There are hundreds of headlines screaming about Texas Governor Rick Perry‘s public statement about creationism yesterday. For a typical example, see this from CBS News: In exchange with child, Perry calls evolution a “theory” – with “gaps”. You’ll want to read it all and maybe look at the video too, but this excerpt tells what happened:
The Texas Governor, speaking at an event in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, was answering a little boy’s questions about science when his mom urged him to question the conservative politician on evolution.
“I hear your mom was asking about evolution,” Perry told the boy. “That’s a theory that is out there – and it’s got some gaps in it.” He added: “In Texas we teach both Creationism and Evolution in our public schools — because I figure you’re smart enough to figure out which one is right.”
The mainstream press is suddenly realizing that Perry is a bit daft, but that’s old news to us. Our readers have long been aware of Perry’s obsession with creationism. It was he who appointed Don McLeroy, the creationist dentist, to be chairman of the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE), but the Texas Senate voted to reject that nomination. After McLeroy’s rejection and then his defeat in a primary election, Perry honored him at a GOP event with the group’s Patriot Award, about which we wrote Is Texas Governor Rick Perry Insane?
Being a creationist fanatic, Perry then appointed Gail Lowe (another creationist) to be SBOE chairman. She too was rejected by the Texas Senate. That’s when Perry showed his total commitment to lunacy– he ignored a few sane Republicans on the SBOE and picked Barbara Cargill, yet another creationist, to be the board’s chairman. See Rick Perry’s Newest Creationist.
We’ve known for quite some time that Perry is as hard-core a creationist as can be found anywhere. But after his remark yesterday about what’s going on in Texas, and because he’s running for President, the whole country now knows he’s an out-of-the-closet creationist. That’s the headline story today, but the press is missing the real story.
We dig deeper around here. Our concerns go beyond the Presidency; they’re cosmic. We want to know the effect Perry’s blunder will have on The Controversy, on teaching science, and ultimately on preserving the Enlightenment.
That’s why we’re interested in the reaction from the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).
You can see how they’re handling it by reading this new item at the Discoveroids’ blog: Governor Perry Thinks Texas Schools Teach Creationism, while Texas Education Agency Stifles Even Scientific Criticism of Darwin. It’s written by John West, whom we affectionately call “Westie.” Most of you know who he is.
Westie is Associate Director of the Discoveroids’ creationist “think tank,” which consumes almost half of the Discovery Institute’s’ $4 million budget (see Their 2007 Tax Return). That makes him one of the chief Keepers of their wedge strategy. It’s in his honor that we have adorned this post with our jolly Buffoon logo, because he’s a winner of the Curmudgeon’s Buffoon Award.
Westie isn’t happy with Perry’s performance. Because the Discoveroids are always careful to conceal their purposes, they’re understandably aghast when one of their political stooges unmasks and declares that he wants creationism in the public schools. It’s a key part of the Discoveroids’ stealth approach to creationism that they never admit their true beliefs and theocratic goals. They can’t afford honesty, because that would hurt them in court and maybe even in elections. Instead they cloak their anti-science ideology in ambiguous phrases and they claim to be promoting “critical thinking” (see What Is “Critical Thinking”?) but we know what they really mean.
They faced such an “honesty crisis” last year in Louisiana’s Livingston Parish. See Bruce Chapman’s Louisiana Damage Control. As we said then, addressing our remarks to Chapman, who heads the Discovery Institute:
The problem, Chappy, is that while you and your Discoveroid comrades in Seattle are clever enough to devise a stealth creationist campaign and to disguise it as the “science” of intelligent design, it’s not going to work.
Why won’t it work? The reason, Chappy, is that your obedient followers in the states that adopt your scheme are inevitably going to be among the dumbest people in the universe; they can’t stick to the script. They’re creationists — and that means they’re stupid. Got it? We explained the problem in detail here: Intelligent Design, the Great Incongruity
Now they’ve got the same problem with Perry. He not only exposed himself as a naked creationist, but he’s probably exposed the entire game that’s been played out for years in the Texas SBOE. Here are some excerpts from Westie’s critique of Perry’s performance, with bold font added by us:
It has to be challenging to be a presidential candidate. After all, you are expected to dispense wisdom (or at least comments) on almost everything under the sun, and you never know what question is going to come up next. Still, some questions should be easier to anticipate than others. For example, it has become pretty typical for candidates (especially Republican ones) to be grilled at some point about their views on evolution. So Governor Rick Perry shouldn’t have been surprised when asked earlier today about his own views on evolution, especially given all the controversy over the topic in his home state of Texas.
Yes, after all the careful coaching, all the approved examples of double-talk scripts available in countless posts at the Discoveroids’ blog, Perry should have been prepared. Let’s read on:
What was a surprise was Perry’s answer. According to the New York Times, Perry claimed: “In Texas, we teach both creationism and evolution in our public schools.”
“Surprise”? The reaction at Discoveroid headquarters must have been more severe than that. We imagine there were quite a few face/palms, accompanied by salty expletives. That’s because, after Perry’s unguarded moment, it will be difficult for the Discoveroids’ pawns on the SBOE to maintain the charade that they’re not promoting creationism. Westie continues:
In fact, Texas public schools do not teach creationism, at least not anywhere in the approved curriculum. But under science standards adopted in 2009, Texas students are asked to “analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations… including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations, so as to encourage critical thinking by the student.” This sort of critical inquiry is supposed to apply to the discussion of Darwinian theory, and Texas students are also expected to “analyze and evaluate” the evidence for Darwinian claims about natural selection, mutations, cellular complexity, the fossil record, and more.
Yes, Westie. That was the script — but Perry just blew it. Big time. Whatcha gonna do now?
Here’s one more excerpt:
Perry will likely be excoriated for his comments by those on the left who think Perry is somehow a proponent of creationism.
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Wasn’t that cute? Westie says “those on the left” will “somehow” think that Perry’s a creationist. Hey, Westie — after Perry’s performance, it’s not just lefties who will “somehow” figure it out. There’s no way anyone can miss it now.
Oh, one more thing: We’re sorry to bring you the bad news, Westie, but it looks like you just lost Texas. Hey, don’t look so sad — you’ve still got Louisiana.
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