Texas Republicans — They’re All Creationists

The Dallas Morning News has this headline: GOP lieutenant governor hopefuls back creationism. In case you’re looking at that and wondering if it really means what it seems to say, your doubts are cleared up by the story’s lead sentence:

All four Republican lieutenant governor hopefuls have embraced the teaching of creationism in public schools.

It’s painful to go on, and it really isn’t necessary, but here are a few more excerpts, and the bold font was added by us:

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Sen. Dan Patrick, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said in the first televised debate of the campaign Thursday night that they favor teaching that there are flaws in the theory that humans evolved from lower life forms.

And of course this ties in with the recent news about science textbooks. The last time we wrote about that it was mostly good news — see: Texas Creationism: Plan B at the Big Shootout. Since then, things appear to be working out rather well, as the National Center for Science Education reported yesterday: Encouraging news from Texas.

In Texas, unfortunately, every step forward seems to be followed by a giant leap back. Let’s read on:

Late last month, state Board of Education members adopted new high school science books that include full coverage of evolution without the disclaimers sought by social conservatives and other critics of Charles Darwin’s theory.

While none of the lieutenant governor candidates mentioned the board’s decision, three — Patrick, Patterson and Staples — blasted teaching only evolution as a form of “political correctness.” They linked it to what they described as a broader moral decline.

[*Sigh*] The story continues, and here we get a tidy catalog of insane statements from the four candidates, each one trying to sound crazier than the others so he can be declared the dumbest man in the state:

“The breakup of the family in this country has started when we took God out of the classroom,” said Patrick, a radio talk show host.

“As a Christian, certainly creationism should be taught,” said Staples, a former state legislator.

Dewhurst, who is seeking a fourth term, agreed. “It’s a fair discussion to expose students to both sides and let them make the decision with the advice and counsel of their parents,” he said.

Patterson said the country has gone too far in deleting religious instruction from government institutions such as schools. A 1987 U.S. Supreme Court ruling banned teaching of creationism in science classes. “We need to go back to those things that made this country great,” he said.

The rest of the news story is about their positions on other issues, but this humble blog is primarily concerned with The Controversy between evolution and creationism, so we’ll let you click over there to read the rest of the article if you’re interested.

Your Curmudgeon is despondent. Regardless of what some see as a series of foreign and domestic blunders by the Democrats, morons like those four will dominate the news. Therefore, whatever hopes the Republicans may have for the 2014 elections will surely come to naught.

How ironic is it that when America sinks beneath the waves of history, the savages who inhabit this land during the next Dark Age won’t sit around the campfires telling tales about the sinking of the Titanic. They’ll tell of how the Great Ones who once lived here went down with Noah’s Ark.

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

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14 responses to “Texas Republicans — They’re All Creationists

  1. Does the lieutenant governor wield any power over state-wide education policy? If so, the fact that all of the GOP candidates are pushing creationism is probably the result of their being in Seneca’s third category: Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.

  2. Our Curmudgeon opines: “Therefore, whatever hopes the Republicans may have for the 2014 elections will surely come to naught.”

    The Republicans in Texas slavishly pander to the bottom of the “Bubba” heap. Unfortunately, Bubba is by far the dominant demographic in Texas, and no matter how stupid the GOP cadidates are, they will dominate politics in Texas, a state that reveres ignorance and isolation, for a long time. Can anyone say “Louie Gohmert?”

  3. the theory that humans evolved from lower life forms
    ISTM that this is the real problem for most people. It isn’t technical
    details, flaws in the science, philosophical distinctions, or what the Bible says. It all boils down to whether we are physically related to monkeys.
    And it’s so troublesome especially because it is so obvious that we are physically related to monkeys.
    It’s like adolescents who are embarrassed by their parents, particularly because they are so much like their parents.
    And we’re not going to win any debates if we talk about the science, the philosophy, or the Bible, because it isn’t a problem with science, philosophy or the Bible.

  4. TomS correctly notes:

    It all boils down to whether we are physically related to monkeys.

    Indeed.

    Perhaps, having lost their lawsuit to enfranchise chimpanzees with ‘personhood’, the Nonhuman Rights Project could achieve something of their aims by working it all from the opposite direction, viz., a lawsuit to remove ‘personhood’ from this clutch of Lone Star State Republicans on the grounds their brains are embarrassingly sub-human…

  5. each one trying to sound crazier than the others so he can be declared the dumbest man in the state

    Not as long as Rick Perry lives there!

  6. “Religion is the opium of the people.” Karl Marx
    And Texans are clearly out of their minds being so doped up.

  7. The Intelligent Designer Him/Her/Itself gets pissed of by Texan creacrappers and thus has send a punishment:

    http://urbanentomology.tamu.edu/ants/rasberry.html

    No, this is not funny. Look at these pictures:

    http://www.281deadbug.com/rasberry-crazy-ant-gallery.htm
    http://www.gizmodo.co.uk/tag/rasberry-crazy-ant/

    Confusing correlation and causation is not nice anymore.

  8. Charles Deetz ;)

    Forget creationism, these guys’ spoken wish for christian public education should be an obvious FAIL to voters who know that church/state separation is part of the constitution. Are there two camps in GOP, those who defend the constitution and those who think the intention of the founding fathers included religion in government? Or do they just change their mind based on what is being discussed? Aren’t republicans the principled ones?

    I’ll stick to being a liberal, where at least pragmatism is an accepted tenant for why you might switch positions.

  9. The unfortunate reality is that if one of the candidates stated that creationism should not be taught in public schools, that remark alone would probably destroy any chance he would have of prevailing in the primary election. He would alienate the social conservatives, who seem to be the only ones motivated to vote in primaries.

    We are registered independents, which in Texas means we can vote in either party’s primary. We choose to vote on the Republican side, in hopes of nominating the least crazy candidate, regardless of who we might wind up voting for in the general election. It doesn’t help, although if all independents (and all republicans, for that matter) voted in the primaries, we would have a much more rational slate of candidates in the election.

    Dewhurst ran against Cruz in the Senate primary last year, but I had a hard time distinguishing between the two on their stated positions. I think Dewhurst is more pragmatic, but he was working hard to be just as extreme as Cruz during the campaign. Turns out he wasn’t extreme enough. He’s probably taken that lesson to heart, and will be off the chart this time around.

  10. Stephen Kennedy

    “Patterson said the country has gone too far in deleting religious instruction from government institutions such as schools. A 1987 U.S. Supreme Court ruling banned teaching of creationism in science classes.

    “We need to go back to those things that made this country great,” he said.”

    What made this country great is that its foundational document, the Constitution, is based on the values of the Enlightenment.

    I was once a registered Republican but could no longer stand their hostility towards Science. I am not a registered Democrat because even though they are not as crude as the Republicans, they are still not friendly towards Science as demonstrated by their opposition to nuclear power generation.

  11. …they favor teaching that there are flaws in the theory that humans evolved from lower life forms.”

    Why not? There are flaws in that explanation. And there are flaws in the mutually-contradictory alternatives that claim that humans did not evolve from “lower life forms.” The difference is that the flaws in the former are like those of the person who saved your life but did not make you immortal. Whereas the flaws in the latter are like those of the person who let you drown because the water was too cold.

    Now it may be a technicality that the flaws of evolution are appropriate for science class, while the flaws of the pseudoscientific alternatives are not, but that’s all the more reason that anyone demanding the former be perfectly clear on his opinions of the flaws of the latter. If not, he can reasonably be suspected of being not merely clueless, but in on the scam.

  12. @ Stephen Kennedy:

    Please consider running for office. The US can definitely use a Steve who says “ask not what science can do for you, ask, what you can do for science.” 🙂

  13. Ceteris Paribus

    The situation isn’t quite as bad as it could be. When Texas gave up playing at being an independent nation and become a US state, the deal included Texas retaining an option at some future date to to sub-divide itself into as many as 5 US states.

    So while there are now 4 creationist candidates trying to win just one lt. governor spot, there is a possibility that some time in the future the Bubbas of Texas will take a notion to carve up the landscape into 5 pieces. And then there would be 5 creationist governors praying in public for jeebus, 5 creationist lt governors praying for the apocalypse.

    And a total of 10 creationist senators sent to Washington trying to get their faces in front of a news camera more times than even their former Texas Senator Phil Gramm imagined was humanly possible.

  14. Assuming the next Texas governor will be an anti-evolution activist (in on the scam) or one of their trained parrots, this could be a great opportunity.

    I read that Barbara Cargill, the anti-evolution activist on the school board, surprised everyone by choosing a pro-science reviewer to to critically analyze Ide Trotter’s gross misrepresentations of the (approved) biology text. So did the other 2, so barring any “Plan C” surprises (a review’s recent conversion to pseudoscience?) the new governor will likely disapprove of the result.

    We – and more importantly Texans who know that today’s anti-evolution scam is not your grandfather’s honest Biblical literalism – can do one of 2 things: (1) ridicule the governor as a “creationist,” or (2) calmly ask him detailed questions about what he finds convincing about the age of life (not earth) and common descent. To make it easy, one needs only to mention that Michael Behe, and anti-evolution activist who actually practices science (and has a PhD) fully concedes ~4 billion years of common descent.

    A few years ago there was a missed opportunity to put Rick Perry on the spot. An interviewer asked his opinion on the age of the earth, and he said weaseled out with an “I don’t know.” The next question should have been: “Since 99+% of scientists, including most of the ~1% that doubt evolution, are convinced that it’s 4.5-4.6 billion years old, so do you defer to them, or do you have evidence that they’re conspiring to hide the truth?