Texans shall demonstrate

On 16 May, there will be a demonstration protesting the foolish curriculum the Texas Board of Education is imposing on the state. If you’re near the capitol, join in! Here’s their rationale:

A religious-right faction dominating the Texas Board of Education is trying to distort the content of public school textbooks. This revisionist history includes downplaying or eliminating mention of Enlightenment thinkers including Thomas Jefferson, more emphasis on religious themes and figures (theocrats like John Calvin!), and even attacks on Darwinian evolution. These religious extremists wish to turn our public schools into pulpits for sectarian preaching and an authoritarian social and cultural agenda.
Read the Proposed Revisions here

Their actions could affect the content of school texts in nearly two-dozen other states as well!

We urge you to join us for a peaceful assembly on the steps of the Texas State Capitol in Austin to protest this outrage, and to express support of teaching solid science, balanced history and facts over sectarian religious dogmatism. Stop the Texas Textbook Massacre!

Go and send me photos.


  1. rprcvl says

    The look of pure joy on the girl’s face when I told her about this means we’ll be there. Awesome. I’ve been wanting to visit Austin anyway.

  2. Rawnaeris says

    Dude, I wish I could go, but Mr. Rawnaeris has finals that day. :-(

    And from a Texan, thanks for posting this PZ!

  3. raven says

    wikipedia coffee party:

    The Coffee Party had surpassed 9,200 fans on its Facebook page in the first few weeks, and over 141,000 fans during its first six weeks. Newsweek noted the Facebook membership had surpassed 200,000 in April, and every status update receives about a million views.[9][10] Reporters and bloggers comparing Facebook statistics noted the Coffee Party USA page had overtaken the DNC’s Organizing for America and the one-year-old Tea Party Patriot fan pages in membership.[11][12][13]

    These are sometimes called coffee parties.

    Works for me. Tea is OK but coffee is one of the 4 food groups.

    We may find out that normals outnumber the lunatic fringers. Or not, these days are crazy.

  4. ThirdMonkey says

    A peaceful assembly to protest right-wing religious nuttery?
    You know they will just interpret it as just more christian persecution.
    Just wait. A cry of: “Those evil evolutionist atheists are trying to take away our 1st amendment rights!” in 3… 2… 1…

  5. Glen Davidson says

    Telling a bunch of anti-evolutionists that they must evolve just might not work, though. Evilution must be combated, because it goes everything from the Articles of Confederation to the fake history they intend to teach.

    Good luck to the hominins among them, even so.

    Glen D

  6. Lets Get Surgical says

    I’ll be there, and I convinced a conservative christian friend to come with me. Apparently even some of them recognize this atrocity.

    @Kinguber- go fuck yourself.

  7. Ol'Greg says

    Oh damn I won’t even be back in the states by then how sad because I’ll be down in Austin later in may! I’ll encourage my f&f to go though!

  8. Doktor Jerusalem says

    Going. I’ll be burning bibles, constitutions, and flags, promoting Dawkins to minors, pedaling drugs (both recreational and vaccinations), teaching Spanish, furthering the gay agenda, advancing feminism, engaging in witchcraft, black magic, devil worship, pacifism and the Occult in general.

    Littering, too.

    Any pictures to the contrary are the liberal media protecting one of their own.

  9. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    OK, my question is when did conservatives start thinking that reality is negotiable. I mean I’m not putting words in their mouth. Conservipedia for the first couple of months it was on line said that reality had a liberal bias! The bushies used to say that as an empire, they created their own reality. Are there no rational people left in the TX Republican party?

  10. Cannabinaceae says

    KingUber @2:

    Maybe we should just let Texas secede

    I’d vote to not give them the choice. Dump them like a steaming coil (and promulgate a picture if it looks like Mohammed or Joshua ben Joseph!).

  11. Shplane says

    Absolutely sickening.

    It’s to be expected in a nation with a Christain majority though, I guess.

    (Yes that spelling was intentional)

  12. Shplane says

    Not the protesters, the protesters are the exact opposite of sickening. Real American Heroes is what they are. The GI Joe of Education. And isn’t knowing half the battle?

  13. Anaximanchild says

    Was “Read the Proposed Revisions here” supposed to be a link?

  14. Lets Get Surgical says

    As a Texan, I’m well aware of my state’s embarrassing track record, and I’m usually bashing Texas with the rest of you when our gov’t does something like this. I always take the insults in stride because they’re usually well-deserved.

    But you have to be a gaping asshole to come to a thread about Texans attempting to stop flagrant sectarianism in our state and tell us we shouldn’t be a part of the country.

  15. David Marjanović says

    “Texas Textbook Massacre” should be spread as a meme. I’d blog about it if I had a blog (…and I’ll try hard not to start one before my thesis is done).

  16. Cannabinaceae says

    …you have to be a gaping asshole…

    Have to be? To be sure, one could be a gaping asshole and come to this thread blah blah blah as was opined. You’d need more context or information to conclude that the originator of a flippant comment was a gaping asshole, however. Is there a thick skin shortage in Texas? There certainly appears to be a self-righteousness surplus.

  17. Jesus Christ says

    Of course it should be opposed on principle but I still have to laugh at this subversion of the school curriculum. For me it’s just another example of how much these idiots fail at existence.

    ‘I was recently studying the teens from the local highschool through binoculars while parked across the street in my pickup truck. After just a few short minutes of watching them I came … (dramatic pause) to a stunning conclusion.’

    ‘What was that?’

    ‘Quiet, woman!! Anyway, here was my conclusion … You see, highschool teens are incredibly trusting of authority figures. They respect their teachers and will absolutely not go looking on the Internet for ways to disagree with the things they’re taught in class.’

    ‘Of course, if there’s a group of people that will believe anything spoken by an authoritarian figure it’s teenagers.’

    ‘and who is the most loved and trusted authority figure in every teen’s life?’

    ‘The teacher!!’


    ‘When have you ever heard of a teenager looking to contradict the things they’re taught in school as a way of indulging some biologically hardwired need to rebel and escaping the worry of doing poorly in school by convincing themselves that their academic failure is not due to their own stupidity but due to the fact that the things they’re being taught by their teachers are nothing but lies and garbage???’

    ‘Well … uh, there is…’

    ‘Yeah yeah, I know that’s how creationism spreads among arrogant teenagers who think they know everything but it works differently the other way round. Trust me.’

  18. Medas2005 says

    What you see here is the same dynamic that drives the creation of holy books. The desired truth is so important that it overcomes the need to record reality. Once one reaches that point, the cause is much more important than anything else. Removing the importance of Thomas Jefferson to our history and replacing his space with John Calvin does not reflect the desired story. Solution, remove the offending content and replace it with something far more compatible to the overall cause. When apologists claim for the accuracy of the NT, just look what is happening in the age of media and recording devices. This was even easier to pull off 2K years ago.

  19. Lets Get Surgical says

    Is there a thick skin shortage in Texas?

    Perhaps you didn’t read my post closely enough:

    As a Texan, I’m well aware of my state’s embarrassing track record, and I’m usually bashing Texas with the rest of you when our gov’t does something like this. I always take the insults in stride because they’re usually well-deserved.

    Your first post on this thread and your post on the University of Illinois thread suggest you have a strange infatuation with feces. You’re creepy and I have no desire to talk to you.

  20. nadiah.kristensen says

    That link is kind of crap. The paragraph quoted is all about revisions to textbooks, so the link immediately following, which says “Read the Proposed Revisions Here”, would at first glance appear to be a link to those proposed revisions of the textbooks. But if you download the actual pdfs, you see it isn’t about revisions to the textbooks at all. All it is is a bunch of boring revisions to the Texas Administrative Code. Most of them involve changes to acronyms, minor changes in wording, etc.

    Does anyone have a better source of information for this? Or can anyone be a bit more specific about where in the Texas Administrative Code there is anything relating to revision of textbooks?

  21. MATTIR says

    @Lets Get Surgical

    So can I ask Jadehawk’s opinion on the proposal several years ago that we should thank Canada for something or other by giving them North Dakota? I’m pretty sure that it’s not the physical space of Texas that some of us might wish to be separated from, but just some of the more “unique” or “special” inhabitants thereof. If you can figure out how to get them to move to a particular part of the state, we can allow just that particular portion to secede and keep the sane remainder.

  22. https://me.yahoo.com/a/SaqGVG0xvJEQVwURVamS3DTCdvov0BLhXK1jOsYPPJQ-#b4893 says

    PZ, I think the sign-on code might be broken again. I had a hard time logging on.

    I’m with #25 here completely. People need to see actual examples of teh stoopid the BOE has accepted. The websites promoting this worthy event need to go into just a little more depth, and give some examples.

    Instead of the regulation changes, let’s see the outcome of these changes.

    As far as this secessionist argument goes, I don’t see Texas going that far. But politics has changed dramatically in this country since, I think, Reagan. Now, not only are we overly polarized, but some regions are now deep blue, while others are bright red. Oklahoma is not California. So while we’re not there yet, I just can’t guarantee we won’t be within 20 years. I think someone’s going to try, just not Texas and now. It will be a tragedy when it happens.


  23. Cannabinaceae says

    …you have a strange infatuation with feces. You’re creepy…

    Perhaps you didn’t read my post closely enough. I was commenting on the part where you were talking about

    …a gaping asshole…

    Which is so intimately related to feces I can’t fathom why you’d be creeped out. Though I’ll grant that earthy comments do have a large juvenile component. I also burp and cuss.

    You appear to be making a rather literal and juvenile interpretation of the seccession comments, which is kind of ironic since they actually refer obliquely to that Texas politician (IIRC: to be sure the news is something I don’t follow closely enough) who “suggested” succeeding. Did you take his (her?) comment as literally?

    Here’s how I interpret the original comment about “letting” Texas secede. Sort of a rhetorical point or question, rather than a literal proposal: “It’s a lamentable situation that even in this current era people need to so protest in the face of such idiocy; wouldn’t it be better to just let the fuckwits rot in their own juices somehow?”

    I have no desire to talk to you

    We seem to be talking past each other, so you can heave a sigh of relief that this hasn’t actually happened yet.

    One wouldn’t have to be a self-righteous ego-wanker to get as upset as you seem to be, but that would be consistent with your remarks. Other possibilities are that you’re just prickly, immature, or drunk. Perhaps Spanish is your first language and you don’t pick up on the subtleties of English very well yet. I’m sure there are others, and my above guesses are probably wrong (if I had to pick, I’d pick “prickly”). Do you ever try to see people’s comments from other points of view than your original one? I agree that it is often fun to think the worst of people, assume that’s actually the case, and respond as if it were so. I myself sometimes do that when drunk.

    I certainly believe it is commendable to protest injustice, especially in what appears to be such a benighted environment: good for you! I myself abhor crowds; I admire people who actually participate in group actions; then again, that’s probably projecting: I imagine they’d be as uncomfortable as I would be, when if fact many demonstration participants (most of the ones I’ve ever talked to) seem to actually enjoy the event.

  24. Cannabinaceae says


    …It will be a tragedy when it happens…

    My fantasy is for there to be some “North American” “Constitutional Convention” where Canada, the US, and Mexico (maybe some Central American countries) sort of re-divvy-up the continent into a small number, say 3-6 of more coherent, but relatively large, governable states.

    Not piecemeal seccession and tragedy but wholesale reorganization and sighs of relief.

    Alas. My other fantasy is that quantum dots will lead to cheap fusion power and faster than light travel. It seems more likely than political annealing.

  25. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Dear non-Texans of the USA: We seem to have done some crazy shit in the past, I know. And there is still crazy shit taking place here in the Lone Star State. But sleep easy. AE is on it and will be in Austin on the 16th

  26. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    BTW: If you are considering going and haven’t spent any time in Austin, it is a nice town. Hell. I’d advise you to make a long weekend of it. I was at a state park yesterday ~40 miles west of there (Pedernales Falls), and everything is in bloom. The Edward’s Plateau is insanely beautiful.

  27. Savior Breath says

    As an Austin-area resident, I’ll be there, even though demonstration-style political involvement isn’t my thing.

  28. Lets Get Surgical says

    @ Cannibinaceae

    Talking past each other indeed. When I said

    Your first post on this thread and your post on the University of Illinois thread suggest you have a strange infatuation with feces. You’re creepy and I have no desire to talk to you.

    I wasn’t talking about your response to me, I was talking about your first comment:

    Dump them like a steaming coil (and promulgate a picture if it looks like Mohammed or Joshua ben Joseph!)

    and your comment on another thread:

    Maybe we should all just routinely image our dumps and submit them to a service that compares them to images of idols.

    which make you sound like someone who really likes talking about shit in an overly descriptive manner.

    Again, I don’t care when people make fun of Texans, because we deserve it. Yes, I overreacted to the secession comments, because it can be quite frustrating getting it from both sides. Just don’t make me wade through any more of your meandering paragraphs, please.

  29. Rorschach says

    This revisionist history includes downplaying or eliminating mention of Enlightenment thinkers including Thomas Jefferson, more emphasis on religious themes and figures

    How, uhm, communist of them !

    I would actually expect much more protest to these attempts, from scientists, historians, teachers, politicians asf…It is a scandal, and a step towards a theocracy.

  30. readz says

    In my neck of the woods (western Canada) our school boards are moving away from textbooks to digital media – so students can get up to date information from a variety of sources.

    If this sort of thing goes on in the US, then maybe it will help schools move away from textbook based education as well.

  31. geoffmovies says

    Off Topic: Catholics are giving thumbs down to all comments that chastise the pope here

    Would be great if you’d help out every commenter with some common sense.

    Click the “last” link.

  32. monado says

    And maybe anonymous donors will give each school library a few copies of Christopher Hitchens’ “Thomas Paine’s The Rights of Man,” Sam Harris’s “Letter to a Christian Nation,” Jonathan Miller & Boris Van Loon’s “Darwin for Beginners,” and Michael Shermer’s “Why People Believe Weird Things.” That would help.

    And don’t forget the stickers with web site addresses such as http://www.talkorigins.org and http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/ and http://www.ushistory.org/us/.

  33. wilsim says

    i’ve never posted here before but i’ve read this blog for about 2 years.

    Can you guys come rough up a couple of opinion pieces in todays oregonian?

    The guys are on the wrong side of the issue and i am not sure if my (plebe) posts are enough against this tide of ignorance. Give me some help!



    Guest Columnist Mark David Hall even wants to go back to 1774 and the First Continental Congress and use the precedent that because the founding fathers prayed together we all should. Bah!