Major SBOE Bill Up for Hearing at Capitol

As you know, lawmakers have filed a slew of bills that would rein in the authority of the Texas State Board of Education. Next week one of the most important bills will get a hearing in the Senate Education Committee.

Senate Bill 2275 by Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, would strip the state board of authority over approving curriculum standards and textbooks (among other things). The bill would shift that authority to the state’s education commissioner. It also requires the commissioner to establish teams of educators and content experts to develop standards and review textbooks for approval.

TFN strongly supports this bipartisan legislation, which the Senate Education Committee will consider at a hearing on Tuesday (April 14). Two other Republicans — Sen. Kip Averitt of Waco and Sen. Jeff Wentworth of San Antonio — and Democratic Sen. Rodney Ellis  of Houston have signed on to the bill as co-authors.

It’s clear that lawmakers from both major political parties are tired of seeing the state board thumb its nose at the Legislature. For example, the board regularly stretches (or ignores) limits lawmakers have put on its ability to edit and reject textbooks. In addition, last year the board adopted vague guidelines for public school Bible classes, ignoring instructions from lawmakers to adopt specific standards that protect the religious freedom of students in the classroom. Last year the board threw out years of work by language arts educators and curriculum specialists, instead passing curriculum standards a handful of board members patched together the night before the final vote. And last month the board ignored overwhelming opposition from the science community — including Nobel laureates — by adopting science curriculum standards creationists will use to force publishers to dumb down instruction on evolution in new science textbooks.

TFN Insider will keep you updated about lawmakers’ progress on SB 2275. Click here for a list of all legislation TFN is following at the Capitol. You can also stay informed by clicking here to join a TFN Rapid Response Team and subscribe to TFN Daily News Clips.

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38 Comments

  1. freedom fighter
    Posted April 27, 2009 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    Please encourage the education committee to kill SB 2275. I think the Texas Freedom Network is confused about the issue, because the bill is the exact opposite of what they stand for (freedom). Another word for freedom is “liberalism”, as in a liberal education. The goal of this bill is to do everything except provide a liberal education, and instead is about appointing a dictator that will shove dogmatic teaching down the throats of Texas students. If you are for freedom of any kind, you will ask your senator to reject this stupid bill.

  2. Posted April 25, 2009 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    thanks

  3. Posted April 24, 2009 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Interesting that the real issue is missing from this conversation. This is about the ability to ‘test’ ALL knowledge on an ongoing basis. Evolution has scientific flaws — newer science challenges this. These discussions need to be freely had as a matter of learning.

    These are the fundamental principles of learning: discussing, debating facts/findings.

  4. Yossarian
    Posted April 14, 2009 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    If anybody is interested…After several attempts, have finally made contact with staff at my senator’s office. They have dispatched an e-mail to Austin. It is important to make contact now on SB 2275–if you haven’t already. Hopefully, TFN will let us know when the bill comes to the floor.

    That is all.

  5. Posted April 14, 2009 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    Curly says,
    –Why do you keep coming here? Stay at your blog.–

    Why don’t YOU come to my blog and see if you can counter my ideas about coevolution?
    http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2009/01/summary-of-thoughts-about-co-evolution.html

    Thomas M. Says (April 13, 2009 at 8:20 pm) —
    ‘The name “dinosaur” is derived from Greek words meaning “terrible lizard.”’

    Please don’t tell me you’re seriously playing this word game. —

    There is not much difference between lizard-bird evolution and dinosaur-bird evolution.

    –There are no major scientific criticisms of evolutionary theory.–

    Saying that over and over again does not make it true. Anyway, there are also pseudoscientific criticisms of evolution theory.

    –Why should psuedoscientific criticisms be taught, exactly?–

    Why? Teaching scientific and pseudoscientific criticisms of evolution theory serves the following purposes: broadening students’ education, encouraging critical thinking, helping students learn the material, increasing student interest, preventing and correcting misconceptions, and helping to assure that technically sophisticated criticisms of evolution are taught only by qualified science teachers. You Darwinists talk out of both sides of your mouths — you say that these criticisms of evolution only “confuse” students, yet you want these criticisms to be taught by unqualified people.

    That’s why. Exactly.

    –Should we also be teaching the Astrological criticisms of astronomical theories? —

    Astrology does not criticize any astronomical theories! Astrology is just the idea that the motions of celestial objects in the sky can be used to foretell the future.

    –the scientist who disproved evolution (or came up with a strong enough criticism to at least punch serious holes in it) would win a Nobel prize at the bare minimum. —

    Well, my criticisms of coevolution punch some serious holes in evolution theory, so does that mean I should get a Nobel prize? And you say that a Nobel prize is a bare minimum, so what else should I get? A Darwin-Wallace medal? Membership in the National Academy of Sciences? A knighthood? A lordship? Should I be made a chevalier of the Legion d’Honneur?

  6. Thomas M.
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    Just a quick note on my previous comment since I sense an attempt at being a pedant to avoid the main thrust of my argument coming — I got the date wrong on the origin of ‘dinosaur'; it was actually 167 years ago. My point about the name being given before we actually knew anything about the taxonomy of dinosaurs still stands, however.

  7. Posted April 13, 2009 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    The high school biology books already run about eleven or twelve hundred pages, but I guess it may not do any harm and not even add another page if you just listed Creationism and La Fafa’s pseudo-science along with the other rejected superstitions and failed notions that were replaced with the advent of modern science. It is always a good idea to cover all the bases when you are telling students how strong science really is and how silly some of the past practices were. Examples of how not to do science should really help the students avoid the pitfalls of being tricked by ignorant zealots.

  8. Thomas M.
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    ‘The name “dinosaur” is derived from Greek words meaning “terrible lizard.”’

    Please don’t tell me you’re seriously playing this word game. The term was coined by Richard Owen over 200 years ago, long before we had a fully formed knowledge of the proper taxonomy of dinosaurs.

    “Dinosaurs are reptiles, so how can reptiles and dinosaurs “share” a common ancestor?”

    They share a common ancestor with modern reptiles. You should read Donald Prothero’s book Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters. It gives a lot of information on issues such as this.

    “IMO science textbooks should cover the major scientific and pseudoscientific criticisms of evolution theory.”

    There are no major scientific criticisms of evolutionary theory. Or at least, nothing that is accepted by the scientific community that constitutes science* and nothing that fits the typical bill of requirements for being science. (HINT: Making various forms of the claim ‘I don’t understand how this works, and therefore it is not true’ is not a scientific criticism.) Why should psuedoscientific criticisms be taught, exactly? Should we also be teaching the Astrological criticisms of astronomical theories? If not, why distinguish between the two?

    *The relevance being, of course, that if there were some legitimate criticisms that they would quite likely be brought forward and explored — after all, that would be one hell of a way to make a career as a revolutionary and the scientist who disproved evolution (or came up with a strong enough criticism to at least punch serious holes in it) would win a Nobel prize at the bare minimum. Unless, of course, we want to get into conspiracy theory territory…

  9. Curly
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Larry,

    Since you feel that “science textbooks should cover the major scientific and pseudo-scientific criticisms of evolution theory,” do you believe that science textbooks should cover other pseudosciences like water-divining, astrology, tarot readings. What about the strengths and weaknesses of impressionist art on realism? I am guessing your issue is only with the theory of evolution, but you have no problem spewing your ignorance trying to destroy science classes if it means people listening to your “ideas” about evolution.

    Why do you keep coming here? Stay at your blog.

  10. Ben
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Larry, what about my troll-voting idea?

    I’m serious about it.

    Looks like you already have one vote. You should thank Curly for his support.

  11. Charles
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Larry. My wife and I are thinking about adopting a textbook, but we are concerned about the associated expenditures (e.g., volume of formula consumed, coast of disposable diapers, newborn toys, etc.). Because you are an expert on textbook adoption, I would very much appreciate any comments that you might have on this subject. Thanks!!!

  12. Posted April 13, 2009 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Joe Lapp Says (April 11, 2009 at 10:34 pm) —
    –As a side note, birds did not descend from lizards. Birds descended from dinosaurs, specifically theropods.–

    The name “dinosaur” is derived from Greek words meaning “terrible lizard.”

    –reptiles and dinosaurs share a common ancestor–

    Dinosaurs are reptiles, so how can reptiles and dinosaurs “share” a common ancestor?

    Yossarian Says (April 12, 2009 at 11:32 am) —
    –LF: “Also, the expression ’separation of church and state’ appears nowhere in the Constitution.”

    The expression is not verbatim. —

    I know that, but the expression is very misleading — that’s why I quoted the Supreme Court to clarify the expression’s meaning. IMO it is better to use the terms “establishment clause,” “free-exercise clause,” and “religion clauses” instead.

    –LF: “IMO the solution is just to abolish state standards and state textbook adoptions. Iowa has no state science standards — they are not needed.”

    This statement I am in agreement with. The state of Texas should simply adhere to national science standards like many other states.–

    “Like many other states”? According to the Fordham Foundation report on state science standards, Iowa is the only state that does not have its own science standards.

    I am also against having national and local science standards. IMO local school districts should just adopt textbooks and states should not adopt textbooks. IMO science textbooks should cover the major scientific and pseudoscientific criticisms of evolution theory.

  13. Charles
    Posted April 12, 2009 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    The purpose of archeology is to study past human technology, social organization, ideology, and lifeways as reflected in the material remains of ancient human cultures. Past human activities are not directly observable, repeatable, or testable either. When I find hundreds of projectile points, large sherds of broken pottery, and domesticated dent corn charcoal on a parcel of land, am I supposed to assume that Satan just dumped all of those things out of his “Grip” to fool me into thinking that ancient people once lived there?

    As a result of archaeological studies, we know a great deal about what ancient human beings were doing in their day-to-day lives—including many things of which even they might not have been consciously aware. Would you like me to ask all of the archaeologists around the world to just “stand down” for a while because they cannot enter Peabody dog’s “Way Back” machine to directly observe, repeat, and test what those ancient human beings were really doing?

    Think about it Jeff. This is all of the discussion you are going to get out of me. Any step beyond this in archaeology, geology, paleontology, or evolution is a step across the line into the ridiculous.

  14. Yossarian
    Posted April 12, 2009 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    LF: “Also, the expression ‘separation of church and state’ appears nowhere in the Constitution.”

    The expression is not verbatim. It is an interpretation of the First Amendment of the Constitution (the first ten Amendments collectively are commonly known as the Bill of Rights):

    Amendment 1 (ratified 1791)

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Y: “I have observed that most people who make antagonist arguments overwhelmingly use inductive methodology. Most contemporary science uses deductive methodology.”

    LF: “I don’t care whether the methodology is inductive or deductive — all I care about is what works.”

    If you plan on the continuation of your research and writing, and wish your views to be taken seriously, it is a very important distinction. It determines how evidence is gathered and to what end. It determines if a person is using one instance of phenomenon to account for a host of other phenomena or whether all phenomenon has been reviewed and similarities and exceptions have been taken into consideration. The latter approach makes it possible to establish unifying theories, whereas the former is considered a weak form of generalization. If your only concern is “what works,” then your approach is highly likely to be inductive. But if you have no interest in making a methodological distinction in the formation of your ideas, there is nothing than can be done. Nor should you be offended that readers who respect sound scientific procedure have little patience in entertaining your alternative presentations.

    LF: “IMO the solution is just to abolish state standards and state textbook adoptions. Iowa has no state science standards — they are not needed.”

    This statement I am in agreement with. The state of Texas should simply adhere to national science standards like many other states.

    (Thanks for the kind words, Curly.)

  15. Posted April 12, 2009 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Jeff007: Single-cellular protists regularly do form multicellular organisms, no evolution required. Slime molds. Individual slime mold protist cells come together to form multi-cellular bodies, specializing their cellular functions as they do so, and eventually become a fruiting body that releases spores.

    If it doesn’t even take evolution to make this happen, why do you doubt that it could happen even with evolution?

  16. Posted April 12, 2009 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Jeff007: If no one witnesses a crime scene, does that me we can never know what happened, not in any detail, no matter how many clues are left behind? Evolution left so many redundant and independent clues that we might as well have seen it happen.

    I recommend reading this page: http://teachthemscience.org/evidence

    I’m not simply regurgitating the web. I was part of the team that created TeachThemScience.org.

  17. Jeff007
    Posted April 12, 2009 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Curly,
    Insulting me just shows you have no answer. Medicine and computer technology have repeatable, testable functions. Evolution does not. Bacteria, with it’s “way faster” reproduction has yet to begin colonizing into multicellular organisms in a lab. Natural selection is not evolution. Stating a basic fact is considered being a troll here I guess.

    Joe,
    You are nitpicking terms while ignoring my point. The point is evolution is not observable, repeatable and testable. A basic fundamental requirement of science.

  18. Charles
    Posted April 12, 2009 at 1:50 am | Permalink

    Joe. All creation science people are in denial. They actually think that evolution involves a dinosaur who goes to bed with arms but wakes up the next morning with one left chicken wing. I gave up on trying to talk with them years ago. It is like talking to a fence post. It’s late and I have to get up early to go to the Easter service at my church. Blessings to all!!!

  19. Posted April 11, 2009 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    Jeff007: Lizards didn’t turn into birds, monkeys didn’t turn into humans. The image you conjure is rightfully ludicrous.

    Instead, generation after generation, random small variations among individuals prove slightly more beneficial than average, allowing them slightly more offspring than average, producing an exponential spread of those traits through subsequent generations of the population, over and over again, so that when seen over great spans of time the aggregation of small changes together are significant.

    Evolution is not simple. It’s easy to disparage simple caricatures of evolution, but don’t confuse that with critiquing evolution.

    As a side note, birds did not descend from lizards. Birds descended from dinosaurs, specifically theropods. Rather, reptiles and dinosaurs share a common ancestor. Also to clarify, the modern monkey is not an ancestor of humans. Humans and monkeys share a common ancestor that was more like a modern monkey than like a human. It was not what we call a monkey.

    Will you change your critiques of evolution, or will you ignore these clarifications because they don’t suit your purpose?

  20. Curly
    Posted April 11, 2009 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Oh Jeff007, I see the strategy. Let’s keep asking the same stupid, creationist mumbo jumbo over and over until we get tired and give up.

    Lizards only morph into birds through sorcery of course. Quick, where’s Willow? The appearance of the species was “gradual” and happened over many generations through mutations and natural selection. Scientists “observed” these changes through the fossil records and verified through genetic testing. You think a guy is sitting there observing a lizard change into our eyes in a moment. That only happens to your god apparently. Wait, don’t tell me? As for repeatability, natural selection is observable in bacterial strains and has been done in the laboratory several times, because bacteria reproduce way-faster (that term is for you Jeff) than human beings so we can observe them.

    If you don’t believe in evolution, please stop using any medicine, health care, and technology including the computer with which you are trolling this forum. They wouldn’t exist without the observable and repeatable tests created by scientists.

    Bye you troll.

  21. Jeff007 (formerly "Jeff")
    Posted April 11, 2009 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    “… science adjusts it’s beliefs based on what’s observed and Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved.” ~Curly

    Curly, who observed a lizard turing into a bird? Who observed a monkey turning into a man? Who observed life springing from a primordial soup? And what group of esteemed scientists have tested these phenomenon with repeatability and recorded the results?

  22. Posted April 11, 2009 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Yossarian Says (April 11, 2009 at 1:00 pm) —
    –Judge John E. Jones III’s expertise is in the law. The law is based on the constitution which is founded on the principle of separation of church and state. The judge found the insertion of creationism into science courses as a breach of this separation.–

    Judge Jones didn’t just decide points of law — he also decided scientific questions. He heard several days of expert scientific testimony on intelligent design and decided that ID is not science. The ID-as-science section of the opinion covers about 6000 words. Judge Jones’ decision on whether or not ID is science was far more presumptuous than any decision that the Texas SBOE made in approving the new state science standards.

    I don’t even consider Judge Jones to be an expert on the law — he said in a Dickinson College commencement speech that his Dover decision was based on his cockamamie notion that the Founders based the establishment clause upon a belief that organized religions are not “true” religions.

    Also, the expression “separation of church and state” appears nowhere in the Constitution. The Supreme Court said in Lynch v. Donnelly,

    The Court has sometimes described the Religion Clauses as erecting a “wall” between church and state, . . . . . . .The concept of a “wall” of separation is a useful figure of speech probably deriving from views of Thomas Jefferson. The metaphor has served as a reminder that the Establishment Clause forbids an established church or anything approaching it. But the metaphor itself is not a wholly accurate description of the practical aspects of the relationship that in fact exists between church and state.

    No significant segment of our society, and no institution within it, can exist in a vacuum or in total or absolute isolation from all the other parts, much less from government. “It has never been thought either possible or desirable to enforce a regime of total separation. . . .” Committee for Public Education & Religious Liberty v. Nyquist, 413 U.S. 756, 760 (1973). Nor does the Constitution require complete separation of church and state; it affirmatively mandates accommodation, not merely tolerance, of all religions, and forbids hostility toward any. . . . . Anything less would require the “callous indifference” we have said was never intended by the Establishment Clause. . .. .Indeed, we have observed, such hostility would bring us into “war with our national tradition as embodied in the First Amendment’s guaranty of the free exercise of religion.” (some citations omitted)
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0465_0668_ZO.html

    –I have observed that most people who make antagonist arguments overwhelmingly use inductive methodology. Most contemporary science uses deductive methodology.–

    I don’t care whether the methodology is inductive or deductive — all I care about is what works.

    –Most of the on-going argumentation is largely obstructionist; seeking to bypass the normal intellectual channels for testing hunches, hypotheses and theories. I say, have confidence in your counter-Darwinist views? Test, gather evidence, write, publish, go public.–

    Well, I’ve done most of those things in my studies of coevolution. My publishing has been solely on the Internet, which is one of the best places to publish. As for testing: experimentation and/or field investigations are not required for some scientific studies. I have gathered published information related to coevolution — e.g., information about buzz pollination, orchids’ mimicry of female wasps’ sex pheromones, and extremely complex and/or multi-host parasitisms — and applied this information to my studies of coevolution.

    –If there is credibility, the scientific community will support your work.–

    That’s a joke. Darwinists have been ignoring and even suppressing my ideas about coevolution — for example, my ideas about coevolution were banned from the Florida Citizens for Science blog —
    http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2008/04/co-evolution-theory-censored-by-florida.html

    –I have no qualms in characterizing this behavior as obstructionist, unethical and destructive to educational standards. This is why SB 2275 is the most savvy strategy yet in dealing with this issue: it restores ethical procedure. —

    SB 2275 doesn’t fix the problem — it only makes the problem worse by eliminating direct accountability to voters. IMO the solution is just to abolish state standards and state textbook adoptions. Iowa has no state science standards — they are not needed.

  23. Curly
    Posted April 11, 2009 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Yossarian:

    Thanks for your very thoughtful post. I only wish I was in Texas to help take action.

    I just want to add that science adjusts it’s beliefs based on what’s observed and Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved.
    Science is of consensus and if additional information/facts were discovered, then the overarching theory is adjusted or tossed so a new one can become known. Larry keep up the obfuscation and hate-mongering.

  24. Curly
    Posted April 11, 2009 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Hey Ben!

    Why Soitenly! I vote for Larry. The man is the definition of a troll. He makes many logical fallacies and won’t keep to his site.

  25. Charles
    Posted April 11, 2009 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    I may contact Kel Seliger and thank him for introducing this bill. In the old days, I used to do quite a bit of work out in Amarill0. The Harvey Hotel was my home away from home. The breakfast steak down at the stock yards is a well kept secret. In any event, that is when I first met and worked with Texans and found out that y’all folks are all right…well…most of you.

  26. Yossarian
    Posted April 11, 2009 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    “As I said, if Judge John E. Jones III — who has no expertise in science (he has a bachelor of arts degree and a law degree) — was qualified to decide whether ID is science, then why isn’t the Texas board of education qualified to make decisions about the state science standards? You Darwinists are talking out of both sides of your mouths.”

    Judge John E. Jones III’s expertise is in the law. The law is based on the constitution which is founded on the principle of separation of church and state. The judge found the insertion of creationism into science courses as a breach of this separation.

    I have observed that most people who make antagonist arguments overwhelmingly use inductive methodology. Most contemporary science uses deductive methodology. Apples and oranges. Most of the on-going argumentation is largely obstructionist; seeking to bypass the normal intellectual channels for testing hunches, hypotheses and theories. I say, have confidence in your counter-Darwinist views? Test, gather evidence, write, publish, go public. If there is credibility, the scientific community will support your work. If it turns current scientific consensus on its head, then education agencies should give it legitimate consideration, if and when, that occurs.

    One more small thing, I think to characterize these attempts as “dumbing down” the curriculum is too capricious of a description. I think the people who are attempting to insert their agenda sincerely believe they are morally just in what they are doing. It is a faith vs. intellect argument that cannot and will not be waged honestly in the public arena.

    I have no qualms in characterizing this behavior as obstructionist, unethical and destructive to educational standards. This is why SB 2275 is the most savvy strategy yet in dealing with this issue: it restores ethical procedure. Thanks for the heads-up. I intend to contact my senator on Monday.

  27. Ben
    Posted April 11, 2009 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Larry, I have an idea:

    We’ll let the regulars around here vote on which one of us is a troll—me or you.

    Whoever gets the most votes will agree to quit posting on this site.

    Deal?

  28. Charles
    Posted April 11, 2009 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Larry. I would just like to thank you for dazzzling us all with your opinions once again. Have a…

    http://www.mtv.com/videos/bon-jovi/62337/have-a-nice-day.jhtml

  29. Posted April 11, 2009 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    As I previously pointed out, Demagogic Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius tried the same kind of power grab and got hell for it. She scapegoated the Kansas board of education for the state’s economic problems and compared the board to Fred Phelps’ “god hates fags” hate group —
    http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/oct/14/ed_board_chairman_sebelius_elitist/

    Darwinists are frustrated by difficulty in getting rid of the “fundies” on the Texas board of education. The two fundies on the board who were strongly challenged in the last election kept their seats —
    http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2008/11/fundies-keep-texas-board-of-education.html

    IMO direct election of school board members makes them more accountable to the public and makes it possible for voters to focus on education issues. If the state board members are appointed by the governor, then education gets mixed up with other issues in elections for governor.

    IMO local school boards should be given more power. Most people don’t have the time or the money to travel to state board of education meetings to testify (and sometimes those who go do not get time to testify). It is much easier for the average citizen to testify at local school board meetings. The state board of education accepts written comments, but written comments from individuals just don’t have the exposure of oral testimony.

    ckelly Says (April 10, 2009 at 3:33 pm) —
    –This would be a good start as long as the State Education Commissioner doesn’t have too much power either. If he is bound by the decisions of the team of education experts then that would be a good step. —

    As I said, if Judge John E. Jones III — who has no expertise in science (he has a bachelor of arts degree and a law degree) — was qualified to decide whether ID is science, then why isn’t the Texas board of education qualified to make decisions about the state science standards? You Darwinists are talking out of both sides of your mouths.

    –If Gov. Perry gets to appoint the commissioner and the commissioner is a creationist with limitless power to make up standards then we have a problem.–

    This shows the folly of the idea that “creationism” can be avoided by having curricular decisions made by appointees of the governor. Don McLeroy — one of the biggest creationists on the SBOE (he is an avowed young-earth creationist) — was appointed to the SBOE chairmanship by the governor.

    Ben Says (April 10, 2009 at 5:19 pm) —
    — It’s going to take the help of mainstream Christians to defeat the zealots. —

    I thought that evolution was just supposed to be about science, and you Darwinists are using religion to promote evolution.

    As I said — if god is assumed to be all-powerful, then the bible’s creation story makes sense while the gospel does not. The god of the gospel is a weak, limited god who must fight Satan for control of the world.

    The reason why most fundies accept a round earth but not evolution is that the evidence for a round earth is much stronger.

    –There’s a huge difference between stating one’s opinion and being a troll.–

    You are one of the biggest trolls around here.

  30. der Brat
    Posted April 11, 2009 at 12:50 am | Permalink

    It is disgraceful that the SBOE is allowed to do what they do on a regular basis, but the fault lies in the people of the state who elect ignorant ideologues to office. This also applies to the lege. The SBOE representatives while generally representative of the state, give more power to a rather minor subset than is rightfully theirs — primarily because most SBOE elections are way below the radar of most people. The right-wing religious ideologues have been able to slip in without detection, relying on the church grapevine to garner the necessary support.

    Our biggest goal for the near future should be to shed light on these elections and to recruit better people to counter the buttheads that are there now. Without mainstream Christian advocates for good education this will not be possible. Using the words of the New Testament to show the stupidity, ignorance, and hypocrisy of the anti-evolution, anti-science, anti-sex education, anti-critical thinking members of the Board is vital to success. If only scientists and other “experts” speak out, the average person will not be able to connect with this issue, and morons like McLeroy will be able to seem somehow heroic for “standing up to the experts.”

  31. Ben
    Posted April 10, 2009 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Joe and Charles are right. It’s going to take the help of mainstream Christians to defeat the zealots. (Speaking of zealots, I suspect that TFN has been making some wise moderating decisions lately. I’m all for it. There’s a huge difference between stating one’s opinion and being a troll. I have no problems with trolls being treated as such.)

  32. Posted April 10, 2009 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    I’d pray for this to pass if I thought that talking to myself would help. The SBOE has repeatedly shown itself to be unworthy of their charge.

    I’m not sure that there is any way to influence the religious right. They have a cause and it is part of their belief set that the Lord’s work will be resisted.

  33. ckelly
    Posted April 10, 2009 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    This would be a good start as long as the State Education Commissioner doesn’t have too much power either. If he is bound by the decisions of the team of education experts then that would be a good step. If Gov. Perry gets to appoint the commissioner and the commissioner is a creationist with limitless power to make up standards then we have a problem.

  34. Charles
    Posted April 10, 2009 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Joe. As I have said elsewhere on many occasions, the way to defeat the Religious Right is to burn their cheap cigar from both ends.

  35. Posted April 10, 2009 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    eoAustin: I, for one, appreciate Charles’ effort because he speaks the language that many Christians will listen to. Because science in Texas is governed by politics, and because politicians are elected by the citizens, people like Charles are critical for ensuring good science education in Texas (and potentially across the country). Maybe it shouldn’t be this way, but it is.

  36. eoAustin
    Posted April 10, 2009 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Who cares what Romans says? How many times to poeple need to be reminded that the Bible is just a compilation of writings by a bunch of ancient men with an interest in history, philosophy and idealogical pursuits. The writings were then vetted and edited by a Roman empororer and Religious leaders who decided which writings met their agendas and which ones did not and which ones needed some “editing”. Please quit quoting me an old book of Jewish history and mythology as some divine text sent down from the heavens. I find all this posturing by those who presume to know Gods will as arrogant and presumptuous. Do you really think that any God that exists is impressed by your hopeless and pathetic attempts to present yourselves as the chosen ones who understand the true nature and will of God? Keep Religion in your homes and churches and out of government and public schools. If you want a religious school there are plenty out there or you can start your own.

  37. Charles
    Posted April 10, 2009 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    TFN said:

    “It’s clear that lawmakers from both major political parties are tired of seeing the state board thumb its nose at the Legislature. For example, the board regularly stretches (or ignores) limits lawmakers have put on its ability to edit and reject textbooks. In addition, last year the board adopted vague guidelines for public school Bible classes, ignoring instructions from lawmakers to adopt specific standards that protect the religious freedom of students in the classroom. Last year the board threw out years of work by language arts educators and curriculum specialists, instead passing curriculum standards a handful of board members patched together the night before the final vote. And last month the board ignored overwhelming opposition from the science community — including Nobel laureates — by adopting science curriculum standards creationists will use to force publishers to dumb down instruction on evolution in new science textbooks.”

    I did not know that they had done all of that too!!! Talk about rebellion against God’s word:

    “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. (Romans 13).

    Why does the Texas state government have no control over these people. As my uncle used to say, everyone has someone for a boss. Who gave these Texas SBOE board members U.S. Supreme Court-style authority in Texas. How can they thumb their nose at the state legislature when you or I would be put in jail for violating a law they passed. It sounds to me as if someone in Texas has exercised extreme government negligence in allowing these people to get away with this. It is time for the Texas legislature to pull out that sword and execute some wrath on these people.

    Message from Texas SBOE: “Those verses in Romans apply only to Christians under a just government. They do not apply to us. We are soldiers of the Lord fighting in the trenches in a last ditch effort to turn around the policies of an evil and unjust government.”

    Romans does not say anything about an unjust government here—not one word. Paul was speaking of the governments and rulers in their own societies. Caesar, Herod, and the local authorities who crucified Jesus. You think those guys had just governments!!! If you do, Larry and Ben have a nice piece of red luggage to sell you.

    The Texas state legislature should be ashamed of themselves for allowing the SBOE to get away with this, and they need to apologize to the other 49 states for making us listen to, write articles about, and worry about what was happening in Texas a couple of weeks ag0!!!!

  38. Posted April 10, 2009 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    It’s the SBOE vs. the Texas legislature. Who will win?

    The last round–the Bible class–went to the SBOE.

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