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Nobody knows how this little fellow evolved or what ecological niche he fills,
so we're just going to say he's made of lost dreams and burning tires. Whatever.
I believe the problem here is that a certain Mr. Gus Blackwell does not actually know what science is:
On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Common Education committee is expected to consider a House bill that would forbid teachers from penalizing students who turn in papers attempting to debunk almost universally accepted scientific theories such as biological evolution and anthropogenic (human-driven) climate change.

Gus Blackwell, the Republican state representative who introduced the bill, insists that his legislation has nothing to do with religion; it simply encourages scientific exploration. "I proposed this bill because there are teachers and students who may be afraid of going against what they see in their textbooks," says Blackwell, who previously spent 20 years working for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. "A student has the freedom to write a paper that points out that highly complex life may not be explained by chance mutations."

The premise here appears to be that instead of Oklahoma students writing a paper on the assigned topic of, say, the various evolutional precursors to the modern horse, students ought to just as easily be able to challenge the notion that there were any such things at all, and instead turn in a paper supposing that space aliens, with assistance from the Bilderberg Group, brought horses to earth in 1974 on the Space Mayflower. The teacher would then have to accept this paper and grade it without penalizing the student for being entirely batshit wrong on the premise, because hey—the student is just questioning the science. Who are you, science teacher, to try to teach him otherwise?

Here is where Mr. Blackwell's problem lies. In his eagerness to teach "controversies" in science, i.e. stuff that science doesn't tell us but Mr. Blackwell believes anyway, he does not quite grasp that science consists of sifting through evidence in order to come to provable hypotheses. It is not merely the ability to come up with hypotheses so sufficiently outlandish that they cannot possibly be tested, then calling the whole thing done. You are perfectly welcome to believe such things, but the entire rest of the planet is not obligated to look upon your own mental fetishisms as equally valid to, say, the work of Marie Curie, and grade accordingly. Nor does Mr. Blackwell know what controversial means—he apparently believes it means whatever he, personally, finds unpleasant, and not what the rest of actual human science considers controversial or not. There are plenty of controversial ideas in science, mind you, but they're not where Mr. Blackwell thinks they are, or even in things Mr. Blackwell has probably even heard of. (You may have heard Europe recently built a big-ass donut-shaped science machine in order to prove or disprove some of those. We could have done the same in Texas, but Republicans, etc.)

So what we have here in this students shall not be punished for saying basic scientific facts are wrong and substituting their own hearsay bill seems to be mere lunch counter parochialism redefined as a noble pursuit, which is the same dynamic behind every other one of these things. And Oklahoma is, for some reason, a hotbed of this stuff.

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Comment Preferences

  •  State legislatures are to laws.... (24+ / 0-)

    what nuclear waste dumps are to the universe of dumps.  

    Toxic, toxic, toxic.

  •  How is the US going to compete in the world market (21+ / 0-)

    ....when we are wallowing in such ignorance?  

  •  Every time I read about this anti-science (14+ / 0-)

    approach, I would love to make sure that Mr. Blackwell and all his kind still use leeches and such for their "medical care" and such avoid all modern drugs, especially Viagra.

    There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it. ~Author Unknown

    by VA Breeze on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 06:36:20 PM PST

    •  They're Not as Honest as Amish. (9+ / 0-)

      They forbid all kinds of teaching and practice of science but they are totally free to employ the benefits of that science for their own welfare. After all it's ancient earth geology that tells their donors where to drill baby drill.

      If the fundies were honest they'd have to be promoting wind and solar because their drillers would be producing almost no oil and gas.

      But then if the libertarians were honest, they'd be demanding a more massive government regulation of the economy than the free world has ever known. Climate change is happening because every swinging of every fist anywhere on earth at any speed adds carbon to an oversaturated atmosphere and thus hits every nose on earth. Fist hitting nose being the trigger that permits, in the mind of the libertarian, government regulation.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 06:44:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  As students reject Gravity (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, TDDVandy, Aunt Pat, Shippo1776

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 06:36:27 PM PST

  •  Similar bill here in AZ. (8+ / 0-)

    They talk about teaching "controversy" and "critical thinking," as if that means we can substitute scientific theory that's open to challenge with Genesis or Drudge.

    stay together / learn the flowers / go light - Gary Snyder

    by Mother Mags on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 06:38:50 PM PST

  •  He must be a former Kansas Bd of Ed director (6+ / 0-)

    who moved south into Oklahoma after Kansas overturned creationism from its high school curriculum in the late 1990s.

    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect -- Mark Twain. Ode to Social ME-dia: Sweets and tweets, self indulgently fed. First widens seats, second fattens heads -- Dcrolg

    by dcrolg on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 06:39:44 PM PST

  •  If students can make scientific arguments (15+ / 0-)

    supported by scientific evidence and peer reviewed reports they will not get graded down in science classes.

    But you will rightly get a zero if you say the bible tells me so  Jesus may loves you but evidence, not prayer, is required to make a scientific argument. Bible citations are not scientific evidence.

    In fairness to Baptists, this guy's problem is that he's an idiot, not that he's a Baptist.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 06:41:01 PM PST

  •  So, is this bill expected to go anywhere? (6+ / 0-)

    Or is it just the usual crank bill that gets quietly buried in committee?

    The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

    by raboof on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 06:41:42 PM PST

  •  The Stupid Part (5+ / 0-)

    I don't actually have much of a problem with students submitting papers debunking climate change or dinosaurs or whatever, because if they do a half decent job of writing such a paper, they will have to demonstrate the requisite abilities of critical thought and expression, something worth teaching, as much as science and the scientific method itself.  What self-respecting teacher would give a kid a poor grade for a well-reasoned argument, even if it isn't scientifically valid?

    What's stupid is that something thinks you need the legislation.

    Isn't this what home schooling is for?

    •  Umm, you do know ther isn't any (6+ / 0-)

      well-reasoned, accurate scientific material disproving evolution and climate  change? Just rantings from people writing outside their own scientific discipline about a subject they know very little about?

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 08:01:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        If the student can write it without referencing religion, then the submission still demonstrates critical thought.  Galileo was wrong about lots of things, but he could still form a reasoned argument, even about those things.

        Why is that a problem for you?


          SIDE based on valid science.  Where he gets his info COUNTS. If he's writing it for English class, I, as a former college English instructor, would have to work damned hard to explain to him what a valid source is--something from a peer-reviewed journal where the scientist is working in his own field (a physicist writing about evolution has no more expertise than anyone else, sorry to break that to you). If he cites The Panda's Thumb, I will call him on it, and explain WHY it sucks as a source--same as I would if he quoted the Bible.  He's not displaying critical thinking skills if he can't tell a valid source from an invalid one.

          But I am not sure you understand t he difference.

          The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

          by irishwitch on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 02:52:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Where he gets his info would be evaluated (0+ / 0-)

            or so I infer from galtreuter's comment. This is like "Reefer Madness." You can either use such submissions as teaching moments about data quality, skepticism, scientific methodology, peer-review, and reproducible results; or you can roar, "No you can't write about that!" -- and, kids being kids, let the young'uns try to imagine why you would forbid such submissions/discussions.


            by raincrow on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 08:42:26 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I rather doubt in OK that the sources (0+ / 0-)

              would be evaluated--and that you can flunk the kid for using the Discovery Institute. The whole point of this law is to allow the kids to treat creationism as a valid scientific "theory".  To allow them to write papers "proving" creationism" for science class.

              Sure, if it's English clas,s I can take his index cars and hsi first drafts, tear them into tiny pieces and explain why they suck and make him start over (as I did with my E whose sources were the Bible and James Dobson)because that's my job as an English teacher. But a bio teacher doesn't teach how to write papers and what is a valid source. His or her job is to teach bio, and while I would hope they would at least briefly explain what a valid source is in  a science class as far as science goes, they don't have the time to do what I do.

              What is going tohappen here is that a lot of fundy public school kids are gonna use this to bang the creationist drum which CANNOT be taught in science class as science  thanks to a brief moment of rationality on the part of  the SCOTUS.  An honest teacher will give them  Ds for writing papers that aren't science and their parents will  go tot he prinipal and demand the grades be changed because religion and likely take the fight to the courts if the teacher is supported. Because, y'know, FREEDUMS. Or the teacher will cave  because they're afraid of being fired, and the kids will go to college thinking creationism is science--and likley the prof there won't be nearly as accomodating as the high school teacher.

              ANd teachers DO have the right to decide if a topic is appropriate for a given paper because ithas to fit the class.

              Now if the student wanted to compae the "theory" of creationism  to evolution and was actually able to see the lack of science behind it it--that would teah ritical thoking. But likely is that in OK with the majority of lids being in fundy homes?  If it were ENglish class, yes, I'd let them--because I am there to teach skills and help them develop critical thinking skilles--but the bio teacher is there to teach bio.

              The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

              by irishwitch on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:25:38 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  scientifically valid kind of matters in (4+ / 0-)

      science class.  that, not simply a set of facts, is the point of science class - to teach kids the scientific method so that they understand what makes something scientifically-valid rather than bullshit that sort of sounds like science.

    •  If they did what looked like a half decent job (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      dollars to donuts it's plagarized from some winger or fundie website. What self-respecting teacher wants to have to wade through all the crap and nonsense that's out on the web just to keep students honest?

      "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

      by Orinoco on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 08:41:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree and I allow it. If the paper is written (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Batya the Toon, raincrow

      well and offers peer reviewed back-up for claims or arguments and the rubric is followed....I will allow for some opinion, discussions, debate and critical thinking.

      •  i think this lets the anti-science crowd drag the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        debate into the weeds.

        remember, you are dealing with people that are changing accepted defitions for scientic terms to further an agenda, and their goal is not to ensure good science education. they don't accept what you would consider to be peer reviewed sources, and have no interest in allowing teachers limit sourcing to them.

        what they want is to challenge scientific objectivity, and dispense with the idea that there is any such thing as objective proof. objective proof is in there way. when you want the state to validate the evangelical interpretation of Genesis, and to block it from acting on global climate change, you have to redefine science so that nothing can be prooved.

        that is what they want these kids to write when they are asked to summarize what is know about either evolution or climate change.

    •  A science teacher would. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I mean, depending on the assignment. I, as a language arts teacher, would not give a student a poor grade for such a paper if it fit my rubric, but if I were teaching science and the assignment included a rubric that requested students follow scientific processes and provide scientific sources and so forth, then maybe I would. All depends on the rubric and the learning goal of the assignment - whether it's purely about the writing and critical thinking or about demonstration of scientific competencies.

    •  I have to agree. (0+ / 0-)

      If it is a seriously well-thought-out paper that demonstrates an understanding of scientific principles.

      Science does not mean unquestioningly accepting what you're told is true, even if the people telling you have come to those conclusions by way of the scientific method.

  •  We all know the purpose of dinosaurs. (10+ / 0-)

    They were provided by God as transportation for cavemen, and when they died to turn into petroleum.

    I saw it on a commercial.

    "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions." - Thomas Jefferson

    by rfall on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 06:43:28 PM PST

  •  In related news, OK passes law stating that the (5+ / 0-)

    sun rises in the west, sets in the east.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 06:43:31 PM PST

  •  So can a student answer the test problem "What (8+ / 0-)

    is 2 + 2?" with "5" and not be penalized because she's simply exploring the gray areas of addition?

  •  Mandate Batting Practice for the Football Team. (5+ / 0-)

    We can't let football theorists dominate the instruction of teams on how to make a score.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 06:45:50 PM PST

  •  For which s/he should get a failing grade. (6+ / 0-)
    "A student has the freedom to write a paper that points out that highly complex life may not be explained by chance mutations."
    Because s/he didn't understand how evolution works.

    "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions." - Thomas Jefferson

    by rfall on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 06:48:10 PM PST

  •  I can't wait for the first "Last Thursdayism" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, Ender, irishwitch, skrekk

    "But the problem with any ideology is that it gives the answer before you look at the evidence." - President Clinton

    by anonevent on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 06:48:49 PM PST

  •  Asimov was right... (16+ / 0-)

    "Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'"
     ― Isaac Asimov, in a column in Newsweek, 21 January 1980

    "When and if fascism comes to will not even be called 'fascism'; it will be called, of course, 'Americanism'" --Professor Halford E. Luccock of Yale Divinity School; New York Times article from September 12, 1938, page 15

    by demongo on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 06:50:07 PM PST

    •  I was lucky enough to hear Ike (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zinger99, raincrow

      give his stump speech on evolution and stupid creationists at an sf con. It was brilliant and hilarious.  He wasn't the best writer--but he gave the best speeches.

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 08:04:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Didn't we settle all this stuff back in the '20's? (11+ / 0-)

    I mean really.

    What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

    by commonmass on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 06:50:10 PM PST

  •  I wonder what kind of responses one would get (6+ / 0-)

    if you asked such people where "fossil fuels" come from?

    "When and if fascism comes to will not even be called 'fascism'; it will be called, of course, 'Americanism'" --Professor Halford E. Luccock of Yale Divinity School; New York Times article from September 12, 1938, page 15

    by demongo on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 06:52:47 PM PST

  •  I'm SORRY! (10+ / 0-)

    I'm fucking sorry, sorry, sorry. . .

    Jesus H Christ these people piss me off.  Constantly embarrassing we handful of rational Oklahomans.  I can't tell if we're worse than Texas or not.

    "The bass player is always right"

    by BigOkie on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 06:53:27 PM PST

  •  A student has the freedom to write a paper (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, irishwitch, zinger99

    debunking evolution or climate change.

    The teacher has the freedom to flunk that student for not following the damn assignment and choosing to write about his own topic.

    So, no freedoms at issue here, right?

    28, white male, TX-26 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

    by TDDVandy on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 06:54:47 PM PST

  •  Doing the Teacher's Job? (10+ / 0-)

    "...a House bill that would forbid teachers from penalizing students who turn in papers attempting to debunk almost universally accepted scientific theories..."

    I taught for several years before I left teaching to follow other paths, but I see a wrinkle here that would anger me deeply as a teacher.  I see an inference in the quote above that the Oklahoma legislature is ordering teachers to grade and evaluate a student in one certain way.  Maybe times have changed and teachers now accept being told how to grade their classes, but I would hope that some Oklahoma teachers would rise up and say that they and they alone are capable and qualified to evaluate their own students.

    Another potential problem is when Johnny turns in a paper that not only is batshit crazy, but is also loaded with misspellings and improper grammar.  How does the teacher prove that he graded on the grammatical shortcomings rather than on the ideas that Johnny put down?  This bill has the potential of fueling an Evangelical inquisition against well-trained -- and educated -- people who are in charge of educating our youth.  This is just a bad idea all the way around, and HOPEFULLY someone with a functioning brain will jump in and put an end to this monstrous stupidity.

  •  What an A-hole (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, devtob, Cassandra Waites

    This idiot Blackwell has to realize it does not matter what students believe only how they present their arguement.

    "A student has the freedom to write a paper that points out that highly complex life may not be explained by chance mutations."

    Sure, go ahead and explain it as logically as you can.
    Of course the student will never get an A+ nor should they receive above B+ but they must get get graded incorrectly for being WRONG.

    "Attempting to debate with a person who has abandoned reason is like giving medicine to the dead." - Thomas Paine

    by liberalconservative on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 06:57:12 PM PST

  •  They should all write about the Spaghetti (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    Or how God in his wisdom created Osama Bin Laden.

    We will never be free from fear as long as we fear the NRA.

    by captainlaser on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 06:59:06 PM PST

  •  A professional Christianist, (8+ / 0-)

    in stark violation of the Biblical commandment about lying:

    insists that his legislation has nothing to do with religion
    Yeah, right.

    The guy "spent 20 years working for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma" and claims that his obviously anti-evolution bill is not in any way related to Southern Baptists' historical opposition to teaching evolution.

    Do they really believe such obvious BS in OK?

    A public option for health insurance is a national priority.

    by devtob on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 07:03:52 PM PST

  •  The Superconducting Supercollider (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    orlbucfan, irishwitch, Mathazar

    We could'a been a contend'a.

    What I learned by its cancellation was that first place in the world is a view only held by Democrats.

    They're not a serious party anymore. -Kos

    by thenekkidtruth on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 07:08:15 PM PST

  •  If we could wage a war on terror, isn't it time (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Apost8, Rockydog, irishwitch, Faito

    to consider waging war on republican ignorance?

    "They love the founding fathers so much they will destroy everything they created and remake it in Rush Limbaughs image." MinistryofTruth, 9/29/11

    by AnnieR on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 07:08:49 PM PST

  •  If I were a science teacher in Oklahoma... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AnnieR, devtob, irishwitch, Overseas, Faito

    ...and this legislation passed...

    I'd tell my students,

    "Here's how you can get an A in my class without doing squat. Simply cook up any delusional conspiracy theory you want for term papers, answers to exam questions, etc.

    I'll guarantee you an A.

    Of course, that A will be completely worthless when you submit applications to colleges/universities.

    But that shouldn't stop you from bragging about it when you interview for a job at Burger King or Wal Mart."

  •  Why is it that these buffoons (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    don't realize that this is a bad idea.... for them.

    Let's say he wins. No appeal. He wins his "ideal" outcome.

    You can present evidence-free faith-based theories as a scientific alternative, and you can't be academically penalized for doing so.

    You cannot limit the scope of what will come of trying to win the Culture Wars by debasing science and the scientific method to 'only my belief system that has a beef with math and science gets the benefits of my legal stupid to enable Supply-side Jesus in the classroom'. No. If this clown were to win his little war, there is no way for him to grant the benefits to Southern Baptist Evangelicals needing an end-around on their not-Science having standing as alternative Science. There is no way to do this in a way that only benefits or applies to their particular brand or flavor of Christianity.

    Besides happily making America dumber, and weaker and less competitive as an extention, you open the gate, and stuff streams in that you don't want streaming in thanks to your epic fail.

    I'm sure he will be thrilled when his efforts create a situtation where a Raelian can posit some theory about aliens planting clones on Earth a million years ago as a protected topic that a teacher can't dismiss in a standard-free evidence-free new frontier.

    Thank you, Mr. Jesus BibleThump, good luck dealing with that as a new reality thanks to your inability to think beyond your narrow agenda and it's Jihad.

    This asshole will be one of the most upset when somebody or several somebodies in what he considers a new age cult or phony made-up group of whackos uses the fruits of his efforts to shield their batshit from a bad grade thanks to his batshit if he wins his little war.

    My science paper on how we all came from Igba the Blue Genie. All Mankind came from Igba the Blue Genie. Who, five thousand years ago, planted a magic bean for each tribe of man in the holy sand of WhoopieDoopie. We all grew from Igba's holy beans.

    Give me a bad grade on the Igba front, and I have the law on my side?

    A seperation between logic and evidence and faith and belief has mutual benefits to both.

    You make it so that kids can evangelize in school, you will be shocked when the Satanist kid chanting dark oaths to Zool in homeroom suddenly is found to be something that is being done with the State's okay, and this is the fruit of the new normal you have created.

    Setting aside all other logical arguments as to why this is a bad idea for society, he doesn't really want to win. This idiot should know that his winning is bad for him and his cause because it would benefit groups he loathes and wishes to be as marginalized as the Secular Humanists and Scientists he loathes.

    Have a crystal, asshole. Have two. It will protect your aura while you chant my hypothetical son or nephew's Igba the Blue Genie and His Magic Man Beans term paper.

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 07:22:19 PM PST

  •  I Got An F once (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irishwitch, raincrow

    For turning in a paper that said that sicknesses were cause by "ill humors" that float around in the air. I needed a law like this back then.

    This head movie makes my eyes rain.

    by The Lone Apple on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 07:34:15 PM PST

  •  Small government GOP wants to grade papers now (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irishwitch, awhitestl, raincrow

    It doesn't get any smaller than this...

    PS: of course it's not about religion, you Talibans!

  •  My obnoxious niece (who, Goddess help us, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lazybum, raincrow

    spawned last fall and thus will pass on the Stupid Gene to another generation) got an A for a bio paper inwhich she pushed for Intelligent Design.  This was a GA college, local, and I wouldn't have been surprised to learn the guy who taught it was a fundy himself, just like her.

    As an English adjunct I foten got paperswith whose conclusions I disagreed, but I used those papers as a chance to teach what a valid source was, and how to attack the other side's argument. I had a sweet young E guy (I taught on Eglin AFB) who was a devout Christian, who wrote about how speanking is an acceptable form of discipline. I told him that the idea behind  paper of this sort was to assume that the reader probably didn't agree with you and likely wasn't a Christian--which meant quoting James DObsona dn the Bible andnothign else was a Big Fail/  I made him read actual psych studies on it.  He still concluded that spanking was okay with the very young but not older kids--the studies changed his moind and gave him better ideas on how to discipline a verbal kid.  SO I managed to teach him how to actually research rather than merely going with what you want to beleive, but I likely also saved his chil;dren from being smacked after the pre-verbal stage.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 07:56:28 PM PST

  •  I'm personally glad they want o cripple their... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irishwitch, raincrow

    young.  Less competition for my Grand-kids.  Seriously, it's just a shame that those who could make a meaningful contribution to society are being handicapped by morons like the one who introduced this piece of inanity.  I'll wager he thinks he's really smart.  Self-delusion seems to be in season.

    You have the right to remain silent. If you waive that right you will be accused of class warfare.

    by spritegeezer on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 08:06:21 PM PST

  •  It wasn't the Bilderberg Group (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irishwitch, raincrow

    Everyone knows the Trilateral Commission brought horses here.  The next wave of equine immigration will be a bunch of white ones lead by the commission's VP, some dead guy with a flaming sword.  All the Popes say so.  

    The wisdom of my forebears ... Two wise people will never agree. Man begins in dust and ends in dust — meanwhile it's good to drink some vodka. A man studies until he's seventy and dies a fool. Some of my best friends are Catholics, really.

    by Not A Bot on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 08:06:43 PM PST

  •  these people are as stupid (0+ / 0-)

    as they come and hope their offspring will be the same.  these dunderheads will be in for a rude awakening unless they attend some fundie college where knowledge is limited to the bible and glenn beck's historian writes the text books.

  •  if OK science teachers want to (0+ / 0-)

    circumvent this altogether, they will have their students undertake independent research projects instead of assigning them factual or persuasive papers to write. Investigation is what science is about, ya know?  Before "No Rich Child Left Behind" was enacted, students (and parents) in these parts were encouraged to participate in the annual science fair.

    Schools would demand the state give them more $$ to fund the materials and additional building space required for thousands of students to carry out and store their research projects.

    The writing that children rightly need to practice comes in preparing the "journal article" paper each would have to write about her/his project.    

    Real science is done by methodical investigation. Students today crave real experiences, they don't need to spend more time in front of a monitor.

    "The will must be stronger than the skill." M. Ali

    by awhitestl on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 11:02:22 PM PST

  •  I have thought for some time............... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that a lot of Evangelicals are lazy, timid and not willing to personally witness. Rather than witnessing to their fellow humans individually or in groups and promoting Christianity through how they live; they want the government to do it for therm.

    I got into an argument with some of my relatives on this subject after visiting a Christian Mega Church’s 4th of July celebration last year (I won't be doing it again.)

    I enjoyed and participated in parts of the program that honored veterans of all our wars and the music; however, I refused to participate in a prayer to convert, by law, the USA to a Christian Nation. While the intention in re national Christianity was thinly veiled in the program; it was obvious to me and others in our party.

    Don't get me wrong. I am a Christian and have no problem with folks exercising their Freedom of Speech to convert any and all. I do, however, have a problem with conversions coerced by law and regulation and/or promoted by public institutions.

    The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation--HDT

    by cazcee on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 05:53:21 AM PST

  •  So... let's say the teacher WERE to penalize (0+ / 0-)

    a student who turns in a paper stating that they think climate change is not only fake, but also dinosaurs never existed & Jesus invented the Venus. If the teacher penalizes them on the paper, like giving them 10 points off, does the student, or the parent, then have to bring the teacher to court, thus throwing discovery & other court stuff back & forth, for months & months, way after the school year ends, just for those extra 10 points on a paper that "didn't really count" anyway?

    Or the teacher might just think, ehhh, it's not like this kid is going anywhere in life, so who gives a fuck if they know stuff or not.

    Follow me on Twitter! @guileofthegods

    by Guile Of The Gods on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 07:04:52 AM PST

  •  The funny thing is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Batya the Toon

    that until these students reach a sufficiently advanced point in graduate school, at a minimum, they are utterly unequipped to question what their textbooks say. Just because some fifth-grader doesn't believe in evolution doesn't mean he is prepared to write a paper documenting why, and certainly not prepared to do so using science.

    It's not a popularity contest between competing views, Mr. Blackwell. Read a book.

    Atlas shrugged. Jesus wept.

    by trevzb on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 07:11:20 AM PST

  •  My sister (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    grew up middle class and fairly liberal married well and became a 'country club republican' has, over the years, gradually changed into a pro-life, pro-gun, pro-'free market fixes everything, pro-Rush, pro-WeAreAChristianNation, pro-war machine, anti-immigration, anti-gay rights, anti-Obama Foxbot.  She also started attending a Christian megachurch and carrying around a Bible with a sparkly pink cover.  (Jesus save me from your followers!)  I'm a bit worried that she'll give up on evolution soon.  She firmly believes climate change is a hoax perpetrated by Al Gore and corrupt scientists.  When her kid came home from school with a paper to complete about global warming, she made the kid rewrite it to reflect the denialist view of the issue, and then instructed the kid to have the teacher call her if he had a problem with it.  Good grief.  Public school teacher, bullied by a Fox-fuelled Gore hater in a Prada track suit.  Give me strength!

    She and her family are not from Oklahoma.  They are from Bloomfield Hills, MI.  

  •  I went to a private religious high school in NY. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We learned the prevailing scientific theories regarding the origin of the universe, abiogenesis, and evolution.  With the occasionally-repeated disclaimer that we were not required to accept all of this as true, but we were required to know it and understand it to the best of our ability, and to understand its implications in other branches of science such as biology.

    I'm inclined to think that's the best compromise one can offer.  Learn the theory and understand how it works, and leave aside the question of whether it's the truth.

    I saw a thing once that quoted Aristotle as saying "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain an idea without accepting it."

    Our kids should have educated minds.

    •  Very well said. (0+ / 0-)

      And I hope Kossacks outside of organized religion or predominantly familiar with Biblical literalists will keep in mind that (1) the Catholic, Anglican, and Episcopal churches, along with most (all?) mainline Reformed Protestant denominations, either explicitly embrace or generally espouse the 13.7 Gyr universe, abiogenesis, and evolution; and (2) believing the Bible to be "inerrant" is in no way at all the same as believing it to be "literally true."


      by raincrow on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 08:31:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Also important to keep in mind, yes. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Mind you, our own beliefs (Orthodox Jewish) don't require a literal interpretation of Genesis either -- there is in fact at least one widely respected Biblical commentator from the medieval period who considered a strictly literal interpretation of Genesis to be heretical.

        But there is enough, shall we say, discomfort with the leading scientific theories -- enough of a feeling that they were incompatible with Torah thought -- that this compromise had to be offered.  I still don't know whether this was the school's own philosophy, or an approach they felt would be better accepted by the student body and/or their parents.

        •  Presbyterians essentially have no concept of (0+ / 0-)

          "heresy" (perhaps because too many of us would qualify, ar ar ar), but PCUSA does officially dismiss literalism. And so do literalists. His website no longer exists, but here is a quote from Steve Falkenberg, a prof at Eastern Kentucky U (from wikipedia):

          I've never met anyone who actually believes the Bible is literally true. I know a bunch of people who say they believe the Bible is literally true but nobody is actually a literalist. Taken literally, the Bible says the earth is flat and sitting on pillars and cannot move (Ps 93:1, Ps 96:10, 1 Sam 2:8, Job 9:6). It says that great sea monsters are set to guard the edge of the sea (Job 41, Ps 104:26)

          That's what makes this ever so much more stupid -- that and the MSM's categorical refusal to declare the emperor of literalism naked.


          by raincrow on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 12:25:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Let them challenge away, as long as they (0+ / 0-)

    undergird their challenges with measurable, reproducible data; hypotheses that can be tested and are falsifiable; analyses from peer-reviewed scientific literature; etc.  And when they bring non-science into the classroom, treat that simply as a teachable moment.

    As long as the teacher keeps her/his head, everything should be cool.

    Science addresses the nature and mechanics of the universe from the Bang (i.e., T0) forward. It has nothing to say about anything outside of the universe, or any metaphysical antecedents to T0. All stories of the origin of this particular universe invoke a non-repeating event proceeding from conditions that cannot be characterized or reproduced, thus origin stories are opaque to science.

    Science also has nothing to say about the existence or non-existence of miracles or divine intervention, including Zap Creation, because by definition such interventions are outside of natural causation, cannot be predicted, and provide us no hook by which we might characterize or manipulate them. Thus, they fall into the Big Bucket Of Outlying Data Points.

    Science is simply a modeling device encompassing 20,000+ years of human observation and testing. Those who dispute the current estimated age if Earth and the universe should be heartily invited to bring forth their geological, astronomical, astrophysical data; modeling calculations; etc.; so the robustness of their model(s) can tested against conventional cosmology. It should be no big deal.

    Young Earth and Zap Creation advocates who believe the world's scientific establishment is discriminating against them should surely be able to find like-minded millionaires and billionaires who would pay for geological exploration, telescope time, satellites, biological and genetic research, etc., until they could build a body of measurable, reproducible data and theories so substantial that the world of conventional science would have to yield.

    I say bring it.


    by raincrow on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 10:01:36 AM PST

  •  Silly textbooks! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "I proposed this bill because there are teachers and students who may be afraid of going against what they see in their textbooks." Why stop with science? Maybe the next time a student screws up a math problem or thinks the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1876, he can just say he was "challenging his textbook"? Apparently, no amount of research and experimentation can settle any scientific issue, and everything is up for challenge.

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