Step one: Teach them how to use fire.
Step one: Teach them how to use fire.
So as you may have heard, Rick Perry is one of those Republican candidates who is ignorant and proud of it. This was on display recently when he was asked about evolution and dismissed it as “only a theory” and mentioned that Texas schools teach creationism and evolution and let the students make up their own minds. That last part was blatantly wrong, as they don’t teach creationism in Texas public schools. This means that at best the governor of the state of Texas is ignorant of what his state’s schools teach. At worst it means he’s a liar.
Richard Dawkins has an editorial in the Washington Post where he takes Perry in particular, and the Republican party in general, to task for their current anti-science stance. It’s good reading. The best part:
A politician’s attitude to evolution is perhaps not directly important in itself. It can have unfortunate consequences on education and science policy but, compared to Perry’s and the Tea Party’s pronouncements on other topics such as economics, taxation, history and sexual politics, their ignorance of evolutionary science might be overlooked. Except that a politician’s attitude to evolution, however peripheral it might seem, is a surprisingly apposite litmus test of more general inadequacy. This is because unlike, say, string theory where scientific opinion is genuinely divided, there is about the fact of evolution no doubt at all. Evolution is a fact, as securely established as any in science, and he who denies it betrays woeful ignorance and lack of education, which likely extends to other fields as well. Evolution is not some recondite backwater of science, ignorance of which would be pardonable. It is the stunningly simple but elegant explanation of our very existence and the existence of every living creature on the planet. Thanks to Darwin, we now understand why we are here and why we are the way we are. You cannot be ignorant of evolution and be a cultivated and adequate citizen of today.
I really don’t understand the Republican party’s current drive to be the Know-Nothings of the 21st century. I understand they’re trying to appeal to the religious base out there, but surely there’s better ways than by constantly denying scientific fact on things like this and global warming. Oh, well. If they take a nice drubbing next year or in 2014, maybe then they’ll start to look hard at what they’re doing. Maybe. I won’t be holding my breath.
Hey, all you Christians out there who think we should “teach the controversy” in schools! You know, the controversy about evolution. You know, the one that only exists because you insist that it does! Yeah, that one! Keep in mind how much that could damage your child’s future when they get to college and are expected to know actual science!
A high school marching band in Missouri used an evolution motif on their t-shirts. It’s cute, if a bit simplistic. Problem is, the concept pissed off a lot of people (ie: Christians), and the t-shirt got banned.
This was done under the guise of religious neutrality, which is a stupid, wrong excuse. Yes, the government (and public schools are part of that), should maintain a strictly neutral view towards religion. But evolution is not a religious issue; it’s a scientific fact. If the band did something based off the Big Bang, or something based on the age of the Earth, would the school have banned that as well?
Money quote on this issue:
Band parent Sherry Melby, who is a teacher in the district, stands behind Pollitt’s decision. Melby said she associated the image on the T-shirt with Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
“I was disappointed with the image on the shirt,” Melby said. “I don’t think evolution should be associated with our school.”
Lady, there’s private schools out there. Please send your child to one of them and stop dragging down the rest of the students.
You know that old myth about how the gays are out to recruit your kids? Well, they aren’t. But the Christians are.
For those who don’t know, today marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. Go, Abe! Question for anyone who might know: why does “Lincoln” have a silent “l” in it?
But Lincoln’s birthday is overshadowing the birthday of someone who is arguably more important and had a larger impact around the world, one Charles Darwin, born on the same day in 1809.
Lincoln was a great president and a great man who helped free the bodies of the slaves around the country and fought to preserve the union. Darwin, on the other hand, helped free the minds of generations from the shackles of ignorance and religion and gave us a different, scientific point of view as to, well, The Origin Of Species.
For those who are interested, Roger Ebert, of all people, has written a piece praising Darwin. It’s intelligent and interesting, like everything he writes, and I highly recommend it.
To all those who continue to cling to “intelligent” design or belief in a god, hey, it’s 2009. Wake up and get with the 21st century, ok? To those who say Darwin recanted and had a nice heart-to-heart with Elizabeth Hope, no, he didn’t. Accept it. Move on. Even if by some chance he had recanted, it doesn’t matter. If Columbus had suddenly started saying, “Hey, the world is flat!”, that wouldn’t have made it so. Darwin’s theories have stood the test of time and science and that’s good enough for me.
Roger Ebert has posted up something on his website all about creationism. Go have a look.