I confess. One of the staple sources of creationist lunacy I document here has always been Texas (with Florida as a close runner-up), which seems to be thickly infested with ignoramuses who get elected to high office. It’s the kind of place that inspires the Molly Ivins of the world. Lately, we’ve been appalled at the idiots the Texas government wants to put in charge of science education, but there’s another victim in the gunsights, too: history and social studies. The same abysmal talents that can muck up biology also want to turn social studies into patriotic mulch.
Alas, they can’t get crazy enough in Texas, apparently, so the local ideologues had to go looking for greater loons, a national search for loons when the homegrown flavor just isn’t piquant enough. And where does he go shopping?
Minnesota. Oh, the shame.
Don McLeroy wanted to bring in Alan Quist to join their social studies team. Quist is a former wanna-be governor of Minnesota (who got clobbered in a landslide defeat) with minimal education qualifications. He has a bachelor’s in psychology and a masters in speech; he teaches (minimally) at a local bible college, and most damningly, his wife runs EdWatch, one of those awful anti-education advocacy sites that promotes the destruction of public schools so everyone can go off and be homeschooled. His pet obsessions are the usual, gays and abortions. He’s ag’in ’em both. He will rant for food.
For an idea of the quality of his mind, you should read his disproof of global warming. He builds on an old map, the Oronteus Finaeus map of 1532, which shows the outlines of a southern continent, Antarctica (with many of the details wrong). From this, he draws the conclusion that Antarctica had been thoroughly explored in the 16th century, that it had been free of ice with flowing rivers, and therefore, the world had been much, much warmer than it is now 500 years ago, and therefore, global warming is a myth. The ice sheet in Antarctica is only half a millennium old, which discovery would rather radically mess up our understanding of climatology, geology, and physics…pretty impressive for a know-nothing wingnut.