Friday Cephalopod: Where’d you get those peepers? » « Ken Miller’s talk State of Nebraska so far The races aren’t quite over, but the good news is that the four non-creationists running for the Lincoln board of education have successfully advanced to the general election. Don’t forget to vote on 5 May! Share this:PrintEmailShare on TumblrTweet Friday Cephalopod: Where’d you get those peepers? » « Ken Miller’s talk
Kausik Datta says
Yay for Nebraska! Go for sanity and rationality!
(OMG! Am I really the first one?)
James F says
Thanks for posting this, PZ. Notice that all of the pro-science candidates won by a large margin except one: in District 5, creationist Kevin Keller defeated Lanny Boswell 1,881 to 1,284. Fortunately, the top two vote-getters go on the general election; it would be great to see Boswell pull ahead. Vote, Nebraskans, vote!
If there’s ever been a good reason not to allow local populations to control education, this is probably it.
I can’t even conceive of how we, in the year 2009, can be concerned about blindingly stupid, fundamentalist crackpot people deciding what kids are taught.
These numbskulls who almost all always support state rights are the ones creating the reasons for stronger federalism.
If it requires giving up more state power to keep morons from ruining the education of children then so be it.
James F says
*sigh* Linkfail. Lanny Boswell’s page.
Nils Ross says
From an outsider’s point of view (Australia), it is quite amusing. Your democracy has really gone overboard if you can just vote any old person onto a school board. The price of freedom may well be eternal vigilance, but while you’re busily watching the local board elections to make sure your kids don’t get taught rubbish in school, who’s got their eye on the rest of the game?
Yeah. I sounds pretty condescending, but as Homer Simpson said it: “When will people learn? Democracy just doesn’t work”.
Well, “direct” decmocracy, at least. Imagine people would vote on every single decision the White House would want to take. This would be direct democracy, but it would suck big time. There are areas where democracy has no place. Science, for example. Whether or not something is wrong or right is not a question of the number of supporters. Same for education and everything that is bound to an objective reality rather than personal preferences.
Yellow Dog says
Your democracy has really gone overboard if you can just vote any old person onto a school board.
I get your point, but in a democracy the rules and standards are set by the majority, which in many states right now is the freakazoids.
I’d rather have a school board open to everyone, including atheists and other reality-based liberals, than one for which candidates must pass a test set by creationists. At least in an open system facts and reason have a fighting chance.
Nebraskan here. Only 13% of us even bothered to vote in this election. No, it was actually only 13% of registered voters. Who knows how many citizens haven’t even bothered to register. So it’s no wonder creationists can get on school boards.
I was worried that the publicity would help the creationists, since their supporters might actually get out and vote. Even a small number of determined voters could make a big difference in this kind of election. So I was happy to see that didn’t happen. Or perhaps it was OUR people who were motivated…
But what if the morons then take over the federal government, too? What will you do then?
Better to shift power over the curriculum not upwards, but downwards – to the individual schools and families. All schools should be run independently from state control, operating in a free market; the state should provide the funding, but should have no say whatsoever in what is taught. That way, if you’re unsatisfied with your children’s education, you don’t have to move to a different state; you can just move your children to a different school.
Walton, Nebraska is a large area with few people outside of Omaha and Lincoln. If there is only one school, how do you move to a different school? Some of these kids have a thirty mile busride each way to get to the one school in their county.
And North Dakota is even more sparsely populated. Much of the middle of the USA is thinly populated, and school districts have been consolidated to get enough students to justify even having a school.
J. D. says
I live in Lincoln, and I vote in district 5. I voted for Boswell. I guess I need to get out and support him so he beats the moron.
Liberal Percy says
See? We’re not all superstitious right-wingers out here on the Great Plains. Lincoln has a great public school system because we generally don’t let religious looniness take over. No one set of loons has much power.
Lincoln and Omaha voted for Obama. Eventually we’ll bring the rest of the state along into the 20th century (maybe by the time the rest of us get to the 22nd.)
I agree that it is all rank superstition, but I saw an interesting graphic a while back that shows Nebraska as the most religiously diverse state in the nation. Nebraska is where most of the great waves of immigration petered out and merged. The Lincoln phone book has 50 different denominations of Christian churches, and that doesn’t even count all the non-Christian faiths. So we have no powerful religious faction that comes close to controlling our politics.
That, plus being home to the University of Nebraska, allows the rational thinkers to win School Board elections most of the time. Makes an old hippie atheist like me proud.
And getting even more thinly populated. This phenomenon even has a name, rural flight.
The rural plains are emptying out as people move to the big cities. A lot of little towns are steadily losing population and have lots of abandoned houses and boarded up store fronts. Unless they get bulldozed, a common practice to keep village blight from appearing.
If anyone wants cheap housing, in a declining small town in the midwest, houses can be picked up for $10-30,000 easily or back taxes.
Nebraska gave an electoral vote to Obama, and now may keep creationists off the board. Wow. It’s becoming a Blue State!.
A few years ago, there was a school board in Massachussets that was 50% Marxist! Actually there were only two people on the board, and one was my uncle- I’d list the town but I don’t want to get him in trouble.
The real issue is not should creationism or “the controversy around evolution” should be taught. The real issue is that in society, there is a small group of people who have the right to the initiation of the use of force, and they use that “right” to force your kids into a centrally managed school. THIS is the issue.
If we didn’t have this kind of coercion, that is, if government stayed out of education, then this issue of teaching creationism in schools disappears.
People, please put on your thinking caps! (I know, public education taught you how not to think.)