about denying free conversation, inquiry, study, equal time that frustrates and frightens evolutionists?!
The education system belongs to all Texans. It must be free to discuss the great issues of origins of the universe and man. No censorship. No expelled beliefs.
Christianity was here first. Protestant biblical inerrancy beliefs were here first. Evolution is a immigrant concept to America. It is , like actual immigration, a favorite of the establishment but not the common, fair-minded and intelligent citizen.
Creationism in equal oppurtunity will whopp evolution in the conclusions or leanings of thought of most Texans of protestant origins and Catholics too.
I thing the evolution cabals think this too.
Anyways fighting for truth is a worthy and fun thing for a free people. Creationism is just the cowboys heading back to retake the town from the bad guys.
ain’t gonna lose.
If it were science, you have a point. But it is a religious belief, which belongs in church. Remember the Establishment Clause.
BTW, as a Catholic, we accept evolution. JP II described it as “more than a theory.” Guess what else is a theory, besides evolution—Gravity! And also contradicted by the bible. (And, like evolution, standard Newtonian gravity only goes so far before its “laws” begin to break down.)
What do you think about teaching the creation stories of other cultures, as someone mentioned upthread?
But enough about you. Getting back to the original post, this drives me crazy. We need to teach our children more science, not less, and in a way that opens them up to questioning the world around them, not being programmed. ID is the worst kind of programming because it is unsupported and shuts down inquiry instead of opening it up.
The problem is that the creationists have magic wands and teh evolution supports big sticks to whomp over the proverbial heads of the creationsts.
Creationists have “magic” causes.
Evolutionists have “real” causes.
Are those cowboys riding in on unicorns or dragons?
Damn me for not proofreading.
Ed Darrell says
Which only makes it more urgent that you, if you are an honorable person, stand up against the censorship of science proposed by Chairman Don.
Right. Texas needs to repent from the Texas Education Agency’s firing of Chris Comer, the science curriculum staffer, for having notified teachers of a speech by a person who spoke in favor of Texas education standards; Texas needs to repent from Chairman Don’s cavorting with creationists who advise Texas teachers to act illegally (see this:
In Texas, evolution was here first. Texas is loaded with fossils that demonstrate evolution, from Chatterjee’s spectacular find of the proto-bird fossils in West Texas to the dinosaur tracks in Glen Rose, from the oil of the Permian Basin (that’s an ocean basin, by the way, now in the Texas desert), to the fossil coals and marls of East Texas.
By the way, evolution was in Canada before Christianity, too — ever hear of the Burgess Shales? Quit trying to cover up the facts!
Don’t distort scripture, and don’t mislead. Traditional inerrancy doctrine says the Bible does not mislead, which is contrary to the literal reading of the Bible Chairman Don McLeroy wants to give it. Chairman Don opposes traditional Christian interrancy doctrine in this case, inerrancy doctrine being quite compatible with evolution, and compatible with being honest, and compatible with a God who does not deceive — incompatible with the deceiving god creationism requires.
All humans are immigrants to America at some point in the past — but evolution is native to these continents, predating humans in mammalian history alone by about 65 million years.
The fair-minded citizen is for honesty. That puts the fair-minded citizen in opposition to creationism.
Keep your immoral, non-scriptural doctrines out of our schools, will you? We have innocent children here who will be harmed if we allow Chairman Don to dictate his will, and censor science and the facts.