Archive - Jun 19, 2008

The Freedom To Be Wrong

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Memo to Creationists: STAY DOWN.

I suppose it's too much to ask that a group of people who don't know how old the Earth is might know when to give up, but a man can hope. After two and a half blissful years of peace and quiet while the stupidest people on the planet licked their wounds, they have risen like a retarded Dracula once again, in Louisiana, in the form of Senate Bill 733, which will likely be signed into law in a matter of days.

Senate Bill 733 is full of the latest attempts to get the Six-Thousand-Year-Old Earth into public school curricula. It does so by hiding behind perfectly reasonable language that is difficult to object to at face value, but whose purpose becomes clear once you remember that creationists are crazy fucking idiots who cannot be trusted. ACTUAL BILL TIME!

"The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, upon request of a city, parish, or other local public school board, shall allow and assist teachers, principals, and other school administrators to create and foster an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning."

Who doesn't love critical thinking? Who could possibly oppose logical analysis? Who in their right mind would stand athwart open and objective discussion? Well, actually, creationists would. In classic Rovian jujitsu, they adopt the mantle of what they hate, disguising themselves as a member of the herd so they can destroy it from within. The kicker is the topics they single out for mention. What do they all have in common? They just HAPPEN to be the bits fundamentalists lose their shit over. And how will this alleged open discussion happen?

"A teacher shall teach the material presented in the standard textbook supplied by the school system and thereafter may use supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner..."

And there you have it. Teachers teach the correct stuff, and then, to provide a balanced view, can bring in pictures of Jesus ministering to dinosaurs and Noah sailing down the newly formed Grand Canyon. But wait, you say. The Louisiana Legislature is an ostensibly secular body! I'm sure they don't have any particular religious tradition in mind when they open the classroom up to dissenting views." And you would be an adorably naive strawman if you did. But the proof of religious intent is right there in the bill itself. Check this out:

"This Section shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion."

There's your proof right there. There are two possible reasons to include this clause. One, that they mean it, and that this bill, promoted heavily by the hyper-Christian whackjobs at the Louisiana Family Forum and the hyper-Christian whackjobs at the Discovery Institute, doesn't promote any religion at all, especially fundamentalist whackjob Christianity.

The other possibility is that the Louisiana legislature, knowing what's happened to creationism and intelligent design in the courts, is stupid enough to think they can survive judicial review if they just mention, in passing, that by the way, we don't mean anything religious by this bill that allows the teachers of a deeply religious Southern state to bring in additional materials on a series of hot-button science issues important to Christians.

It would be funny if it weren't the people of Louisiana whose tax dollars will be wasted fighting this thing all the way through however many appellate courts it will take them to give up. Actually, it'll STILL be funny. It'd just be funnier if they weren't actively damaging a state that has not had an easy time of it this decade. On the other hand, a majority of these people DID vote for Bobby Jindal, the Republican governor who claims to have performed a cancer-curing exorcism in his youth and who, of the bill he's about to sign, said the following:

"I personally think human life and the world we live in wasn’t created accidentally. I do think that there’s a creator. Now the way that he did it, I’d certainly want my kids to be exposed to the very best science. I don’t want any facts or theories or explanations to be withheld from them because of political correctness."

If you elect a governor who's openly vowing to do what he can to avoid correctness, then you're going to end up fucked over on account of being incorrect. See you all in a courtroom in a year or two.