Darwin, Help Us!

Hate it when elections don't go your way? So does the National Association of State Boards of Education. In their upcoming election for president, Kenneth Willard, who supports "intelligent design" theory, is running unopposed. So they are, uh, "reviewing" their election procedures to see if there is any way on Darwin's green earth they can stop this from happening. For his part, Mr. Willard accuses the scientific establishment of having "blind faith in evolution."

If only there were some scenario in which not everyone would have to agree on the merits of creationism class...some sort of choice-based, individualized educational system. Oh well.

Read reason on evolution here and vouchers here .

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  • Darwin||

    The link to the reason article on evolution isn't there.

  • ||

    Looks like they need a "None of the above" option on their ballot.

  • ||

    The public education establishment vs. intelligent design proponents. Wouldn't you like to see this settled in a no-holds-barred cage match?

  • ||

    "The public education establishment vs. intelligent design proponents. Wouldn't you like to see this settled in a no-holds-barred cage match?"

    They should use modified Aztec rules where the winner of the match is ritualistically killed by the loser. For the crowd participation portion of the event, the loser is tarred and feathered.

  • ||

    If most people in the organization think this guy is a kook, why didn't anyone run against him?

  • ||

    If most people in the organization think this guy is a kook, why didn't anyone run against him?

    They're educators. The only politics they pay attention to are bond issues.

  • ||

    What purpose does a National Association of State Boards of Education serve? It it just another group that can hold vacations/conferences for local pols on the taxpayer dime?

  • ||

    Seems like evolution passed Kenneth Willard by. To put someone with his views in a position of leadership sets a dangerous precedent for the rest of us who support advanced intellectual theory. He and his like-minded supporters are the reason I support the notion of private school. SECULAR PRIVATE SCHOOL, that is.

  • GILMORE||

    They should nominate Chuckles the Dancing Monkey to run against him. That'll show em!

  • ||

    Yeah, why not just run someone against him?

  • ||

    They should use modified Aztec rules where the winner of the match is ritualistically killed by the loser. For the crowd participation portion of the event, the loser is tarred and feathered.

    I heard they planned this before, but it turned out that Willard's head would be too small to use as a ball in the following match...

  • ||

    "If only there were some scenario in which not everyone would have to agree on the merits of creationism class...some sort of choice-based, individualized educational system."

    In the meantime there's nothing inherently wrong with having a creationist as president.

    ...but Blanks has it exactly right. We need to privatize as much of the school system as we can as soon as possible for all our sakes...

    If school boards are as resistant to the demands of other parents as they are to the demands of creationists, then how bad must they be!

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    Darwin | June 21, 2007, 2:03pm | #
    The link to the reason article on evolution isn't there.


    Aha! The missing link!

  • ||

    Look, you can disagree with the guy about whether or not there is a God who started the whole shebang and somehow got us from singularity of matter to living breathing thinking human being, and if you honestly think that disqualifies him from holding office, then by all means vote against him. But to try to disqualify the guy from an election for that reason denies the choice to those of us who think it's fine for religious folks to hold office.

    If there's a more qualified candidate, find him or her and run them against him.

    Or better yet, liberate the school system from the monopolistic control of government and let schools set their own policy on I.D. vs. Creationism vs. Evolution vs. Theistic Evolution vs. the Spore theory. Colleges can set minimum admissions standards for science to ensure that evolution theory is included in the chosen curriculum and alleviate concerns that the next generation will miss out on the opportunity to hear about the eternal monkeys and their typewriters.

  • VM||

    DAR!

    wow! just wow! You win the Stevo "Threadkiller" Darkly Award.

    freakin awesome.

    *passes D.A.R. canned fried haggis fritters

  • ||

    you can disagree with the guy about whether or not there is a God who started the whole shebang

    That's missing the point. I don't think anyone's opposed to offering religious classes in school (assuming no one's forced to take them).

    It's attempts to dress religion up in a "science" outfit and parade her around town that twicks my nethers...

  • ||

    Considering the list of "wrong unscientific" ideas at most public school includes the medicinal effects of hemp, I'm rooting for the Creationist. Rewritting election rules to preserve a belief would do more long term damage than a Creationist could do during his administration.

  • ||

    OK, I just RTFA and saw the scenario, which is that the guy he was running against withdrew, and there isn't a provision for write-in candidates in their elections. So what they're considering doing is changing the procedures to allow write-ins.

    I wouldn't normally have a problem with this, but it is a little scummy of them to do this if they've refused to allow write-in votes in the past when a candidate runs unopposed.

  • ||

    I would suggest the best course of action is to abstain from voting. The creationist still wins the election, but if he has a ridiculously low vote total, it will make clear that he has no mandate.

  • Ventifact||

    I must agree with jtuf, who gets to the most important point here. Free speech, free elections, free markets, and free society in general operate on the assumption that we'll make mistakes with our choices but that only if we have those choices will be overall make the biggest number of best choices.

  • ||

    Wow, "Missing Link."

    Well done, D.A.R. Two thumbs up.

  • ||

    D.A.R.,

    Wow, how did I miss that until now.

    Good form, chap, good form...

  • ed||

    I don't have kids and I'll be dead by the time today's little punks get around to fucking everything up so I don't care if they reach adulthood believing they descended from God's magic fingertips. It'll give what remains of the civilized world something to laugh at.

  • ||

    Or better yet, liberate the school system from the monopolistic control of government and let schools set their own policy on I.D. vs. Creationism vs. Evolution vs. Theistic Evolution vs. the Spore theory. Colleges can set minimum admissions standards for science to ensure that evolution theory is included in the chosen curriculum and alleviate concerns that the next generation will miss out on the opportunity to hear about the eternal monkeys and their typewriters.

    With a significant portion of children being... "educated" (if you want to call it that) in religious schools (or worse, homeschooled) to shelter them from reality, what's going to stop colleges and universities from dumbing down their standards to make sure they get tuition-paying students into the classrooms? After all, market forces are at work here, and colleges have to make money too. Eventually, I fear the rest of the civilized world will run circles around us in the sciences because we thought it would be a good idea to allow parents the "choice" to raise their kids to be willfully ignorant (in the the name of JEEZ-us, of course) as they are.

    Also, perhaps one of the alleged "free marketeers" here can explain to me why "school choice" isn't just a welfare handout for bible-beaters to help keep their brainwashed, Christian, fuckspawn uneducated enough to vote Republican, park asses into Mega-Church pews, and fill collection plates?

  • ||

    OK, OK.

    I don't want Creation Science in public schools.

    But what do we do if Yahweh DOES show up?

    Arranges for a supply of burn ointment in his coffin.

  • ||

    Also, perhaps one of the alleged "free marketeers" here can explain to me why "school choice" isn't just a welfare handout for bible-beaters to help keep their brainwashed, Christian, fuckspawn uneducated enough to vote Republican, park asses into Mega-Church pews, and fill collection plates?

    Akira, don't sugarcoat it, how do you really feel about this?

    I'm an athiest and support school vouchers. If you wish to exclude religiously based schools I have a little, but not much, to quibble with you about. Most of that involves tactics not principles. After all the unnreachable perfect is the enemy of the achievable good.

  • ||

    Also WTF is this about homeschooling? I'm sure lots of people are capable of outperforming public schools, and that most recognize their weaknesses/shortcomings.

  • ||

    fuckspawn
    Aren't we all fuckspawn (in a manner of speaking)?

  • ||

    Aren't we all fuckspawn (in a manner of speaking)?

    Ahhh. Philosophy.

  • ||

    what's going to stop colleges and universities from dumbing down their standards to make sure they get tuition-paying students into the classrooms? After all, market forces are at work here, and colleges have to make money too.

    Accreditation standards and competition. Do you as a parent want to shell out 80 grand to get your kid a degree from UCLA or do you want a degree from the Flat Earth Society University?

    Also, perhaps one of the alleged "free marketeers" here can explain to me why "school choice" isn't just a welfare handout for bible-beaters to help keep their brainwashed, Christian, fuckspawn uneducated enough to vote Republican, park asses into Mega-Church pews, and fill collection plates?

    It depends on the nature of the school choice. Is it a voucher? Then you should be happy. With government money comes government strings in the form of mandates and dictates from on high. Personally, I think religious schools would be fools to accept voucher money unless they are willing to compromise their principles.

    Is it a tax credit? Well, in that case it's not welfare since it's not government money to begin with. The government is merely benevolently deigning to steal less of our resources to educate our children ourselves.

    Is it the complete liberation of the education system? Great. Then those bible schools will have to compete just as hard as other schools to win students.

    But we'll ignore many of the existing religious schools which usually outperform their public counterparts, teach traditional subjects and just supplement that with biblical classes and stricter discipline codes, because it's obvious that anyone who believes in God must be some backwater ignorant hick who's ready to burn the first woman they see with a short skirt as a witch and wants their kids to fail, right?

  • ||

    Akira,

    Now that my ears have had a chance to stop burning, I'll ask you if you realize that a sizeable portion of children in this country have been educated at religious schools, well, since this country existed. By your logic we should have been way behind the rest of the world for our entire existence.

  • ||

    Also, perhaps one of the alleged "free marketeers" here can explain to me why "school choice" isn't just a welfare handout for bible-beaters to help keep their brainwashed, Christian, fuckspawn uneducated enough to vote Republican, park asses into Mega-Church pews, and fill collection plates?

    Because school choice is agnostic to who or what religion or group of individuals "wins" or benefits. School choice is just that--a choice that everyone can make for themselves, and schools will be forced to compete for pupils.

    I'm not so concerned about fuck spawning or whatever or people going to church. I guess it has to do with the fact that we're into freedom here. If you're into hating Christians or feel for some reason they aren't entitled to their opinions and way of life, maybe freedom isn't right for you. I would probably suggest socialism or facism.

  • ||

    Accreditation standards and competition. Do you as a parent want to shell out 80 grand to get your kid a degree from UCLA or do you want a degree from the Flat Earth Society University?

    Regent University grads tend to be in much demand in the Justice Department and other areas of the Executive Branch these days. A Regent web page claimed that 150 graduates have served in the George W. Bush administration


    Bob Jones University isn't doing too bad on the enrollment front either.

  • ||

    A Regent web page claimed that 150 graduates have served in the George W. Bush administration

    Yeah, and that in itself would be enough to drive the approximately 70% of us who dislike the Bush Administration into taking our money to a rival institution.

    But, in a perfect world, where Democrats were an actual opposition party, I would expect them to downplay that fact once the criminal proceedings started against the Executive branch.

  • biologist||

    Joe:

    science facts aren't socialist, fascist, or democratic.

    I tell my students "have whatever opinion you want, but you will learn evolutionary theory."

  • ||

    If you're into hating Christians or feel for some reason they aren't entitled to their opinions and way of life, maybe freedom isn't right for you. I would probably suggest socialism or facism.

    If any force in American society will bring "socialism or facism [sic]" or any other totalitarian system to America it's will be Christianity.

    So to hell with the "opinions" and "way of life" of a bunch of knuckle-dragging, supersticious, barbarians. Some of us don't want to live in the Dark Age they wish to bring down upon us all.

  • ||

    Akira, speaking as a fellow atheist, I just have to say, with all due respect, it's time to up the dosage on your meds.

  • ||

    Biologist:

    Perhaps school choice isn't right for you because inherent in it is choice . I applaud you're commitment to objective and scientific truth but that would, in fact, likely be better instilled by a state school and authority.

    In this case, we should be weary of home schooling.

  • ||

    Akira-

    You're clearly not one of the libertarians who believes in personal freedom for all, regardless of their beliefs. Perhaps some form of a free market authoritarian?

  • ||

    Accreditation standards and competition.

    Rigggght. Bible-beating diploma mills like Bob Jones, Liberty, and Regent accreditation despite the fact that their curriculum is pure horseshit. As for competition, since most polls indicate that a majority of Americans are Creationists it's going to be hard to find a secular education when there is no demand for reality-based schools.

    But we'll ignore many of the existing religious schools which usually outperform their public counterparts, teach traditional subjects and just supplement that with biblical classes and stricter discipline codes, because it's obvious that anyone who believes in God must be some backwater ignorant hick who's ready to burn the first woman they see with a short skirt as a witch and wants their kids to fail, right?

    You just don't realize just how proud most Christians are of their willful ignorance. For them, taking things on "faith" rather than fact gets them brownie points to with the jealous and vengeful Sky Tyrant.

  • ||

    You're clearly not one of the libertarians who believes in personal freedom for all...

    Oh, I believe in freedom, particularly my own. With a few exceptions, the rest of the human race can burn for all I care.

    However, history has shown that the vast majority of humanity is too fucking stupid to be allowed access to oxygen, much less liberty. The last thing you want to give the stupid is freedom, and stupidity is something that religion specializes in.

    When people are both educated and grounded in reality, then we'll talk about "choice."

  • ||

    Bible-beating diploma mills like Bob Jones, Liberty, and Regent accreditation despite the fact that their curriculum is pure horseshit.

    Beyond the fact that they include theology classes, are run or founded by some colorful figures, and have some questionable idea about morality that don't jibe with the book they claim to follow, is there any substantial difference between the non-theology courses they teach vs. an institution of similiar size and resources, or is this a generalization based on your assumptions of Christianity?

    Christianity does not preclude good education or you must also denigrate some of the older universities in Europe and America that had their start (and still maintain some ties) to religious institutions or persons?

    You just don't realize just how proud most Christians are of their willful ignorance. For them, taking things on "faith" rather than fact gets them brownie points to with the jealous and vengeful Sky Tyrant.

    This, like all things, greatly depends upon the person. Either a person values education or they do not. I could just as easily cite the myriad of works by Christian authors, scientists, and philosophers through history to support my contention that one can be a person of faith and still be both educated and rational.

  • ||

    This, like all things, greatly depends upon the person. Either a person values education or they do not. I could just as easily cite the myriad of works by Christian authors, scientists, and philosophers through history to support my contention that one can be a person of faith and still be both educated and rational.

    There is no difference. No matter how many fake accolades and bogus accomplishments, second you abandon reason for God, you're no better than a fucking animal.

  • ||

    EDIT: ...accomplishments, the second...

  • ||

    If you are that closed minded that you refuse to even acknowledge or see the myriad of contributions that religious men and women have made to our collective human knowledge then there is no point in continuing to argue with you.

    Your faith in the rightness of your position and your opinion of those who do not share your dogma would do any Inquisitor proud.

  • ||

    Thank you, Akira, for courageously failing to address my point about the ubiquity of religious schools in America for the past 200 years.

  • ||

    If you are that closed minded that you refuse to even acknowledge or see the myriad of contributions that religious men and women have made to our collective human knowledge then there is no point in continuing to argue with you.

    Your faith in the rightness of your position and your opinion of those who do not share your dogma would do any Inquisitor proud.

    Good! Because I don't want to "debating" you either. I'll just count you among the multitude of religionist animals who also don't deserve to suck air.

    But before we try to ignore each another, please, spare me your pointless moral equivocation.

    "I know of no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too desirous for evidence in support for their core beliefs."

    --Sam Harris
    Letter To a Christian Nation

  • dhex||

    "I know of no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too desirous for evidence in support for their core beliefs."

    eugenics?

  • ||


    However, history has shown that the vast majority of humanity is too fucking stupid to be allowed access to oxygen, much less liberty. The last thing you want to give the stupid is freedom, and stupidity is something that religion specializes in.

    When people are both educated and grounded in reality, then we'll talk about "choice."


    We should also extend this idea to democracy as a whole. People should not be allowed to vote until they are properly educated in policy and the truth behind every candidate.

    Oh yeah, and only people who take parenting classes should be allowed to have kids.

    And no porn for the aborigines until they stop using it to abuse their kids...

  • ||

    "I know of no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too desirous for evidence in support for their core beliefs."

    eugenics?


    A desire for "evidence in support of ...core beliefs" is niether necessary nor sufficient to motivate the injustices associated with eugenics.

    And Akira's comments are over the top hyperbole, but they raise an interesting point. The purpose of public education is not to give students any beliefs or any way of thinking about the world that their parents happen to prefer. The purpose is to give students accurate information and valid approaches to critical thinking.

    I would argue that dispensation of accurate information is sometimes an appropriate function of government; possibly including cases in which the parents of the person recieving the information would prefer their offspring to remain ignorant. One example is government action to inform people of the health risks posed by cigarettes, which would include informing someone who was homeschooled and taught that cigarettes are harmless.

    So I guess what I'm getting at is: If a significant number of people are growing up believing creationism (or some other crazy nonsense), and they are sheltered from evidence which disproves the nonsense they were taught, should the government undertake effort to make the existence of such evidence more widely known? And if so, to what extent does public school contribute to such efforts? And if all elementery students went to a private school of their parents' choosing, what would the likely effect be on how widespread those misconceptions are?

    There are, of course, efforts by private parties to do dispel misconceptions. Perhaps such efforts are adequate and government action is unnecessary. Or perhaps their is a better/more efficient way than public schooling for the government to help refute nonsense.

    I don't really have a strong position on vouchers or education policy, but I think its reasonable to take this stuff into consideration when making such policy.

  • ||

    And I'll disqualify myself from being a libertarian in advance, so nobody has to waste time posting that "You're not a libertarian because you would allow the government to do....."

  • ||

    And Akira's comments are over the top hyperbole, but they raise an interesting point. The purpose of public education is not to give students any beliefs or any way of thinking about the world that their parents happen to prefer. The purpose is to give students accurate information and valid approaches to critical thinking.

    Maybe you went to a different kind of school than I'm familiar with. The ones I know of were more concerned with filling seats, adherence to pointless rules and regulation, not challenging the establishment, and making sure you scored just well enough on a test that determined their funding. Any actual learning or education was accidental.

    So I guess what I'm getting at is: If a significant number of people are growing up believing creationism (or some other crazy nonsense), and they are sheltered from evidence which disproves the nonsense they were taught, should the government undertake effort to make the existence of such evidence more widely known? And if so, to what extent does public school contribute to such efforts? And if all elementery students went to a private school of their parents' choosing, what would the likely effect be on how widespread those misconceptions are?

    Look, shouldn't that tell everyone something about the state of the government education camps? They've had a monopoly for decades, they've taught nothing but evolution origin science and large groups of people are still identifying themselves as Creationists, ID or theistic evolution adherents. The government fails at 99% (hyperbole) of what it tries to do.

    Heck, If anything religious folks should probably encourage the public school monopoly and the teaching of evolution only in class. After a few more decades of good government science education, I'm sure the number of people believing in Creationism would jump to 90%.

  • ||

    Maybe you went to a different kind of school than I'm familiar with. The ones I know of were more concerned with filling seats, adherence to pointless rules and regulation, not challenging the establishment, and making sure you scored just well enough on a test that determined their funding. Any actual learning or education was accidental.

    By saying that the purpose of public education is "to give students accurate information and valid approaches to critical thinking" I meant that is what they should be trying to do. I agree that it may be the case that they aren't doing a good job of that or that they aren't even trying very hard to do that.

    Look, shouldn't that tell everyone something about the state of the government education camps? They've had a monopoly for decades, they've taught nothing but evolution origin science and large groups of people are still identifying themselves as Creationists, ID or theistic evolution adherents. The government fails at 99% (hyperbole) of what it tries to do.

    Ok, fair enough. Perhaps private schools would do a better job overall of educating students than public schools (as there is some evidence that they do now). And maybe the substitution of ideological pseudoscience for actual science, as feared by some, would be minimal under a system of school choice among private schools.

    But I'll explore the point a little further. Suppose we institute a system of vouchers, tax credits, or whatever. It is my understanding private schools have to submit a curriculum, and parents who homeschool their kids have to inform the government that they are doing so and in some states submit a curriculum also. Should the government require that such curriculums meet some standard of fact-basedness? And to the extent that such public disclosures allow the government to identify when students are likely being taught nonsnse, should the government take any other kind of effort to inform those individuals that they have been taught nonsense?

    For example, lets say it turms out that there are certain common misconceptions that homeschoolers are taught. Maybe the government could send homeschooled people a letter upon reaching adulthood saying something like:
    "There is a good chance your parents lied to you about one or more of the following things...(list of common falsehoods).. The evidence proving this can be found on the National Academy of Sciences website under the link labelled... Other sources of real information include..."

  • ||

    Well, hopefully, if the parents, private schools, and homeschoolers have done their job, the kids will know to take any government issued 'fact' with more than a grain of salt. ;)

  • ||

    Well, hopefully, if the parents, private schools, and homeschoolers have done their job, the kids will know to take any government issued 'fact' with more than a grain of salt. ;)



    I will be the first to applaud if many private schools start teaching an Intro to Pharmacology course that demonstrates that the government vastly overstates the pernicious effects of illegal drugs. Or history or applied statistics courses that highlight other state-perpetrated falsehoods.

    But whatever the government's credibility, or lack thereof; if an official statement is supported by strong scientific evidence its desireable that people be aware of such evidence. So I'll expand on my proposed letter:

    "There is a good chance your parents lied to you about one or more of the following things...(list of common falsehoods).. The evidence proving this can be found on the National Academy of Sciences website under the link labelled... Other sources of real information include... The scientific sources we mention are legitimate. We promise that niether we nor the scientists are not engaged in any kind of conspiracy. If you don't believe us about that you can go to any of the following labs in your spare time:..... and see for yourself that they do real experiments and publish the real results they get. If you still don't believe us call our Conspiracy Theory Rebuttal Hotline at 1 800 U R CRAZY."

    If the person is still skeptical after seeing the evidence for (whatever) then that is just how it ends up. But it would be good if at least the person knows about that evidence.

  • دردشه عراقية||

    Thanks

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