Is Kentucky Hopelessly Insane?

At the start of this month we posted Will Kentucky Have a Lucid Moment?, about approval by the Kentucky Board of Education in a 9-0 vote of the evolution-friendly Next Generation Science Standards.

But that was only an interim step — a halfway house, as it were. The standards still had to go through the state’s regulatory process, which involves public hearings and a review by the state legislature’s House and Senate committees on education, And that brings us to the news we found today.

In the Courier-Journal of Louisville, Kentucky we read School science is hotly debated in Kentucky. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Supporters and critics of Kentucky’s new science education standards clashed over evolution and climate change Tuesday amid a high-stakes debate on overhauling academic content in public schools.

Opponents ridiculed the new standards as “fascist” and “atheistic” and said they promoted thinking that leads to “genocide” and “murder.”

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! There is a certain perverse pleasure in seeing full-frontal lunacy on display by those who proudly proclaim their behavior as the only path to holiness. There seems to be a lot of that in Kentucky. The news story continues:

Nearly two dozen parents, teachers, scientists and advocacy groups commented at a state Department of Education hearing on the Next Generation Science Standards …

The issue isn’t even before the legislature yet. We may have fun for months with this thing. Hey — this is a surprise:

“Students in the commonwealth both need and deserve 21st-century science education grounded in inquiry, rich in content and internationally benchmarked,” said Blaine Ferrell, a representative from the Kentucky Academy of Sciences, a science advocacy group that endorses the standards.

It must be lonely in Kentucky for a man like Blaine. Let’s read on:

But the majority of comments during the two-hour hearing came from critics who questioned the validity of evolution and climate change and railed against the standards as a threat to religious liberty, at times drawing comparisons to Soviet-style communism.


One parent, Valerie O’Rear, said the standards promote an “atheistic world view” and a political agenda that pushes government control.

O’Rear? Did we read that name correctly? Anyway, she seems to have it backwards. It’s the theocrats who are pushing for their own perverse form of government control. Here’s more:

Matt Singleton, a Baptist minister in Louisville who runs an Internet talk-radio program, called teachings on evolution a lie that has led to drug abuse, suicide and other social afflictions.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Evolution seems to be responsible for everything evil, including poverty, perversion, halitosis, and toenail fungus. Moving along:

At one point, opponent Dena Stewart-Gore of Louisville also suggested that the standards will marginalize students with religious beliefs, leading to ridicule and physiological harm in the classroom, and create difficulties for students with learning disabilities.

“The way socialism works is it takes anybody that doesn’t fit the mold and discards them,” she said, adding that “we are even talking genocide and murder here, folks.”

One or two crazy comments are amusing. But when we see one after another after another — well, it’s tragic. Let’s skip over most of the article until we get to the results of the hearing:

Kevin Brown, associate education commissioner and general counsel, said comments will be reviewed by department staff and summarized into a statement of consideration with formal responses. Board members will then consider the comments and responses in August and decide whether to make changes or advance the standards to legislative committees for approval.

Ah yes — the comments will be reviewed, summarized, and then considered. These science standards are going to travel a long and torturous journey. But considering that this is happening in Kentucky, it should provide us with entertainment every step of the way.

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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23 responses to “Is Kentucky Hopelessly Insane?

  1. Pete Moulton

    Is this a trick question, SC?

  2. Aren’t Kentucky children already taught science, including evolution and climate science? Where are the genocides and murders? Where are christian children being bullied because of their religious beliefs?

    The scary part of this is that these people seem to think adopting science standards will be a major change to the existing curricula. Maybe Kentucky is worse that we think it is.

  3. Eddie Janssen

    “The way socialism works is it takes anybody that doesn’t fit the mold and discards them,” she said, adding that “we are even talking genocide and murder here, folks.”

    Is stuff like this taken seriously in Kentucky or in the United States and if so, by how many people?

  4. You left out Matt Singleton’s best line:

    “Outsiders are telling public school families that we must follow the rich man’s elitist religion of evolution …”

    Apparently, rich people are all drug addicts and suicidal. Or maybe Singleton is just stringing together random dogwistles to scare his fellow ignoramuses..

  5. Charles Deetz ;)

    @John, “random dogwhistles” … EXACTLY. These guys make Hambo look coherent. They have no leg to stand on logically, but oppression and bullying they know educators care about almost as much these days, so they’ll drag it into the fight.

  6. The rich man in his castle,
    The poor man at his gate,
    God made them high and lowly,
    And ordered their estate.

  7. anevilmeme

    This is their problem in a nutshell, they are treating a branch of science as a religious theology or a political ideology. Sadly I think this isn’t just talking points and spin they seem to actually believe it.

    Actually if you think about it the ideology evolutionary biology resembles is laissez-faire capitalism not socialism.

    (Not that biology justifies any ideology I’m just trying to think like these people think).

  8. Actually there were not many in the room. Also, “Louisville basketball program presents President Obama with jersey, ball and bat ” heads the list of Most Popular articles. Do Americans play basketball with a bat?

  9. jimroberts

    To be fair, evolution really is responsible for toenail fungus.

  10. No, jimroberts. Consider the odds against something evolving to exist on your toenails. It had to be designed.

  11. gnome de net

    anevilmeme wrote, “…I’m just trying to think like these people think.”

    You give “these people” too much credit for having that ability.

  12. Come on Kentucky, time to enter the 20th century. And the 21st.

  13. So, they don’t want their children to become doctors, nurses, physical therapists, pharmacists, scientists, or in any profession that requires them to learn REAL science. The world is an ancreasingly difficult place for those with a substandard education. Kentucky parents: Is that what you really want?

  14. Eddie asks: “The way socialism works is it takes anybody that doesn’t fit the mold and discards them,” she said, adding that “we are even talking genocide and murder here, folks.”

    Is stuff like this taken seriously in Kentucky or in the United States and if so, by how many people?

    Only about 120 million, thanks to Fox News. Fox uses the word “socialism” to describe anything they’re against or that makes them uncomfortable. Fox never, ever describes socialism accurately, so now perhaps half the country has no clue what socialism is, but they use it as a stand-in for everything they hate.

    Fox calls Obama, a centrist capitalist, a socialist who wants to destroy America. When you say that, you must make sure your audience never, ever learns the real meaning of “socialism.”

    This is like Nazi Germany. Fascism instrumentalized the word “Jew” to associate it with everything they were against– that’s a strategy to get power. Foxism has instrumentalized “socialism” as an all-purpose pejorative in order to obtain power.

  15. I will not speculate in whether they are truly insane, or just acting that way because it helps their case. But what else do that have ? The don’t even have a vaguely consistent “what happened when” origins account, let alone testable proximate causes, or evidence to support any conclusions or theories. But in the years since Dover and “Expelled” the increasingly bizarre and paranoid strategy of the anti-evolution movement has at least not hurt their case. And probably helped it, because the poll results have stagnated despite an exponential increase in evidence of evolution and evidence that ID/creationism has evolved from honest belief to an all-out scam.

    I have a modest suggestion: It might not work, but it can’t be any worse than we’re doing now. That is to calmly note, without ridicule, the “is/ought” fallacy that they’re committing. Then politely, but repeatedly, demand that they elaborate on their particular alternate “theory,” starting with the basic “what happened when,” and offer them the opportunity to test it on its own merits. You can even offer them the unfair advantage that only devout Christians will peer-review their results (omitting, of course the very inconvenient truth that Christian biologists overwhelmingly accept evolution). If they are truly insane, they might agree to that. But if they try to weasel out of it you can be forgiven for suspecting that at least some of them are faking their apparent insanity.

  16. todd belcher

    The CJ misrepresents the diversity of comments at the meeting. I know. I was there. I was the first to comment on the subject. Perhaps you’d like watch the video of the meeting My brief comments start at the 15:30 mark. Consider how many times I use terms like”genocide” or “fascism'”

  17. Mr. Belcher references Douglas Axe and some bad math, Müller and Newman (possible quote-mining?), the Altenberg 16 (definitely quote-mining), Paul Chien, more bad math from John Lennox [sp?] of Oxford, Berlinski, Monton [sp?], Thomas Nagel, Allen Sandicks [sp?]. So much (for) substantive disagreement!

  18. Blain Ferrell of the Kentucky Academy of Sciences speaks beginning at 28:00. Much better.

    Mr. Belcher has a thesis or something.

  19. todd belcher

    Tomato Addict, it seems your accusation that I “quote mine” is as air tight as Darwinism itself. Yet terms like “bad,” (non)-“substantive,” and “or something” demand that I mine an advanced encyclopedia to comprehend the evidence you’ve just presented.

    And glad you mined my dissertation. At least now somebody besides my mom might read it!

  20. @Todd Belcher: I’m pretty sure you are misinterpreting the meaning of “quote mine”, which is delightfully ironic. Technically you are probably just repeating quote mines taken from an intermediate source, unless you have done this research yourself? In any case, taking a statement out of context to deliberately misrepresent the original meaning is still a quote mine.

    As for “bad” I specifically meant “bad math”. You quote probabilities that simply do not have the interpretation you claim. If you flip a coin 250 times and record the sequence of heads or tails, the probability of the final result is at least as unlikely as anything you quoted. By your claim this should be impossible, yet I can create this sequence of random events quite easily in a short period of time. No divine intervention required.

    As for reading your dissertation, I wasn’t planning on reading it, but I will reconsider if you promise to send me a case of Ale 8. Two cases might get you a favorable review. 😉

  21. gnome de net

    TA, I’ll see your 250 coin flip and raise you: if you want an easy 1/1.24E-68 event, shuffle a deck of cards just once (if you don’t like the equally unlikely ordered deck fresh from the box.)

  22. gnome de net

    Actually, that should be a probability of 1.24E-68.

  23. My 250 coins flips are ~1/1,000,000 less likely than your card shuffle – I was going for gratuitously unlikely and a nice round number.

    Silly me! I should have gone for 500 coin flips, which puts the probability outside Dembski’s “Universal Probability Bound”.