Texas voters, watch this

This video contains a nice breakdown of exactly who the wackaloons on the Texas Board of Education are, and will help you figure out who to vote for in the upcoming elections.

I always find it astonishing that Don McLeroy and Terri Leo actually have positions of responsibility in the Texas educational system. The system is really messed up down there, have you noticed?


  1. JPS, FCD says

    Shtng fr frst fr nc . . .

    [and it got you disemvoweled, too! No “first posts”, please. — pzm]

  2. JPS, FCD says

    Who is this eloquent speaker? I’m ashamed to admit I don’t recognize him. Kinky Friedman, by any chance?

    Is there any hope of persuading Texas voters, or voters anywhere for that matter, that “scientific theory” is *not* a synonym for “wild-ass guess?” As a Kentucky resident, I should say this in an email to the president of NKU — see the “Creationists gaming Kentucky” thread for details.

  3. Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker says

    JPS, FCD, he has a YouTube Channel under the name AronRa. Most of his video are part of his on going series call Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism. I rather like it.

  4. Rick Schauer says

    Sheesh, he’s got my write-in vote for Texas School Board!

    (ahhh,…by proxy, from Minnesota:)

  5. JPS, FCD says

    Thanks, Maxamillion and Janine. Janine, are you in Idaho? That’s one of the two or three states that I’d sa y are redder than Kentucky. If I lived there I’d be a lone drinker too. Hell, I’m a lone drinker here.

    I’ll definitely have a look at Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism. Not only is AronRa (not Amon-Ra?) eloquent, his T-shirts are a trip.

  6. 386sx says

    Who is this eloquent speaker? I’m ashamed to admit I don’t recognize him.

    AronRa rocks, dude. And… he said “poofed” too. He rocks even more than I thought! I love it when the fancy science people say “poofed”. Rock on, people…

  7. BobC says

    Voters elect the people who determine which science textbooks are chosen. Therefore voters are indirectly choosing the science textbooks. If the voters don’t like evolution for religious reasons (or because they are just plain stupid), they can vote for creationists.

    There must be a better way. How about letting scientists (instead of uneducated hicks) make these decisions? America will continue to be the most backward country in the Western world unless some major changes are made.

  8. says

    Is it too late to give them back to Mexico?

    Totally kidding, BTW, but it’s hard not to get discouraged when this stuff just keeps happening. It’s like playing Whack-A-Mole with sticks of dynamite.

  9. ggab says

    Okay, I’ve never seen this guy before and I LOVE him.
    I think I’ll call him “Crazy Eyes”.
    Tried to subscribe on youtube but it seems to be disabled.

  10. Another Primate says

    Damn, where did he come from. He nails it! I bet his viewership goes out the roof from this blog entry. Thanks PZ, another great find!!!!!

  11. JM Inc. says

    Good old Texas forthrightness. If fewer Texans were being indoctrinated into broad-ranging anti-intellectualism as AronRa here laments, the United States would have a solid population of freethinking, methodologically unhandicapped folks with enough attitude to actually attempt to take back the nation for the secular, rational ideals that were its genesis.

  12. Jammer says

    youtube is doing maintenance tonight so if you can’t get on to see more of AronRa’s work check back later…you will not be disappointed! This guy rocks!

  13. says

    Cool and creepy at the same time…
    Wow, I hadn’t recognised him. AmonRa, seek out his video’s at YouTube for sure, he brings the goods!
    Notice the T-Shirt in the beginning! Cthulhu is with us!!!

  14. Patricia says

    My hair is much blonder, and longer. Pfft!

    This message needs to go out in Dumbfuckistan, Oregon too. The creotards and anti-gays are running rampant in my town.
    Nader showed up in Oregon today, and for the first time in my life, I’m not voting for him.

  15. says


    How did I know someone would be bringing up:

    1. Cleavage.
    2. His hair.

    I hereby demand all commenters put their hands on youtube videos and listen to the audio only. Only after the thread has died may they watch the video.

    I have spoken!

    Directive 01.

    (Seriously though, I would like to do an experiment with post-it notes and volunteers to see how the visual affects the credibility rating of both individuals.)

  16. says

    I live in Texas, and these wackaloons don’t represent me at all. They only do so much damage because Texas is a Republican dominated state. And Gov. Rick Perry is aiding and abetting this crap! He didn’t even get a majority of votes in the last election, dammit! We must reform the whole Texas political system!

  17. brain says

    Terri Leo is my Texas State representative for district 6. I looked at my ballot and there is no democrat running! The only other person on the ballot is a libertarian Mary Ann Bryan. I can’t find much information about her at all.

    I doubt there is any way she’s going to beat all of the people pulling the republican lever. But I guess it’s better to vote for her, an unknown, rather than an known moron?

  18. Arb says

    Voters elect the people who determine which science textbooks are chosen.

    Not in my country they don’t (Canada). School boards control the spending, (revenue is a combo of provincial taxes and local property taxes) and to some extent certain course offerings, but they don’t get to choose the textbooks or the curriculum – not like this State BOE. (Please correct me if I’m wrong fellow Canucks). Our duly elected governments hire educational professionals – civil servants – who are educated, trained, skilled (mostly) and earnest about their jobs, to determine curriculum and an approved set of pedagogical resources.
    I’m really glad I’m Canadian when I read stories like this.
    Nor to we directly elect judges or senators.

  19. BobC says

    Arb #27: Our duly elected governments hire educational professionals – civil servants – who are educated, trained, skilled (mostly) and earnest about their jobs, to determine curriculum and an approved set of pedagogical resources.

    That’s interesting. In Canada, educational professionals, instead of creationist hicks, choose biology textbooks. Maybe somehow the USA could do the same thing. We could change our laws or constitution or whatever. It’s crazy to let uneducated people make decisions about education.

  20. Lemastre says

    Despite the efforts of idiots on the Texas textbook-selection committee, I must say that during about 17 years of recording Texas high-school textbooks for reading-impaired students, I’ve found very little intentional and egregiously non-scientific stuff, such as creationism. And these are the so-called “Texas editions” from the major textbook publishers. Perhaps my agency is dealing only with more enlightened school districts.

    More disturbing right now is that my local school administration has managed to overestimate its available funds by 64 million dollars (possibly 84 million), a blooper it is accommodating by firing several hundred teachers. As far as I can tell, the incompetents who committed this miscalculation are likely to escape the axe.

  21. Nemo says

    I wish I could get this kind of information about my local school board elections. They’re non-partisan, so there’s not even that to go on — of course a (D) is no guarantee, but at least it’s something. Instead, last time I had to rely on what few questions a local paper chose to ask the candidates, none of which related to creationism. So I just voted against the ones who sounded more authoritarian — school uniforms, cracking down on truancy, etc.

    I’m encouraged that at least there’s now a web site devoted to information on ballot questions nationwide, which didn’t exist two years ago.

  22. says

    Wow, he’s certainly come a long way since his old job as the bartender in ‘From Dusk till Dawn’!
    On a more serious note, while I applaud his sentiments and efforts I think the whole issue of science standards and textbooks is entirely secondary to the point that 12.5% of US high school biology teachers are creationists. This is where the real damage is being done. The best science standards in the world wouldn’t matter if the teacher you send in to the class believes in a 6000 year old earth, talking snakes and Satan hiding fossils to confuse mankind from the way of the Lord.
    The real problem is not bad standards or bad textbooks.
    It’s bad teachers.

  23. BobC says

    The real problem is not bad standards or bad textbooks. It’s bad teachers.

    I have read there’s quite a few American biology teachers who forget to say anything about evolution, because they’re creationists, or because they’re incompetent, or because they don’t want to deal with harassment and threats.

    All creationist teachers and all creationist school board members should be fired. Also, Don McLeroy needs to be put in prison for treason.

  24. Quinn says

    I voted today in Austin and didn’t see these on the ballot. Did I miss my chance to vote for the SBOE?

  25. says

    So that’s what AnonRa looks like. His series on the Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism is my favourite on youtube. I like it even more than the Potholer54 made easy series.

  26. Walton says

    BobC at #28: That’s interesting. In Canada, educational professionals, instead of creationist hicks, choose biology textbooks. Maybe somehow the USA could do the same thing. We could change our laws or constitution or whatever. It’s crazy to let uneducated people make decisions about education.

    As I understand it, in most states you wouldn’t even need to change the constitution. Since the school boards derive their power from the state government – and some states allow their school boards more power than others – a state legislature is perfectly entitled to reduce the power of local school boards over the curriculum.

    But, of course, it is all ultimately determined by the people anyway, since, even if you have educational professionals at the state level making curriculum decisions, they still ultimately report to, and derive their authority from, elected state-level politicians. In the end, where you have a country with strong creationist sentiment, you can’t easily keep that out of the education system without abandoning democratic control over education (which would clearly be wrong; surely taxpayers have a right to determine on some level how their money is spent?)

  27. Arnosium Upinarum says

    Sharp man, damned fine job.

    Near the tail end he relates how one of the debate participants insisted that the audience decide on the definition of scientific terms. (Re: “Creationists gaming Kentucky”) – See what i mean? It’s a common trick. That’s their way of manufacturing what they call “truth”. It’s all about gaining popular support. Winning a popularity contest. Manipulating the minds of the masses.

    THAT is how they can maintain the claim of “truth” – when large numbers of people are hoodwinked into believing it.

    Except, while people think it’s all about supporting some idea or religious doctrine they think they resonate with, these bastards require them for their agenda. It’s all done behind their backs. That agenda has nothing to do with science or even religious doctrine and everything to do with the acquisition and maintenance of power over people. Great numbers of them.

    It has always been thus with religion. Institutionalized con-artistry with a veneer of ancient tradition that predates the invention of the mechanical assembly-line by thousands of years.

    Dismantling it will take an awful lot of time, effort and fortitude. We need more people like this.

  28. DuckPhup says

    I recently encountered a seemingly innocuous letter in the local newspaper… Private school leads way to public civility. It was in response to a story about a couple of school kids having ganged-up on and sexually abused another kid, during a chaperoned bus trip. Bad stuff. Kids arrested, etc. (as should be).

    Anyway… the subject letter was from a christian mom, bragging about the kids at her children’s school, where “… our children are reminded that they are responsible for their actions and of a loving God who has a plan for them.”

    So… I wondered… hmmm… what’s this ‘plan‘?

    Well… I found out. It’s terrifying.

    “The ultimate goal of Master’s Academy is to produce true Christian scholars who will be used of God to propagate the Gospel throughout the whole world and to restore our American Christian Republic to its historic Biblical foundation.

    (also referred to as ‘Christian Constitutional Federal Republic’)”

    They stress the fact that they teach their students ‘critical thinking’… which is essentially “… learning how to process information and reason in the context of a biblical worldview.”

    In other words, they define ‘critical thinking’ as the intellectual process of reconciling evidence with scripture… and when reality contradicts the bible, reality loses… dogma and doctrine prevail… pretty much a precise fit with the last item in the Answers In Genesis ‘Statement of Faith’

    No apparent, perceived, or claimed interpretation of evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the Scriptural record.

    If you don’t believe that, just take a look at the letter and comments. When I commented on this letter (harshly), it was as if I had poked a stick into a hornets’ nest. Some of the Master’s Academy high school students made a attempt to respond with ‘reason and critical thinking’… and the results are absolutely frightening. These poor kids are victims, on their way to being turned into potentially dangerous dogmatic automatons… their ‘education’ being a deliberate, insidious, criminal, doctrinal mind-fuck… in the name of god, Jesus, and the ‘holy spirit’.

    Further… and in addition to the ‘critical thinking’ mind-fuck… they are teaching a revisionist ‘American History’, which is largely made-up, and based on lies, misrepresentations, misleading quotes. The idea is that the USA was founded as a ‘Christian nation’… and that those christian values were subsequently subverted by humanists, intent on turning the nation away from god… for satanic purposes, no doubt. They see it as their divine mission to restore the USA to its biblical foundations.

    This is all directly out of the ‘dominionist’ play-book… and it is really scary shit.

    But here’s the REALLY good part… there are HUNDREDS of ‘christian’ schools, all across the land… doing EXACTLY the same thing. More on this can be found here.

    Everybody is seeing the Texas board of education as a big problem. Sure… it IS a big problem. But it is really only a small (but very visible part) of a much larger problem.

    Folks… unless we actually DO something to call attention to what these evil and treasonous bastards are doing behind the scenes, in the name of ‘christian’ goodness, sweetness and light… we’re basically screwed. It’s one thing to be pissed-off… but y’all also need to be seriously scared.

  29. brettc says

    Like Arb in Canuckistan, here in OZ we have State set curricula and examination standards, as well as registration and training of teachers. Similarly, public servants set the guidelines under which all schools – whether state or private – must teach their students.

    At least here in Victoria, the local (state) school boards are responsible for building and maintenance, hiring/firing of Principals, and whether or not the school wants to be a centre of excellence in some area, such as music, drama, robotics, etc.

    The more I see or hear of the US system, the stranger it seems. This article in The Atlantic (via Washington Monthly) First, kill all the School Boards was a real eye opener.

    PS: We should talk about the Australian Electoral Commission and our public-servant run, national, voting standards sometime.

  30. says

    I’m going today to vote Gail Lowe out, and Edra Bogle in for district 14. I wish I could see youtube videos from work. Now I’ll have to go home before I go to vote to make sure I’m voting the creationist out! Wow, did I just say I was basing my vote on a youtube video?

    On another but similar note, I work with (at least) two people that would vote to keep the creationists in. One of them thinks that people with a teaching background should not be on the board of education to make sure that there is no corruption. He thinks educators would have to many personal interests. He actually thinks that it’s a good thing that an IDiot creationist dentist is the head of the Texas board of education. For a fine example of confirmation bias, he sees nothing corrupt with having two members of the TBOE committee to review science curriculum standards also being authors of a creationist book.

    I’m doing all I can to change things here in Texas, but with all the ascients here it’s a little frustrating. New Zealand is looking more appealing all the time.

  31. schism says

    Not that a non-Republican vote actually means something in Texas, but I voted against Gail Lowe this morning. So, don’t go throwing us at Mexico just yet please.

  32. Desert Son says

    Texas voter (in Austin) here.

    That’s the first video of that guy I’ve seen, and he’s excellent! Cogent, precise, convincing. And he looks like he could kick a lot of ass, too (if he had to, I mean)!

    Thanks for posting this. This is a helluva’n uphill fight, but worth fighting, and we’re here. They keep saying chip away at evidence (that’s stunning to me. Willful disregard of evidence. These are also people eligible for jury duty)? Well, we have to keep chipping away at ignorance. Once again, I know it’s a hard fight for so many of us who are frustrated with all the deceit, willful ignorance, and self-righteousness, but it’s a worthy fight. It’s among the worthiest of fights.

    But I sympathize with the appeal of New Zealand.

    No kings,


  33. James F says

    Thank you Texans! I did what I could, throwing some money to the good guys, now it’s up to you.

  34. Julian says

    This is what happens when people don’t follow the issues or inform themselves of the candidates and just vote for any old name on the ballot when its in front of them. Never forget the first rule of civics: An informed, involved electorate is the only guarantee of good policy.

  35. says

    This AronRa is legendary “Aron-Ra” from talk.origins group, as I it followed regularly years ago.

    Mr.Kari A. Tikkanen, a man from Finland.

  36. MeatballEucharist says

    Ugh, can we take all the good things out of Texas like Aron-Ra, the Alamo Drafthouse, The entire Atheist Community of Austin, ZZ Top, ect. Then just sell Texas. I hate hearing how much that state is in the grip of creationists slime who poison such nice peoples children with such misinformation and garbage. SAVE TEXAS VOTE FOR SCIENCE!

  37. amph says

    I hereby demand all commenters put their hands on youtube videos and listen to the audio only. Only after the thread has died may they watch the video.

    Is it my ears, or does this guy sound to others as well as a reincarnation of Johnny Cash?

    But seriously, cool stuff. I mean of course the way he deals with the morons.

  38. says

    For the Texas voters out there, the Atheist Community of Austin has a voters guide published on our website at http://www.atheist-community.org. Most of the candidates didn’t respond, but you can get an idea of where those who did respond stand on some of the issues.

    On a related note – I stood in line for an hour this morning to vote. This was after getting there right as the polling place opened. By the time I left, the line was well over an hour long. Early voting just started yesterday in Texas, and all polling places in the Austin area are reporting record turnout. It probably won’t keep Texas as a whole from going to McCain, but this is as energized as I’ve ever seen the Dems in Texas, and there’s a tangible whiff of desperation among conservatives. If we can sustain this momentum, things will change for the better in the Lone Star state.

    Oh, and for you surrender monkeys who want to cede Texas to the wackaloons or back(?) to Mexico, if you are currently living in Texas, please consider this your invitation to leave. If you don’t live in Texas, please don’t move here. Texas politics is not for cowards.

  39. says

    Rational Jen puts it well – the answer is not to surrender Texas to the blowhard dominionist tard contingent, it’s to fight them every inch. If you can’t win, expose them to mockery and ridicule.

    Every state has its share of drooling cretins and it does nobody any favors to tar all residents of the state as idiots when the vast majority are victims. Texas is a special case, with a Democratic party mostly in disarray (but getting better thanks to Obama’s energy and Dean’s Fifty State Strategy) and unbelievable amounts of private money going into efforts to destroy the public school system and secular society (paging Dr. Leininger.)

    Texas is also home to the most notoriously anti-intellectual public college in America (Texas A&M.) Still, the rationalists in Texas soldier on, both for themselves and the future of the state.

    For better or for worse, I’m leaving Austin for Chicago and will not miss Don McLeroy, Bob “Swiftboat” Perry, James “Voucher” Leininger, John Cornyn, Rick Perry, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Tom Craddick, or the rest of those pinche’ unibrow troglodytes wrecking the state. As it happens, I got a job offer I couldn’t refuse else I’d be staying, despite the pantheon of regressive demons. At least I get a parting shot in the upcoming elections before I head north to the wind chill factor and basic pervasive graft of Chicago. Graft I can understand; the notion of talking snakes and Flintstones-as-documentary just boggles the mind.

  40. Leigh Williams says

    Texans, here are some things you can do to fight the creationists and kick them off the State Board of Education:

    1) Laura Ewing (District 7), Edra Bogle (District 14), and
    Linda Ellis (District 8, write-in) are the pro-science candidates. If you can’t vote for them, give them some money.

    2) Join Texas Citizens for Science to keep up with the latest news. Our president, Steve Schafersman, is a long-time veteran of the Science Wars and keeps us all informed.

    3) If you’re a liberal Christian (or even if you’re not), join the Texas Freedom Network . . . also a good source of news about the Science Wars, plus all kinds of other mischief the Religious Right gets up to.

    4) Comment on the new science standards, which take out the “strengths and weaknesses” nonsense, at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/teks/scienceTEKS.html
    Also complain that the Science Standards Review Board, nominated by the SBOE, includes three ID creationists (including two out-of-state DIdiots who have just published a new “textbook,” a clear conflict of interest). Find out more at the Texas Citizens for Science website.

  41. eric says

    He did contradict himself, at least implicitly. He said that the debate had nothing to do with religion, but then, with obvious satisfaction, reported that after the debate a moderator, who had been a Christian, became an atheist and a science teacher.

    He also pointed out an ‘error’ in a creationist textbook, the correction of which said that evidence ‘by definition’ only points to one available explanation, but, as philosophers of science have pointed out time and time again, this simply isn’t true. Theories are *always* underdetermined by the evidence, which is why scientists have to appeal to so many non-evidential criteria, such as parsimony and elegance, when evaluating competing theories.

    That said, I must add that *I’m not an ID supporter*. I know that, especially on this blog, *any* critique of a defender of evolution, or of an attack on ID, is reflexively and fallaciously taken to be a repudiation of evolution, or support for ID.

  42. chgo_liz says

    Bob @ #49:

    Let me be the first to welcome you to Chicago. The wind might be cold, but (most of) the people aren’t.

  43. Randallphobia says

    I’m a history teacher in Texas who hangs out with those who teach all subjects. All of the science teachers at my school (save 1…8 out of 9 isn’t THAT bad) are scared of these people. The head of my school’s science department has told me that evolution is her favorite part of the year (3 of my other friends in the department claim to enjoy it too).

    These idiots have also screwed up our English Language Arts (ELA) Standards. Last school year, there were some wonderful standards that had been, at large expense, put together over a long period of time by paid experts. The night before the standards were to be put up for vote, McLeroy & his cronies got together & tossed together some “new” ELA standards that emphasized problems that they were supposed to eliminate.

    We’ve got to remove these boneheads before I’m forced to quit my profession & move to New Zealand!

  44. Dave D. says

    whois locolobo.org

    Admin Name:Aron Nelson
    Admin Organization:Aron Nelson

    Admin State/Province:tx
    Admin Postal Code:75043
    Admin Country:US

  45. BobbyEarle says

    I also remember AronRa from talk.origins. There was never a dull moment when he was posting.

    “Do not start with me…you will not win”

    This may be the first time that a T-shirt won the intertubes.

  46. says

    I live in Texas and my son attends a public middle school here. I have always opposed homeschooling because I don’t think that any old idiot should be allowed to squander a child’s education just because said child is the offspring of said idiot. However, if idiots are going to be allowed to squander my child’s education in the public school system, I think he would be better off staying home. I’m seriously considering it. That, or we could move out of Texas. Dilemmas, dilemmas…

    Is it my ears, or does this guy sound to others as well as a reincarnation of Johnny Cash?

    That’s exactly what I thought as soon as he started talking.

  47. Brad D says

    I wish I had the school board potentials divided up nicely for me like that. Unless they specifically out themselves as lunatics in their official candidates statement, I would never know otherwise. Since I live in San Diego’s east county region (ICR is here), I’m sure these types are on the ballot.

  48. The Chimp's Raging Id says

    Man this guy is awesome. And he sports some of the finest T-shirts I’ve seen it some time.

    “Do not start with me
    you will not win”


  49. MPG says

    I love AronRa’s Foundational Falsehoods series. He tries to cram so much information into the ten minute limit that you have to watch the video a few times to take everything in. When he’s on a roll it’s like a scientific rakugo; check out this one from 8:00 onwards, for example – “…metabolic, metazoic, nucleic, diploid, bilaterally symmetrical, endothermic…”. The man must have four extra lungs to reel off some of those run-on sentences of his!