Mid-Year Report: The Controversy in 2010

IT is time, dear reader, for a mid-year status report on The Controversy between evolution and creationism. Our last big-picture report was six months ago: Looking Ahead: The Controversy In 2010. Much of what we say here will repeat what’s been said in our prior summary posts, because although specific elections, court cases, and legislative efforts come and go, the same people and the same issues persevere through the years. Here we go:

Legislation Watch:

We are pleased to report that so far, this has been a brutal year for the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids). They’ve spent millions promoting creationist legislation and they have very little to show for it — except for their one success in Louisiana back in 2008. Since then, anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism bills have died ignominiously wherever they have been attempted.

The demise of the last of this year’s pending creationism bills was reported here: South Carolina Creationism Bills Go Extinct. Such legislative efforts were defeated not only in South Carolina, but also in Colorado, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Missouri. No others are currently pending.

A few states, however, have year-long legislative sessions (those are: Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin), and there are a few other states with legislative sessions that haven’t yet adjourned, so there may still be some unpleasant news this year. But so far the advocates of unreason haven’t done well in the legislation arena.

Because these efforts depend on activist creationists in state legislatures, we keep a list of names. You can see them in our “Looking Ahead” post for the start of this year.

Election Watch:

Florida’s Senate race should be interesting. The Republican candidate is former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, who has a history of supporting creationism. See: Marco Rubio: Creationist Theocrat for Senator?

The Ohio governor’s race will also be interesting. See: John Kasich of Ohio: Creationist.

In the Alabama Governor’s race, everyone seems to be a creationist, so the outcome is irrelevant to us. There’s not much point in tracking that one, except for entertainment.

In Maine, Republican Paul LePage is running for Governor. He’s a creationist. See: Creationist Running for Governor in Maine.

In the Tennessee gubernatorial election, all the Republican candidates are creationists. See Creationism in Tennessee Governor’s Race. The primary election is 05 August.

We’re also watching the Illinois Governor’s Race: A Nightmare Choice, featuring a Republican creationist, Bill Brady, running against current Democratic Governor Pat Quinn, a flaming leftist.

In Texas, creationist Rick Perry is running for re-election as Governor. See: Is Texas Governor Rick Perry Insane? Also in Texas, there’s an interesting race for the State Board of Education. The creationist-theocrat incumbent, Ken Mercer, is being challenged by Rebecca Bell-Metereau. See Texas SBOE Election: Beauty & the Beast.

In Kansas, there are a couple of interesting races for their State Board of Education. See Kansas Creationism: A Blast from the Past.

In Colorado, creationist Barry Arrington is running for a seat on the state education board. See Colorado Creationism: The Battle Begins.

And although it’s way too early, we’ve been wondering Which 2012 Presidential Challengers Are Creationists?

Media Watch:

We continue to be concerned about Creationism on Fox News, where Ken Ham (“Hambo” to us) is an advertizer on behalf of his various creationist enterprises described at his hard-core website, Answers in Genesis.

Bureaucratic-Administrative Watch:

The Texas State Board of Education has been the big news, and that’s quieted down now. See: There’s Crazy, and There’s Texas Crazy.

Court Watch:

The John Freshwater hearing in Ohio has been dragging on for a couple of years. It’s being very well covered over at Panda’s Thumb, and it may finally be grinding to an end. We’ll report the conclusion — if there ever is one.

The potentially significant case involving California teacher James “Jesus Glasses” Corbett is on appeal. Our last report was here: Corbett Update 25 June 2010.

We’ve also been following the David Coppedge case, a Discoveroid attempt to establish an employee’s “freedom to promote creationism” in the workplace.

The flip side of the Coppedge case is the Christina Comer case, currently on appeal. While Coppedge actively promoted creationism at Jet Propulsion Laboratory and was only demoted, Comer was actually fired from a state job for sending an email about an evolution lecture. [Update: Christina Comer Loses Her Appeal.]

Additionally, we’re watching the “Darwin’s Dilemma” Lawsuit. That and the Coppedge case involve alleged “viewpoint discrimination.”

We’re still waiting for something to get started in Louisiana, now that they’ve got the nation’s only “academic freedom” bill on the books, but for the present they have other things to think about in that state.

Cases that ended during the past half-year — with creationists on the losing end — are ACSI v. Stearns and the Institute of Creation Research’s Case in Texas, in which ICR attempted to offer offer a state-sanctioned master’s degree in science education.

Congress Watch:

We had a bit of very good news. After wining a contested primary for the GOP nomination, which probably assured his re-election in November, Mark Souder, Creationist Fool, Resigns! Besides being a creationist who had a bit-part in Expelled, he was a family values conservative — and he resigned because of a sex scandal. Splendid stuff.

In the realm of creationist legislation, it’s impossible to know what’s happening in the US Congress because they keep passing 1,000-page bills and no one knows what’s in them. We’re not aware of anything at the moment that affects the Controversy, but we’re watching.

Local School Board Watch:

In the United States, there are more than 3,000 counties or the equivalent. We imagine that most of them have school boards, and many of them are elected. Most voters don’t pay attention to such elections, and we wouldn’t be surprised if a large number of local school boards are riddled with creationists. It’s impossible to track even a tiny portion of those boards, but every now and then one pops up in our news scans.

The minor eruptions of creationism that sometimes occur at local school boards are amusing, but rarely of any real importance. No such creationist initiatives have amounted to anything since the Discoveroids’ courtroom catastrophe in Dover — Intelligent Design’s Waterloo. When creationism proposals are made, a brief lecture to the board by their attorneys about the Dover case is sufficient to stifle such outbreaks.

The only school boards we watch are state-level boards, like the infamous, creationist-dominated Texas State Board of Education. From past experience, the Discoveroids have learned that it’s only worth their time to operate at the state or national level, because the elected or appointed functionaries in state-level school boards can have a big impact — not only on classroom curricula, but also on textbook purchases.

However, we are pleased to report that an attempted biology book-banning in Tennessee by the Knox County school board has come to naught — at least for the moment. See Tennessee: No Biology Book Ban for Now.

Discoveroid Watch:

Unchanged since our “Looking Ahead” post for the start of this year.

Long Term Outlook:

Unchanged since our “Looking Ahead” post for the start of this year.

The Curmudgeon and His Humble Blog:

In our secret underground control room, when news is scarce, we’ve been occupying our time with philosophical speculations, such as A Theocratic Thought Experiment, and Bring Me An Angel Detector!, and Creationism: Making Sense of Unreason.

Conclusion:

Unchanged. The Controversy will never end.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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5 responses to “Mid-Year Report: The Controversy in 2010

  1. Gabriel Hanna

    Oh, yes it will. Heard anything about free silver lately, or the reality of witchcraft, or extending slavery to the Western states?

    It’ll end one way or another.

  2. Gabriel Hanna says: “It’ll end one way or another.”

    It’s the other way that troubles me.

  3. cnocspeireag

    I couldn’t help but wonder how a ‘flaming leftist’ could have become a US State Governor. A quick look at Pat Quinn’s recent record suggests he’s a fiscal conservative, reducing deficits and cutting state jobs.
    He doesn’t seem to treat public office as a gravy train, perhaps that makes him left wing?
    He might seem a ‘flaming leftist’ from a viewpoint a country mile to the right of sensible though.

  4. One thing that has been bothering me lately is how little mention there is of teachers who do teach evolution-and-only-evolution, but who are pressured to water it down or omit topics that might “offend” some students or cause them or their parents to be disruptive.

    I realize that it’s hard to monitor, and that many such teachers will not admit to being pressured beacuse of fear that any help might backfire, but I suspect that this effective censorship is at least as big a problem as the more overt efforts of anti-evolution activists.

  5. “Conclusion:
    Unchanged. The Controversy will never end.”

    Ban religion……. problem solved.