Texas politics still mired in teaching of Creationism

This, folks, is an utter disgrace. Dear Texas, I feel for you. You are heading ever downwards.

[Warning, commentary and name calling ahead. Is a weekend, indulge me.]

GOP lieutenant governor hopefuls back creationism | Dallas Morning News.

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

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.

All four smug men (see picture at link above) appear to link evolution to moral decline. How ignorant. In general, crime is down, teenage pregnancy is down. What moral decline? Yeah, I want a leader who makes shit up in order to push a religious agenda. Nice.

So, how about teaching just that “God did it”? Good luck with new knowledge in medicine, agriculture, animal science, energy production, land management, etc. etc… Boneheads.

Did they read the Constitution? Do they know anything AT ALL about the case law on this? Or are they such pandering weasels that they spout tripe because they want to be elected?

The Friendly Atheist covered this story which is where I saw it.

In Their First Televised Debate, All Four Republican Lieutenant Governor Candidates in Texas Embrace Creationism.

I left a comment there that I will repeat here:

Just finished reading the B. Franklin biography. Made me think how completely inept today’s politicians are. For example: When Franklin narrowly escaped a shipwreck near the English coast he joked that, were he a Catholic, he would find this an occasion to build a chapel to some saint. But, he says, were I to vow at all, it should be to build a lighthouse.

Also, when a town in Massachusetts named itself Franklin and asked him to donate the church bell, Franklin told them to forsake the steeple and build a library: “books instead of a bell, sense being preferable to sound”.

[Source: Benjamin Franklin, W. Isaacson, p 467]

Ah, those were the days of enlightened people.

HuH face

  21 comments for “Texas politics still mired in teaching of Creationism

  1. Chris Howard
    December 14, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    Well, having just left the Lonestar state for Indiucky, I can say that in order to get elected in Texas, as a republican, you have to appeal to your conservative (read Tea Party/Religious) base.

    They will tone down that rhetoric during the general election, to appeal to moderates, and conservative democrats.

    The Republican Party of Texas is, officially, against teaching critical thinking. This is why they will never adopt the common core standards, much less the teaching of evolution.

    Having said that, this is nothing more than an appeal to single-issue voters.

    When all is said and done, however, Texas may be turning purple, maybe even blue? There does seem to be a lot of desperation in the air from the right, in the state.

    They are doing their darnedest to keep minorities, and women from voting.

  2. spookyparadigm
    December 14, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    I’m going to be really blunt about this.

    The average baby boomer will live about 70 years. They have shaped American culture at every stage of their lives, due to their huge numbers, having been the first TV generation (and hence the first and greatest target for the mass media we know today), and having come of age just as American wealth was at its relative greatest. They are the generation that remembers before the civil rights movement, remembers the Vietnam War and still contains the bitter division that resulted, and powered both the rise of the fundamentalist religious right and the anti-tax revolt that so shape American politics today. This is unsurprisingly when Creationism was revived after decades of being very much on the fringe.

    Simply put, you will see our current situation get more and more pointed for about ten more years (the 2020 census is going to be an epic fight). Especially in the warmer states of the south where the retired traditionally move if they are affluent enough. And then it will start to subside. This isn’t something to cheer for or worry about it, it is just demographic politics (which is where much of American politics is right now).

    Creationism won’t go away of course (though I will note that Don McLeroy, the biggest face of the Texas creation fight the last few years, was born in 1946, a textbook baby boomer). But it will find less political traction as outside of a core minority, it is more of an identity marker than anything else. And that identity is going to unravel.

  3. December 14, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    Having been born & raised in Northern Ireland i have a major distrust for anything done in the name of organised religion, even before the rest of the wars & injustices committed, usually falsely in it’s name worldwide. There is space & possibility for both science & religion to live side by side & still agree to disagree – even the Vatican has a science department for cryin out loud & does some good work, especially in astronomy, while disseminating scientific information, & no ranting about divine works. I detest religion being forced down peoples throats, especially children & teens at that age when they are just forming their proper vision & understanding of the real & wider world around them. I can only speak for UK education system, & passing knowledge of French primary system, because of nefs & nieces to be here, but the science is taught as “this is the presently believed science” & not as written in stone, acknowledging further study can make new discoveries & change present scientific knowledge. I have deep respect for those who have a deep belief in their religion & follow it. However i see too many religions that are used as weapons & political weapons, & their adherents only pay lip service. Since i was young always had problems with “Sunday Christians” who sinned all week & then were holier than though on Sunday, & condemn others,while hypocrites themselves. Students may be confused but they need to know facts, the real world & yes the opportunity to follow a belief system if they want, but do not write off rest of us as heretics. Rant ended sorry!

  4. Greg Martinez
    December 14, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    The correct answer is: “pandering weasels.”

  5. December 14, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    someday the Republican Party will wise up and realize that many people who are fiscal conservatives will still never vote Republican as long as they support this nonsense and other issues like misogynistic laws and homophobia.

  6. eddi
    December 15, 2013 at 2:08 AM

    It seems more likely an ideological split is shaping up. Whether it affects the 2014 mid-terms or holds off until 2016 seems to be the only question. It will depend on the far right winning elections versus Democrats. Getting rid of the current Republican office holders who have offended the Tea Party faithful will be easy. They have the normal Republicans scared enough that you see things like the Four Stooges in Texas. Winning against Democrat opponents is a whole different proposition. It will take gerrymandering and vote restriction to have a good chance. But they may appeal to fear and hate and win enough otherwise normal voters to beat the margin.

  7. Tom
    December 15, 2013 at 2:42 AM

    Creationism is a dishonest sham front for a type of religion; it is not religious belief that is the issue, it is HONESTY.
    These candidates have already begun lying, they will probably continue to lie and Texas will suffer.

  8. Michael Haydrn
    December 15, 2013 at 3:36 AM

    “Texas” is not of one mind. While some who post here seem to enjoy pretending we are, I honestly thank those of you who post in the comments section for recognizing that these questionable positions are being taken by SOME of the people in Texas, not all of us. In fact many Texans are fighting this nonsense with as much passion as anyone across the nation. Stereotyping the people of an entire state is pretty crappy. Oh.. and logically unsound.

  9. December 15, 2013 at 3:59 AM

    Doesn’t seem like anyone’s done that too egregiously here, Michael. I get your point, though. I lived in Kentucky and in Ohio in the past, and believe me, there’s plenty to be embarrassed about in both. I imagine every state has their share of loony politicians.

  10. Dick Topping
    December 15, 2013 at 7:48 AM

    As far as I’m concerned, comments like these should be ground to be disqualified for public office.

  11. Brian
    December 15, 2013 at 8:34 AM

    But: THEY are getting into the news and media more often. (not trying to be mean or insult) The problem is people will follow and comment on what is popular on the news and whatnot. Maybe you guys need get into the media as much, if not more than these jackasses. An example: The kardashians. On tv all the time, and people hate them with a passion, but still comment on every picture, and know everything about them.

  12. ZombyWoof
    December 15, 2013 at 10:14 AM

    Texas: a state of ignorance. Too many bible thumpers in charge.

  13. Chris Howard
    December 15, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    Having worked in Texas politics I can say (with data that was provided to me by the candidates that I worked for) that the problem isn’t, necessarily, ignorance. It’s that the ignorant, conservatives in Texas outvote the, largely apathetic, knowledgable voters.

    You always have to remember that when you hear things like “record voter turn out” they’re, usually, only talking about registered voters.

    Most registered voters don’t vote. Elections in the US are won on margins of the minority of registered voters, so that’s who politicians pander to.

    It doesn’t make sense for a politician to waste time, and resources on a demographic that, in all likelihood, won’t vote. So they have to appeal to the politically active, and those people tend to be ardent ideologues, and passionate about what they believe.

  14. Scott
    December 16, 2013 at 4:41 AM

    Sadly I can kind of see why various forms of christianinanity might think their holy book is somehow special…it’s easier than thinking and it has cool quotes. Also genocide, slavery and rape, but who reads it? I am from outside the US and I am glad of that; I used to
    envy the rewards that science had brought you all, but you seem determined to overcome that. As an outsider it scares the crap out of me that the world I live in has islamic fundamentalist stupidity in conflict with christian fundamentalist stupidity…and both idiots have really scary weapons.

    You don’t teach what you know is true, you teach what you can show is true. Science shows stuff, like how disease work and how vaccines prevent them (oh shut up, I have respect for opposing arguments, none for ignoring evidence.Vaccines work, homeopathic remedies don’t, prayer doesn’t…and those ‘old fashioned’ illnesses will kill your children) and really good explanations for how the universe might have begun (oh shut up, ‘my magic sky fairy did it’ is not an explanation any more than my great aunt Hilda did it…and there’s the same lack of evidence for her as for your sky fairy.) for how the diversity of life on this planet can be explained, and connected to vaccines (oh shut up…just shut up.). So this is what we should teach, Really. The US is rapidly becoming as benighted as the islamic theocracies in their non-science…sounds like nonsense when you say it fast…and pushing itself away from civilisation.

    This is really sad for a nation which so proudly and defiantly began by saying that this stuff had no place in the state. Thomas Paine would be ashamed of what you have allowed to happen, and what you are in danger of becoming. In what real way, other than the flavour of unprovable religious fuckwittery, is Texas different from Iran?

  15. MikeXeno
    December 16, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    Seeing things like this make we wonder if Texas isn’t trying to secede from the Union by enacting policies which make it so the rest of the country just doesn’t want to be identified with them anymore.

    I lived in Houston for seven years, and the school system there was disgraceful. If your kid has Special Needs, they’d better be at the low side of the bell curve, because they have zero resources for the students who are on the higher-intelligence side.

    Unfortunately, I have to disagree with the commenter above who says that this problem will pass when the older generation retires/dies. The newer generation isn’t being educated properly in Texas, and they may very well carry on the tradition of stubborn ignorance.

    Texas is a big state, I lived in only one small part of it, and my experience may not be typical. I know that there are people in Texas who are fighting to overthrow the policies which seem geared toward “Keep ’em Stoopid”. But they face an uphill fight. The pride which some Texans take in their state and culture is almost a religion in and of itself, and as such, they resist changing their ways even to the point where they will endure ridicule and disdain.

  16. Lagaya1
    December 16, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    Sadly true, Scott. We seem to be in a decline.

  17. Michael Haydrn
    December 18, 2013 at 1:13 AM

    “Texans” were largely responsible for fighting and defeating this nonsense. Some states have more fundamentalist christians than others and that gives those groups political power. Texas also has millions of reasonable people with a strong respect for scientific method. Stop lableing “Texans” as a whole as the problem and keep the blame where it lies: with religious fundamentalists in all states. Those of us who live here will fight for Texas.
    Oh, and Texas doesn’t hang 16-year-old little girls for having sex. That’s what makes us different from Iran.

  18. December 18, 2013 at 7:54 AM

    Chill. No one said Texas = Iran.

  19. Chris Howard
    December 19, 2013 at 9:13 AM

    Having been born in San Antonio, and lived in Texas for over twenty years I can honestly say that I don’t the whole “Texas/Southern Pride” thing?

    The southern US, including Texas, has some of the highest teen pregnancy, poverty, high school drop out rates, illiteracy, heart disease, malnutrition, substance abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, hate crimes, executions (including mentally handicapped persons) racism, violent crime, and takes more money from northern states (aka red state welfare), and so much more. A simple Nationmaster check will verify these facts.

    This is not an indictment of all Texans, or southerners, but I’m just not so certain that pride (which often makes people complacent) is the proper response?

    Perhaps humility? At least until there is actually good reason to be proud?

  20. Michael Hayden
    December 20, 2013 at 3:35 AM

    “In what real way… is Texas different from Iran?” by Scott. I’m pretty sure that’s English.

  21. Erik1986
    December 20, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    Hmmm. I don’t know that you can blame baby boomers. I’m one (and in my 60s and still working full time)and I certainly hope I’m not going to pass on n the nest few years, being presently pretty healthy and horseback riding daily. I had 13 years of parochial school education – mostly because my parents thought the quality of the education was better than public schools , not because for religious reasons – and I am a confirmed skeptic, atheist, humanist and whatever else you want to call it. My parents jokingly said that after 13 years of Catholic education, one would either be a nun/priest or atheist. There are some advantages to living in Texas according to articles I’ve read (most economic), but obviously not educational.

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