School Board Election in Bryan, Texas

We found another one. It’s the Bryan-College Station Eagle of Bryan, Texas. Hey — that’s the home town of Don McLeroy, the creationist dentist. Their headline is BISD school board hopeful Josh Smith.

BISD? That’s the Bryan Independent School District. As for Josh Smith, he was the the operations manager at a television station, so he says he has budgeting experience. We’ll skip all the questions that don’t interest us, and get right to the one on creationism. Here we go, with bold font added by us:

Q. Where do you stand on teaching evolution in the schools?

A. I believe that evolution is a theory, I think that politics and political correctness have turned evolution into kind of like global warming — ‘If you don’t believe it, then you’re a moron’ — but the trouble with that is we’ve been watching animals for at least a couple hundred years of recorded history and nobody’s ever seen one evolve. I don’t have a problem with teaching evolution as a theory, I also don’t have a problem with teaching creationism as a theory. I look at the world through a Christian viewpoint, that’s my worldview, I have a strong belief system.

He sounds like the right man for the job — in Bryan. But his answer is longer than that. He continues:

I believe that the Bible’s accurate in how the world was created. I don’t personally believe in evolution, but also, from a scientific standpoint, I think that science is a healthy process, and when it’s done honestly it’s good. I think too often science becomes unhealthy because it’s not honest.

Science isn’t honest? Let’s read on:

We use science as a weapon against religion, specifically against Christianity, and I don’t think that’s what science is good for, and I think evolution is sometimes on the front line of that. We’re going to totally discount anything that has anything to do with Christianity, therefore we’re going to push evolution as the only possible theory.

No comment. His answer continues:

There’s lots of evidence contradicting evolution, lots of evidence. And that’s OK. I think kids, I think the object of the exercise is to teach kids to think. I don’t worry about the truth. If we teach kids to find the truth, they’ll get where they need to be. I don’t believe that we need to brainwash children into an anti-religious viewpoint. I think that’s as damaging as brainwashing children into a pro-religious viewpoint. I think if you teach kids to find the truth, then they’ll come up with the right answers.

That’s all he had to say on the subject. It’s quite enough for the voters to know what they’re getting with him. But who’s his opponent? His name is Trey Moore. That newspaper also published an interview with him: BISD school board hopeful William ‘Trey’ Moore III, and they asked him the same question. Here’s his answer:

That’s a pretty fair question. I think that obviously evolution should be included in curriculum. I know that there are a lot of people who have objections to it in a religious belief context, for me personally, I think that it can be presented exactly what it is, which is the theory of evolution. It should be put out there, and it can always be predicated with a statement that this is a theory that is currently the most commonly held belief and the most commonly held theory and you explain it. I don’t see a qualm with that.

Based on what little we know about Bryan, Texas — which is limited to our long exposure to Don McLeroy — we predict that Josh Smith is going to win. If the press reports the election results, then we’ll know if we were correct.

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

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23 responses to “School Board Election in Bryan, Texas

  1. Sadly, a lot of Texas &M professors live in Bryan (which is about 2 seconds North of College Station).

  2. I urge my colleagues at A and M to GET INVOLVED! Write letters to editors, comment on letters by creationists, talk to voters, submit op/eds to local newspapers, etc. MOBILIZE.

    I also think letters from scientists outside the district, even out of state, can help. In the end, NUMBERS DO COUNT in influencing public opinion ( a lesson we have learned in this reddest of states – [Oklahoma]).

  3. Texas is run by, and run for, straight-up morons. They infest every level of government in the state,with a few notable exceptions. School boards are cesspools of creationist “thinking” here. Bryan is a veritable fundie zoo.

  4. “We use science as a weapon against religion”
    Well, yes, as soon as religion claims things that can be scientifically tested this is what will happen. Like this one:

    “the Bible’s accurate in how the world was created.”

  5. Ceteris Paribus

    Josh Smith says: “We use science as a weapon against religion, specifically against Christianity,”

    Three bonus points go to candidate Josh for implementing “The Persecuted Christian” ploy in his campaign without actually spelling out the word “persecution”.

    That should give Josh a head start on his political career where the persecuted Christians only make up about 85% of the US Congress.

  6. Stephen Kennedy

    Christians have a pathological need to be martyrs for the faith. Therefore, no matter how powerful, pampered and politically dominant they are in a place like Texas, they still can not help but bemoan how “persecuted” they are by our godless culture and go through a litany of things they have to endure for Christ’s sake. All I can say is, for Christ’s sake will they please shut up.

  7. Josh Smith confabulates:

    “[W]e’ve been watching animals for at least a couple hundred years of recorded history and nobody’s ever seen one evolve.”

    Smells remarkably like a generalised version of the Comfort-Cameron Crocoduck Confutation of evolution…

  8. I believe that the Bible’s accurate in how the world was created.

    At that point, not before or after, the “blaring sirens and flashing lights” ought to go off, and every critic needs to ask point blank: “So which of the mutually contradictory literal interpretations do you find is supported by independent evidence, and more importantly, which are not?

    Then, if they insist on the negative “argument from incredulity” rather than actually supporting their own conclusion, there’s no need for them to even mention evolution, let alone obsess over it (invariably ending in Godwin’s Law). Just let them elaborate on all the weaknesses of those literal interpretations of Genesis that they don’t “believe in.”

    Then watch them frantically try to weasel out of it, showing their true colors to the millions who would otherwise give them a free pass with “what’s the harm, let them believe”?

  9. I look at the world through a Christian viewpoint…

    Hmm…So does Ken Miller, who has been for 30+ years, one of the most vocal critics of ID/creationism. And so did the late Pope John Paul II, who said what I consider the most devastating sound bites against ID/creationism – and let’s face it, this is a war of sound bites, as the scam artists know they lost the science war. That sound bite was “convergence, neither sought nor fabricated,” which is at once the ultimate compliment to mainstream science, and a subtle but devastating slap at the antics of anti-evolution activists. The late Pope must have been painfully aware, even in the early days of the ID scam, that, despite decades of “seeking and fabricating” (not to mention quote mining and other tricks of pseudoscience) evolution-deniers had no hope of converging on a consistent origins account (1000s of years? billions? how many “kinds”?) let alone a testable theory to explain it.

  10. Frank J says: “At that point … every critic needs to ask point blank …”

    You often make that suggestion. We have always disagreed and I suppose we always will. My view is that when an adult reveals himself to be a creationist (of any variety) the sane response is to walk away. Rational discourse of any kind is impossible with someone who demonstrates his lack of rationality. If there were some remedy that could be deployed merely by getting a creationist to confront the idiocy of his views, then there would be no creationists. But there is no cure, debate is useless, and confrontation is a waste of energy. Also, doing the debate thing for the benefit of the audience can do more harm than good, because merely sharing the platform with a moron gives the moron stature he doesn’t deserve.

  11. Mr. Smith says, “I believe that evolution is a theory….” I thought it was only a theory. Ken Ham is losing control of his minions.

  12. SC said: “My view is that when an adult reveals himself to be a creationist (of any variety) the sane response is to walk away.”

    Serendipity! I was thinking about you just yesterday when I was unwillingly brought into a conversation by people sitting close by. The woman, who was expounding on how silly evolution was, turned to me and said, “If we came from monkeys, then why didn’t everything turn into people?” I was fortunate in that I was able to produce a blank stare, and get up and walk away.

  13. I would not walk away, at least not immediately. I would first have asked the crazy lady, “If you and your cousin both have the same grandparents, why does your cousin exist?” THEN walk away!

  14. Ellie says: “I was thinking about you just yesterday”

    Many ladies do, but you’re special.

  15. SC: “My view is that when an adult reveals himself to be a creationist (of any variety) the sane response is to walk away.”

    If there’s no audience present, of course. And that applies if by “creationist” you mean a clueless denier-on-the-street or an activist who knows he’s peddling nonsense. Unfortunately, unlike you and me, too many critics seem to want to “educate” the “creationist” than show the world the games they play.

  16. Case in point, just the other day I overheard someone I know to be a Biblical literalist raving about Behe to someone (I could not see who it was, but he was listening without agreeing or disagreeing). My impulse was to say “you do know that Behe accepts ~4 billion years of common descent, don’t you?” But not knowing who his “victim” was, it was not worth the time for even a hit-and-run comment.

  17. Mark Germano: I thought it was only a theory. Ken Ham is losing control of his minions.”

    If you asked Michael Denton in the 80s, he would have agreed theories are well-supported explanations, not “guesses that are probably wrong.” Unless of course that theory was “in crisis.” Even then he knew better than to bait-and-switch definitions of “theory” like nearly all anti-evolution activists do.

    I also must mention that in the 90s, he wrote another book admitting that most of his earlier objections to evolution (in particular denial of common descent) were unwarranted. Yet to this day, anti-evolution activists often cite his earlier work, but conveniently “forget” his later concessions.

  18. Thank you for this post! I was just about to go in and vote for Josh Smith but I saw your post. Thank you for saving me

  19. I think if I ever get drawn into a debate with a creationist, I would ask him/her to make their case for creation without reference to the bible or the theory of evolution. I think very few can do that. There is no positive argument for YEC, and despite Luskin’s efforts, there is still no logically sound positive argument for ID.

  20. Truthfully. I think we need to discuss things with creationist.

    The trouble about credibility is that I think most people get drawn into defending individual Instences of evolution instead leading into a never ending battle.

    Instead of discussing the lack of value and double standards in creationism. Thus bringing showing everyone who is reading or listening the obvious and terrible flaws in there view point.

    Creationist these days are far to bold. They know they can make these silly claims and they will not be confronted and embarrassed by the people around them.

  21. Spector567 says: “Creationist these days are far to bold. They know they can make these silly claims and they will not be confronted and embarrassed by the people around them.”

    That’s also true for people who claim to be Napoleon. No one argues with them either. Creationists deserve the same attention.

  22. The difference is that people believe the creationists and vote for other people who believe the creationists.

  23. The Curmudgeon: “That’s also true for people who claim to be Napoleon. No one argues with them either. Creationists deserve the same attention.”

    Very true but 99.99999% of people would disagree with the Napoleon and no-one would walk up beside him and say how’s the arm except to mock him. Also very few would enable him since they would be considered foolish and silly for doing so.

    As opposed to a creationists where 40% of people would stand and join him for the sole purpose of attacking evolution and others will ignore the situation or allow them equal time on the theory of tolerance.

    As you have said Trying to get a creationists to change his mind is utterly pointless. However, there is some value in making creationist look foolish as an example to others and to show the moderates and enablers how weak and bigoted there arguments are.

    For instance there is no point arguing with a creationist on your blog since everyone here already supports evolution and the outspoken creationist will never change his mind. Hence why I have always supported your stance to keep creationists on topic or ban them. (for the most part I think you’ve been pretty damn fair about this)

    Also to be clear I think there is a big difference between talking about creationism and talking about evolution.

    NO ONE wants to talk about creationism.
    Creationists avoid the topic because they have very little to say and because there are more variations on the topic than they’d like to admit.
    Christians avoid it out of some sort of religious respect.
    Moderates avoid it out of religious tolerance.
    Atheists would rather talk about religion.

    Meanwhile EVERYONE wants to talk about evolution.

    Creationist like to talk about doubts and flaws.
    Everyone else is left on the defensive. Most blogs I’ve seen on the topics spend the vast majority of the time taking on individual creationists claims one at a time.
    Providing undue respect for creationists and there attacks.

    I think people need to stop being on the defensive and start attacking creationism itself. Leave them on the defensive. Point out the hypocrisy and contradictions without being diverted into religion, or scientism.
    Kinda like what this blog does. =)