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Creationism gets a good kicking in Texas

Creationism gets a good kicking in Texas

GOOD sense has triumphed over biblical bullshit in Texas. On Friday, the State Board of Education voted unanimously to approve sound-science materials for public school biology courses.

By a 14-0 vote, the board chose to approve supplemental materials from mainstream publishers, not creationist crap from Religious Right-backed suppliers of dodgy Bible-bases hypotheses.

According to this report, Americans United for Separation of Church and State submitted written testimony urging the board to disregard pleas from the Discovery Institute and International Databases to have their materials – which caste doubt on evolution from a religious perspective – included in the curriculum.

Texas has often been a trouble spot for scientists and civil liberties activists. In 2009, the state school board adopted a science curriculum that left open the door for approval of creationist twaddle.

And earlier this month, Texas Governor Rick Perry appointed Barbara Cargill (R-Woodlands) to serve as chair of the board. Cargill, a former teacher, believes that the debate over science education is a “spiritual battle”. She is a strong proponent of teaching:

The strengths and weaknesses of evolution.

This is, of course, code language for religiously grounded attacks on accepted science.

Last spring some of Cargill’s other prejudices bubbled to the surface during the board’s debate on social studies standards. The wingnut successfully pushed for the elimination of “sex and gender and social constructs” from sociology curriculum. She said at the time:

This allows students to go into the world of transvestites, transsexuals and God-knows-what-else.

AU was worried that under Cargill’s leadership, the board would spend $60 million in taxpayer funds on creationist bumfodder. Instead, AU and its allies wanted to board to approve supplementary materials recommended by scientists and science educators.

Says the AU:

We got what we wanted, and that’s thanks in part to the large number of sound-science supporters who showed up at last week’s public hearing. According to our allies at the National Center for Science Education, four times as many people testified in favor of sound science than those who wanted supplements undercutting evolution.

Hat tip: Adam Tjaavk

13 Responses to “Creationism gets a good kicking in Texas”

  1. stargraves says:

    Thank god for that! :o)

    Reason in the US; Maybe there’s hope for them yet…

  2. AgentCormac says:

    Just how does a lunatic like Cargill get to be in charge of a budget of $60 million for ‘supplementary materials’? I dread to think what the total budget might be that she and her god-bothering mates control.

    BTW, anybody watch The Hotel last night? The evangelical christian guests were scary but highly comical. I couldn’t help wondering if the bloke was Bob Hutton.

  3. Pete H says:

    @AgentCormac

    I saw The Hotel on its first run a few weeks ago. Great entertainment, and the fundies were terrifying and really annoying, trying to convert everyone in sight. :-D

  4. Broga says:

    That’s great news. And in the face of a nutter like sicko governor, and prize buffoon, Rick Perry. Even Rick’s buddies find it difficult not to laugh when he begins spouting religious drivel. I suppose $60 million to promote nonsense was a joke too far.

    Every Texas school should have in its library “godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America’s Leading Atheists” by Dan Barker foreward by Richard Dawkins. As a penetrating and entertaining description of the emergence of a fundamentalist christian into the reason and freedom of atheism this is a terrific book.

    Dan Barker’s critique of christian thinking and the bible is devastating. A happy adjunct to the book is the number of clergy who write to Dan saying they share his views but remain (for the moment, I hope) trapped by their job and their community.

  5. Brian Jordan says:

    It’s not just good news for Texas. Apparently the Texas tail wags a large part of the USA textbook publishing dog. Thanks to their buying power their textbooks tend become mainstream and used in a lot of the smaller states as well.

  6. Pete H says:

    @Broga,

    I found Godless a fantastic read when I first picked it up a couple of years ago.

    I thought he described the process of losing his faith incredibly well. It was very informative, especially as he freely admits he was the type of christian you don’t want sitting next to you on the bus, because he’d try to convert you.

    He managed to describe his shift from one side to the other clearly, and without being dismissive or insulting towards those who share his former opinion.

    I’d recommend it to anyone.

  7. Broga says:

    @Pete H: I think you put me on to that book and I am grateful. This really is the view from inside the mind of a fundamentalist. He escaped by himself by using reason and recognising the absurdities of a literal view of the bible. I also like the way he deals with the usual christian apologetics e.g. its metaphorical. And this from a man who was a very succesfull fundamentalist preacher. His parents who brought him up as a devout christian are now atheists as well. As is one of his brothers.

    This atheism, given a chance, is very persuasive. You can see why the dire Thought for the Day is determined to censor us.

  8. barriejohn says:

    Robert Saunders has lot to say on this subject on his Wonderful Life blog:

    http://robertsaunders.org.uk/wordpress/#i9ak0Ll7NAVI

  9. barriejohn says:

    This is worth a read as well, from another favourite site of mine:

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2010/04/30/feedback-a-creationist-in-a-public-school

    They only go into education for one reason!

  10. Broga says:

    @Pete H. I got the book thanks to a comment from you on this site. I endorse all you say.

  11. Broga says:

    @Pete H. Yup! Me too. And encouraging about the atheist growing presence in the USA.

  12. Broga says:

    @Pete H. I agree. Excellent book.

  13. David says:

    For a partial list of questions that could be used by teachers and students to critically examine and evaluate evolution, refer to the article,

    Evolution: The Creation Myth of Our Culture

    http://www.trueorigin.org/evomyth01.asp

    *

    For more info:

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/07/eugenie_scott_misrepresents_th048621.html

    *

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/07/ken_millers_inaccurate_and_bia048321.html

    *

    From the August 15, 2005 edition of TIME magazine:

    Evolution Wars.

    http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1090909,00.html

    Richard Dawkins: “Creationists are fond of saying that there are very few
    fossils in the Precambrian, but why would there be? asks Dawkins.
    “However, if there was a single hippo or rabbit in the Precambrian, that
    would completely blow evolution out of the water. None have ever been
    found.”
    ====================================================

    Palaeontologists still haven’t found a hippo or rabbit fossil in the Precambrian, but they _have_ found pollen, spores, angiosperms, gymnosperms, and at least one winged insect.

    Eocambrian (Upper Precambrian): dated from about 1.6 billion to 600
    million years ago

    So is Dawkins going to announce that these discoveries completely blow
    evolution out of the water? If not, why not?