Oh, those whacky Republicans! And this time, it's the Republicans in Kentucky who've pegged the needle on my "Weird-Shit-O-Meter" this week. Sit on back in that chair of yours and prepare to be entertained by the hilarious antics and bizarre-o statements of these folks.
According to an article written by Linda B. Blackford of the Lexington Herald-Leader which looks to have been republished by the Kansas City Star's online edition, the Republican members of the Interim Joint Committee on Education have executed a rather abrupt "Abouuuut FACE!" on their own law. Check this out:
First, they enact a new Kentucky law in 2009 in which they mandated that the state's educational testing program be tied to national education standards. This was done, it seems, to help Kentucky high school grads be better prepared for the rigors of college-level courses. It requires college-readiness testing, end-of-course exams, and more national norms.
They even hired a company called ACT to help enact education standards and design the new statewide testing program.
Three years later, these same GOP lawmakers are having second thoughts - to the point that they're all now in a terrible tizzy over the new standards to be enacted in Kentucky high schools. These new standards - particularly the Biology standards - are based on ACT's surveys of biology professors nation-wide. The results of these surveys indicate that students must have a thorough knowledge of evolution to do well in college-level biology courses
And the Republican rhetoric which follows is just plain awesome!
See you below the "Fleur de Kos."
Please remember, dear reader, that waaaay back in 2005, Federal Judge John E. Jones III (a GWBush appointee and conservative Republican himself) of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania issued a clear and unquestionable decision in the case of Kitzmiller v Dover against the teaching of "Intelligent Design" or "Creationism" in a public school system. This was a landmark case. It called out the ID program for what it was - the teaching of religious convictions. Which is prohibited in public schools due to the very first sentence of the very first amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. Yes, the first thing that was written into the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . ."
Has this even slowed down the Kentucky GOP? No way! And hilarity ensued . . .
From Sen. David Givens, R-Greensburg:
"I would hope that creationism is presented as a theory in the classroom, in a science classroom, alongside evolution. I think we are very committed to being able to take Kentucky students and put them on a report card beside students across the nation. We're simply saying to the ACT people we don't want what is a theory to be taught as a fact in such a way it may damage students' ability to do critical thinking."Wow. Learning about Darwin's Theory of Evolution "may damage students' ability to do critical thinking." And here I was, dope that I am, thinking that teaching faith-based religious doctrine was what would damage a student's "ability to do critical thinking." Silly me, huh?
But the very best statement comes from Rep. Ben Waide, R-Madisonville:
"The theory of evolution is a theory, and essentially the theory of evolution is not science — Darwin made it up. My objection is they should ensure whatever scientific material is being put forth as a standard should at least stand up to scientific method. Under the most rudimentary, basic scientific examination, the theory of evolution has never stood up to scientific scrutiny."At this point, the author chooses to pause while you enjoy a hearty laugh.
In order to not violate the three-paragraph "Fair Use" rule, this shall be my final quote from the article. This is the one that is reality-based and knocks these GOP hacks silly. Well, sillier.
Vincent Cassone, chairman of the University of Kentucky biology department, served on the committee that developed the standards.Emphasis mine. Just because that sentence looks better in boldface. Don't you agree?
"The theory of evolution is the fundamental backbone of all biological research," he said. "There is more evidence for evolution than there is for the theory of gravity, than the idea that things are made up of atoms, or Einstein's theory of relativity. It is the finest scientific theory ever devised."
There's additional interesting stuff to read in the linked article. I hope that this entertained you more than it may have horrified you. Yes, these lawmakers are backward and ignorant of the Constitution, but the way they have expressed themselves is so ridiculous that you've just gotta laugh.
Enjoy the rest of your week, folks.