Bat Shit Crazy

Tenth of a series

It’s a good thing none of that stuff is still going around:

This West Virginia school district has weekly Bible classes. A kindergartner is suing.

March 22

A kindergartner is battling county officials in federal court over Bible classes in public school.

In a federal lawsuit filed in January, Jane Doe, a pseudonymous plaintiff who is the mother of Mercer County, W.Va., kindergartner Jamie Doe, challenged the county’s “Bible in the Schools” program, saying it was unconstitutional.

“This program advances and endorses one religion, improperly entangles public schools in religious affairs, and violates the personal consciences of nonreligious and non-Christian parents and students,” said the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.

The story, featured in The Washington Post yesterday, further describes idiotic themes promoted by the Mercer Counter public school system. According to the Post report, a lesson contained the following language: “imagine that human beings and dinosaurs existed at the same time.” It continued: “So picture Adam being able to crawl up on the back of a dinosaur!” Additionally: “He and Eve could have their own personal water slide! Wouldn’t that be so wild!”

Yes, this public school is cool with the idea of passing on to students the false tale of Adam and Eve from the biblical book of Genesis. Additionally these public servants want to tell students that, contrary to known facts, people and dinosaurs existed contemporaneously. An item appearing on the Patheos blog provides additional detail:

Bible indoctrination classes have been taught in Mercer County Schools for more than 75 years. Between 1939 and 1985, the bible classes were designed, financed, administered and staffed by a small group of Mercer County citizens. Following complaints by parents of eight students in 1985, the Mercer County schools took over the instruction in 1986, claiming to follow nine guidelines from the Office of the Attorney General.

Financing is provided by the “Bluefield Bible Study Fund, Inc.,” which operates a fund to pay bible teachers to instruct about 4,000 students. Bible teachers must follow lesson plans almost without deviation. There are 70 to 90 visuals used in each lesson. Lessons have included images of Jesus being tortured, nailed to the cross, and ascending into heaven.

Public schools can teach a host of ideas, but the idea of a person ascending into the sky while people look on is the far side of truth. Where did all this start? Where is it going to end? Are chemistry students going to learn everything is composed of four basic elements—fire, water, earth, and air? Will history classes get into the details of the lost city of Atlantis? Will science classes describe how the sun goes around the Earth? The Post item paints a dismal picture:

One mother in Mercer County said her child was indeed bullied for not attending the Bible classes. In fact, the bullying got so bad that Elizabeth Deal took her daughter out of the county school system, she said.

“I think this is definitely an outright gray area, if not outright illegal,” Deal said.

The school district’s motion also pointed out that the classes, which are paid for by a nonprofit organization, receive no public funding.

“The point of the course is to teach history and literature … a cultural enrichment objective,” said Hiram S. Sasser, a lawyer representing Mercer County Public Schools who works for the First Liberty Institute, a Texas-based nonprofit focused on religious freedom. “To make sure that students obviously have the social currency to interpret Western literature.”

“The point of the course is to teach history and literature … a cultural enrichment objective.” Really? When did teaching history turn into teaching fables as true? Are students to be left believing Pecos Bill and Paul Bunyan were true-to-life and their exploits real? Is Washington Irving‘s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow to be elevated to the status of a historical narrative? When did “cultural enrichment” become indoctrination? At what point do we need to stand back and call this what it is, Bat Shit Crazy?

[Full disclosure: I am a member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.]

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The National Center For Science Education

The NCSE is the premier organization in this country promoting legitimate science in public schools and in the public forum. They are a 501 (c) (3) organization, deserving of your contributions. I give money to the NCSE. You should, too.

Following is a recent notice from the NCSE:

1904 Franklin Street, Suite 600 Oakland, CA 94612-2922

510.601.7203 • www.ncse.com

With the unprecedented 2016 election finally behind us, we can all turn our attention back to issues that haven’t been in the spotlight lately. Like science education. As you’ll read below, there’s plenty to be concerned about. But NCSE has not taken its eye off the ball, and our new programs are really starting to pay off. I hope that you’ll consider joining our effort to help teachers cover evolution and climate change confidently and completely.

When you consider the state of science education today, it’s easy to be disappointed, disturbed, and dismayed. Consider the following recent incidents.

  • In Alabama, the state board of education voted to continue to mandate a disclaimer about evolution in the state’s textbooks. Such disclaimers date back to 1996. But even after Alabama adopted a new set of state science standards in 2005, that described evolution as “substantiated with much direct and indirect evidence,” the board disappointingly voted to retain the scientifically unwarranted and pedagogically irresponsible message.
  • A national survey conducted by NCSE with researchers at Pennsylvania State University, which asked 1500 science teachers in public middle and high schools about their attitudes toward and practice in teaching climate change, found disturbing gaps in their knowledge. For example, less than half of the teachers realized that more than 80% of climate scientists agree that recent global warming is caused primarily by human activities.
  • In Kentucky, a young-earth creationist ministry opened a Noah’s-ark-themed amusement park. The truly  dismaying aspect of Answers in Genesis Ark Encounter was its invitation to local public schools to flout the principle of church/state separation by bringing students there on field trips, at a special discounted rate. Judging from reports received by NCSE over the years, public school excursions to creationist attractions are dismayingly common.

Dealing, and helping people to deal, with such assaults on science education is all in a day’s work for us at NCSE.

But as you know, that’s not all that we’re doing. A suite of innovative new programs is aimed at reinforcing the confidence of teachers, recruiting scientists to help, and rallying communities to support science education locally:

  • NCSEteach (http://ncseteach.com/), NCSE’s network to support climate change and evolution educators, now includes nearly 6,000 teachers, each of whom receive regular advice and resources from NCSE aimed at improving their scientific knowledge and pedagogical confidence. And they now know that NCSE will have their backs when they encounter challenges to the teaching of evolution or climate change!
  • NCSEteach’s “Scientists in the Classroom” program is bringing eager and energetic early career research scientists into middle and high school classrooms across the country to enrich students’ climate change and evolution learning experiences. Over one hundred teacher—scientist partnerships have already been formed, to the great and continuing benefit of all involved. More are in the works.
  • NCSE’s Science Booster Club project, piloting in Iowa, has provided fun, hands-on, and accurate educational activities on evolution and climate change to over 50,000 participants at local events in the last year, and raised funds to purchase science equipment for the benefit of over 3,000 local students. In 2016, the project not only exhibited at county and state fairs but also hosted a free summer science camp to provide rural low-income students with evolution education.

Are these programs working? Judging from the heartfelt expressions of thanks from teachers who have participated in NCSEteach, from teacher/scientist partners who have participated in Scientists in the Classroom, and from thousands of Iowans involved with a Science Booster Club, yes!

But to science fans like you and me, what’s even more convincing than testimonials is data. The Science Booster Club in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, administered a twenty-four-question science literacy survey at its public events throughout the year. And voilà:

scienceliteracycedarrapids

That’s significant—literally (p = 0.03) and figuratively. Working with a low budget but a high degree of enthusiasm, the science boosters in Cedar Rapids—and elsewhere in Iowa—are making a measurable difference.

I’m excited about these efforts, and I hope that you are, too. We want to extend these programs to communities across the country. To do so, we need your support. Your gift to NCSE will help us help teachers to present science properly.

You can donate on-line at ncse.com/join. A gift of only $500 will allow us to provide a new booster club with all the materials needed to provide hands-on evolution or climate change activities to 10,000 participants! Or consider a recurring gift of $10 or $20 per month; such donations help make our budget more predictable so we can start new projects with confidence. A gift of any size will go directly to improving science education.

By reinforcing the confidence of teachers, recruiting scientists to help, and rallying communities to support science education locally, NCSE is helping to ensure that science will be taught honestly, accurately, and confidently. Please help us to do so.

Sincerely yours,

Ann Reid

Executive Director, NCSE

 

Sanity Attack

Your state of mind at risk

Politics-MaryLouBruner

I need to alert readers to a recent and dangerous attack of sanity. This occurred in my home state of Texas. However, there is a potential this can spread to other regions, so people should be on the lookout for signs of sanity creeping into their neighborhoods. From The Texas Tribune:

In a stunning comeback, State Board of Education hopeful Keven Ellis won Tuesday’s District 9 Republican primary runoff over Mary Lou Bruner, who drew national attention for social media posts touting far-right conspiracy theories and other fringe views.

The East Texas Tea Party activist and former schoolteacher had been favored to succeed in the race after nearly winning the March 1 primary outright and accumulating heavy support from influential conservative groups that typically hold big sway in low-turnout runoff elections. But Ellis, a Lufkin chiropractor who presides over the local school board, maintained a double-digit lead over Bruner throughout Tuesday night, and that lead widened as vote returns rolled in. He ended the night about 18 points ahead of Bruner.

I know this may be distressing to some readers, but people need to know that sanity can attack at any moment without warning. The signs are there, and people should know how to recognize them:

  • Obama did not work as a male prostitute.
  • The United States should not ban Islam.
  • The Democratic Party did not kill President Kennedy.
  • Anthropogenic global warming is real.
  • Biological evolution is valid science.
  • The Earth is not flat.

If you notice your child, other family member, even a close friend, voicing such thoughts, notify authorities. This person is afflicted with sanity. Exercise extreme caution. It may already be too late to help the victim. Take immediate steps to protect yourself. Tune in to Fox News for additional details.

Wacko Come Home

It’s baaack!

Politics-MaryLouBruner

Just when you thought Texas had seen the last of Wacko, comes salvation in the form of Texas SBOE candidate Mary Lou Bruner:

MINEOLA, Tex. — On Super Tuesday, Dale Clark voted for a local Republican who claimed on social media that President Obama had worked as a gay prostitute in his youth, that the United States should ban Islam, that the Democratic Party had John F. Kennedy killed and that the United Nations had hatched a plot to depopulate the world.

Mr. Clark, 75, was unaware that the candidate he had supported — Mary Lou Bruner, 68, a former kindergarten teacher running for a seat on the State Board of Education — held such views. But as he sat with his wife eating lunch in this East Texas city, Mr. Clark was ready to give Ms. Bruner the benefit of the doubt.

“I would not discount her on the basis of having those beliefs,” said Mr. Clark, a retired pilot. “It convinces me, though, that she’s quite conservative, and if I were going to err either way, I would want to err toward the side of the conservative.”

Texas is superbly blessed.

I owe much of what I know of these blessings to the Texas Freedom Network (TFN). I have given my support (and money) to this organization for years, and you should, too. And what of candidate Bruner? Yes, there’s more:

You have to give credit to Mary Lou Bruner, the probable newest member of the Texas State Board of Education come November: Her far-right-fringe worldview is nothing if not coherent. In an election season where front-runners can’t decide whether they’re for or against immigration or the Trans-Pacific Partnership or a higher minimum wage, Bruner’s convictions never waver despite the seldom-flattering national attention she continues to receive.

Bruner—a Republican candidate for the District 9 seat on the Texas State Board of Education, who came in just shy of the 50 percent she needed to bag the nomination on Super Tuesday—has yet to walk back her claims that President Barack Obama worked as a gay prostitute in his 20s, or that humans cohabited the earth with dinosaurs, or that sex-education classes “stimulate children to experiment with sex,” or that Islam “is not a real religion.” Bruner, bless her, has also suggested that Paul Ryan’s manly beard makes him look “like a terrorist” and that opposing the Common Core is right up there with objecting to National Socialism. (I could go on.)

Please do not go on. I have had enough. Well, not quite. Here’s more from the TFN—some choice Facebook postings:

Politics-BrunerFacebook-01

Politics-BrunerFacebook-02

Yes, I do believe the education of Texas children is in good hands. And Oklahoma can keep its Wacko. We have a supply of our own.

Bat Shit Crazy

Seventh of a series

Politics-TheLongWarAndCommonCore

Last week I posted (see the link above) about State Senator Bob Hall, of Edgewood. He had some stuff to say about Common Core, the proposed nationwide education standard. I made no secret that what State Senator Hall had to say on the topic amounted to Bat Shit Crazy. I also touched on a reference the enlightened Senator made, which also turned out to be Bat Shit Crazy. From that post:

All right. That didn’t go far toward making the connection clear. Unless you are willing to read carefully between the lines, the foregoing will leave you with the impression this is a movement at the state level, leaving obscure any of Obama’s fingerprints. It may be necessary to draw from additional sources to get to the bottom of this. How about “Donna Hearne, author of The Long War and Common Core?” State Senator Bob Hall cites Hearne and her book as evidence “that the implementation of Common Core will completely transform America from a nation of responsible, moral, and independent human beings endowed by their Creator with the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to robots and servants of the state.” That’s tall order for just one book, and what an amazing book it must be. My inspiration was to obtain a copy. And I did. Just a mouse click, and Amazon delivered a copy to me ($6 and tax) on my computer.

In that post I may have given readers the impression I intended to read Donna Hearne’s book and write a review. In this particular instance the impression was correct. I have finished reading the book, 160 pages. Here is the review.

Hearne wants to make the argument that Common Core is part of grand conspiracy to place central control of the American education system under the federal government, shape the minds of students, and condition them for life under a totalitarian government. That’s it briefly, and it really is Bat Shit Crazy. It’s not my intention to go into exhaustive detail—don’t tempt me. What I will do, instead, is bring up some of Hearne’s points, print a few excerpts, and provide a bit of Skeptical Analysis. Where to start?

Common Core threatens the very fabric of American society, and Hearne has a road map to salvation:

By understanding the threats to freedom as well as how to re-establish the strengths of freedom and liberty in the culture and schools, the future can be better because the ideas taught in the schools become public policy. Working together, the future can be one of fewer taxes, less regulation, stronger intact families, and a society where not only has crime been reduced and economic prosperity widely enjoyed, but we can protect ourselves against foreign threats such as Shariah/ Islamic/ Jihadists.

Hearne, Donna H. (2015-08-03). The Long War & Common Core: Everything You Need to Know to Win the War (Kindle Locations 197-200). Freedom Basics Press. Kindle Edition.

Get that. Fewer taxes, less regulation, stronger intact families, reduced crime, widely enjoyed prosperity. Who could ask for anything more? Let’s just add on protection against Islamic jihadists while we are at it. And that’s the straw that broke the reinforced concrete bridge. Hearne is one of those. This is going to be fun.

What else? You will be sorry you asked:

The two most powerful phrases in recorded history are:

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness … (U.S. Declaration of Independence), and

So God created mankind in His own image. (Genesis 1: 27)

These two phrases liberated mankind, giving him eternal, unconditional value and purpose within the framework of a nation that recognized all human life as of equal value. These two phrases together, freed him from tyrannical government’s claim that each of us only has value and purpose as long as we are servants of the state. This is what the American Revolution was really about. Common Core seeks to banish not only these phrases, but also the rightful understanding of them. For freedom to endure, Americans must understand and embrace this distinctiveness of America. Human life is sacred.

Hearne, Donna H. (2015-08-03). The Long War & Common Core: Everything You Need to Know to Win the War (Kindle Locations 205-216). Freedom Basics Press. Kindle Edition.

The words from the Declaration of Independence are soul-stirring, something we can all salute. But the latter is an excerpt from an ancient book of fiction. And that’s what this book is going to be about. This is not about quality education. It’s not about official malfeasance. It’s about protection of the author’s personal religious preferences. There are a few more.

For three hundred years, pre-Scopes Christian America believed that man was created in the image of God. If man is created in the image of God, then he has value given to him by his Creator, not by men. He is valuable not because society says so, but rather because of his innate being, a being created in the image of the Creator. Pre-Scopes America based its laws and values on biblical Judeo-Christian teachings. Its schools, churches and synagogues taught that each person was precious in the sight of God. Every person was to be treated with respect and dignity because man’s image was God’s image, and God Himself was to be respected and treated with dignity.

Hearne, Donna H. (2015-08-03). The Long War & Common Core: Everything You Need to Know to Win the War (Kindle Locations 571-576). Freedom Basics Press. Kindle Edition.

Particularly, let’s bear down on those concluding words: “each person was precious in the sight of God. Every person was to be treated with respect and dignity because man’s image was God’s image, and God Himself was to be respected and treated with dignity.” Really? That’s what we get from our Judeo-Christian heritage? Really? Just to make sure, let’s take a look at our Judeo-Christian heritage:

Deuteronomy 21:18-21 King James Version (KJV)

18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:

19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;

20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.

21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

I am overwhelmed by the flood of respect and dignity afforded to each person by our Judeo-Christian heritage:

Exodus 21:7 King James Version (KJV)

And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do.

We should all be treated with such respect and dignity:

Deuteronomy 2:33-34 King James Version (KJV)

33 And the Lord our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people.

34 And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain:

You will forgive me if I pause now for a moment, as I am suddenly overwhelmed by a flood of respect and dignity.

I’m back.

Along with a slavish commitment to biblical myth, Hearne has a disdain for modern science typical of many religious fundamentalists. One object of her scorn is Darwinian evolution. This she dispatches with an appalling absence of scholarship, completely misconstruing circumstances surrounding the Scopes Trial of 1925. She quotes from another source but still carries the baggage:

“Scopes, a teacher of science in Rhea High School, (sic) Dayton, was arrested on a charge of violating the Tennessee state law prohibiting the teaching in public schools of any theories that deny the divine creation of man as taught in the Bible. Scopes, a biologist, had been teaching evolution. The immediate issue was as to whether the defendant had or had not violated the provisions of the state law as to the subjects to be taught in public schools, but the wider issue was as to the extent to which the state, in its control of public education, may determine the nature of the religious instruction given to the students in its schools. The trial itself was the culmination of a controversy that had been going on for years.

Hearne, Donna H. (2015-08-03). The Long War & Common Core: Everything You Need to Know to Win the War (Kindle Locations 539-544). Freedom Basics Press. Kindle Edition.

Discrepancies abound. For example, John T. Scopes was not a biologist. He had graduated from the University of Kentucky the previous year with a major in law and a minor in geology. He was the football coach at Rhea County High school and did substitute teaching. He was not arrested. The facts are these:

There was a discussion of the freshly-minted Butler Act, and prominent people of the town (Dayton, Tennessee) were sitting around in a drugstore discussing the consequences. They got the inspiration that Dayton should host a test of the new law, and young Scopes, a part-time teacher, was summoned from his tennis game. The proposition was put to him, and he agreed to stand trial. He went back to his game and into history.

On the second part, Scopes never did teach evolution in the school. He was completely innocent. In all likelihood, the school principal taught the class that covered evolution. And all parties to the trial were aware of this, and nobody spilled the beans. The people wanting to defeat the bill needed a conviction they could take to an appeals court. Even the prosecution team was in on the scam. Students were allowed to perjure themselves and claim Scopes taught evolution.

Hearne’s book is a remarkable conglomeration of facts and fiction, backed by a ton of references. Unfortunately there was no real effort to dive into the topics highlighted in the book.

Hearne bemoans the devastation that engulfed this country following the sensation of the Scopes trial. From that point forward evolution poisoned the minds of school children by the horde.

Wrong again. Scopes’ conviction was overturned on a technicality, and the law was never challenged. Not for decades—evolution was not taught seriously in American public schools until the 1960s, with the implementation of the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study following the advent of Sputnik.

Hearne attaches multiple evils to evolution:

If evolution is the explanation for man’s existence, then it stands to reason that the society in which he exists determines his value. If society determines his value, it must also set limits on that value and control it. How does society control man’s value? It controls that value by force or by whomever has the power to carry out that force. What then does society do about someone like Hitler who acquired that force and defined the value of man his own way?

Hearne, Donna H. (2015-08-03). The Long War & Common Core: Everything You Need to Know to Win the War (Kindle Locations 567-570). Freedom Basics Press. Kindle Edition.

Well, evolution is the explanation for man’s existence, and that is inescapable. How is that working out with respect to Hearne’s supposed consequences?

To be sure, anthropogenic global warming (AGW) also catches some knocks:

In actuality, the real-world temperature data shows just the opposite of this Disciplinary Core Idea. There has been no statistical warming since 1997, eighteen years ago. In addition, a graph of 90 Climate Models shows that the actual surface temperature has gone down slightly. This is the same data the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) uses.

Hearne, Donna H. (2015-08-03). The Long War & Common Core: Everything You Need to Know to Win the War (Kindle Locations 1181-1185). Freedom Basics Press. Kindle Edition.

A problem here is that Hearne doesn’t directly cite any references, but the end notes for this chapter contain “Sowell, Thomas, “Stormy weather and politics,” West Newsmagazine, February 3, 2015, p. 3.” What it seems to match is this:

It was refreshing to see meteorologists apologize for their dire — and wrong — predictions of an unprecedented snow storm that they had said would devastate the northeast. It was a big storm, but the northeast has seen lots of big snow storms before and will probably see lots of big snow storms again. That’s called winter.

Unfortunately, we are not likely to hear any similar apologies from those who have been promoting “global warming” hysteria for years, in defiance of data that fail to fit their climate models. What is at issue is not whether there is “climate change” — which nobody has ever denied — but whether the specific predictions of the “global warming” crowd as to the direction and magnitude of worldwide temperature changes are holding up over the years.

I hope Hearne is not citing Thomas Sowell as a scientific source:

Sowell has a nationally syndicated column distributed by Creators Syndicate that is published in Forbes magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and major newspapers, as well as online on websites such as TownhallWorldNetDaily, OneNewsNow and the Jewish World Review.

Sowell comments on current issues, which include liberal media bias; judicial activism (while defending originalism); partial birth abortion; the minimum wage; socializing health care; government undermining of familial autonomy; affirmative action; government bureaucracy; gun control; militancy in U.S. foreign policy; the U.S. war on drugs, and multiculturalism.

In a Townhall editorial, “The Bush Legacy,” Sowell assessed President George W. Bush as “a mixed bag,” but “an honorable man.”

Sowell officially endorsed Ted Cruz for the presidency in a February article.

In the meantime, last month was the warmest February on record, and January was also the warmest on record. In fact:

800px-Global_Temperature_Anomaly.svg

But wait. That was last year’s chart. Here is the one for 2016.

Fig.A2-2016

If you are reading this, and you still want to talk to me about statistical significance, post a comment or send me an email.

Hearne’s infatuation with Judeo-Christian hegemony shows throughout. Everything admirable seems to be attributable to this mindset. According to Hearne, individual freedom was invented by Christianity:

It is evident in Huxley’s position on selective truth in Brave New World, that the 1994 History Standards are a perfect example of that selective truth. “Nowhere … will you find any mention of the fact that it was the Western tradition that first produced the idea of individual freedom. Nowhere will you find that it was in Christianity that the concept of individual freedom originated … you will find no acknowledgment of the fact that we have produced what no other country and tradition has,” said Professor Fox-Genovese to The Wall Street Journal. 82

Hearne, Donna H. (2015-08-03). The Long War & Common Core: Everything You Need to Know to Win the War (Kindle Locations 1951-1956). Freedom Basics Press. Kindle Edition.

All of which is in sharp contrast to known facts. Without benefit of Christianity, the North American Plains tribes had the concept of individual freedom well nailed down before Europeans ever rode over the horizon. Stephen E. Ambrose describes the maturation of Curly, who was to become Crazy Horse, the Sioux war leader who defeated George Armstrong Custer:

As a mature war leader, Curly would discover the full cost the Sioux had to pay for their individualism. The absence of compulsion, the freedom to do what one felt like doing, so long as no one got hurt, made the Sioux a woefully inefficient people.

Ambrose, Stephen E. (2011-10-31). Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors (Kindle Edition) (Kindle Locations 1001-1002). PREMIER DIGITAL PUBLISHING. Kindle Edition.

Hearne makes, here and in multiple other places, such statements of fact completely without base and free of evidence. Throughout she harps on the need for fact-based education:

The classical education of seeking truth in an orderly way with chronologically historic facts including sequential mathematic exercises has been replaced. Fractured thinking and a smorgasbord of short snippets of literature and history without context, mathematics without logic, and science based on a political agenda instead of the scientific method are now the standard.

Hearne, Donna H. (2015-08-03). The Long War & Common Core: Everything You Need to Know to Win the War (Kindle Locations 460-466). Freedom Basics Press. Kindle Edition.

In defiance of this advertised philosophy, Hearne’s narrative routinely pawns off whimsical fallacies as truth. Most egregious of these commissions is her reliance on biblical myth for truth:

In identifying the important areas of study, Common Core never seriously suggests the Bible. Thus, when the Bible is no longer examined as the standard for truth, man becomes the measure of all things, and the most powerful of men are the ultimate measure. Early American history is replete with the understandings that without God and the Bible, there is no fixed point of truth from which to judge and order society. Wisdom is only achieved by integrating the education of the mind with absolutes and a knowledge base and merging it with the transcendent values of the heart and soul starting with biblical truth.

Hearne, Donna H. (2015-08-03). The Long War & Common Core: Everything You Need to Know to Win the War (Kindle Locations 893-898). Freedom Basics Press. Kindle Edition.

Elsewhere in the book Hearne campaigns for reasonable, even logical, educational reforms. Her disregard for substance destroys any attempt she might make to convince a reasonable person. She is one of the varied definitions of Bat Shit Crazy.

Bat Shit Crazy

Third of a series

KathyMillerDonMcLeroyMSNBC

Cathy Miller of the Texas Freedom Network and former SBOE char Don McLeroy

Here is absolutely good news for Texans and their children in public schools. Former teacher Mary Lou Bruner has obtained her party’s nomination for the office of State Board of Education (SBOE) District 9. The district includes the following counties: Anderson, Angelina, Bowie, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Delta, Fannin, Franklin, Grayson, Gregg, Harrison, Henderson, Hopkins, Hunt, Kaufman, Lamar, Marion, Morris, Nacogdoches, Panola, Rains, Red River, Rockwall, Rusk, Shelby, Smith, Titus, Upshur, Van Zandt, and Wood.

Regarding Bruner, her creds will take your breath away:

“Mary Lou Bruner’s genuine love for her students and respect for their parents as a classroom teacher make her imminently qualified to become a member of the State Board of Education. I hope my friends will join me in supporting Mary Lou Bruner for the Texas State Board of Education.”

~~ Cathie Adams, President of Eagle Forum & Former Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas

The world rejoices, and so will you. That is, if you are bat shit crazy:

Bruner

Yes, that appears to be a screen shot of candidate Mary Lou Bruner’s Facebook feed. As I am known for saying—actually I’m not known for saying it, but I should be—”There is crazy, and then there is bat shit crazy.” In Bruner we may have hit the mother lode. This vein can be mined for more. From The Gawker:

Just think about how much money the government has wasted educating the people about the government hoax which officials first called “Global Warming”. Government later changed the term to “Climate Change” because government lies or predictions did not come true, and the people were becoming very suspicious because the world wasn’t getting warmer. It was much easier to call the hoax “Climate Change” because with the new name, corrupt government officials and scientists could say every hurricane, tornado, flood, drought, snow storm, earthquake, tsunami, blizzard, and EVERYTHING that happened was caused by “Climate Change”. And a few people still believe them.


When the flood waters subsided and rushed to the oceans there was no vegetation on the earth because the earth had been covered with water. It took a while for grass and trees to grow back and the big plant-eating dinosaurs needed lots of vegetation to live. The dinosaurs on the ark may have been babies and not able to reproduce. It might make sense to take the small dinosaurs onto the ark instead of the ones bigger than a bus. After the flood, the few remaining Behemoths and Leviathans may have become extinct because there was not enough vegetation on earth for them to survive to reproductive age. Most of the dinosaur fossils which scientists have found are permanently preserved in positions of great distress as if they were trying to keep their heads above water or above the mud.


… The school shootings started after government removed the Ten Commandments and the Bible from public school buildings, and disallowed prayer at school and school events. The school shootings started after the schools started teaching evolution is an absolute fact and the classes cannot talk about weaknesses in the Theory of Evolution. The shootings started after the schools started teaching the Constitution of the USA is a flawed document written by selfish aristocrats who were only looking out for their own wealth, The school shootings started after the government started teaching children to feel sorry for themselves if they do not have as much as other children in the school….


Every parent of young children should hear this woman speak. Most parents do not know about the drawings of nude men, women, boys, and girls in some children’s books in our public schools. Many children’s books on the recommended list contain frank discussions about sexual issues which are inappropriate in my opinion. Many of the books which teachers read to your small children are not allowed in jails and prisons because of the bad effect the books have on the prisoners. These books stimulate children to experiment with sex. Please attend this meeting if you can.


Many people believe the Democrat Party had JFK killed because the socialists and Communists in the party did not want a conservative president. Remember who followed JFK as president — (LBJ). the exact opposite of Kennedy — a socialist and an unethical politician. It does seem like this might have been the master plan: They sneaked the bad guy (LBJ)into the administration on the coat-tail of a good guy (JFK). Then they got rid of the good guy; in the end, they got a socialist president which is what they originally wanted.


It is a goal of United Nation’s agenda 21 and the One World Order to reduce the population of the world by 2/3. That should cause people to wake up because to reduce the population more people have to die than are born. At some point it could mean that one of these methods of depopulation are in the Global plan: World War III, mass faminine, mass disease epidemic or pandemic, or Nuclear Bomb.

People, are you listening?


The Muslims use our own First Amendment against us. Islam is not a religion. Islam is an inhumane totalitarian political ideology with radical religious rules and laws and barbaric punishments for breaking the religious rules.

If Islam is a religion it is a cult religion. A group that forces people to join or die is not a real religion. A group that kills people who try to leave the group is not a real religion. A group that disfigures, dismembers, or mutilates bodies as punishment is not a real religion. A group that practices child sexual abuse or forced marriages of small girls to adult men is not a real religion.

The USA should ban Islam and stop all immigration. from Muslim countries because Islam’s stated goal is to conquer the USA and kill the infidels (nonbelievers).


If you had any doubts about the motivation of the Muslim “clock boy” who made a “clock” using the blueprint of a time bomb, then brought the “clock” to school — possibly this story will help you understand what inspired him.

Was this a “set-up” for the school? Was this an evil scheme to give the Muslim boy an opportunity to claim he was “profiled” because he is a Muslim?

This boy was given a full scholarship and he chose to attend a Muslim school.

Could Obama have been complicit in the scheme from the beginning? Just askin’!!!!!


FB is only partially shut down here. Sometimes my posts are not posted at all. Sometimes the posts are published, but not immediately. Yesterday, I wrote an opinion about education. Several hours had gone by and my comments still had not appeared. I thought the post was not going to be published so I wrote another short post on the topic. Then the first opinion magically appeared. Both posts have been published on my page – at least for now.

When you get on Obama’s Terrorist List you get monitored closely and sometimes even censored. I asked Sheriff Smith if my name was on the Terrorist List. He laughed and said he hadn’t seen it yet.


 

NO, NO, NO. Don’t tell us the The Supremes have spoken and the gay marriage issue is over. We are not moving on.

WE MUST CHANGE THE THINGS WE CANNOT ACCEPT. WE CANNOT ACCEPT UNCONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULINGS WHICH DESTROY FREEDOM OF RELIGION PROTECTED BY THE FIRST AMENDMENT. WE CANNOT ACCEPT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT STOMPING ON STATES’ RIGHTS. WE CANNOT ACCEPT THE DESTRUCTION OF TRADITIONS WHCH ARE THOUSANDS OF YEARS OLD AND THE BEDROCK OF OUR SOCIETY. WE CANNOT ACCEPT A COURT RULING THAT SAYS IMMORALITY IS JUST AS APPROPRIATE AS MORALITY. WE CANNOT ACCEPT THE COURT RULING WHICH SAYS GAY MARRIAGE IS LEGAL IN ALL 50 STATES REGARDLESS OF WHAT THE STATE LAWS SAY. WE CANNOT ACCEPT 9 UNELECTED JUDGES TAKING IT UPON THEMSELVES TO CHANGE THE CONSTITUTION ALL BY THEMSELVES, OVER-RULING THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE.

Does anybody out there know a better way to spell bat-shit-crazy? Attach your comments below.

Bruner is running for the SBOE post to replace Thomas Ratliff, who seems to have tired of the Board’s clown atmosphere and declined to run for another term.

My previous experience with the SBOE has been, while shallow, exasperating:

And it was certain that Texas Governor Rick Perry knew exactly what he was getting when he nominated Cargill as chairwoman. I get the idea that Cargill was not the governor’s first choice:

One would have thought that maintaining our lead to the bottom would involve keeping Dr. McLeroy in his place on the Board. You would have been right in the first respect, but you would be wrong if you thought the Texas Senate was suited up for the game. Possibly state politicians got tired of answering embarrassing questions and of seeing national and world publications mention our state with the hint of a sneer. In any event, Governor Rick Perry reappointed McLeroy as chairman of the Board (way to go, Guv), but the Senate, dominated by Perry’s own party, rejected the nomination. Sic transit Gloria. Worse yet, the Senate rejected Perry’s nomination of notorious creationist Gail Lowe to replace McLeroy as chairman. What can you do with a government like this?

People, we are preparing for another round of bat shit crazy at the SBOE. Get ready for a bumpy ride.

Quiz Question

One of a continuing series

HairDryer

Below is a problem from one of the physics textbooks I reviewed two years ago.

  1. A hair dryer and a curling iron have resistances of 15 Ω and 25 Ω, respectively, and are connected in parallel. They are connected to a 60 V battery. Calculate the:
    1. current through the circuit.
    2. power used by the hair dryer.
    3. power used by the curling iron.

I insisted the problem be reworded. What’s wrong with this problem?

Submit your answer as a comment below. I will provide the answer by Friday if nobody has submitted a correct answer by then.

Solution

Mike has hit upon the obvious answer. This problem does not make sense. You do not run a hair dryer off a battery. A hair dryer has an AC motor, and requires an AC power source. The authors of this book are not practical physicists or engineers.

This recalls an issue encountered by physicist Richard Feynman. He took on the job of reviewing physics books for California 50 or 60 years ago. One problem assigned to students in a book went like this:

There are three stars. One has a surface temperature of 5000, another 6000, and another 7000 (Kelvin). What is the sum of the temperatures?

Quiz Question

One of a continuing series

SellGold

A previous Quiz Question went like this:

The problem is stated:

A scam artist hopes to make a profit by buying and selling gold at different altitudes for the same price per weight. Should the scam artist buy or sell at a higher altitude? Explain.

The concept being studied here is the variation of gravitational attraction with respect to distance from the center of the Earth. Don’t solve the problem. It really is quite simple. Instead, answer the Quiz Question of the week:

What’s wrong with this problem?

The answer is that gold is weighed using a balance scale, and gravity would not have any effect. Suppose the Federal Reserve banks did use a spring scale to weigh the gold. Suppose a crook figured to purchase gold at one altitude and sell it at another. Would this work?

Why?

Post your answer as a comment below. I will provide the answer Friday if nobody supplies the correct answer by then.

Update

The answer is that a scam artist could, in principle, make money by purchasing gold in Denver and selling it in San Francisco, provided the gold is weighed using a spring scale. A spring scale does not balance the gold against another object, so gravity will have an effect.

Fortunately, gravity is not the only factor working. There is also buoyancy due to the density of the air.

Here are the critical numbers:

Gravity – San Francisco = 32.174, Denver = 32.159

Density of air – San Francisco = 23.77, Denver = 20.48

These density figures are not in in g/cc, so converting them gives:

Density of air – San Francisco = 0.001225, Denver = 0.001056

The effect of gravitational difference would be 0.0004662 of the weight of the gold. This would show up on a spring balance.

The density of gold is about 19 grams per cubic centimeter. This means that the change in buoyancy will be 0.000008895 the weight of the gold.

Even accounting for air buoyancy, gravity still wins out. A scammer could buy low in Denver and sell low in San Francisco.

Wacko Mountain High

Mother and Son

With apologies to John Denver.

Colorado is known for high peaks and another manner of high. It would appear that wacko has also reached heights in the mountain state:

Controversy swirled around Williams, Witt and Newkirk almost as soon as they were elected in 2013. The county’s well-regarded, longtime superintendent resigned, saying she could not work for the conservative majority.

The conflict that drew national attention to the growing disputes came last fall, when Newkirk, Witt and Williams indicated that they wanted to “review” the content of the AP U.S. history course taught in county high schools because it failed to promote patriotism.

Williams, Witt and Newkirk are Ken Witt, John Newkirk and Julie Williams. The three obtained seats on the Jefferson County school board in the 2013 election with a platform aimed at a “expanding school choice and increasing transparency.” Samantha Lachman, writing for the Huffington Post relates the particulars:

The pro-recall and anti-recall sides weren’t necessarily divided along partisan lines, as Democrats who wanted to protect funding for charter schools campaigned against the recall and Republicans who resented the new board members’ tactics campaigned for it.

Charter schools have traditionally been a politically conservative notion, espoused by Republican candidates. These schools are operated by private concerns, using funds that would otherwise go to public schools. They divorce themselves from government mandates and offer more flexibility in hiring and firing teachers, since it is difficult for the unions to penetrate these corporate-held concerns. Defenders of public education object to these schools, as they take money from the public sector without taking many of the responsibilities burdened by public schools.

Although not always practiced, the principle of charter schools has the potential of providing a gift to wealthy parents at public expense. It would be possible, under suitable arrangement, for a parent of means to game the system. Tuition at a private school could, for example, be $10,000. A parent may be able to only afford $5000. This parent could combine the his $5000 with the $5000 public grant to the private (charter) school and enroll his child. A parent who is unable to come up with the additional $5000 would be cut out of the program, and his child would have to attend the public school as before.

Without the burden of accepting all applicants, charter schools have the benefit of claiming higher graduation rates and higher scores on standard tests. Likewise with discipline problems. It is more difficult to remove a problem student from a public schools.

Politicians advocating elimination of public education in this country invoke charter schools and school vouchers as a move in that direction. In the 2010 elections David Harmer ran for Congress to represent California District 11. He lost. He was an acknowledged Tea Party candidate, and he had this to say:

So long as the state Constitution mandates free public schools, a voucher system (or refundable tuition tax credit) is the best we can do. To attain quantum leaps in educational quality and opportunity, however, we need to separate school and state entirely. Government should exit the business of running and funding schools.

Privatization of education was not the only issue in Jefferson County. The school district had incorporated social studies material objectionable to conservative elements:

At issue are changes to the Advanced Placement history course, one of the academically rigorous classes high school students across the country take in hopes of earning college credit and impressing admissions officers at selective schools. Last year, nearly 440,000 students took the AP history exam, one of the most popular AP tests offered.

The College Board, which administers exams to students upon the completion of AP courses, has revised the history curriculum in ways that have angered conservatives, who say it paints a darker picture of the country’s heritage and undervalues concepts such as “American exceptionalism.”

My take is these conservative elements want school curricula to be a cheerleader for their rosy picture of American history and culture. The unfortunate fact is that study material is typically prepared by academics who have made these issues their life’s work and tend to be dispassionate to an unacceptable extent. That said, there were some sticking points:

The College Board administers the course and other AP classes, which are meant to prepare students for college and give them a chance at earning college credit. It says the framework — an outline of the course built around themes like “politics and power” and “environment and geography” — isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list of everything to be studied, and teachers are always free to add material required by their states.

For example, Martin Luther King Jr. isn’t mentioned in the framework, but the Black Panthers are. The College Board’s instructions about the new framework say teachers know to include King but asked for help with less obvious examples of people and events to discuss around some of the themes.

But besides who is mentioned and who isn’t, veteran history teacher Larry Krieger, of Montgomery, New Jersey, faults the framework for having a global, revisionist view. He said it depicts the U.S. as going from conquering Native Americans to becoming an imperial power, while downplaying examples of cooperation and unity.

That item was published a year ago, and the edition available this fall incorporates changes to the College Board curriculum framework. Martin Luther King is now mentioned twice and the Black Panthers not at all:

During and after World War II, civil rights activists and leaders, most notably Martin Luther King Jr., combatted racial discrimination utilizing a variety of strategies, including legal challenges, direct action, and nonviolent protest tactics.

[Page 79]

A copy of the current edition is available from me on request. It exceeds the limit I can upload.

The successful move to recall the conservative members of the school board pitted grass roots activists against moneyed conservative forces. The Koch Brothers, through their Americans for Prosperity, threw their support behind the three board members, and an estimated $1 million was spent by both sides combined. The recall movement spent about $277,000.

As I have noted in times past, other places do not have a lock on wacko. The last time I looked, Texas was number one. But things can change.

That in mind, Colorado may be siphoning from the Texas play book:

This year the Texas State Board of Education is reviewing social texts for adoption. Texts approved by the SBOE will be available for use in Texas public schools starting fall of next year. The TFN funded a scholastic review of texts submitted for approval. Their press release links to the results of that review. Here are the core findings:

  • A number of government and world history textbooks exaggerate Judeo–‐Christian influence on the nation’s founding and Western political tradition.
  • Two government textbooks include misleading information that undermines the Constitutional concept of the separation of church and state.
  • Several world history and world geography textbooks include biased statements that inappropriately portray Islam and Muslims negatively.
  • All of the world geography textbooks inaccurately downplay the role that conquest played in the spread of Christianity.
  • Several world geography and history textbooks suffer from an incomplete – and often inaccurate – account of religions other than Christianity.Coverage of key Christian concepts and historical events are lacking in a few textbooks, often due to the assumption that all students are Christians and already familiar with Christian events and doctrine.
  • A few government and U.S. history textbooks suffer from an uncritical celebration of the free enterprise system, both by ignoring legitimate problems that exist in capitalism and failing to include coverage of government’s role in the U.S. economic system.
  • One government textbook flirts with contemporary Tea Party ideology, particularly regarding the inclusion of anti–‐taxation and anti–‐regulation arguments.
  • One world history textbook includes outdated – and possibly offensive – anthropological categories and racial terminology in describing African civilizations.
  • A number of U.S. history textbooks evidence a general lack of attention to Native American peoples and culture and occasionally include biased or misleading information.
  • One government textbook (Pearson) includes a biased – verging on offensive – treatment of affirmative action.
  • Most U.S. history textbooks do a poor job of covering the history of LGBT citizens in discussions of efforts to achieve civil rights in this country.
  • Elements of the Texas curriculum standards give undue legitimacy to neo–‐Confederate arguments about “states’ rights” and the legacy of slavery in the South. While most publishers avoid problems with these issues, passages in a few U.S. history and government textbooks give a nod to these misleading arguments.

Full disclosure: I give money to the Texas Freedom Network. You should, too.

Coming up later: the return of Texas wacko. We can only hope.

Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Hawks For Christ

aron_ra

I first ran into Aron Ra at the Texas school book hearings two years ago. He was among those stepping up to comment on the ongoing textbook foolishness. His YouTube channel is a well-crafted source of comment on religion and its fits of folly. He recently posted on rampant dysfunction in rural Texas schools:

Amber Barnhill recently moved her kids to a small south eastern Texas town called the city of China. There she found out what Lilandra and I have been complaining about for so long. All the local schools push their Christian religion. They do it overtly, during school hours, and as part of all curricular activities. They put crosses everywhere, promote prayer in every activity, and even have the elder students preaching to the younger ones as part of their daily morning assembly. There the students are required to learn and rehearse Bible verses. Welcome back to the dark ages.

So Amber complained to the school, and her complaint was largely ignored. Worse though, she got a lot of hate on social media, as you might expect; including quite a lot of threats from religious reactionaries who seemed as though they wanted to lynch her. None of these religious reactionaries had any idea what the issue even is. The zealots imposing their religion in public schools never understand that they’re even doing anything wrong. They think they’re being oppressed or attacked if they’re disallowed from indoctrinating everyone else’s kids. And it doesn’t help that all the kids in town have already been indoctrinated. Because they don’t understand what the problem is either, and and secular government requirement will invariably be seen as some sort of victimization, which feeds right into the typical Christian persecution complex. People like this never seem to understand the necessity of secular government until or unless they have to give fair consideration to Muslims. Then suddenly the Christians leap over to my side of the political spectrum, demanding separation of church and state just as I do. Hypocrites.

Aron, real name L. Aron Nelson, has posted two relevant clips on his channel, and a viewing is enlightening. The first is from a presentation on separation of church and state, and it features Amber Barnhill’s story. Of interest is the collection of graphics Aron has pasted into the clip. Many are screen shots from Facebook postings, apparently postings by local people. I will show some of the clippings and comment on a few. Watch the video for the complete story:

Apparently this is a typical school-sponsored activity in China, Texas.

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Hawks For Christ is promoted by the school.

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Religion, particularly the Christian sect, seems to be promoted to the exclusion of all others.

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The reason for drilling in on the interviewee’s distinctive hand marking is not clear.

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Many of the Facebook postings are worth archiving. I will post the text to make it easier for search engines to find.

Brandi time to get the pitch forks out lol

Tina besides pitch forks are so out dated, I would rather use my AR 15.

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Just better leave us country folks alone! what happins when you mess with fire, of course you get burned, what happins when you mess with setx christians? you burn at the end of my rope! just leave us country folks alone!!!!!!!!!!!

I may have miscounted the exclamation remarks, but I did not miscount the failings in English grammar. Some people in China, Texas, have not suffered the benefits of an elementary school education.

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I say we go protest in barnhills front yard

4 hours ago via mobile

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Jacob Boudreaux Lol whoever it was that tried to bring Kountze cheerleaders to court ended up settling outside of court… so yes, the Kountze cheerleaders won… and our great Governor just signed the Merry Christmas bill… I think its about time all democrats evacuate Texas… I don’t understand why democrats and atheists and others want to come to a Christian Conservative state like Texas and then try to change it… it will never happen, Texas will forever remain Texas, and if it changes, the end will soon follow.

Jacob Boudreaux does not understand why Democrats and atheists want to come to Texas? Maybe most of them were born and raised in Texas. Like in small town Texas. Even a town smaller than China, Texas.

We may never know why “if it changes, the end will soon follow.”

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These people that complain about prayer in school should be sent to live in a 3rd world country that wasn’t founded on fundamental Christian beliefs. I don’t recall any children being hurt or winding up

In prisonn from too much prayer!! Just saying…

#countryisgoingdownthetoilet

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It’s past time for people to stand up to those who hate God! We are a Christian nation–they can just get over it!

Passing over for the moment the fact that many protesting what the local government is doing are people of faith, mostly Christians.

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Who was it that complained? Someone of someone know who it is!!!! PLEASE,,, OH PLEASE,,, Place there name here on FACEBOOK!!! That way we know who and what the problem is!!!

By removing the book is DISCRIMINATION against my beliefs!!! Mr. Holmes needs to return the books before he has a bigger problem in his hands!!!

Often times a single exclamation mark will not do. Apparently neither will an elementary school education.

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1 Atheist parent has contacted Freedom FROM Religion Foundation and sent photos of my kid’s book fair at school of books containing the words “God’, “prayer”, etc etc. The group contacted the superintendent, he went to the school late at night and pulled books off the library shelves. contacted the principle, and instructed her to continue in pulling of books.

This parent has communicated that she wants her child to have the right to choose what he/she believes when she is in fact the one taking that right away from him/her.

SLE PARENTS: Your book fair is next week and you should all know that all books containing anything religious have already been pulled. However, I’m sure you will have an abundance of books with tales of witchcraft, ghosts, demons, zombies, violence, sex, and evolution.

Skipping over “principle” versus “principal,” let’s go to books about witchcraft, ghosts, demons, zombies, violence, sex, and evolution. That would sound a lot like the Bible. Except for the part about evolution, of which the Bible remains clueless.

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Little Blessings Thanks to all of you who purchased the FCA/HFC t-shirts. YOU made FOF possible! Come out and Let Your Light Shine For All The World To See….

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China Elementary science teacher

September 29, 2014 Beaumont, TX

Hawks for Christ at CE is meeting at 7:30 in the morning in the gym. It’s going to be an exciting time. Be looking for further information in the next week on the positive things God is doing in HFC. God is doing a mighty work through something that was intended to harm. Continue to support your students as they exercise their right to worship!

But no weapon that is used against you will succeed. People might bring charges against you. But you will prove that they are wrong. Those are the things I do for my servants. I make everything right for them,” announces the Lord.—Isaiah 54:17

Great verse to remember as we prepare for FOF. The enemy has and will continue to attack, but the battle is already won. May we stand firm as we act accordingly to bring God glory!

Like · Comment In a private HFC group for “students and parents”

 

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The FFRF is a group of radical uneducated hate mongering fools that is no different than the west bureau Baptist church. Piss on them and tell them I said it!

Like · Reply September 29 at 9:07 pm

I hope this writer meant so say “Westboro Baptist Church” and not what he actually said.

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This is a two-part snip. The scene is from Aron’s video, showing the FFRF panel presentation.

Freedom from religion can file a lot off lawsuits in HE–.

I presume that would be “lawsuits in HELL.”

These people go under the word atheists but they are communist! Christians had better start standing up against the devil before it is to late ! GOD BLESS AMERICA

 

HawksForChrist-19

Dawn Hardt This is the first I’ve heard of this & my kids all go to HJISD schools. It seems strange that this request was immediately fulfilled. That Atheist must have some pull!

March 19 at 7:46 pm

Atheists or not, whoever seems to be challenging school policy that promotes religion has powerful pull. That pull would be the Constitution of the United States. The First Amendment clearly prohibits using government power for promoting religion. Apparently the administration of this school district is violating the law. There aren’t many ways around the consequences.

HawksForChrist-20

This item from Kelly was possibly directed toward Amber Barnhill, but I was unable to confirm she is the same Amber Barnhill who has this business in nearby Beaumont, Texas.

I hope your business has suffered for the anti-Christian thing you did.

2 hours ago near Aledo, TX

Aledo is hundreds of miles from China, Texas. In fact, it is next door to where I was raised, and it’s the home of gonzo historian David Barton.

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Wow just wow … Wth people really this is BS . I would not allow just a hand full of devils to change my schools beliefs … All these foreigners and atheists can go jump on the nearest boat out of America… Pfft

Let me see if I have this straight. Government officials set themselves out to violate the law, and some people complain. And the ones who complain are called devils and not the people breaking the law.

Regarding foreigners and atheists, that would include me, born in Texas. Father born in Texas. His father born in Texas. My great grandmother born in Texas about the time Texas became independent from Mexico. I need to go back to where I came from?

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CHRISTIANS UNITE…these haters are the MINORITY and BULLIES!!!

“Haters” seems to be word loosely bandied about. It’s becoming apparent from the language of these posts who is doing the bullying.

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Take ur urself and ur kids to a muslim school r better yet country …i bet u wont do that eigther u just want to be o tv…if i were the teacher i would say im sorry for a prayer …

I’m thinking this one does not require additional comment.

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Its a prayer in school, if ya dont want to pray then dont, simple as f*** , ya dont wanna see a cross then dont look at it, simple as f***, its as much a right for believers to do it ANYWHERE as it is non believers ANYWHERE, fckin jackasses

Allow me to pause a moment. I’m temporarily overcome by the blessings of Christian love.

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Since your letterhead states you are from Madison, WI..Maybe you should mind your own business their in Wisconsin. My Ma always said, “you dont go spoiling for a fight, but if a fight is brought to your doorstep then I reckon you better handle it.” I dont really think Texas is where you want to bring the fight..just my opinion..

Once again, I’m from Texas, and I’m staying. You’re going to hear more from me until you decide to get your affairs in order.

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Bla bla bla, You are insane just like your fellow atheist kind, if we had MORE religion not less, our world would have better morals, we would grow up with less selfishness and be kinder to others, we wouldn’t be bullying or being oppressors, you are trying to make this a big issue out of this, otherwise you would have just complained to the school. You are a bully !

No further comment.

HawksForChrist-27

I’m just finishing a Bible Study by MaryJo Sharp called “Why Do You Believe That?” It has been an incredible study as I’ve been faced with personal attacks and also seen the attacks on our schools in this study, there is a page dedicated to engaging in conversation with an FFRF member. One of the main points is as follows: “By touting the terms ‘separation of church and state’ the FFRF has missed the broader underlying philosophical issue, which is about the state imposing a particular worldview on the citizen. By definition, atheism is a world view, as is every other religion. The state cannot enforce the practice of atheism or even enforce the practice of the appearance of an atheistic state according to the establishment and the exercise clauses of the U.S. constitution.” I find this point extremely important to us as Christians. We must be able to converse in love with opposing viewpoints in order to point them to the Truth of Christ. I pray God gives us courage to stand firm, converse in love, and present Truth even to people who attack us. We must gain knowledge in what we believe in order to confront opposition. As we continue to pray for this atheist group, may we also pray for opportunities to share Christ in ways that show the fallacies of this group’s beliefs. May Christians join together and stand for what is right. Our Constitution states we have freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion. May God receive the glory as we represent His Truth!

October 21, 2014 at 5:21 pm

I have transcribed the foregoing to the best of my abilities, and the transcription is exact. I have left in place the notable language oddities.

Beth wants to tell us that FFRF has missed the broader philosophical issue. What Beth has done is to miss the even broader issue. That broader issue is a government entity is in violation of the law, and the violations need to stop. Officials of this school district are using tax money, collected from taxpayers under force of law, said law backed up by the power of the United States Government, and using that tax money to promote a narrow religious doctrine. This is something that was made illegal over 200 years ago. Some people have yet to figure this out.

To belabor the point, religion is not being opposed here. What is being opposed is the illegal activity of taking people’s tax money and using it to promote religion.

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Enough is enough. This is a small community, small school that is overwhelmingly Christian. I refuse for one person’s right to believe or not believe to overshadow my child’s right to read which books she chooses.

The only people that stand up for anything lately are those wanting handouts and those that have zero faith, morals, or beliefs. We are on a very slippery slope of standing by and watching God taken away, please use your time to contact these groups and simply ask to be represented, instead of complaining and arguing online. It only takes a few mins for your voice to be heard. I’m doing it right now.

Repeating myself, people with “zero faith, morals, or beliefs?” Shall we talk about people shedding their morals as they subvert the law and use tax money to promote a particular religion?

Speaking of small school schools and a small community. Dover, Pennsylvania, is a small community, and the Dover Area School District is a small district. The illegal activities of that school board cost the tax payers over a million dollars in court expenses in a case decided ten years ago.

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With Connie Perkins and 34 others

OK not much really hacks me off but here it is….Hardin Jefferson ISD is in trouble again with one, count them, one, athiest parent that has caused a stink in the library. All Christian books, Easter, Christmas, any that mention God, Jesus, prayer, ANYTHING Christian, must be pulled off the shelves. The book fair books were also pulled. We need y’all on board to stop this!!!

Yeah, I’ll let this one slide. I’m leaving the language failures as I found them. Better is to come.

HawksForChrist-32

And my response to Barnhill is “you leesboe Kayunt, you can suck my fat, hairy, awrse if you don’t like it…..” The United States of America was founded on Christian principles but the framers of our Constitution had good sense to forbid the creation of State Church to avoid religious squabbles that plagued England since the time of the protestant deformation. So I would expect to hearing references to Jesus Christ and other Christian terminology in our American society during my lifetime and not going to have a stroke every time someone invokes the name of the Second Person the Most Blessed Trinity.

Again, overwhelmed by the love of Christ, I’m going to allow the language failures to lie as they fell.

HawksForChrist-33

Jealous???.because God is blessing our district and protecting OUR KIDS!! Leave us alone! You have barked up the wrong tree!!! This community will come at you fully loaded and ready to battle!! Back off!! We’ve done NOTHING for you to come and get in our kids business!!!!! These kids chime to this school because the WANT to. No-one forced them to live here and attend this particular school. back off!!!####

What particularly strikes me about this is that nobody forced the kids to live in the school district. That is hot stuff! When I was a kid nobody, but no body, asked me where I wanted to live.

HawksForChrist-34

Jacob Boudreaux If you do reward them, that proves what kind of person you are… God does love us unconditionally, and he wants us to want him, we have our whole lives to do so, but if you do not chose him, he will not chose you… why would he bring you to Heaven when you did not earn your spot???? Instead, you earned a spot in Hell, so that’s where he sends you

Verbatim

HawksForChrist-35

Here’s a view of the treaty between our new nation and a Muslim government.

HawksForChrist-38

Laws who cares about laws our president breaks them every day. If you don’t believe in God then I will buy you a ticket to Iraq. Have fun with that.

September 28 at 10:12 pm

Maybe I should take this person up on his offer. Problem, it’s likely not a serious offer.

HawksForChrist-39

I am offended by the belief systems of these atheists. They attempt to dictate what can or can’t be said all the time now. Go make your own worthless school.

The short answer to this note is that it’s not atheists calling the shots. It’s the laws of this country that this person has issue with. Regarding an atheist school, we already have one. It’s called The United States Military Academy at West Point. Religion is not taught there.

HawksForChrist-40

I grew up in & attended that district & it fires me up to see someone come along & write some stupid pointless article about how illegal it is for them to do what they’ve been doing for years. I graduated from high school close to 10 years ago. I attended Hawks for Christ several times, you don’t like that they’re doing this stuff, then go jump in a damn lake you worthless bigot.

Been doing it for years? The longer you get away with a crime the less a crime it becomes?

HawksForChrist-41

Get out our country if offended go where women can’t do anything but clean and prostitue.

22 hours ago via mobile

Sorry, I had to leave the text exactly as it was written.

HawksForChrist-42

My daughter and her friends showing their school pride at HMS today! Feeling proud!

HawksForChrist-43

I don’t know of any school group that isn’t headed by teachers. You can’t trust kids. Look what happened when god gave people free will. He had to drown everyone, lets not drown high school kids.

HawksForChrist-44

And that was so much with that.

Amber Barnhill has described how her experience with the school system destroyed her allegiance with Christianity:

Channel 12 first met Barnhill when she objected to officially mandated Christian prayers at her son’s public school pre-kindergarten class. In the wake of that news segment, Barnhill said she was the object of an outpouring of rage and abuse, including death threats.

The nastiness of the response, she said, contributed to her loss of faith in religion.

“That’s not why I lost my faith in God,” Barnhill said. “But it did have a huge impact on how quickly that happened.”

Barnhill said that she was raised in a strict, fundamentalist Christian home and graduated from seminary school. She has written an essay, “A Christian who Wasn’t Cross,” to document the evolution of her beliefs.

She told Channel 12, however, that her stance isn’t so much against religion as against children being forced to choose faith over secularism.

In case the point has been missed, it’s not only non-believes who object to school systems that violate the law. Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists, as well have heartburn with these practices.

I have not viewed Aron’s second clip. Here’s a link to it.

China, Texas, is the face of a larger problem, and not just in Texas:

Meanwhile, as pseudo-Christians in China attack atheists for not wanting their child to be indoctrinated in her school, in Katy, Texas, the school board dealt with a controversy. Well, it was a controversy for the Fundie crowd.

It seems that 7th-grader Jordan Wooley accused her teacher of making her “choose between her grades and her faith” during a lesson in critical thinking. The lesson asked students to state whether a subject was fact, opinion, or a commonplace assertion. When Wooley was asked which category God fit into, she answered “fact.” She was informed that was incorrect, that God is a commonplace assertion.

The above discussion of social media posts contains references to Kountze Independent School District in Texas:

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is the same group that requested Kountze ISD prohibit Scripture banners from high school football games. That case is still winding its way through state courts. In the meantime, the cheerleaders are still using the Bible banners at football games.

Much is said in this about my religious liberty. I don’t feel my person religious liberty is being violated, since I am not one of those being indoctrinated at public expense. It’s more as though my pocket is being picked when public officials take money intended for one purpose and spend it to promote their personal agenda. Somewhere one of the Ten Commandments is being violated.

There are generally no laws dictating that government entities avoid promoting religion. Whenever a case comes up the recourse for plaintiffs is to file civil action. Nobody gets arrested. Nobody goes to jail. It’s the taxpayers who take it on the chin when loose-thinking officials ignore the law. We have the voters to thank for putting such people into positions of trust.

There will be more to come. Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

 

Quiz Question

One of a continuing series

This one really is a quiz question I encountered in engineering school. We had this class on Engineering Design, and it was being taught by a Ph.D. candidate. I know his name, but I won’t reveal it. He thought we needed some stimulation, so he popped a quiz on us. “Boys and girls, here is a design problem for you.” He showed us something like the drawing below.

PipesAnndValves

What you see here are two pipes running side by side, with valves. This is a schematic drawing. The pipes and valves do not look like this in real life. Those things with the Xs represent the valves. The problem, our professor told us, is you do not want both valves to be open at the same time. One valve is on, the other must be off. If you want to turn on the off valve, then you have to first turn off the on valve.

We are to design a mechanism that ensures we can perform this operation. The mechanism must ensure that it is impossible for both valves to be on at the same time.

There is an interesting story behind this, and I will tell it to you as a hint. Meaning, the solution was simple. I looked at this for about five seconds and said to myself, “Of course!” Then I drew the solution on my test paper and turned it in. I was then allowed to go about my business.

Came the next class period the professor returned our test papers, and I only received a B. How come, I asked. I provided the correct answer. How come I only got a B? The professor told me that I had obviously seen the problem before, so he could not give me full credit. This was one of those WTF moments I have experienced in college (and other times). I got an A.

Provide your answer as a comment below. You will likely need to do a drawing, so send a sketch by email. I will attach your sketch to the post. This one should be easy, so I will provide my solution on Saturday.

UPDATE

I’ve changed my mind. I’m going to post the answer now. People have submitted a number of worthy solutions. Here is one submitted by Michael Brown:

BrownSolution

Nobody has come up with the optimum solution. I submit here a re-creation of my solution from 50 years ago:

Interlock

Here’s how it works. Each valve stem has attached to it a disk. Each disk has a cutout that has the same radius as the disks. The valve stem on the left is constrained by stops (not shown) that limit its travel from the position shown to 90 degrees CCW. The disk on the right is constrained from its position shown to an orientation 90 degrees CCW. When the cutout is in the upper position, the valve is on. When the cutout is directed to the side, the valve is completely off.

I call this the optimum solution because no other moving parts are required besides the valve stems with their attached disks.

As I mentioned, this problem was given to us as an in-class quiz with no preparation. I had a solution submitted within 5 minutes. I had not seen this solution prior to the class period, but I had the advantage over my classmates. I had studied the mechanisms associated with motions picture film transport. I was familiar with the Geneva drive. Here it is:

GenevaDrive

 

The disk on the right turns. The star wheel is constrained from rotating by the machined shoulder on the disk. When the pin attached to the disk engages one of the slots, the shoulder cutout allows the pin to rotate the star wheel. The result is the star wheel shaft alternately rotates, stops for a time, then rotates again. This is what is needed to advance motion picture film during recording and during projection. This is what came to mind when I considered the problem of the two valves. The solution flowed from there. And it got me a B on the quiz.

Doctor Haw Haw

Former SBOE Chair Don McLeroy

Former SBOE Chair Don McLeroy

We have seen former Texas State Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy before:

The big deal was the Texas State Board of Education had hearings on Tuesday, taking comments from citizens. School texts for the 2014 year are up for adoption, and I previously participated in the review process. On Tuesday I took my turn telling the Board what was wrong with the process. I could have just kept my seat. I was in the company of professionals.

Kathy Miller heads up the TFN and was there, of course. Zack Kopplin was there. He’s moved from Louisiana and now lives in Texas. Their loss, our gain. Also Josh Rosenau. And that was not the entire team present standing up for Texas science. On Tuesday the SBOE suffered a severe indictment for its political mechanizations directed at the school curriculum.

Did I forget to mention creationists were there, as well? Don McLeroy, former SBOE spoke, giving living proof that dinosaurs have not gone extinct.

What, then, is Don McLeroy of Bryan, Texas, up to these days? The Texas Freedom Network is glad to provide the answer. TFN blogger Jose posted the following:

Former Texas State Board of Education chair Don McLeroy isn’t done distorting history.

While McLeroy was on the board in 2010, he and his colleagues gave Texas schools new social studies curriculum standards that downplay the primary role slavery played in the Civil War. Now, as a former SBOE member, he’s rewriting the role he and other board members played in writing those pretty much universally panned standards on which history textbooks for millions of Texas schoolchildren are based.

Jose is unkind enough to post a video clip. It shows TFN’s Kathy Miller and Don McLeroy in an interview on MSNBC.

KathyMillerDonMcLeroyMSNBC

A look at the video will be enlightening. Jose mentions that under McLeroy’s stewardship in 2010 the SBOE adopted standards “that downplay the primary role slavery played in the Civil War.” At the time the Christian Science Monitor noted changes promoted by conservative board members:

Among the changes: Students would be required to learn about the “unintended consequences” of Title IX, affirmative action, and the Great Society, and would need to study conservative icons like Phyllis Schlafly, the Heritage Foundation, and the Moral Majority.

The slave trade would be renamed the “Atlantic triangular trade,” American “imperialism” changed to “expansionism,” and all references to “capitalism” have been replaced with “free enterprise.”

The trailer for The Revisionaries, a documentary about the subject, shows McLeroy being interviewed by reporters. He says:

… we want to make sure our children are taught good, solid American history, and I think we’re in step with most of the majority of Americans.”

DonMcLeroyRevisionists

Jose provides additional narration from the MSNBC interview:

On the causes of the Civil War, McLeroy says the board “never really discussed that very much.” He actually makes that claim twice in the “Ed Show” clip. Coincidentally, that’s how many times the board discussed (at length) the causes of the Civil War in just one day — May 20, 2010.

Unfortunately for McLeroy, he is mistaken about “never really discussed that very much.” Jose has posted a video clip, apparently from 20 May 2010. You will need to be running RealPlayer to watch, but Jose provides a transcript of the pertinent parts:

Thankfully, there’s video of that day. At just after the 9:30 mark of this clip, SBOE member Pat Hardy, R-Weatherford, says this:

“Yes, this is historically correct. Sectionalism, states’ rights were the real issues behind the Civl War. Slavery was an after-issue. It was part of the reason for the sectionalism and the states’ rights deciding whether or not they could have slaves moving to the other states, etc. But the real issue that the South broke away was because they wanted to have the right to say that they could do that and that sectionalism was the idea of moving slaves to other sections of the territories. So those were the real reasons for the Civl War. That’s why they would have those first. Slavery came about as a side issue to the Civil War. And, so it’s not the reason for the Civil War. It was not slavery.”

And in this clip from the same day (at the 4:21:00 mark), board member Lawrence Allen, D-Houston, moves to change a standard in the eighth-grade U.S. history course to emphasize slavery as the cause of the war. Following debate, Allen’s motion is promptly voted down.

McLeroy, who is a practicing dentist when not campaigning for conservative interpretations of social studies and even science, is apparently not gone from the picture:

Governor Perry reappointed McLeroy, an advocate of creationism, as chairman to a second extend until February 1, 2011, but on May 28, 2009, the Texas Senate rejected the re-appointment; although the vote was 19-11 in favor with one member abstaining (along party lines; all 19 Senate members voting to reappoint were Republicans, while all 11 Senate members voting to reject and the one abstaining member were Democrats) the reappointment required a 2/3 majority for approval. McLeroy lost re-election to a moderate in the Republican primary in March 2010.

McLeroy was narrowly defeated for renomination to the SBOE in the Republican primary held on March 2, 2010. He lost to Moderate RepublicanRobert Thomas Ratliff (born c. 1967), then of Kyle in Hays County, a son of former State Senator and Lieutenant GovernorBill Ratliff of Mount Pleasant. McLeroy received 57,528 votes (49.6 percent) to Ratliff’s 58,388 (50.4 percent). McLeroy’s tenure on the SBOE is chronicled in the 2012 documentary The Revisionaries.

On a side note: William Joyce was from Brooklyn, New York, but his family moved back to Galway, Ireland. A Nazi sympathizer, Joyce moved to Germany in August 1939, shortly before the beginning of hostilities between England and Germany. He became a naturalized German citizen, and during the war he broadcast radio propaganda aimed at an English-speaking public. The appellation “Lord Haw Haw” was applied to Joyce’s predecessor and later to Joyce. Of course, it was a derisive term, coined by the British, who never took Lord Haw Haw’s ranting seriously. Like Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, a modern day propagandist, Joyce continued his bald-faced pronouncements over the radio right up to the end:

Joyce recorded his final broadcast on 30 April 1945, during the Battle of Berlin. Rambling and audibly drunk, he chided Britain for pursuing the war beyond mere containment of Germany and warned repeatedly of the “menace” of the Soviet Union. He signed off with a final defiant “Heil Hitler and farewell”. There are conflicting accounts as to whether this last programme was actually transmitted, despite a recording being found in the Apen studios. The next day Radio Hamburg was seized by British forces, who on 4 May used it to make a mock “Germany Calling” broadcast denouncing Joyce.

British forces picked up Joyce near the border with Denmark in late May 1945, and he was subsequently executed. Since that time the “Haw Haw” label has come to identify people who make loud and public proclamations in the face of obvious contradiction. Former SBOE Chairman Don McLeroy is not to be confused with the likes Aziz and Joyce, but he carries on the practice to his own public humiliation. And to our own amusement.

NCSE Updates

NCSEReports

Texas edition

Full disclosure. I give money to the National Center for Science Education. You should, too. The NCSE is the premier organization in this country defending the teaching of valid science in the public schools. After decades of taking on the creationists and their efforts to push creationism, or at least to dumb down teaching of evolution, the NCSE has recently taken on the climate science deniers.

I receive periodically a copy of their Reports a few printed pages on recent events, book reviews and such. Most interesting is the Updates section. What’s been going on. I reprint here in its entirety a recount of last year’s episode with the Texas text book review process:

Texas: The Texas state board of education voted to adopt a slate of social studies textbooks on November 21, 2014. Among the books approved for use in the state were several textbooks that, after criticism from NCSE and its allies in the scientific, educational, and civil liberties communities, were revised by their publishers (including Pearson and McGraw-Hill) to eliminate misrepresentations of climate science.

A number of problematic claims were present in the textbooks as submitted for approval, including a statement that fossil fuel emissions have caused a hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica, a claim that scientists “disagree about what is causing climate change,” and a quotation from a notorious climate change denial organization presented in rebuttal of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

NCSE, together with the Texas Freedom Network (TFN), drew attention to these claims in a press release and analysis issued on September 15. 2014. The analysis (available at http://ncse.com/files/Texas-social-studies-report-2014.pdf) received wide coverage in the press, including the National Journal and Ars Technica (both 2014 Sep 15), as well as the Houston Press, Texas Public Radio, the Guardian, Newsweek, and Mother Jones (all 2014 Sep 16).

The analysis was issued in time for a preliminary hearing on the textbooks, on September 16, 2014, during which Charles Jackson, a research scientist at the University of Texas’s Institute for Geophysics, criticized “inaccurate textbook coverage casting doubt on the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is a serious and growing threat,” according to TFN’s live-blog of the hearing (2014 Sep 16).

Later, NCSE’s Josh Rosenau and Mark McCaffrey were invited by the Houston Chronicle (2014 Sep 30) to discuss the controversy. “Today, climate change isn’t just a scientific issue,” they explained: “critical debates about our response to climate change belong in textbooks covering civics, economics, history and geography, rooted in the social and political context while always informed by accurate science.”

“Unfortunately, many of the social studies textbooks under consideration simply ignore climate change,” they continued. “But there’s a problem that publishers and the board can solve today: the factual errors in the books that cover climate change. Most egregiously, several of these books claim that there is active dispute among scientists about the primary cause of climate change. That’s simply wrong.”

They concluded. “Tomorrow’s Texans will have big decisions to make—in deciding how to confront rising seas and declining freshwater, in choosing between the fuels of the future and those of the past, in creating new businesses and new kinds of jobs in the new world ahead. Social studies classrooms and textbooks are the perfect place to explore those questions and to prepare our students to build the future they deserve.”

Meanwhile, NCSE, TFN, and Climate Parents organized a petition calling on the state board of education to require the corrections of the textbooks. Signed by over 24 000 Texans, the petitions were delivered to the board and the publishers on October 20, 2014. In a press release, Rosenau explained, These petitions show that parents, teachers, students, and voters across Texas will make sure the board doesn’t let these errors slip into their classrooms.”

Additional organizations separately urging the state board of education to require the publishers to fix these errors included the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers, the Ecological Society of America, the Geological Society of America, and the National Resources Defense Council.

As the time of the board’s final vote approached, Camille Parmesan and Alan I Leshner, writing in the Austin American-Statesman (2014 Nov 6), called on the Texas state board of education to insist on the correction of the textbooks: “Texas educators should reject the new textbooks unless they are edited to address the serious concerns outlined by the National Center for Science Education.”

“Children cannot compete in the global marketplace of the future unless they achieve science literacy,” they concluded. “Students deserve to know the true scientific facts about human-caused climate change.” Parmesan is a professor of integrative biology at the University of Texas, Austin; Leshner is the chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

In a press conference on November 12, 2014, NCSE, TFN, and Climate Parents charged that textbooks published by McGraw-Hill and Pearson were still problematic. Speaking to the Austin Chronicle (2014, Nov 12), NCSE’s Josh Rosenau observed that science textbooks from the same publishers manage to represent the scientific consensus on climate change correctly and described the social studies textbooks as “irresponsible” in contrast, adding that it’s “hard to understand how the social studies books went so far [a]field.”

Also released was a letter urging the publishers to “correct all factual errors regarding climate change in draft textbooks for K-12 students in Texas.” Signing the letter, besides NCSE, TFN, and Climate Parents, were the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Alliance for Climate Education, the National Resources Defense Council, Bill Nye, Sojourners, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Subsequently, Pearson revised a passage in its fifth-grade social studies textbook that initially claimed, “Some scientists believe that this carbon dioxide could lead to a slow heating of Earth’s overall climate. This temperature change is known as global warming or climate change. Scientists disagree about what is causing climate change.” As revised, the passage reads, “Carbon dioxide, which occurs both naturally and through human activities, is called a greenhouse gas, because it traps heat. As the amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases increase, the Earth warms. Scientists warn that climate change, caused by this warming, will pose challenges to society.”

“I couldn’t be more pleased,” Rosenau told the National Journal (2014 Nov 13). “The revised textbook [from Pearson] provides students with the reliable science they need to understand the social debates surrounding climate change and does so without manufacturing a scientific debate.” He also criticized McGraw-Hill, whose sixth-grade social studies textbook remained flawed.

But shortly thereafter, McGraw-Hill confirmed that it would remove the deeply problematic lesson that equated unsupported arguments from a special interest-funded political advocacy group, the Heartland Institute, with data-backed material from the IPCC, a Nobel-winning organization of scientists from around the world, from its textbook.

Rosenau praised the publishers for their decision, telling the National Journal (2014 Nov 17), “Pearson, McGraw-Hill and the other publishers did the right thing by making these changes. They listened to us and the nation’s leading scientific and educational societies, ensuring that students will learn the truth about the greatest challenge they’ll confront as citizens of the 21st century.”

There were expressions of discontent at the board’s November 18, 2014, meeting that “the other side” of the debate over climate change was not presented in the textbooks. as the TFN noted on its blog (2014 Nov 18), Nevertheless, the board approved a set of books for use, including the revised versions of Pearson’s and McGraw-Hill’s, on November 21, 2014, with a 10-5 vote.

Governors Acting Brilliantly

Diplomystus dentatus Herring Species Eocene Epoch 50,000,000 years old Green River Formation Lincoln Co. Wyoming Diploaystus dentatus Herring Eocene period 50,000,000 years old Green River Formation Lincoln Co., Wyoming

You’ve been studying for your Phy Chem final, and you haven’t been watching the news. So to fill you in, here’s what’s been happening. Early this month two French creationists attacked a satirical magazine headquarters in Paris, murdering eight staffers and four others, besides. Another French creationist murdered a police woman and then four people at a Paris grocery store. Now the entire nation, plus countries nearby, are up in arms about people who believe in creationism coming back from war zones in the Middle East and plotting lethal attacks. Last week Belgium police raided an apartment in Verviers, killed two creationists, and took another into custody. Information is the now dead were part of a plot for additional murder.

With all this murdering and plotting going on people are starting to ask, what is it about Europe that allowed this business to get started. There is talk about Muslims immigrating to Europe and not fitting in. Some of these are creationists and take strong objection to those making light of their favorite myths. There is talk of Muslims, even those native to European countries, clustering into neighborhoods to protect their culture. Talk is these neighborhoods harbor reactionaries who take creationism seriously enough to murder for it. There is also talk of “no-go zones.” These are places where “police are afraid to go.” This is scary business.

Fortunately there are some who are taking notice. Some are calling for action. One of these is the governor of a state in the U.S. That would be Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.

LONDON — In a foreign policy speech delivered Monday in London, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said that in the West, “non-assimilationist Muslims establish enclaves and carry out as much of Sharia law as they can without regard for the laws of the democratic countries which provided them a new home.”

The Republican governor added that “it is startling to think that any country would allow, even unofficially, for a so-called ‘no-go zone’.”

Jindal remarks came during an address to the Henry Jackson Society in a committee room at the U.K.’s House of Commons with several British members of parliament attending.

Call me a bleeding heart liberal if you want, but I find it refreshing that an American governor has the temerity to stand up and speak what we all know to be true. I’m getting the message that if Governor Jindal had his way, these creationists would soon find themselves answerable to a higher power—the local police. What is even more remarkable about Governor Jindal’s response to these creations is that he is, himself, a creationist.

Bobby Jindal: I’m fine with teaching creationism in public schools

Students should be taught “the best science,” Jindal said, including evolution, creationism and intelligent design

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal says that he wouldn’t mind if public school students were taught creationism and intelligent design in addition to evolution, as long as it’s “the best science.”

In an interview on NBC, Jindal, a Republican, said: “Bottom line, at the end of the day, we want our kids to be exposed to the best facts. Let’s teach them about the big bang theory, let’s teach them about evolution – I’ve got no problem if a school board, a local school board, says we want to teach our kids about creationism, that people, some people, have these beliefs as well, let’s teach them about ‘intelligent design.’”

What Governor Jindal fails to note in his remarks is that Intelligent Design is creationism, so he’s really saying he’s OK with teaching creationism plus creationism plus actual science in public schools. Can I top that? Yes, I can. Governor Jindal holds a degree in biology from Brown University. Apparently his degree program made little of the modern theories of biological evolution, because his stock response to the big question is “The reality is I’m not an evolutionary biologist.” Piling irony on top of irony is that one of the nation’s leading supporters of teaching evolution is Professor Kenneth Miller, co-author of evolution-lace texts and also teaching at Brown University.

But enough about failed states. This is supposed to be about the governor’s acumen relating to international jihad. Here goes.

When pressed for the source of his inside track on no-go zones, Jindal eventually coughed up a January 2014 item from England’s Daily Mail.

Murders and rapes going unreported in no-go zones for police as minority communities launch own justice systems

Fortunately, according to the Daily Mail, it’s not that the police cannot go to these zones, it’s just that they do not go to these zones. They don’t because nobody calls them to come when there’s a crime. People handle problems in the ‘hood on their own. Shades of sharia law.

A further problem with the governor’s source is that its sole voice is that of Chief Inspector of Constabulary Tom Winsor:

Although Mr Winsor did not specifically refer to any ethnic group, there have been growing concerns over the emergence of sharia courts in some Muslim communities.

Senior police officers said they disagreed with the description given by Mr Winsor, who became chief inspector in October 2012. He is the first person from a non-police background to hold the post.

But Chris Sims, Chief Constable of West Midlands Police, said: ‘I don’t know if he’s talking about Birmingham, but I have only had one conversation with him since he took office and it wasn’t about this.

‘His characterisation of these communities as born under other skies is just wrong. Many members of communities in Birmingham are British-born and I find that a very odd expression.’

Mr Winsor insisted that public trust in the police needed to be restored for a functioning justice system.

He said the police ‘are not a paramilitary force – they are citizens in uniform’.

A spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain said: ‘We all rely on the police to protect our communities and this can be only done through full co-operation and partnership.”

This is the first month of the 2016 election season, and rumors are afloat that Governor Jindal may seek a presidential bid. Vice president at the least. That being, these questions are bound to come up. Some pesky reporter will try to snag the governor with the evolution question. The “I’m not a scientist, man,” is not going to fly much better than it did with Marco Rubio. On top of that there are bound to be the embarrassing questions about no-go zones. It’s possible these questions are the real no-go zone.

Platforms Against Science

CreationismCompeting

Frank Harrold and Ray Eve were early technical advisors for The North Texas Skeptics. Frank Harrold served “20 years as a professor of anthropology at the University of Texas at Arlington.” Ray Eve spent most of his “career at the University of Texas at Arlington in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.” Together they published Cult Archaeology and Creationism: Understanding Pseudoscientific Beliefs about the Past. I own a copy (current on loan), and if you ever read it you will agree that, despite its title, it’s a real page-turner. Harrold and Eve collaborated extensively on studies related to belief in the paranormal, and a critical finding was the correlation between reliance on pseudo science (including creationism) with political conservatism.

What can be said about the sources of pseudoscientific beliefs? Creation science oriented beliefs merit attention because of their connection with Fundamentalist religious tradition in the United States. Kehoe (1985) has discussed the functions of “creation science” within the New Religious-Political Right of contemporary conservative politics. She contends that the acceptance of the inerrancy of the Bible inherent in “creation science” serves as a manifest sign of dedication to the central value of the New Religious-Political Right: acceptance of authority versus “reality testing” and adaptation. In this context, scientific gullibility may be seen as one facet of deference to authority, a kind of generalized willingness to accept as plausible that which appears to be commonly believed by others or what is asserted in folklore to have been proven by unnamed “scientists” or experts. Harrold and Eve (1987) have given support to Kehoe’s assertions about the political and attitudinal underpinnings of the “creation-science” ideology by showing that Creationism beliefs correlated positively with a measure of dogmatism r = .32, .18, .33 for TX, CA, CT) and a measure of political conservativism (anti-abortion, anti-homosexuality, pro-death penalty) which they termed a Moral Majority scale. These findings hold for the USU population, although the correlation was only a moderate one (Creationism-Dogmatism, Pearson’s r = .20; Creationism-Moral Majority, Pearson’s R = relationship with reported number of books read that were not required in an academic course (R = -.24), a finding also reported by Harrold and Eve (1987).

The leading organization in this country working to counter the introduction of anti-science attitudes and teaching in public schools is the National Center for Science Education, headquartered in Berkeley, California. I give them money, and so should you. Their six times a year newsletter Reports of National Center for Science Education provides readers with a quick run-down of the latest events related to pseudo science and public education. There are also essays of interest by qualified researchers and reporters.

The most recent issue features an article by Sehoya H Cotner, D Christopher Brooks, and Randy Moore Evolution and Student Voting Patterns. The authors cite the political correlation previously observed by Harrold and Eve, and they bring these observations into the 21st century:

Democrats, too, have supporters and field candidates, such as Al Gore and Bill Clinton, who believe in a creator but accept evolution. However, Republicans frequently embrace creationism more explicitly than do their counterparts. In the field of candidates leading up to the 2012 elections, only Jon Huntsman (who was eliminated early) was vocally in support of scientific perspectives on evolution (Shear 2011). Perhaps most striking is the willingness of several state Republican parties to make teaching creationism in public schools
a part of their platforms (Figure 1), despite a consistent pattern of state and federal court judgments against this very activity—judgments that are largely based on the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the US Constitution (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”). The recent (June 2014) release of the latest Texas GOP platform highlights the partisan nature of contemporary science—with teaching creationism as part of a bundle that includes “vaccine choice” and climate-change denial.

In particular, the authors published a list of excerpts from state Republican Party platforms that reveals overt support for pseudo science coupled with disdain for critical aspects of science:

Figure 1. State Republican party platforms on evolution and creationism
Alaska: “We support teaching various models and theories for the origins of life and our
universe, including Creation Science or Intelligent Design. If evolution outside a
species (macro-evolution) is taught, evidence disputing the theory should also be
presented.”
Iowa: “We support a balanced presentation of creationism and evolution in public schools. We believe that textbooks and teachers should clarify that Darwinian
evolution is only a theory and not scientific fact.”
Kansas: “Kansas students should be allowed and encouraged to fully discuss and critique all science-based theories for the origin of life in science curricula.”
Minnesota: “Educators who discuss creation science should be protected from disciplinary action and science standards should recognize that there is controversy pertaining to the theory of evolution.”
Missouri: The party supports “Empowering local school districts to determine how best to handle the teaching of creationism and the theory of evolution.”
North Dakota: The party supports “the rights of teachers to teach and discuss the scientific evidence for and against multiple theories of the origin of life, including intelligent design and evolution.”
Oklahoma: “We believe that the scientific evidence supporting Intelligent Design and Biblical creation should be included in Oklahoma public schools curricula. And where any evolution theory is taught both should receive equal funding, class time, and material.”
Texas: “We believe theories of life origins and environmental theories should be taught as challengeable scientific theory subject to change as new data is produced, not scientific law. Teachers and students should be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these theories openly and without fear of retribution or discrimination of any kind.”

And that brings us to the point of this post. It’s time for some Skeptical Analysis of these odd political positions. Let’s start with Alaska.

The state Republican Party wants to teach “various models and theories for the origins of life and our universe.” I have to say that is really odd.

What do you think these politicians intend by various models and theories? Regarding the origins of life, do they mean students should be exposed to some of the following?

  • Deep sea vent hypothesis
  • Thermosynthesis
  • Clay hypothesis
  • Gold’s “deep-hot biosphere” model

And others.

Actually, the politicians don’t have any of these alternatives in mind. If these were the available options they would not even walk across the street for them. What they have in mind for alternative explanations is spelled out in the wording that immediately follows the suggestion that other theories be considered: “[I]ncluding Creation Science or Intelligent Design.”

First of all I want to reflect my appreciation for the use of capital letters. English standard usage, especially in the United States, requires the names of religious movements be capitalized. The use of capitalization by the Alaska politicians is their honest recognition that these are religious ideas as opposed to scientific.

Next, Creation Science and Intelligent Design are, in fact, armor-plated religious concepts. Creation Science, as traditionally defined by organizations such as the Institute for Creation Research insist on the strict biblical interpretation that the Earth is about 6000 years old, an idea that is refuted by any number of scientific findings.

Additionally, Intelligent Design has been cast as a non-creationism and a non-religious alternative to natural processes. All such attempts to convince the world of this absurdity have ended in failure. Particularly, the religious motivation behind Intelligent Design is continually reinforced by proponents even as they seek to convince us otherwise. The documentary Expelled features actor Ben Stein presenting what are supposed to be the evil consequences of Darwinism. Yet viewers are served a lengthy interview with biologist Richard Dawkins, and they are discussing, what else, the existence of God. When Intelligent Design proponents obtained the opportunity to present their case in federal court in the Kitzmiller case they were totally unable to convince the judge there was no religious intent and further that there was any scientific basis behind Intelligent Design.

Regarding Iowa, the politicians want “balanced presentation.” They want creationism and evolution given equal or at least comparable weight in public schools. They want Darwinian evolution to be presented as a theory and not as a scientific fact.

There are two matters at issue here. First they want a conjecture with no scientific validity to be presented not only as plausible to students but also to be pumped up by the school system to give it credibility it has not earned. This is religious proselytizing at public expense.

The other matter is treating Darwinian evolution as a theory. First, Darwinian evolution is a scientific theory. Calling it a theory is like calling Everest a mountain. You do not diminish an idea by calling it a scientific theory. That’s a promotion. Additionally, there is little reason for not calling Darwinian evolution a fact. First, the fact of evolution is well-established. Evidence accumulates daily that living things on this planet share a common ancestry, and in the more than 150 years since it was put forward no scientific studies have come forward to refute it.

So, what do the politicians of the Iowa Republican Party want? My guess is they want to satisfy a religiously motivated base and also a base that has little appreciation for science.

In Kansas students are “encouraged to fully discuss and critique all science-based theories for the origin of life in science curricula.” A critical flaw in the embedded thinking is that there are science-based theories that are in conflict with Darwinian evolution. If a conscientious teacher in Kansas were to stand at the head of a science class and announce that what follows will be a discussion of science-based theories other than Darwinian evolution a profound silence would settle. Further, if opponents of Darwinism were to propose alternatives with any assumed scientific merit, Creation Science and Intelligent design would stand at the back end of a long line of superior proposals.

Minnesota wants to protect teachers “who discuss creation science.” That, quite obviously, will be a tough row to hoe if any teacher wants to put it into practice. First, an honest discussion of creation science would involve telling students what a stupid idea it is. This has been tried.

SANTA ANA, Calif. — A federal judge ruled that a public high school history teacher violated the First Amendment when he called creationism “superstitious nonsense” during a classroom lecture.

U.S. District Judge James Selna ruled Friday in a lawsuit student Chad Farnan filed in 2007, alleging that teacher James Corbett violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment by making repeated comments in class that were hostile to Christian beliefs.

According to a federal judge it’s not OK for a teacher to tell students that creationism is a bunch of crap. Let me put it another way. It’s not OK for teachers to discuss creationism. It’s not OK unless they are willing to be dishonest with students and give creationism some undeserved lift.

Additionally, in Minnesota the politicians want teachers to “recognize that there is controversy pertaining to the theory of evolution.” They want teachers to tell students that creationists have provoked controversy by continually asserting that they have a better idea. Remember, these are not serious researchers making these assertions. These are people like Jonathan Wells, Michael Behe, Douglas Axe, William Dembski, Paul Nelson, David Berlinski, Stephen C. MeyerCaroline Crocker, Guillermo Gonzalez, Richard von Sternberg and Ben Stein.

And when teachers break the law by promoting creationism in class, when they break the law by proselytizing for religion in class, they are supposed to be protected. Sadly, no position taken by the Republican Party of Minnesota will protect a teacher who actually breaks the law by promoting creationism. People will still sue, and the courts will still rightly decide this is against the law, and, as in the case with the Dover Area School District, the tax payers will be left holding the bill for a failed legal challenge.

The Missouri Republican platform contains language that parallels the intent of Minnesota. Politicians want to empower school districts, and they specifically mention creationism and evolution. They want to empower the school districts? Really? Creation and evolution and not mathematics? Not even physics and chemistry? Not even automobile mechanics? My guess would be politicians in The Show Me State have their sights set on evolution and not so much on empowering local school districts. Again, the idea is to provide protection, in spirit if not in fact, for districts that break the law by promoting creationism and other religious views.

North Dakota repeats the mistakes of the foregoing. What ever happened to South Dakota? Some investigation may be in order here.

Oklahoma, from whence Texas supposedly obtains all its drain-down wacko, requests the impossible in scientific evidence supporting Intelligent Design (applaud capitalization) and Biblical creation. First of all the scientific evidence supporting would have to be manufactured on the spot by any teacher discussing it, and Biblical creation is so obviously religious the ACLU, and even the Society for the Inclusion of Sanity, would be waiting in the wings for the first teacher pushing those ideas in class.

And finally my favorite state, Texas. I have to love it, because I was born and raised here, and I went through 20 years of public schools here (I was a slow learner). Once again, a state Republican Party wants to allow open discussion without fear of retribution or discrimination. Of course, that is what science is all about, but it is not likely the politicians will receive what they expect were this to be the actual practice.

In actual practice, if strengths and weaknesses were discussed in class, creationism of all kinds would get a pretty rough ride. See the Santa Ana case above. A teacher who tells students that creationism is a load of crap, which it is, would likely not receive protection from retribution or discrimination of any kind as promised by the state Republican Party platform.

These words in the Texas Republican platform, like those in the other states mentioned, have no effect in practice. Statements of political policy are for the benefit of attracting votes and do not contravene existing law. Existing law is that public funds and offices of power cannot be used to proselytize for religion. The voters may not understand these facts, but what concerns me even more is that politicians, including some who hold public office, may not understand. We may, in fact, be getting the government we paid for.

ValueOfCreationism

Constitutional Christian

ReligionSubstituteThinking

Lest anybody reading this blog get the idea it does not reflect my personal opinion, take this time to disabuse yourself of the notion. My opinion is what this blog is all about.

That said, I try to work it so that my opinion is always the right one. That is, my opinion always reflects the truth. Let’s not get into a discussion now on the definition of “truth” and what it means for something to be true or not to be true. If that has not already been covered, I will do that in a later post.

Now comes the story of Mike Fair of Greenville County representing District 6 in the South Carolina Senate:

Mike Fair: Bias for evolution is protected

The Greenville News

Recently, the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee suggested a minor language improvement to the evolution standard and the State Board of Education rejected the request. Winning and losing are part of the experience of developing public policy. One of the hopes is that decisions will be made with the best interest of those that will be affected and understand we all have biases.

This is an opinion piece appearing in Greenville Online on 3 November. Senator Fair states “[A]s a Christian, my faith becomes the focus if evolution is the subject. Facts are notwithstanding.” I had to parse that last phrase. “Facts are notwithstanding?” I think that means the facts can be disregarded. I’ve been mistaken before.

Senator Fair observes that in public education and especially in the courts, there is a bias toward the acceptance of evolution (read “modern theories of biological science”). Sacrificed in all of this is his Christian faith. He goes on:

Evolution is another matter. Do I believe evolution occurs. Certainly. Evolution means change and it is observable in that sense. There are big dogs and little dogs but big or little dogs are all still dogs. Change occurred but change cannot occur outside the phylum to which dogs belong. Do you really believe that last statement is violative of the establishment clause? Neither do I.

There are about three levels to Senator Fair’s statement. It’s worth examining all three:

The senator seems to be saying there has been a change in the population of the species Canis. Some perspective:

Wolves, dogs, and dingoes are subspecies of Canis lupus. The original referent of the English word wolf, the Eurasian wolf, is called C. l. lupus to distinguish it from other wolf subspecies, such as the Indian wolf (C. l. pallipes), the Arabian wolf (C. l. arabs), or the Tibetan wolf (C. l. chanco), which are probably more similar to the variety of wolf that was ancestral to the modern dog (C. l. familiaris).

[Some links deleted]

Creationists and others who deny the facts of biological evolution often invoke the case of Canis lupus. Within human history all current domesticated dogs have been bred from an original European gray wolf population. Grate Danes and chihuahuas are all derived from a common stock. The creationist will insist this is not biological evolution. This merely represents a reduction in the gene pool. This thing also occurs in breeding of other domesticated stock, including horses and cattle. Certain traits are selected by the breeder and are bred using like members of the population. This is selective inbreeding and does not represent an expansion of the genome.

The creationists are partly correct in this assessment. Anybody involved in the breeding of show dogs (cats, as well) can attest the resulting stock suffers the effects of a reduced gene pool. However, creationists would be too quick if they were to crow over this point. The continued isolation of domestic dogs (and cats) from the wild population allows gene mutations to develop in the separate populations, leading to true evolution and resulting in actual speciation.

Senator Fair further states that change cannot occur outside the phylum to which dogs belong. Again I agree. I also agree the senator needs to take a refresher course in biology. A phylum is a major biological division, and no new phyla have emerged within the past few hundred million years. Possibly the senator should shoot a little lower and aim at a change in species. Change can occur with the creation of a new species, and this has been observed within recent history. Just not involving dogs and cats.

The senator further asserts the foregoing is not a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. That, too, is correct. Making foolish statements in public is not a violation of the Establishment Clause. The problem is, especially for Senator Fair, that is not what this is all about.

What this is all about is seeking to supplant a curriculum in natural science with religiously-derived myth. The courts have ruled that to allow religious themes not based on any real science to intrude into science courses, in public schools, is a violation. It’s a violation, because it amounts to the use of public funds and public authority to proselytize for a religious belief.

The senator next launches into an extended foray into constitutional history, facts relating to our legal process and the precise definition of words. He could have quit after that. However he plunges on:

For example, the courts defined science so as to exclude any theory or information not contained in naturalism — also known as Darwin’s theory of Evolution. The judicial system made those decisions. Intelligence is effectively banned by the courts and intelligence is often absent in the courts!

Another court case ruled “Intelligent Design” violated the Establishment Clause and was therefore ruled unconstitutional. “Intelligent Design” is an explanation for the cause for specified complexity. It is not a theological construct. It is hard for me to believe that “intelligence” has been ruled unconstitutional in the public schools!

Yes, Senator Fair, the study of natural science is just that—the study of natural processes. Modern science involves nothing to do with mysticism and the supernatural.

The senator next gets around to the court case of nine years ago Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al:

Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al. (400 F. Supp. 2d 707, Docket no. 4cv2688) was the first direct challenge brought in the United States federal courts testing a public school district policy that required the teaching of intelligent design.[1] In October 2004 the Dover Area School District changed its biologyteaching curriculum to require that intelligent design be presented as an alternative to evolution theory, and that Of Pandas and People was to be used as a reference book.[2] The plaintiffs successfully argued that intelligent design is a form of creationism, and that the school board policy violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The judge’s decision sparked considerable response from both supporters and critics.

[Some links deleted]

Senator Fair goes a little beyond his reach and states, “‘Intelligent Design’ is an explanation for the cause for specified complexity. It is not a theological construct.” If he thinks Intelligent Design is not a theological construct, then he might want to consult with the people involved in the Kitzmiller case. The Dover Area School District sought to employ the book Of Pandas and People: The Central Question of Biological Origins in the science curriculum. First off, when they thought there were no legal implications the matter was all about proselytizing for religion and violation of the Establishment Clause. William Buckingham was a member of the school board and one of the two creationists pushing for the teaching of Intelligent Design.

[T]here were the official discussions leading up to the new policy that seemed to belie the board’s subsequent insistence that it had no religious agenda—discussion and debate that featured extensive references to God, creationism, the “myth” of church-state separation, and Buckingham’s outraged attempt to shout down critics by saying, “Two thousand years ago, someone died on a cross. Can we have the courage to stand up for him?”

Humes, Edward (2009-10-13). Monkey Girl . HarperCollins. Kindle Edition. Location 189.

Senator Fair needs to look at his own motivations, as well. If  “‘Intelligent Design’ is an explanation for the cause for specified complexity. It is not a theological construct,” then how does his statement “For example, as a Christian, my faith becomes the focus if evolution is the subject,” relate to the topic at hand? And what is the meaning this from his closing remarks?

Unfortunately, our youth are paying the price. Why should a young person care about character if he is just a random conglomeration of particles which is the essence of Darwin’s gradualism.

We all are here for a purpose and Darwin’s random causes and gradualism simply do not fit with the facts and discoveries.

Fair and other creationists find it impossible to state their case without linking anti-evolution notions such as Intelligent Design with their own religious convictions. If, in fact, Intelligent Design did explain the complexity of living organisms, Senator Fair and the rest wouldn’t even cross the street for it if they did not see it as a tool to proselytize.

It’s significant that the Constitution has no clause stating, “The government shall make no law promoting the teaching of nonsense in public schools.” There is no such clause, but there is the Establishment Clause, and that for the moment seems to be the only thing standing between this country as a modern civilization and a state sponsored theocracy. By such a slender thread do we survive.

The Morrison Report

Image from Wikipedia

Image from Wikipedia

Yesterday was an embarrassing time for me—somebody mistook me for a conservative. Don’t be shocked. It’s not hard to figure out how I got on this person’s distribution list. For me to feed my continuing supply of nonsense it’s required that I subscribe to a number of nonsense sources. That would include the Discovery Institute, conservative outlets and religious newsletters. As a consequence I seem to have caught the attention of Peter Morrison:

My name is Peter Morrison, and I’m a conservative businessman living in Lumberton, Texas with my wife and five children. 

I currently serve as treasurer of the Hardin County Republican Party and recently served on the Lumberton ISD School Board. 

I believe deeply in the principles of limited constitutional government, the sanctity of life and that our state and nation should be run under Thomas Jefferson’s principle of “Equal Rights for All, Special Privileges for None.”

Be sure and enter your email address above to get my free newsletter.  It features engaging commentary about current events of interest to Texas conservatives and actions you can take to better our state and nation.

If you’d like to contact me directly, my email is info@petermorrisonreport.com

Although I did not previous visit Peter Morrison’s site and subscribe to his newsletter, I am now glad to be receiving it, no matter how I came to his attention. A few days ago I received an email from Morrison in a similar vein to this one that came just yesterday:

Subject: We Must Stop Legal Immigration
From: Peter Morrison Report (info@petermorrisonreport.com)
To: jf_blanton@yahoo.com;
Date: Wednesday, October 29, 2014 10:36 AM

Summary of this report:

Americans are increasingly fed up with illegal immigration, and rightly so.  If we want our grandchildren to grow up in an America our grandparents would recognize, we must stop amnesty, and we must insist that our elected leaders take real action to stop and reverse illegal immigration. However, illegal immigration isn’t the main factor when it comes to the radical demographic transformation that is drastically altering America’s culture and politics. It is legal immigration that is driving the changes that will soon give Democrats permanent control of national politics if we don’t do something, and do it fast. While stopping amnesty is our most pressing task, it’s only the beginning.  We must then work to bring legal immigration to a virtual halt, before America suffers the irreversible fate of turning into a one-party country.

Full report:

Illegal immigration is finally becoming a concern for millions of Americans who never thought about the issue before.  The hordes of illegal aliens, including tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors, who swarmed our border these past few months have brought the issue to the attention of the nation.  Even the average American who pays little or no attention to politics was shocked to discover that the greatest country in the history of the world has become a dumping ground for the offspring of the poor of Central and South America.  Word has evidently gotten out that any Third World parent in the Western Hemisphere who doesn’t feel like raising their kids can just send them north, knowing that Uncle Sugar will take good care of them.

While it’s nice to see average Americans finally starting to wake up to the threat of illegal immigration, it’s also very frustrating. That’s because, frankly, when it comes to the dangers of immigration, illegal immigration is only the tip of the iceberg.  Legal immigration is a much bigger problem, by far. Unfortunately, even most conservatives have no problem with legal immigration. In fact, many think it’s just terrific. Conservatives are generally clear-headed and logical thinkers, but when it comes to this topic, many simply resort to repeating “feel-good” platitudes.  “America has always been a nation of immigrants.”   “Immigrants come to America because they value freedom and liberty, so they’re natural Republicans.”

These platitudes are worse than meaningless – they’re completely false. There have been many decades during which America brought immigration to a virtual halt, because it was in our own best interests.  Yes, it’s a fact that historically, America has often welcomed immigrants, but not in unlimited numbers and not from Third World nations. Until 1965, immigration was largely restricted to people from Europe, where the vast majority of Americans had their roots.  The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 changed all that. Now, 90% of immigrants are non-European, and they’re coming here at the rate of about a million a year.  They’ve been doing so for decades, and that is the main reason why it has become nearly impossible to elect a Republican president.

Unlike illegal immigrants, legal immigrants can apply for citizenship.  During the last 50 years, tens of millions of them (including their children) have become citizens legally, and have started voting. If they were natural Republicans as so many conservative pundits and leaders have been telling us for decades, then the Republican Party should be getting stronger and stronger in national elections. What we’re seeing, though, is the exact opposite – George W. Bush barely squeaked into office in both 2000 and 2004, and Mitt Romney couldn’t beat the most radical left-wing president this country has ever seen.

With every passing year it’s getting harder and harder to elect a Republican president, and frankly, if things don’t change, in a few years it will be next to impossible.  That’s because immigrants, far from being natural conservatives, prefer the Democrats by about a two to one margin, and every year they and their descendants make up a bigger part of the voting population.  If America had the same demographic mix in 1980 as we have now, Ronald Reagan would have lost to Jimmy Carter.  If we’d had the same demographic profile in 2012 as in 1980, Mitt Romney would be president today.

The great patriotic leader Phyllis Schlafly issued a report that every conservative should read. In it, she clearly and irrefutably demonstrates that legal immigration is a mortal threat to conservatism.  One by one, she lays out the actual facts (which will be quite surprising to many conservatives) and exposes the feel-good platitudes for the dangerous lies they are. Here are some of those facts:

Every decade, some 11 million legal immigrants come to America.  Only 10% percent of them are from Europe; 75% of them are Asian or Hispanic. In general, they and their children vote 2-1 for Democrats.  62% of them support socialized medicine run entirely by the government; 69% support Obamacare. On one poll, 53% of Hispanic Americans said they have a negative view of capitalism.

When asked if they prefer a bigger government providing more services, or a smaller one providing fewer, 55% of Asians and 75% of Hispanics said they prefer a bigger government.  Most immigrants are poor, and many receive government handouts for many years after moving here.  Now, with African-Americans voting 9-1 for Democrats, and millions of Asians and Hispanics voting Democrat at 2-1 or higher, and 10 million of them moving here every ten years, it’s pretty obvious that it won’t be long before the majority of voters will be people who will never support any conservative principle or politician, under any circumstances.

Mrs. Schlafly was not exaggerating when she wrote:

“The key conclusion of the report is this: For conservatives, there is no issue more important than reducing the number of immigrants allowed into the country each year.”

Many people have forgotten that California used to be one of the most solid conservative states in America.  Its electoral votes went to Republicans for decades.  Thanks to immigration, both legal and illegal, California is now a permanent one-party Democrat state.  Barring some radical changes, the same thing will happen to Texas in a few decades.  When it does, conservatives can forget about ever again electing a president.

Making things even worse, many immigrants despise us and our children, even as millions of them flock here.  To them, we’re a bunch of racists who deserve nothing but their contempt.  They also have no attachment to our history and roots, and many of them couldn’t care less about the Constitution. When asked if the Constitution should take precedence over international law, only 37% of legal immigrants say yes. In another poll, only 50% of naturalized citizens said that our schools should teach children to be proud of America.   Making matters even worse is that every single non-European immigrant is entitled to affirmative action and other racial preferences the moment they get off the plane.  Not only will conservatives be outnumbered politically in the not too distant future, our children are going to grow up surrounded by people who have more rights than they do, and who despise everything they represent.

Phyllis Schlafly’s report is entitled How Mass (Legal) Immigration Dooms a Conservative Republican Party.  Some have accused her of fear mongering and exaggerating how bad things are. They are wrong.  In fact, if anything, she is understating the effects that legal immigration has already had on our country, and how much worse they will get if it’s not drastically reduced in the very near future. I urge everyone to read the report, and then contact your Congressional representative and Senators and demand that legal immigration be scaled way back immediately, so that our grandchildren won’t grow up in an alien and hostile culture.  All other issues pale in importance compared to rolling back immigration.

Please forward this report on to other conservatives. Also, please like the report on facebook to help spread the word!

The Peter Morrison Report

http://www.PeterMorrisonReport.com

http://www.facebook.com/morrisonreport

Sources:

http://www.anncoulter.com/columns/2012-12-05.html

http://washingtonexaminer.com/romney-wins-white-vote-by-same-margin-as-reagan-did-in-1980-landslide/article/2512819

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/370166/liberal-newcomers-phyllis-schlafly

http://www.eagleforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/2014_ImmigrationBook-6-12-14.pdf

All right, all of that is interesting in so many respects. Let’s start with the subject line:

We Must Stop Legal Immigration

Yes, “we must stop legal immigration.” Legal immigration? Illegal immigration is bad enough, but we must stop legal immigration? I hope I’ve gotten that point across. Lest some readers are still missing the point, Peter Morrison, treasurer of the Hardin County Republican Party, who also previously served on the Lumberton (Texas) ISD School Board, wants to shut the borders. Don’t let any more people in.

Why?

I’m glad you asked. Morrison spells it out in his email. Picking a choice quote from among many: “I urge everyone to read the report, and then contact your Congressional representative and Senators and demand that legal immigration be scaled way back immediately, so that our grandchildren won’t grow up in an alien and hostile culture.”

I’m going to pick a little deeper and bring forth what may be the pertinent word: “alien.” People not like us. Please allow me to put up a contrived quote that might have appeared more than a hundred years ago:

We must stem this flow of immigrants, these aliens, else our way of life, even our very existence, will be threatened.

[Chief Sitting Bull, the Lakota Nation]

Yes, Mr. Morrison. If we continue to allow illegal immigration, even legal immigration, our grandchildren will be faced with growing up among people who do not look like them. Think like them. Act like them. Peter Morrison, meet Chief Sitting Bull.

Call me a left wing liberal if you want, but I oppose illegal immigration. Why? Because it’s against the law. I can’t insist that you obey the law about not using public funds to proselytize religion in our schools and then at the same time say it’s all right to break the law and enter this country without going through proper channels.

Of course we all know who else opposes illegal immigration. It’s the conservatives. It’s the Republicans. Just ask them.

No, they do not.

Conservatives, Republicans, favor illegal immigration when it suits their purpose. Four years ago I contracted with a home builder for a new home in San Antonio. We had numerous discussions, out of which came the fact that he is a committed conservative and a staunch Republican supporter. Is he opposed to illegal immigration? He better not be.

Since I moved in during October 2010 I have observed the construction of scores of new homes in the neighborhood by this builder. I have observed the workers building these homes. Many of them cannot speak the English language. The conservative Republican who sold me my new home cannot conduct his business without involving the illegal activity of employing undocumented workers.

Why are undocumented workers necessary for many American businesses? One simple fact stands above all other explanations. Undocumented, illegal, workers work cheaper. You can pay them less, because they need the work, and in most instances they cannot compete with American citizens simply because they are here illegally.

I have seen in television interviews American business owners explain that it’s not a matter of money. It’s that Americans will not do some jobs that illegal workers are willing to do. That’s bull shit. I will put that matter to rest right now. I’m retired, but suppose I were still in the work force and looking for a job. Would I take a job as a janitor? Some business owners say I would not and that it is not a matter of money. It’s because I find the job beneath me. Really? Pay me $50,000 a year, and I will take that janitor’s job. You say that $50,000 a year is too much to pay a janitor, and I say that I do agree it’s too much, but I also say we are now talking about money and not about what jobs Americans will or will not do.

In all of this I have whitewashed over Morrison’s ultimate concern. Immigrants are going to vote for Democrats, and we will never elect another Republican president.

Please do not be shocked when I say I would not feel comfortable with the possibility of having one-party rule for the next 100 years or even less, even if that one party is the Democratic party. Electing a Republican every now and then helps to keep my party of choice, the Democratic Party, from becoming a party of extremes.

But what of Morrison’s concerns that immigrants do not share his conservative values? Peter Morrison, meet Bobby Jindal. Meet Ted Cruz. Meet Marco Rubio.

Let me pause to concede one point to Peter Morrison. He’s sure that immigrants from Mexico and further south tend to vote Democratic. This appears to be correct:

The majority of Latinos favor President Barack Obama over GOP contender Mitt Romney, according to an exclusive Fox News Latino. There is, however, one glaring exception: Cuban Americans.

While 64 percent of Mexican Americans and 67 percent of Puerto Ricans said they would vote for the Obama/Biden ticket come November, only 39 percent of the Cuban Americans polled said they would vote for the Democratic side.

One part of Morrison’s message had a decidedly uncharitable slant:

Word has evidently gotten out that any Third World parent in the Western Hemisphere who doesn’t feel like raising their kids can just send them north, knowing that Uncle Sugar will take good care of them.

Others share this sentiment:

Good news America, tens-of-thousands of children in the country illegally are on their way to a public school near you for a taxpayer funded education and the Department of Education says they’re entitled it. More from Caroline May at Breitbart (bolding is mine):

The item is from TownHall.com and further quotes are from Breitbart. Breitbart quotes correctly from the government’s Department of Education. The Health and Human Services Department elaborates further:

When a child who is not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian is apprehended by immigration authorities, the child is transferred to the care and custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).  Federal law requires that ORR feed, shelter, and provide medical care for unaccompanied children until it is able to release them to safe settings with sponsors (usually family members), while they await immigration proceedings. These sponsors live in many states.

Sponsors are adults who are suitable to provide for the child’s physical and mental well-being and have not engaged in any activity that would indicate a potential risk to the child. All sponsors must pass a background check. The sponsor must agree to ensure the child’s presence at all future immigration proceedings. They also must agree to ensure the minor reports to ICE for removal from the United States if an immigration judge issues a removal order or voluntary departure order.

HHS is engaging with state officials to address concerns they may have about the care or impact of unaccompanied children in their states, while making sure the children are treated humanely and consistent with the law as they go through immigration court proceedings that will determine whether they will be removed and repatriated, or qualify for some form of relief.

HHS has strong policies in place to ensure the privacy and safety of unaccompanied children by maintaining the confidentiality of their personal information. These children may have histories of abuse or may be seeking safety from threats of violence. They may have been trafficked or smuggled.  HHS cannot release information about individual children that could compromise the child’s location or identity.

So, it would appear that everything Peter Morrison, Town Hall and Breitbart are complaining about is true. Undocumented children who show up in this country are scooped up and cared for by government agencies which act to ensure they have shelter, food, clothing, protection, care and education, a lot of which is at public expense:

A new report puts the price of educating the thousands of illegal immigrant children who recently crossed into the U.S. at a whopping $761 million this school year — as some school systems push for the feds to pick up the tab.

The estimate comes from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which issued a report on the 37,000 “unaccompanied minors” – who mainly are from Central America – after analyzing data from the Department of Health and Human Services and education funding formulas in all 50 states.

The numbers underscore the concerns critics have raised for months about the burden the surge is putting on local school systems and governments.

Am I outraged at this? Excuse me? This is what a civilized society is supposed to do. When we cease to care for children in need, ours or theirs, we are becoming a nation of troglodytes. But then, that’s being uncharitable to troglodytes. My best guess is the troglodytes cared for their children. That said, let’s examine the reality.

  • $761 million this school year
  • 37,000 “unaccompanied minors”

In trying to reconcile these two numbers I come up with $20,568 per student per year. This is what I found from The Washington Post:

There’s a particularly acute gulf visible in different regions. As the Census Bureau’s announcement noted, the nine Northeast states were among the 15 states spending the most per pupil; 18 states in the South and West were among the 20 states spending the least per pupil. New York spends the most per pupil ($19,552), more than three times the per-student amount spent in Utah ($6,206), the last state on the list.

All right, that doesn’t come out to $20,568, even for New York state, which is the highest. Considering the least spent is $6,206 per student the average has got to be much less than $20,568. So let’s get past this and agree that it costs thousands of dollars a year to educate a child for one year in this country. What of it? It’s worth it.

You think not? Go back to the 37,000 number. That’s supposed to be the number of “unaccompanied minors” that somebody’s complaining about. How does this number compare with other than “unaccompanied minors?”

In fall 2014, about 49.8 million students will attend public elementary and secondary schools. Of these, 35.1 million will be in prekindergarten through grade 8 and 14.7 million will be in grades 9 through 12. An additional 5.0 million students are expected to attend private schools(source). The fall 2014 public school enrollment is expected to remain near the record enrollment level of fall 2013.

Wait just a moment. I think I can do this calculation in my head. 37,000 is less than 0.1% of 49.8 million. Somebody is bleeding all over my Yahoo mail in box over a 0.074% blip in the education budget?

I think the bleeding over a 0.074% (that’s 0.00074) is not so much about the money as it is about the children. Some people just don’t like the children. These children are going to grow up and vote for Democrats. Really? Are you surprised? With conservative Republicans taking the kind of stand that Peter Morrison has, why would they ever vote for him? When did it become a politician’s job to work for self interest while ignoring the needs of the voters?

There may be more. It’s possible these children are going to grow up and not go to the same church as Peter Morrison:

AUSTIN – Some conservative Republican activists working to unseat House Speaker Joe Straus are circulating e-mails that emphasize his Judaism.

Several e-mails have surfaced in recent days that mention Straus’ rabbi and underscore the Christian faith of his leading critics in the House Republican Caucus.

“Straus is going down in Jesus’ name,” said one, whose origins were unclear.

Straus, R-San Antonio, “clearly lacks the moral compass to be speaker,” said another, written by Southeast Texas conservative activist Peter Morrison.

“Both Rep. Warren Chisum and Rep. Ken Paxton, who are Christians and true conservatives, have risen to the occasion to challenge Joe Straus for leadership,” Morrison wrote in his newsletter last Thursday, referring to two Republicans who are running against Straus for speaker.

Morrison, asked Tuesday if he intended to signal that Straus is unfit because he is Jewish, replied in an e-mail, “I was simply making factual statements about Rep. Chisum and Rep. Paxton.”

Morrison said his opposition to Straus is driven by issues, not religion.

Readers, there is much more to this than I can cover at one sitting. You have to be sure I’m coming back to this. Peter Morrison is not finished with all the ills that afflict our fair nation. And we are not finished with Peter Morrison.

People Unclear

GodNeedsMoney

See what I mean? I’m constantly telling people that I’m not about to run out of this kind of stuff, and people like Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt are constantly coming forward to reassure me I’m still on track. Here is what Earhardt said recently:

Law abiding citizens who come to the South need to understand there is a culture in the South of disobeying the law. People from other parts of the country who come to the Sourh need to abide by our accomodation of stupidity.

Those are not Earhardt’s exact words, but she said the same thing, only using different language, which I will reproduce here:

Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt on Wednesday lashed out at atheists who had asked that Christian plaques be removed from public schools in Texas, saying that they “need to understand the culture” in the South.

And I think, growing up in the South, people in Wisconsin, these atheists in other cities need to understand the culture in the South, and how church is a very integral part of our childhood and growing up, and it’s a very important part for the Southern culture.”

I can attest to the truth of Earnhardt’s dismal view of the general level of intelligence in the South, in this case Midlothian, Texas. Although the region south of the Ohio River doesn’t have a lock on this kind of stupidity and lawlessness, at times it does seem to celebrate it inordinately. Recent examples abound. Here is just one:

The parents of a Buddhist student are joining forces with the American Civil Liberties Union to sue a public school board in north Louisiana, alleging their son was called “stupid” and given low marks for not adhering to Christian doctrine taught in his 6th grade science class.

Sharon and Scott Lane are the parents of three children enrolled in the Sabine Parish School System in rural northwest Louisiana. In a complaint filed Wednesday (Jan. 22) in U.S. District Court, the Lanes argue their son “C.C” became the “target of proselytization and harassment by faculty and administration” at Negreet High School when it became apparent he was not a Christian.

Illegal actions of the teacher involved and those of the school administration were so blatant that this case never went to trial. The school subsequently entered into a consent decree which requires the school to end religious proselytizing and to accomodate students of varied cultures.

The consent decree, a court order agreed to by both parties, ends a lawsuit filed in January by the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Louisiana on behalf of a Buddhist sixth-grader of Thai descent, “C.C.,” who was harassed by staff and students because of his faith.

“No child should feel that a teacher is trying to impose religious beliefs, and this agreement ensures that this will no longer be the case at Sabine Parish schools,” said Marjorie Esman, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana. “We’re glad the school board worked with us to bring this matter to a quick and amicable resolution.”

Under the consent decree, the school board must end official prayers during class and school events, refrain from disparaging any particular faith, and prohibit staff from teaching creationism and other biblical doctrine as fact. The consent decree also protects students’ rights to express their faith and pray privately and of their own volition. To ensure that the consent decree is carried out properly and that the constitutional violations do not recur, the board will also conduct in-service training for staff on First Amendment issues and the effects of religious discrimination on students.

Meanwhile, up north in Mount Vernon, Ohio, science teacher John Freshwater taught religious-based creationism as science and engaged in Christian proselytizing in class. That chicken has finally come home to roost as recently announced by the NCSE:

The case began in 2008, when a local family accused Freshwater, then a Mount Vernon, Ohio, middle school science teacher, of engaging in inappropriate religious activity and sued Freshwater and the district. Based on the results of an independent investigation, the Mount Vernon City School Board voted to begin proceedings to terminate his employment. After thorough administrative hearings that proceeded over two years and involved more than eighty witnesses, the presiding referee issued his recommendation that the board terminate Freshwater’s employment with the district, and the board voted to do so in January 2011. (The family’s lawsuit against Freshwater was settled in the meantime.)

Nearly ten years ago the Dover, Pennsylvania, School District prepared to introduce Intelligent Design, a well-known religious concept, into the science curriculum. That ended with a suit brought by parents of students in the school. The suit resulted in a loss by the school district at heavy expense to the tax payers. The case was tried in federal court, and the trial judge additionally chastized members of the school administration for their perjured testimony. Judge John E. Jones III concluded in his 139 page decision:

  • For the reasons that follow, we conclude that the religious nature of ID [intelligent design] would be readily apparent to an objective observer, adult or child. (page 24)
  • A significant aspect of the IDM [intelligent design movement] is that despite Defendants’ protestations to the contrary, it describes ID as a religious argument. In that vein, the writings of leading ID proponents reveal that the designer postulated by their argument is the God of Christianity. (page 26)
  • The evidence at trial demonstrates that ID is nothing less than the progeny of creationism. (page 31)
  • The overwhelming evidence at trial established that ID is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory. (page 43)
  • Throughout the trial and in various submissions to the Court, Defendants vigorously argue that the reading of the statement is not ‘teaching’ ID but instead is merely ‘making students aware of it.’ In fact, one consistency among the Dover School Board members’ testimony, which was marked by selective memories and outright lies under oath, as will be discussed in more detail below, is that they did not think they needed to be knowledgeable about ID because it was not being taught to the students. We disagree. …. an educator reading the disclaimer is engaged in teaching, even if it is colossally bad teaching. …. Defendants’ argument is a red herring because the Establishment Clause forbids not just ‘teaching’ religion, but any governmental action that endorses or has the primary purpose or effect of advancing religion. (footnote 7 on page 46)
  • After a searching review of the record and applicable caselaw, we find that while ID arguments may be true, a proposition on which the Court takes no position, ID is not science. We find that ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980s; and (3) ID’s negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community. …It is additionally important to note that ID has failed to gain acceptance in the scientific community, it has not generated peer-reviewed publications, nor has it been the subject of testing and research. Expert testimony reveals that since the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries, science has been limited to the search for natural causes to explain natural phenomena. (page 64) [for “contrived dualism”, see false dilemma.]
  • [T]he one textbook [Pandas] to which the Dover ID Policy directs students contains outdated concepts and flawed science, as recognized by even the defense experts in this case. (pages 86–87)
  • ID’s backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID. (page 89)
  • Accordingly, we find that the secular purposes claimed by the Board amount to a pretext for the Board’s real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom, in violation of the Establishment Clause. (page 132)

No, Ms. Earhardt, sane people coming into a region of chaos in this country do not have to accomodate lawlessness and idiocy. The American legal system protects us from the lawlessness, and public exposure and ridicule protects us from the idiocy. On that second point I am not always sure.

Stupidity On Stilts

Some background: I attended public schools in this country for all of my academic career, such as it was. Coming from a small town, I had not much of a clue of the real world, and it was some time before the facts of private and religious schools came to me.

Run the tape forward, and public education has gotten real, leading to objections from many who take religion seriously, more so than sometimes seems healthy. Public schools now teach the Earth is 4.5 or so billion years old and that all living things on this planet share a common ancestry. Those who hold truth in lesser regard than tradition and who could afford it have started to pull their children out of public schools and to place them in private schools that accommodate, even emphasized, religious instruction. Regrettably, academic instruction tends to suffer in these schools. I’m going to say this lapse is unavoidable due to the very reasons these schools were established.

Twelve years ago I dropped in to observe a presentation at a Bible church in Dallas. The presentation was by Richard Stepanek from the Alpha Omega Institute in Grand Junction, Colorado. He had some interesting things to say:

The woes of modern life were laid at the feet of evolution. Evolution is the foundation of New Age we were told. Richard should know. He once taught New Age at a Coptic church before coming over to Christian fundamentalism. Turned out not to be a long journey.

Demons are bad we now know. Cult symbols tattooed onto the hands and bodies of young people or carried on ornaments are used to summon up demons. You have seen them all. There’s 666 for sure plus the pentagram and the “peace sign.” The latter is a broken cross Richard told us, a slight against Christianity. Apparently it doesn’t stand for the semaphore ND (for nuclear disarmament) as we were led to believe in the ’60s. Also there is, shudder, the “hook’em horns” hand sign made famous by University of Texas football fans. I feel compelled to feed my diploma to the shredder.

Worse, yet, these symbols have real power to invoke demons to deal death to others. Richard vouched this had actually happened in Tanzania where he visited and took testimony. They are in the air, demons are. Ghosts are part of the demonic realm, as well, and UFOs are manifestations of spiritual life in outer space.

Associated with the church was a religious school, and prior to the presentation children trooped over to the church from the school to obtain the benefit of Stepanek’s talk. I made the comparison of this religious school to the madrasas of the Muslim Middle East.

Bible church file photo

Bible church file photo

Going even further back, seventeen years ago I attended a presentation by David Bassett at a young Earth creationist meeting. At the time Bassett was in charge of science education at one of the private religious schools in the Dallas area. That given, here is an excerpt from the February 1997 issue of The Skeptic.

Additionally, there is the remarkable evidence of living dinosaurs in the Congo region. Although Polaroid photos of these specimens were ruined by the awful climate there, Bassett did have a copy of a copy of an audio tape that was made by a recent expedition. On this tape we could clearly hear the popping sound made by the dinosaurs as they bellowed just a short distance away in the forest. The high atmospheric pressure in this region accounts for the viability of these ancient species. The pressure there is 1.3 to 1.5 times normal atmospheric pressure. This is because of the dense vegetation, which keeps the air quite humid. Of course, water vapor is denser than dry air, David Bassett told the audience.

When he is not contributing to the science education of students at Ovilla Christian School, Bassett works the front desk at Carl Baugh’s Creation Evidences Museum near Glen Rose. Check it out.

I took from such as this that science education in religious schools can suffer gravely, and I lay this mess at the feet of the general disregard for fact embedded in religious thinking.

I continually receive encouragement for my conclusion. Raw Story carries a piece by Johnny Scaramanga relating his personal experience in a religious school in the UK:

I went to an Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) school from the age of 11 to 14, and I can think of many reasons why this kind of education is a poor preparation for university. I spent half of every school day alone in a cubicle, working silently though PACEs (Packets of Accelerated Christian Education) – workbooks that incorporate religious instruction into every academic subject, for example teaching that evolution is a hoax.

The author has more to say and much of it is down right scary:

In all of this, however, little attention has been paid to the pseudoscience that ACE passes off as education. PACEs sometimes get basic science wrong, but more importantly they demonstrate that ACE can’t tell the difference between science and nonsense obscured with long words. For example, ACE’s Science 1087 (aimed at students in year 9) suggests it might be possible to generate electricity from snow:

The explanation was essentially this:

  • From science we know that snowflakes are six-sided.
  • “Some scientists have theorised” this six-side arrangement is due to the three orbital paths of electrons in water molecules.
  • The air pockets between the spokes of snowflakes contain increased concentrations of oxygen.
  • There is a relationship “a snowflake’s attraction to oxygen and magnetism’s attraction to oxygen.”

Now, here is where it gets interesting:

Job 38:22-23New International Version (NIV)

22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow
    or seen the storehouses of the hail,
23 which I reserve for times of trouble,
    for days of war and battle?

The conclusion is obvious:

How can this scripture, along with these observations about snowflakes, show us a physical truth? Scientists at Virginia Tech have produced electricity more efficiently from permanent magnets, which have their lines of force related to each other at sixty-degree angles, than from previous methods of extracting electricity from magnetism. Other research along this line may reveal a way to tap electric current directly from snow, eliminating the need for costly, heavy, and complex equipment now needed to generate electricity.

The writings of an early Iron Age tribesman from the Eastern Mediterranean region now trump modern science. That’s simply fantastic.

For a reality check, Scaramanga relayed this priceless knowledge to Professor Paul Braterman of Glasgow University. “Bullshit on stilts” was the response. Braterman contradicted the deepest sense of this bit of hogwash. For starters, “snow has no magnetic properties.” The bullshit flows downhill from there.

You may wonder, as I do, what value are students getting from education at these religious schools? There are extremes. Some of the top universities in this country are church supported or church founded. I can name:

  • Baylor
  • Notre Dame
  • Princeton
  • Brigham Young
  • Southern Methodist University

Even some of the lesser lights are not soft on science. A television news-documentary item a few years back highlighted the experience of Christian students who attended Wheaton College in Illinois and had their religious fundamentals challenged. They came home and informed their staunch Christian parents that evolution was true. Other of the lesser lights are less than lesser lights. Liberty University was founded by Christian televangelist Jerry Falwell and takes no stock in scientific modernism:

 Liberty University teaches young Earth creationism as an explanation for the appearance of life on earth. The university works with young Earth creationist organizations including Answers in Genesis. In biology classes students are taught both creationism and evolution and that creationism offers a better explanation of biological diversity than evolution. In October, 2006 the university published an advertisement in The Chronicle of Higher Education in an attempt to recruit staff to its biology department. The advertisement stated that the university was “seeking faculty who can demonstrate a personal faith commitment to its evangelical Christian purpose” and specified that “compatibility with a young-earth creationist philosophy [is] required.”

In the same month, prominent biologist Richard Dawkins was quoted saying the following about Liberty University: “If it’s really true that the museum at Liberty University has dinosaur fossils which are labeled as being 3,000 years old, then that is an educational disgrace. It is debauching the whole idea of a university, and I would strongly encourage any members of Liberty University who may be here, to leave and go to a proper university.” In December, 1991 Creation reported, Arlton C. Murray “excavated a dinosaur for Liberty University’s museum”, which proclaimed “this dinosaur was the first of its kind in any creationist museum.”

[Some links deleted]

The sorry academic standards at religious schools came to a head in this country eight years ago when the University of California system rejected some of the college preparatory courses at Christian schools:

The suit filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California alleged that the university system’s rejection of several courses, including a history course, a government course, and science courses, was “viewpoint discrimination” that violated the constitutional rights of applicants from Christian schools whose high school coursework is deemed inadequate preparation for college. The books in particular were published by A Beka Books and Bob Jones University Press. They contained problems such as statements that where science and the Bible contradict, the student must choose the Bible, and judgment of the value of American historical figures on their religion. The UC board concluded that those books did not offer proper preparatory instruction for the university. The lawsuit was brought by the parents of six children who had not been rejected from the university, but were required to take additional, remedial courses. In August 2006, the case was allowed to proceed against the university while lawsuits against individual school officials were thrown out.

The Association retained leading intelligent design proponent Michael Behe to testify in the case as an expert witness. Behe’s expert witness report claimed that the Christian textbooks were excellent works for high school students and he defended that view in a deposition.

[Some links deleted]

The choice of Michael Behe was probably not a wise one. Behe is a legitimate college professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University, but he has some bizarre views of science. I have previously reviewed his book Darwin’s Black Box and also his The Edge of Evolution. When parents sued the Dover Area School District over the introduction of Intelligent Design into the science curriculum in 2005 Behe was one of the defense witnesses. The PBS documentary Judgment Day re-enacted Behe’s testimony wherein he had to defend his statements regarding some basic biochemistry. Despite claiming there was no published science contradicting his position, he had to admit he had not read anything from a pile of published material presented to him on cross examination.

There are many who do serious science while holding deep religious convictions. One such would be Kenneth Miller of Brown University, who is the co-author of a series of biology texts and who also continually works in the public defense of modern biological science, especially against attacks by creationists. Miller also testified at the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case, wherein the plaintiffs won their case while key defenders of creationism were exposed as perjurers.

I followed the Kitzmiller case in the news as events unfolded and was not surprised at the finding of perjury on the part of the creationists. My observation has long been that you cannot do very much religion without a load of perjury.

The Matter With Texas

TextBooks

My previous post was mostly a repost of a press release from the Texas Freedom Network. I give money to the TFN. You should, too.

This year the Texas State Board of Education is reviewing social texts for adoption. Texts approved by the SBOE will be available for use in Texas public schools starting fall of next year. The TFN funded a scholastic review of texts submitted for approval. Their press release links to the results of that review. Here are the core findings:

  • A number of government and world history textbooks exaggerate Judeo–‐Christian influence on the nation’s founding and Western political tradition.
  • Two government textbooks include misleading information that undermines the Constitutional concept of the separation of church and state.
  • Several world history and world geography textbooks include biased statements that inappropriately portray Islam and Muslims negatively.
  • All of the world geography textbooks inaccurately downplay the role that conquest played in the spread of Christianity.
  • Several world geography and history textbooks suffer from an incomplete – and often inaccurate – account of religions other than Christianity.Coverage of key Christian concepts and historical events are lacking in a few textbooks, often due to the assumption that all students are Christians and already familiar with Christian events and doctrine.
  • A few government and U.S. history textbooks suffer from an uncritical celebration of the free enterprise system, both by ignoring legitimate problems that exist in capitalism and failing to include coverage of government’s role in the U.S. economic system.
  • One government textbook flirts with contemporary Tea Party ideology, particularly regarding the inclusion of anti–‐taxation and anti–‐regulation arguments.
  • One world history textbook includes outdated – and possibly offensive – anthropological categories and racial terminology in describing African civilizations.
  • A number of U.S. history textbooks evidence a general lack of attention to Native American peoples and culture and occasionally include biased or misleading information.
  • One government textbook (Pearson) includes a biased – verging on offensive – treatment of affirmative action.
  • Most U.S. history textbooks do a poor job of covering the history of LGBT citizens in discussions of efforts to achieve civil rights in this country.
  • Elements of the Texas curriculum standards give undue legitimacy to neo–‐Confederate arguments about “states’ rights” and the legacy of slavery in the South. While most publishers avoid problems with these issues, passages in a few U.S. history and government textbooks give a nod to these misleading arguments.

Some Skeptical Analysis: Let’s take the first first.

A number of government and world history textbooks exaggerate Judeo–‐Christian influence on the nation’s founding and Western political tradition.

This is possibly where this kind of thing is coming from:

March 11th, 2010

Bonnen calls on State Board of Education to keep Judeo-Christian faith in Social Studies curriculum

Insider’s Report Vol. 7, No. 34

This week, the elected members of the State Board of Education (SBOE) are holding public hearings on proposed revisions to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for Social Studies.  These proposed revisions will define history, government, and social studies education for a generation of Texans.  Their decisions will also have an effect on students nationwide, as textbook companies tend to apply Texas standards to textbooks distributed throughout the United States.

As I have monitored the debate surrounding what will ultimately be taught in classrooms across this state, I have become increasingly concerned with pressures throughout the  revision process to wash the TEKS clean of any references to Judeo-Christian faiths while promoting references to other religions.  For instance, a previous draft of the TEKS removed Christmas and Rosh Hashanah from a list of holidays and added Diwali, a five-day Hindu festival.  Though Christmas and Rosh Hashanah have since been added to the most recent draft, this is indicative of the strong attempts to trivialize and censor the historical importance of Judeo-Christian faiths.

In response, I have joined the Texas Conservative Coalition in submitting a letter to the SBOE, which will be included in the recorded public testimony, calling on its members to ensure that our schoolchildren have a full and accurate understanding of the history that created present-day Texas and the United States.  Our letter urges that the TEKS continue to reflect the Judeo-Christian underpinnings of our nation and society.  We also express our concerns with the removal of prominent historical figures, such as Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison, from the TEKS draft revision and ask that the Board take steps not to undermine America’s greatness and to make certain that references to these figures are reinstated.

While the SBOE has voted to reject many of the harmful proposals aimed at re-writing our state and nation’s history, I will continue my efforts to defend the tremendous influence of Judeo-Christian values on our government and American society so that students can fully understand the philosophy behind our nation’s rich history.

Some Google-assisted probing turns up additional references. Please note this item contains four paragraphs after the header and four references to “Judeo-Christian” in one form or another. I can appreciate that Representative Bonnen takes issue with substitution of a Hindu festival over other traditional American observances, but even a loose reading conveys the idea that it is the emphasis on “Judeo-Christian” that most concerned Bonnen four years ago.

Textbook publishers will be inclined to write to the TEKS in order to get their books approved. A copy of a recent draft of the pertinent TEKS is available on-line. It’s a PDF, and it shows a history of revision. I’m going to remove the strike-out sections and render what is likely the ultimate text. The complete TEKS document is available on-line with the Texas Education Agency and also on this blog site:

(20) Government. The student understands the how contemporary political systems have developed from earlier systems of government. The student is expected to:
(A) explain the development of democratic-republican government from its beginnings in the Judeo-Christian legal tradition and classical Greece and Rome, through the English Civil War and the Enlightenment;
(B) identify the impact of political and legal ideas contained in the following documents: Hammurabi’s Code, the Jewish Ten Commandments, Justinian’s Code of Laws, Magna Carta, the English Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen;

This is how a TEKS requirement is broken down. The (20) is the requirement, and the (A), (B), etc., are the breakouts for the requirement. Compliance stipulations vary, but I am accustomed to seeing 50% coverage of the requirements as the threshold for acceptance. Here is the title page for this TEKS document:

Proposed Revisions to 19 TAC Chapter 113,
Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Social Studies,
Subchapter C, High School and
19 TAC Chapter 118, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Economics with Emphasis on the Free Enterprise
Subchapter A, High School System and Its Benefits,
Approved for second reading and final adoption

But back to the referenced requirement. Take note of the wording. The revision history is telling. Breakout (A) said prior to revision:

trace the process by which democratic-republican government evolved from its beginnings in the classical Greece and Rome, through developments in England and continuing with the Enlightenment; and

The revised breakout has added the reference to “the Judeo-Christian legal tradition.” Democratic-Republican government no longer has “evolved.” Do I suspect somebody has trouble with the concept of evolution? Maybe I’ve been watching too many Mel Gibson movies.

In breakout (B) the Jewish Ten Commandments have been added, and John Locke’s “Two Treatises of Government” have been relegated to the dustbin.

I count a few other places where references to “Judeo-Christian” have been added in revision.

Requirement (22), breakout (B) has been revised. The first instance is the prior text, and the second is the text as revised. Please note that the Greco-Romans have taken it on the chin:

(B) summarize the worldwide influence of ideas concerning rights and responsibilities that originated from Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian ideals in Western civilization such as equality before the law;
(B) identify the influence of ideas regarding the right to a “trial by a jury of your peers,” and the concepts of “innocent until proven guilty” and “equality before the law” that originated from the Judeo-Christian legal tradition and in Greece and Rome;

The Greco-Romans can take solace that they are not the only ones getting the heave. Here’s is another minor revision, this time from Requirement (25). Again the first is the original, and the second is revised:

(C) analyze how ideas such as Judeo-Christian ethics and the rise of secularism and individualism in Western civilization, beginning with the Enlightenment, have influenced institutions and societies.
(C) explain the relationship among Christianity, individualism, and growing secularism that began with the Renaissance and how the relationship influenced subsequent political developments; and

This time it’s the Jews who have been left behind.

It would be fun to take each of the remaining 11 core findings and wring the maximum juice out of them, but that’s a nice exercise best left to the reader. Maybe some time when it’s too cold out yard work I will have fun with some more of these. For now I will recap some of the commentary from the TFN’s reviewers.

A number of government and world history textbooks exaggerate Judeo- Christian influence on the nation’s founding and Western political tradition.

McGraw–‐Hill School Education – United States Government

Text mentions Moses and claims that the “biblical idea of a covenant, an ancient Jewish term meaning a special kind of agreement between the people and God, influenced the formation of colonial governments and contributed to our constitutional structure.”

What’s Wrong?

The American Founders did believe in a social contract, but their version of that contract was derived primarily from modern British political thought, and John Locke’s thought in particular. Since Locke’s version of the social contract was in many ways a repudiation of the biblical covenant view referenced in this passage, this passage provides the student with almost the opposite of the historical truth.

Being a retired engineer I have some trouble with inserting make-believe people into history texts, especially when it’s not carefully pointed out to readers that such people (Moses) are literary figures and not real people. Of course I could be asking too much.

I fondly recall my grade school days, or whenever it was they attempted to teach me world history. As I recall the time line started out with Abraham’s migration from Ur to Canaan. No mention was made that human history began with ape-like creatures, who were our forefathers. The human species just popped up in the Middle East, and tribal leader Abraham moved his people to better pastures in Canaan. Never mind that Abraham is a fictional character in an ancient book.

All that was 55+ years ago, and we have learned some additional stuff about human history in the mean time. But not so much that we had it all that wrong. Hopefully there was a time when history texts got better, but it was my misfortune to get on the train at the wrong station and to get off too soon. It may now be that we are going back to the days 55 years ago when made-up stuff was put into history books. If we are not going back, then it’s no fault of a number of people prominent in todays campaign for historical revision.

Classical (some would say too classical to be taken seriously) is our own David Barton:

Sad to say, there are consequences to poor scholarship. Barton’s publisher has withdrawn  his bookThe Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson from the market. And that’s too bad, because I was planning on picking up a copy for myself. Donations accepted. It’s not that sales of the book were weak, it was a New York Times Best Seller in 2012. The publisher decided it was just too wrong.

In the matter of historical revision, Barton may just be the spear point. People, it’s almost gotten to be a cottage industry. Did I mention Mike Huckabee?

Michele Bachmann, who has been a big fan of Barton since her days in the Minnesota legislature when she tapped him as a history education “expert” to help pass her bill allowing the Declaration of Independence to be taught in Minnesota’s public schools (she had apparently believed the ridiculous Fox News story about the Declaration being banned in California’s schools), gave her usual spiel about never missing one of Barton’s highly enlightening tours of the Capitol.

But the most outrageous statement by far came from Mike Huckabee, who expressed his admiration for Barton by saying that he “almost wished” that “all Americans would be forced — forced at gunpoint no less — to listen to every David Barton message.”

I have previously commented on the Texas Public Policy Foundation, one of the conservative entities expressing a great interest in the Texas history curriculum. I mentioned that this group has, in fact, been beneficial in pointing out egregious errors in proposed books. Their conservative bias, however, tends to put them on the wrong side of earnest scholarship. Their colored lens is evident in at least one item posted on their site:

Reviving history education will not be an easy task, based on the reception that our review has received in Texas. The Texas Council for Social Studies petitioned the State Board of Education to disregard the findings. The Texas Freedom Network, an organization founded to oppose Christians and funded by the Texas State Teachers Association Political Action Committee, is waging an aggressive “I Object” campaign in state and national media. They cast the textbook review as a veiled effort of “religious conservatives” to “censor” textbooks. Their unfounded, dishonest criticism deflects public attention away from textbook content and undermines a forthright effort to improve curriculum.

With their eye on their goal of getting history taught that fits in their comfort zone, they are apt to misread the facts. A little checking by the TPPF prior to publishing the above would have informed them the TFN does not, in fact, “oppose Christians.” Which is to say, the TFN does not oppose Christians who get their facts right.