Texas Creationism Hearings: 25 Nov 2008

IT GOES ON. The Texas Board of Education, chaired by creationist dentist Don McLeroy, is still pretending to struggle about deciding whether it should keep the anti-science, anti-evolution, creationism-friendly “strengths and weaknesses” language in the state’s current standards.

Yes, they’re pretending. Despite their disingenuous claims that they care only about teaching science and educating the state’s students — typical of the dishonesty inherent in the entire creationist enterprise — we already know what McLeroy’s creationist-dominated board wants to do. They won’t be happy until the public schools require a pledge of allegiance to Noah’s Ark.

While this shameful spectacle continues, and intelligent Texans are horrified, the world watches. And laughs. But sometimes we slowly shake our heads in sorrow.

Here’s a good column in the Houston Chronicle: It’s time for education to evolve. Excerpts, with bold added by us:

In Pennsylvania last week, it was reported that a scientist had decoded the DNA of a woolly mammoth using a hairball found in the Siberian permafrost. Not surprisingly, the sequence was 99.4 percent equivalent to an elephant’s.

Meanwhile, in Austin, the so-called State Board of Education was still debating the merits of evolution.

Forget Kansas. If we’re not careful on this issue, people across the nation could soon be asking, “What’s the matter with Texas?”— if they’re not already.

The columnist can stop wondering if that might happen. It’s happening. Here’s more:

The so-called weaknesses usually spewed by evolution opponents are the same, tired arguments that have been adequately refuted by scientists for decades.

One of their favorites involves gaps in the fossil record.

“We’re somehow put in the position, almost literally, of having to provide a minute-by-minute description of the morphology of creatures that haven’t existed on the earth for hundreds of millions of years,” says Andrew Ellington, a biochemistry professor at the University of Texas. “Is it a surprise that we don’t have every fossil in the record, but that every one we do have fits perfectly with what you might expect for an evolutionary progression of creatures?”

What’s the big deal here? If creationist arguments had to make sense, there wouldn’t be any creationists. Continuing:

Ellington says he located both his biotechnology companies in other states, in part because venture capitalists perceived the Lone Star State as having a “lax or backward educational climate.”

The creationists don’t care.

True scientific debate is healthy. So are questions. But injecting doubt in curriculum for the sake of ideological agenda will harm our students and our state.

They don’t care about that either.

However, your Curmudgeon has figured out a benefit to all this creationism controversy — it’s a sure-fire method of identifying unqualified politicians. It doesn’t matter whether they sincerely believe all that creationism nonsense — which indicates mental problems — or they’re merely pandering to their supporters — which demonstrates zero integrity. Either way, they’re unfit for office — and a lot of other things too.

Copyright © 2008. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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11 responses to “Texas Creationism Hearings: 25 Nov 2008

  1. Is it too much to ask that creationism will go the way of geocentrism in my lifetime?

  2. “Is it too much to ask …”

    Alas, yes.

  3. Beware; if the Creationoids are in any way successful with their “teach the controversy/strengths and weaknesses” (nudge-nudge, wink-wink) strategy, it is only a matter of time before the geocentrists will be infesting school boards demanding Kepler, Galileo, and Copernicus be shoved asunder to make way for Ptolemeic “controversies” and falderall, as stupified school children stand in amazement as epicycles duke it out with Keplerian orbits.

    Behold the Creationoids and their ilk — purveyors of unknowledge.

  4. “Behold the Creationoids and their ilk — purveyors of unknowledge.”

    I, for one, welcome our theocratic overlords.

  5. I, for one, welcome our theocratic overlords.

    … as grist for your mill!

  6. retiredsciguy

    An imperative to any and all creationists: God gave you the gift of Reason. Now honor Him by using it!

    I realize that precious few creationists will see this on this blog, but maybe if we spread the word…

  7. “God gave you the gift of Reason. Now honor Him by using it!”

    But as Martin Luther said:

    But since the devil’s bride, Reason, that pretty whore, comes in and thinks she’s wise, and what she says, what she thinks, is from the Holy Spirit, who can help us, then? Not judges, not doctors, no king or emperor, because [reason] is the Devil’s greatest whore.

    Source: Wikiquote: Martin Luther

  8. Shifting focus from what SAID in the hearings, I’m concerned about what’s been DONE in the media coverage. See
    http://curricublog.org/2008/11/23/fair-or-balanced/

  9. sorry, C, I forgot I already did that here …

  10. Anyway, your point that they are

    still pretending to struggle about deciding

    presents a real dilemma, it seems to me.

    If they arrange in January to have 2 hours of testimony on one side and two hours on “the other side,” they’ll be using that to present a “2-sided” question as existing, and push the Saenz point that it would be wrong to let students know about only one “half of the information.”

    This situation recalls Kansas, where the scientists declined to participate in the farce there. There are costs from that response too, though.

  11. “This situation recalls Kansas, where the scientists declined to participate in the farce there. ”

    Exactly. It’s a difficult decision. I’ve long advocated that participation in such show-trials is an error, because it generates publicity and it promotes the idea that there’s another side that’s worth debating.

    It would be a gutsy move for the pro-science side to boycott the hearings, but really, they have nothing to lose. McLeroy and his comrades have already decided the matter.