Pharyngula

Oh, my. Bobby Jindal was on TV, and he got asked about evolution. Here’s his answer to a question about whether he had doubts about evolution.

One, I don’t think this is something the federal or state government should be imposing its views on local school districts. You know, as a conservative I think government that’s closest to the people governs best. I think local school boards should be in a position of deciding the curricula and also deciding what students should be learning. Secondly, I don’t think students learn by us withholding information from them. Some want only to teach intelligent design, some only want to teach evolution. I think both views are wrong, as a parent.

One, that is an incredibly dumb answer. Devolving the responsibility for deciding science content onto a local school board is a horrible idea; has he never attended school board meetings? They are run by, at best, well-meaning people who care about local schools, but unless it’s a school district in a district with a university, you’re not likely to find any scientists on them. More typically, they’re going to contain a mix of very bad people: ideologues who want to shut down public schools, or push their unsupported nonsensical agenda, or the local cranks who’ve upgraded from writing letters to the editor of the town paper.

If he wanted to let the school board manage budgets, that’s one thing; unfortunately, thinking that a hodge-podge of random community members with few scientific qualifications are adequate to evaluate the science content is a classic instance of conservative idiocy. Standards must be determined at a higher level by a carefully chosen pool of competent, qualified experts.

Second, nobody is withholding information from students. Here, this is the complete curriculum for the intelligent design part of the syllabus:

A magic man done it.

There, finished! There are no experiments that need to be summarized, no details that need to be explored, no complicated mechanisms that need to be explicated. Parents can exhaustively cover the subject in a moment or two some evening, or perhaps Mom could could scribble it down on a note in her child’s lunch. If they’re ambitious, they could send them off to a Sunday School, which might be taxed by the sudden increase in difficulty over the usual pap they dispense, but they’ll cope, perhaps by dumbing it down a little more.

One thing is for sure, we shouldn’t marshal the resources of our public school to teach such trivia, nor should we dignify the vacuity of ID with a place in the curriculum when there is nothing to teach.

Jindal’s “ideas” are utterly ludicrous, nothing but the warmed over inanity of the Discovery Institute’s usual “teach the controversy” foolishness. This is a “Republican superstar”? Man, but that party has become a bucket of rejects and peckerwoods, hasn’t it?

Comments

  1. #1 Steve P.
    June 15, 2008

    I’m betting this is the first time a man of Indian descent has been called a peckerwood.

    But he deserved it.

  2. #2 The Backpacker
    June 15, 2008

    Ladies and Gentlemen our next vice president.

    now I know I have that ticket to Norway around here somewhere

  3. #3 ME
    June 15, 2008

    This must be the syllabus portion for evolution then-

    Monkey turns to man.

  4. #4 Coturnix
    June 15, 2008

    He disagrees with both? Does that mean that he rejects both evolution and ID in favor of YEC?

  5. #5 James F
    June 15, 2008

    This week we’ll see if he’ll be steering the USS Louisianatanic into a legal iceberg.

  6. #6 Ubiquitous Che
    June 15, 2008

    ‘A Magic Man done did it’ has a slightly better ring to it. :D

  7. #7 James F
    June 15, 2008

    #3

    This must be the syllabus portion for evolution then-
    Monkey turns to man.

    Only if it’s written by a creationist.

  8. #8 Rey Fox
    June 15, 2008

    Hooray for the idiocracy.

  9. #9 S. Scott
    June 15, 2008

    #6′A Magic Man done did it’ has a slightly better ring to it. :D

    What about Magic Man and El Diablo ? ;-)

  10. #10 Zeno
    June 15, 2008

    Jindal fits the Dinesh D’Souza model: take a wacky conservative who is also a minority and promote the heck out of him. Extremist Catholics like Jindal, D’Souza, and Alan Keyes make the Republican leadership feel like they’re actually reaching out to minority constituencies. It’s just modern tokenism.

  11. #11 Paul Lundgren
    June 16, 2008

    Dr. Myers,

    May I throw a hypothetical at you? If I would ask you, “Would you approve of teaching ID in a science classroom as an example of how NOT to do science properly, or as a counter-example of how to put forth and test a REAL scientific theory?” what would your response be?

    Thank you.

  12. #12 Janine ID
    June 16, 2008

    Try to understand,
    He’s a Magic Man, Mama!

  13. #13 Cujo359
    June 16, 2008

    In his memoirs, Richard Feynman described working with a board (I think it was at the state level) that was evaluating books for elementary and high schools. He wrote that he thought he was the only one who had even looked at the things. He noted errors in them, etc., and no one else seemed to notice. Wish I remembered that anecdote better, but I read the book so long ago that I probably couldn’t even find it anymore.

    Nevertheless, this story comes to mind whenever I hear people talking about how school boards know better than government agencies how to run their districts. There seems to be little evidence to back up that assertion.

  14. #14 Janine ID
    June 16, 2008

    Paul Lundgren, are you willing to use all discarded scientific and pseudo-scientific ideas as counter-examples of how not to do science properly? Or are there certain ones that you would make use of.

  15. #15 Chris
    June 16, 2008

    As a PhD student in Evolutionary Biology at Louisiana State University, may I say thank you to Gov. Jindal for wrecking my future career.

    “Hi, I’m a PHD from LSU” “Oh, you guys are nuts” “No, I’m an evolutionary biologist, I swear!” “Yeah yeah sure you are”

    No wonder we all plan to leave the state.

    For the record, the biology dept. *did* send a letter signed by many many profs and grad students to the legislature arguing against HB 733 “academic freedom” bill. They politely listened to us, then ignored everything we said and passed the bill NINETY-FOUR TO THREE. (Yes. 94-3 in favor). We’re doomed.

  16. #16 Bacopa
    June 16, 2008

    Whatever else you say about Jidal, his wife is HOT. Only Pierce Brosnan has done better, though perhaps PZ has done almost as well.

    But what does Jindal think about the official Papal position that evolution is mostly OK and should not be considered a problem for Christian faith? Ah, but he’s apparently one of those charismatic Catholics since he believes in DIY exorcism and faith healing. We got a huge Charismatic Catholic congregation here in H-town All the formal liturgy of the Catholics and about half the wildness of Sand Mountain all in one service.

  17. #17 Blake Stacey
    June 16, 2008

    Cujo359:

    Wish I remembered that [Feynman] anecdote better, but I read the book so long ago that I probably couldn’t even find it anymore.

    Try here.

  18. #18 KnaveRupe
    June 16, 2008

    No, no no…. we WANT McCain to pick Jindal.

    Because Jindal claims to have performed an exorcism.

    http://www.time-blog.com/swampland/2008/06/jindals_exorcism.html

    PleaseohpleaseohpleaseohPLEASE pick Jindal!!!!!!

  19. #19 Blaidd Drwg
    June 16, 2008

    PZ, you are quite right about the need for a national standard of education. The more we allow ‘local control’ to determine what kids learn, the farther we will fracture as a society. If each school district is allowed to set its own standards, and cirricula, it will soon become virtually impossible to have a university system, because the majority of the students will require make-up work even to qualify.

  20. #20 nanoAl
    June 16, 2008

    A Magic Man done it

    I love it.

    Someone somewhere should (loudly and publicly) offer the cdesign proponentists all the funding and lab space they need to do some real research. and then when they get no responses they should point it out(loudly and publicly). It’d be a foolproof replacement for he dover trial they seem to love to dismiss.(and it won’t disappear if some loony court down south decides that ID really is science)
    “ID isn’t science, even they don’t wanna do real research!”
    why hasn’t this been done? (or has it?)

  21. #21 Simo
    June 16, 2008

    I wish someone would have then asked him “Can you please explain how Intelligent Design qualifies as science, using the standard definition of science?”

  22. #22 Bob Munck
    June 16, 2008

    The problem is that Jindal knows all this; he’s not ignorant or misinformed or confused. It’s pure, 100% pandering to his constituency. If there’s a better example of a politician completely without character, I don’t know who it is.

    On the other hand, that exorcism thing: in my day at Brown, we called that “Saturday night.”

  23. #23 Cujo359
    June 16, 2008

    Blake Stacey@17:

    Yes, that was it. They note at the bottom that not much has changed since then. I’m not surprised.

    KnaveRape@18:

    I’ll remind you of the famous quote by Adlai Stevenson, after a woman told him that all thinking people would vote for him. “That’s not good enough, Ma’am”, he replied, “we need a majority”.

  24. #24 Abhilash Nambiar
    June 16, 2008

    May I voice an opinion here. Perhaps what we need here is a 100% privatised education system all the way. That way the creationists can shove their nonsense only in their schools. Not to other people’s children against their will. I bet even among Christians few would take their children to a creationist school, if they had a choice in the matter.

    What about a standard national curriculum? Well a non-governmental organization like the National Center for Science Education can prepare one. If it is real good some schools will adapt it.

    And when parents go school shopping for their kids they may ask whether the school follows the curriculum recommended by the NSE?

    Various types of schools will emerge catering to people of various social and economic circumstances. The free market will provide for all. Schools and universities that are effective in helping build good careers will persist and survive.

    Michael Schemer claimed that the invisible hand of the free market that Adam Smith talked about was natural selection. In other words the market (without government intervention) naturally selects the institutions that are best capable of serving the needs of its customers, which in this case is every child needing an education.

    Free market meets evolutionary biology. We can all be happy and creationism will be weeded out of the gene pool.

  25. #25 Kel
    June 16, 2008

    It’s people like this that cause the need for a sledgehammer with the word STUPID written on it. That way when they talk, we whack the word stupid into them and prevent them from ever wanting to speak out again. “hahaha, you just got hit with the stupid stick”

    Though maybe the rise of intellectually bankrupt ideas like Intelligent Design is partly a failure of the scientific community to effectively communicate the differences. Ken Miller can give a science lesson to a judge in court but it’s still not going to convince the minds of those who feel their ideas are being persecuted. Maybe it’s time we had a greater focus on “evangelising” (I shuddered when I wrote that word) scientific concepts and putting it out there in the general community. Most people who dismiss evolution don’t have even a slight clue of how it works. Even a lot of proponents are in the dark.

    Yes the nature of science means that certainty is not something we can provide. Still if people can understand the concept of gravity as “fact” then why not evolution? Is the immediacy of gravity the only factor in people accepting it or is it because gravity can operate without infringing on their beliefs?

  26. #26 JImC
    June 16, 2008

    D’Souza, and Alan Keyes

    These fellows are catholics I didn’t know that….

    That aside members of the RCC are required to swallow more silly ideas than any religious sect I know of outside scientology and the extent they attempt to dress it all up in ‘reason’ is profoundly amusing.

    It never ceases to amaze me how people can accept there twaddle and be as smart as Ken Miller.

    #16 H-town has a large catholic congregation somewhere? That also amazes me with the evangelicals and Baptists sucking there membership consistently year to year.

  27. #27 andrew
    June 16, 2008

    This is fucking insane. I think atheists have to be more active! Pz, make some public appearances and show these newbs who is boss! I wanna see you on Cnn, Fox, etc, etc! Write some books too!

  28. #28 melior
    June 16, 2008

    Abhilash Nambiar @24: The free market will provide for all.

    No thanks, we’ve already tried that experiment here in America with our health care system, and you can see what a mess that’s caused.

  29. #29 Buzz Buzz
    June 16, 2008

    I’m only slightly ashamed that I had to look him up on wikipedia ’cause I had no idea who he was. I’m glad I did however, because it led me to discover this little gem of irony:

    “In 1992, he graduated from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, with honors in biology and public policy.”

    Biology and Public Policy. Yep… that’s a politician alright.

  30. #30 HS
    June 16, 2008

    When there are so many challenges facing our schools today, especially in the areas of math and science, my brain positively throbs every time I hear something about this ID/creationist claptrap.
    The bottom line in my mind: it’s not science. To say nothing of the fact that it’s underpinning concept is a glorified fairy tale. Are we next to debate whether students should be taught that 2 + 2 = 4 because of simple mathematical rules or because god says so? Pray or add, it’s all the same, kids, so long as it makes you feel fuzzy inside.

    Somehow I don’t think all those countries that rank ahead of us on the list of top math and science scores got there by wasting time and energy on whether to include magic in the science curriculum.

  31. #31 Brian X
    June 16, 2008

    Blaidd Drwg:

    “Local control” is, most times, just a divide and conquer tactic, like “state’s rights”. If they can’t get what they want from the courts, they scream about referendums; if they can’t get what they want from the Feds, they turn to the states, the counties, the municipalities, anything to get a yes. If you disbelieve me, look how they’re handling the appearance of gay marriage — threatening to get a federal constitutional amendment.

    They really don’t care at all about local control. It’s just a way to game the system.

  32. #32 HS
    June 16, 2008

    Finland emerged at the top of 57 countries in science, according to the 2006 survey results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). The US ranked 29th, behind countries like Croatia, the Czech Republic, and Liechtenstein, and ahead of just nine other OECD countries.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/1205/p02s01-usgn.html

    From the Christian Science Monitor, appropriately enough.

  33. #33 noncarborundum
    June 16, 2008

    ‘A Magic Man done did it’ has a slightly better ring to it. :D

    “A Magic Man got ‘er done.”

  34. #34 noncarborundum
    June 16, 2008

    “A Magic Man got ‘er done.”

    Or perhaps “. . . done got ‘er done.” I’m not fluent, so I can’t quite be sure.

  35. #35 Steve
    June 16, 2008

    My child will be getting a thorough background in evolution and natural selection at home. The Christians do it. I do plan to use a good textbook based on reality, which won’t be mentioning Adam and Eve.

  36. #36 JJR
    June 16, 2008

    @24
    >>May I voice an opinion here. Perhaps what we need here is a 100% privatised education system all the way. <<

    Compulsory public education for all children was fiercely resisted by the Churches in the late 19th century onward.

    Make education 100% privatized (read: for profit) then only the wealthy will be able to give their children even a basic education. Churches will eagerly scramble to pick up the masses and set back educational inequality to early 19th century levels. Bravo!

    Please take your free market fundamentalism and stuff it.

  37. #37 HS
    June 16, 2008

    Your friendly local school board member/armchair biologist:

    http://img.mp3sugar.com/artist/artist_9856.jpg

  38. #38 Kel
    June 16, 2008

    The whole free-market argument in education seems to be the same argument as we see in the healthcare system. Yet it turns out that the countries with the best healthcare system are the ones with fully-socialised healthcare. The US without universal healthcare is quite poor compared to the rest of the developed world. Same goes for education, it seems that in Europe where there is a strong focus on education students do much better and they don’t have the problems that they do in the US with bollocks like Intelligent Design.

    Taking away state funding will only increase the gap between the rich and the poor, leading to those in poor areas struggling with getting any form of education at all. Then ideas like this (which play on the ignorance of the population) will be more prevalent.

  39. #39 noncarborundum
    June 16, 2008

    That aside members of the RCC are required to swallow more silly ideas than any religious sect I know of outside scientology . . .

    I’m not sure there’s any objective way to enumerate the silly ideas particular religions foist upon their adherents, but surely Mormonism must figure somewhere near the top of the list.

  40. #40 natural cynic
    June 16, 2008

    Jindal: Secondly, I don’t think students learn by us withholding information from them.

    So he’s for comprehensive sex education?

    Some want only to teach intelligent design, some only want to teach evolution. I think both views are wrong, as a parent.

    Uh, Bobby, you’re not withholding information if you don’t say anything about ID.

  41. #41 Lilje
    June 16, 2008

    Do issues like this come up in the countries that are kicking our a@#es in the education department…say like japan…?

  42. #42 Delta Whisky
    June 16, 2008

    Does he also support teaching “Pastafarian” theory of creation ?

  43. #43 AlanWCan
    June 16, 2008

    Cujo359

    In his memoirs, Richard Feynman described working with a board…he thought he was the only one who had even looked at the things. He noted errors in them, etc….Not only that, he mentions being given books with nothing in them but blank pages. When asked why he gave some books a score of zero while everyone else on the committee had given them scores of 7 or 8, he responds that they’re blank…and no-one else had noticed yet and had actually given them high marks. Seems the publisher gave out blanks with covers only because the actual books hadn’t been printed yet. He gave up.

  44. #44 clinteas
    June 16, 2008

    Not being from the US I wasnt familiar with this guy until I looked him up.Im surprised(then again,am I really?) that this chap is considered an “up-and-coming Republican” and potential presidential running-mate.
    As PZ correctly points out in his post,the school curriculum should be chosen by experts in their fields,not illiterate fundamentalist whackjobs like in Texas.That this “teach both sides” is mainstream in the GOP is a bit scary to say the least.

  45. #45 AlanWCan
    June 16, 2008

    Cujo359

    In his memoirs, Richard Feynman described working with a board…he thought he was the only one who had even looked at the things. He noted errors in them, etc….

    Not only that, he mentions being given books with nothing in them but blank pages. When asked why he gave some books a score of zero while everyone else on the committee had given them scores of 7 or 8, he responds that they’re blank…and no-one else had noticed yet and had actually given them high marks. Seems the publisher gave out blanks with covers only because the actual books hadn’t been printed yet. He gave up.

  46. #46 Soybomb
    June 16, 2008

    Re: #24

    I consider myself to be pretty libertarian with most of my views but education is one of those areas where I struggle with it more than usual. If we assume that the children of most middle class or lower families will be needing the assistance of some charity to afford educating their children, what are the odds that the charity money will come from a person or organization that would say that ID is crap and doesn’t belong in a science classroom? Will Home Depot Elementary be able to anger a portion of its customer base by refusing to teach creationism? How many wealthy individuals would use their money to influence the course matter in an ID positive way? I don’t like everything about public school but I’m not sure it isn’t the best we can do right now. The constitution might be necessary to protect from the tyranny of the god loving science illiterate majority

    Re: #38 Is it fair to say that europe struggling less with ID is due to a different level of focus on education? It seems like the most likely explanation is there are less religious people to begin with and accordingly fewer extremists pushing the extreme views. While the US may not provide equal healthcare for all, it does lead the world in health care advances. I’m not as certain we would be in that role if we had euro style socialized medicine.

  47. #47 clinteas
    June 16, 2008

    @ Soybomb,No 46:

    //Is it fair to say that europe struggling less with ID is due to a different level of focus on education? It seems like the most likely explanation is there are less religious people to begin with and accordingly fewer extremists pushing the extreme views. While the US may not provide equal healthcare for all, it does lead the world in health care advances. I’m not as certain we would be in that role if we had euro style socialized medicine.//

    Can i point out 2 mistakes or inaccuracies in this.
    While it is true that Europe has less religious extremists and religion in general does not play an important role in everyday life at all for most people,the reason education is more science-based and pupils can elect to have religion classes or alternatively ethics from Yr 10(at least in Germany),is IMO due to the fact that Europe is the place where humanism and philosophy and ultimately mathematics and science originated,and its people are much less superstitious or fundamentalism-prone in general.The people that left Europe for the US 3-400 years ago werent for the most part the secular humanists,but the Christians of various denominations.

    As to euro-style socialized medicine : Is that what you call it when everyone has access to Healthcare? And the US will not be leading the world in health care advances much longer,if in fact they still are,given the scarcity of funding,lack of proper science education,and reduction of influx of overseas scientists due to the increasing unattractivity of the US as a country after 8 years of GWB.

  48. #48 clinteas
    June 16, 2008

    Make that not originated,but flourished…..

  49. #49 Josephine
    June 16, 2008

    I do not believe why this even is a question at all, but then again, I am not American.

    In Sweden we have solved it like this: (1) In Biology class we cover the variety of species which have arisen thanks to evolution. (2) In Chemistry we study the chemical processes which have enabled evolution to proceed and occur. (3) In History we study the human evolution. (4) In Geography we study plate techtonics. (And so on and so on.) But the most important is (5): In Religion we cover the Intelligent Design theory, among the the Genesis and all the other major world religions’ creation stories and explainations for why man is man and there is a world.

    I find this to be an excellent way of handling things. In science class we discuss science, we do experiements, we THINK. In Relious Studies we are more like philosophers, we THINK and we try to understand. It is not that hard to dismiss Intelligent Design (thanks to one’s own better knowledge) when one is faced with similar arguments from at least 3 other religions.

    What I can not understand is why religion is not taught in schools in America. Though a majority is Christian, not all are, and why are their religions left at home when the Christians’ aren’t? For, I have gone to school with people who are not Christian, and they have not been offended by that a lot of religions are overed, instead of one. Neither have my Christian classmates been offended. More than anything else they find that the subject is fascinating. Though their faith may have them blindfolded, they find joy in arguing for their sake. IN Religious Studies! In Biology etc. they keep their mouth shut and do the experiments.

    I am sorry, for once I have the blessing of being a Swede. Creationism in schools is alien to me.

  50. #50 clinteas
    June 16, 2008

    Josephine,

    im pretty sure we did not even discuss creationism in religious studies,just the major world religions and their foundations and main aspects…I never heard about creationism until after school.
    And yes,this whole woo over it in the US still seems rather bizarre to me,although I can see(and learned about on here) how much relevance has in the US.

  51. #51 Muffin
    June 16, 2008

    People like this always make me wonder whether they’d prefer to undergo surgery carried out by a trained medical professional, or by a group of local people. I mean… according to their logic, the group of local people should be the better choice, shouldn’t it?

  52. #52 Pyroclasm
    June 16, 2008

    Don’t you mean “A Magic Man Done It And Hid All The Evidence“?

    After all, God just stuck those fossils in the ground to confuse us poor little humans.

  53. #53 David Marjanovi?, OM
    June 16, 2008

    Standards must be determined at a higher level by a carefully chosen pool of competent, qualified experts.

    That is — surprise, surprise — how the rest of the world does it. Hooray for American exceptionalism.

    but they’ll cope, perhaps by dumbing it down a little more.

    LOL! My day is saved — and this time at its beginning!

    This must be the syllabus portion for evolution then-

    Monkey turns to man.

    If you’re as ignorant as Jindal, why do you advertise it? Why don’t you instead start reading?

    He disagrees with both? Does that mean that he rejects both evolution and ID in favor of YEC?

    Probably. After all, this is a Catholic who doesn’t know that YEC is heresy in Catholicism. Creatio continua is dogma.

    Do issues like this come up in the countries that are kicking our a@#es in the education department…say like japan…?

    In a word… no.

    Is it fair to say that europe struggling less with ID is due to a different level of focus on education? It seems like the most likely explanation is there are less religious people to begin with and accordingly fewer extremists pushing the extreme views.

    I smell a feedback loop.

    While the US may not provide equal healthcare for all, it does lead the world in health care advances. I’m not as certain we would be in that role if we had euro style socialized medicine.

    I don’t understand why. Research and healthcare are not the same thing.

  54. #54 David Marjanovi?, OM
    June 16, 2008

    is IMO due to the fact that Europe is the place where humanism and philosophy and ultimately mathematics and science originated

    Well, most of the denominations that most Americans belong to originated there as well…

    The people that left Europe for the US 3-400 years ago werent for the most part the secular humanists,but the Christians of various denominations.

    That’s true, but it doesn’t inherit well. 50 years ago Europe was much more religious than it is now.

  55. #55 clinteas
    June 16, 2008

    @David Marjanovic,

    I would never dare to correct you,my brain is a baby to your Beluga lol,but I do think that those religious people that went to settle in the US passed on their religion up the generations,if only in a social context.Similar to fundies outbreeding atheists in the US of today,if you want…

  56. #56 Brian
    June 16, 2008

    I wonder if the IDers would be satisfied with an entry in all science textbooks that deal with evolution that says, after completing evolution: “Some people disagree with everything you were just taught, and instead believe it was all done by a magic invisible person.”

    I can dream can’t I?

  57. #57 Cdesign opponentist
    June 16, 2008

    James #5:

    I prefer to think of it as the “Louisitania”, and the creationists as U-20. I just hope people figure out the dangers posed before people get too badly hurt.

  58. #58 Vidar
    June 16, 2008

    I’m so glad I live in Europe instead of Jesusland/America. ID just isn’t an issue here.

    Also,

    “Them thar magic man dun it, yup.”

  59. #59 MH
    June 16, 2008

    Am I right in thinking that the “Magic Man Done It!” meme came from here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdocQHsPCNM

  60. #60 derek
    June 16, 2008

    I think I could make a much bigger curriculum out of ID, including an hour each on:

    - Magic Man left the panda’s thumb looking like all the other fingers, then gave it a bit of bone to do the job a thumb would have been good at.

    - Magic Man gave all mammals the ability to make their own vitamin C. Except humans and guinea pigs; he didn’t do that for them.

    And so on. There’s easily a semester worth of things I could talk about Magic Man doing.

  61. #61 negentropyeater
    June 16, 2008

    When listening to this kind of argument from a guy like Bobby Jindal, I always wonder what is really happening here :

    1) is he just incapable of understanding ?

    2) is he making an argument from ignorance, has never bothered to really think critically about the issue and listen thorougly through the arguments ? And then is just parroting some stuff simply because he believes it suits his personal agenda and the line of the party in a better way ?

    3) he understands very well, but then is just wilfully lying to the American people because he believes it suits his personal agenda and the line of the party in a better way ?

    How long would it take a reasonably intelligent and educated person such as him to understand why his argumentation doesn’t make any sense at all, if he made the effort ? A couple of hours with a few experts ?

    Do these people simply refuse to make any effort to understand better, or understand very well but prefer to keep lying to maintain the delusions well rooted ?

  62. #62 clinteas
    June 16, 2008

    Neg,
    im fascinated by that question,I first thought of it with Ben Stein,an otherwise intelligent guy…Im leaning towards thinking it is malice and purposeful deciet these days….

  63. #63 Benjamin
    June 16, 2008

    If we could separate Jindal’s two comments into his belief on how school boards should determine curriculum and the nonsense about trying to equally appease both IDers and us silly folk beholden to a science-backed reality, we might actually have something worth talking about here.

    The fact of the matter is that the system we have in the US, in which the local boards designs the content standards for the public school classroom isn’t going anywhere any time soon. There are pretty basic reasons behind this, not the least of which is that, barring direct and damning evidence that could point to public education in the US being broken, the government isn’t going to go through the massive effort it would take to restructure the school system.

    To me, PZ’s vexation with the school board is a shrug moment. I’m not familiar with the process of filling board seats in his part of the country, but I do know that it varies wildly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, with the majority of school board members being elected. The problem is not so much with the hodgepodge approach we take towards this, but with the disinterest of the people at the local level for seeing to it that the school board is filled with competent, reasonable people able to work with the school superintendent, the parents, and the other groups that influence education.

    If people are asleep at the switch, and fill the board seats with ideologues and cranks, of course you’re going to get garbage out. But baby with the bathwater, and all that. It’s not a great system, but it does well enough when there is a high rate of citizen involvement, knowledge, and interest.

  64. #64 Matt Heath
    June 16, 2008

    I love that Robin Ince “magic man done it” routine.

  65. #65 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    June 16, 2008

    “Rising Star in the Republican party”

    /sigh

  66. #66 mayhempix
    June 16, 2008

    According to his introduction, Jindal is the brightest hope for the Republican party.

    After letting Jindal squirm away on the issue of evolution without challenging him, Jindal was also not asked about his participation in an exorcism.

    Shouldn’t the press be revealing politicians instead of grooming them?

  67. #67 Lee Harrison
    June 16, 2008

    To the occassional libertarians posting here: Why are you assuming that a free market will produce *your* desired result? How well have reasonable political opinions done in the American marketplace of ideas? A free market’s version of ‘reasonable’ surely depends on the understanding of the populace that makes up that market – do you trust the majority of your countrymen to get it right?

    Take a good look at the education systems in countries other than your own and learn a lesson. Don’t scrap your public schools – put in the hard work that pays off on the longer term and Fix Them.

  68. #68 Lee Harrison
    June 16, 2008

    …and the ‘Magic Man done it’ piece is brilliant. Definitely going to be nicking that video for my blog – thanks for finding the link, MH #59.

  69. #69 Dave Lartigue
    June 16, 2008

    To compromise by “teaching the controversy” or whatever is to compromise by teaching that 2+2=4.5 in attempt to placate those who think it equals five. It’s wrong, and I don’t care if it’s part of your religion, it’s still wrong.

  70. #70 CosmicTeapot
    June 16, 2008

    Josephine @49

    “(3) In History we study the human evolution.”

    Can you please clarify this.

    I would have expected human evolution to be part of biology, not history.

  71. In other words the market (without government intervention) naturally selects the institutions that are best capable of serving the needs of its customers, which in this case is every child needing an education.

    Evidence, please? Show us an example of a country with no public schools that has better educational outcomes and accessibility than your average country *with* public education.

    (Shouldn’t we subject the Libertarian god to the same rigor we subject the Christian god?)

  72. #72 SteveM
    June 16, 2008

    Paul Lundgren, are you willing to use all discarded scientific and pseudo-scientific ideas as counter-examples of how not to do science properly? Or are there certain ones that you would make use of.

    I agree and would just like to point out that science education already teaches several “failed” theories; Ptolemy being probably the most well known. There is also usually some discussion of Aristotle’s “gravitational theory” that objects fall at a rate proportional to their mass as an example of “common sense” vs. Galileo’s method of actually measuring it. These counter-examples are taught in order to illustrate important lessons in how the scientific method works. “ID” though, I don’t think, teaches anything, not even how to be brilliant but wrong (like Ptolemy) since it is not a theory at all. It is not Ptolemy’s overly complicated epicycles nor Aristotle’s overly simple “common sense”, but simply an abdication of investigation, “this is too complicated to understand”. That is not science, not even bad science, not even wrong science, just simply not science at all and has no place in the science classroom at all.

  73. #73 Bob
    June 16, 2008

    There, finished! There are no experiments that need to be summarized, no details that need to be explored, no complicated mechanisms that need to be explicated.

    This part reminded me of this classic piece

    According to Schott, the entire creationist presentation will take less than 20 minutes of an full academic semester. “Basically, evolution teaching will remain the same. The textbooks will not change,” explained Schott. “The only difference is that at some point in the class, the first two chapters of Genesis will be read. That really shouldn’t take very long at all.”

  74. #74 SteveM
    June 16, 2008

    [Feynman] responds that they’re blank…and no-one else had noticed yet and had actually given them high marks.

    I guess you really can judge a book by its cover! Or at least school boards can. so sad.

  75. #75 Tim Fuller
    June 16, 2008

    Newsflash. At least since Nixon, the Republicans have been nothing but a big criminal element filled with religious nutjobs.

    Asshats all.

    Enjoy.

  76. #76 pksp
    June 16, 2008

    I am of Indian descent and initially was quite proud of Bobby Jindal when I heard that he was rising in LA politics. I then researched his positions and realized that he is not what one would expect from a magna cum laude biology major from Brown University, a Rhodes Scholar, and a former McKinsey & Co. consultant.

    He seems to be competent and extremely intelligent, but I think with his background and his unfortunate location of birth and upbringing (Louisiana), there would not be any other way for him come up in politics in that state without appealing to the least common denominator of the majority base there.

  77. #77 Pierce R. Butler
    June 16, 2008

    nanoAl @ # 20: Someone somewhere should (loudly and publicly) offer the cdesign proponentists all the funding and lab space they need to do some real research. … why hasn’t this been done? (or has it?)

    An outfit called the Templeton Foundation, whose mission it is to (attempt to) reconcile religion and science, for some years funded conferences & suchlike for the Discovery Institute (a.k.a. Intelligent Design Central). After a while, they offered support for research projects, but got requests only for more junkets & parties. Now they don’t give any money for ID at all.

  78. #78 khan
    June 16, 2008

    Secondly, I don’t think students learn by us withholding information from them. Some want only to teach intelligent design, some only want to teach evolution. I think both views are wrong, as a parent.

    He disagrees with both? Does that mean that he rejects both evolution and ID in favor of YEC?

    I think he means that only teaching ID or only teaching evolution are both wrong ideas.

  79. #79 Glen Davidson
    June 16, 2008

    Secondly, I don’t think students learn by us withholding information from them.

    Yes, and unless you’re going to increase the school year, school day, or both, you’re going to be withholding information any time you substitute ID “objections” for real science.

    Hence ID must not be taught, using Jindal’s own premises.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  80. #80 raven
    June 16, 2008

    After a while, they [Templeton Foundation] offered support for research projects, but got requests only for more junkets & parties. Now they don’t give any money for ID at all.

    It is even worse than that. The Templeton foundation cut their support for the Dishonesty Institute with some scathing things to say. Called them just a political front and said they didn’t want to spend their money on such.

  81. #81 JamesR
    June 16, 2008

    I’m with the rest of you who think it a good idea to have this character as VP to McCain. I’m practically salivating. As in “Let The Games Begin”. The opportunity to put this guy in full light of national coverage may be just the thing to get those fence sitters to finally get off their asses and do something. Just imagine the amount of ridicule that can be heaped on this half-wit.

  82. #82 Abhilash Nambiar
    June 16, 2008

    Abhilash Nambiar @24: The free market will provide for all.

    No thanks, we’ve already tried that experiment here in America with our health care system, and you can see what a mess that’s caused.

    Posted by: melior | June 16, 2008 1:35 AM

    The health care system is not a free market. It is a market created by regulation to keep the insurance and drug companies rich. Those who call it a free market are cheating you.

  83. #83 kryptonic
    June 16, 2008

    Can this guy “hunt” quail? Has he shot anyone in the face?

    Jindal seems to fit the mold of the wingnut politician but is that enough to overcome the fear of the brown menace (FotBM) of the Republican base?

  84. #84 dogmeatib
    June 16, 2008

    May I voice an opinion here. Perhaps what we need here is a 100% privatised education system all the way. That way the creationists can shove their nonsense only in their schools.

    There is a huge problem with this idea. First, the education system is funded by all tax payers, whether they have kids or not. If you privatize it, how do you justify the taxation of those who don’t utilize the system? Taking that funding out of the equation you create a situation where the schools are horrendously underfunded (versus the current state of woefully underfunded). Add to that, what competitive free market school is going to take kids with special needs? What happens to the families that don’t have the money to pay to educate their kids? We already see a gap in the quality of education from suburban to urban schools, what do you think will happen in a free market system?

    On top of that, San Francisco tried privatizing their schools a few years ago. The program was a dismal failure as the schools utilized any excuse they could find to get rid of the kids with low test scores, special educational needs, etc.

    PZ, proposed solution for this:

    If they’re ambitious, they could send them off to a Sunday School, which might be taxed by the sudden increase in difficulty over the usual pap they dispense, but they’ll cope, perhaps by dumbing it down a little more

    New “curriculum:”

    magic

    Problem solved. ;o)

  85. #85 Darby
    June 16, 2008

    I always represent the supernatural explanations as the “Poof Theories” – untestable (and if testing means falsifiable, the proponents don’t really want them in science) and therefore not scientific. You can cover it in introduction to scientific method and in abiogenesis and be done in five minutes.

  86. #86 frog
    June 16, 2008

    Nambiar: The health care system is not a free market. It is a market created by regulation to keep the insurance and drug companies rich. Those who call it a free market are cheating you.

    Do I smell No True Scotsmen here? What the hell do you think a free market looks like in practice? You’re theoretical “free market” works reasonably well the more the “product” is a pure commodity.

    Heath-care and education aren’t objects, they don’t look, smell or taste like commodities, so any “free market” approach to them is as reasonable as a “free market” of love or weather — aka, it’s never going to function as an adequate market.

    Really, it’s a mental disorder to take a single metaphor that appropriately describes a small set of cases, and universalize it — to see apples in every fruit basket, class in every conflict, and demons behind every setback.

  87. #87 Kermit
    June 16, 2008

    Abilah Nambiar@82 “The health care system is not a free market. It is a market created by regulation to keep the insurance and drug companies rich. Those who call it a free market are cheating you.”

    Sure it’s a free market. What do you think is being selected in the evolutionary environment of US health care? It’s not the best care for the patient that wins; it’s getting the most money for the least amount of services. This is why it’s a bad idea to privatize the military (we pay more for services from Kellog, Brown and Root then we do for military people doing the same services; ditto for BlackWater offering security for government officials). Our health care is not available to all citizens, and costs 30-50% more than in Canada or Sweden because the bottom line is not the qulality of health care for each patient, but the income of the CEO and the company Board members.

    Same for your comment in 24 – Privatizing schools would not result in the best education for kids; their education is not what would be selected. What *would win in this marketplace are schools that are best able to sell themselves. Advertising and the public face of a school would be the competition. Since superior education requires more resources, they would on the whole provide the least amount they could get away with. And working class parents on a tight budget would make even more sacrifices than they would want to.

  88. #88 Paul Lundgren
    June 16, 2008

    Janine ID and SteveM:

    I think you’re both on the right track. Lump ID in with the other junk in the drawer to put it in its rightful context. Maybe showing it in that light would drive the point home better.

  89. #89 Walton
    June 16, 2008

    I’ve always liked Governor Jindal, so it saddens me to say that he does, indeed, appear to be talking nonsense as regards evolution vs. ID.

    As to giving control to local school boards, I can see the value of this when judged against the democratic principle, but I also understand Professor Myers’ concern that a local school board is unlikely to possess the requisite academic expertise to determine the curriculum for public schools.

  90. #90 BMcP
    June 16, 2008

    One, I don’t think this is something the federal or state government should be imposing its views on local school districts.

    I partially agree with him on this point, I think it should be the job of the states to determine their education policies. School boards may be a bit too localized and uninformed for this but state level government is fine. I don’t see any constitutional reason for the federal government to be involved, especially since the quality of the public schools has only declined since the formation of the department of education, what a waste of our money.

  91. #91 SteveM
    June 16, 2008

    Janine ID and SteveM:

    I think you’re both on the right track. Lump ID in with the other junk in the drawer to put it in its rightful context. Maybe showing it in that light would drive the point home better.

    Paul, I do appreciate what you’re saying, but my point was that ID isn’t even useful as a counterexample as there is nothing there. At least Ptolemy developed a theory of planetary motion that fit with the observations of the time. ID doesn’t even do that, it just says some things are too complicated to understand. And that’s what puts it in the same category as astrology which is not included in science class, even as a failed theory.

    OTOH, maybe you’re right that at this point, it is necessary to teach why ID is not science, that it is the antithesis of science in that it discourages hypothesis testing and exploration; that science is about building models and understanding the universe and not giving up just because something looks too complicated to be natural. That should really only take maybe the first day (hour) of class.

  92. #92 Nick Gotts
    June 16, 2008

    Just to annoy the “libertarians” (I use the scare quotes because the word has been shamelessly stolen by the right from the left in the relatively recent past), I suggest we retire the “No true Scotsman”, and replace him by the “No true Free Market”?

  93. #93 Pierce R. Butler
    June 16, 2008

    BMcP: … state level government is fine.

    This claim can be refuted in one word: Texas.

    If we were to allow 10 words, one of them would certainly be Louisiana.

  94. #94 Pierce R. Butler
    June 16, 2008

    Nick Gotts: … I suggest we retire the “No true Scotsman”, and replace him by the “No true Free Market”?

    The problem with this is that one can actually find verifiable Scotsmen.

  95. #95 MAJeff, OM
    June 16, 2008

    I’ve always liked Governor Jindal, so it saddens me to say that he does, indeed, appear to be talking nonsense as regards evolution vs. ID.

    And pretty much everything else. He’s a far-right culture warrior. And Walton continues to show his spots.

  96. #96 PatrickHenry
    June 16, 2008

    Jindal will soon be signing the creationism bill that the Louisiana Senate just passed. And they’re whooping it up over at the Discovery Institute. I blogged about it, but the news is now breaking out all over.

  97. #97 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    June 16, 2008

    So he’s for comprehensive sex education?

    And a comparative religion course, not to mention a semester of critical thinking skills in middle school.

  98. #98 Mats
    June 16, 2008

    Oh, what a horrible thing. Teach science as science and not as religious dogma. The sky will surelly fall in Louisiana.

    Then again, maybe not.

  99. #99 Steve_C
    June 16, 2008

    What did that even mean?

  100. #100 Jeanette Garcia
    June 16, 2008

    Love it! A magic man done did it. Yup, that’s perfect. What’s more to say on the subject? Me thinks they are overly verbose.

  101. #101 Ed Darrell
    June 16, 2008

    Knaverupe at #18: I’ve responded at length here about why responsible citizens should not hope for Jindal:
    http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2008/06/16/not-bobby-jindal-the-parable-of-the-idiot-candidate/

  102. #102 alloy
    June 17, 2008

    Of course in some countries the opposite may be true.

    Entrusting education to a central government which thinks African potatoes are a substitute for ARV’s for the treatment of AIDS is an equally bad idea.

  103. #103 Kseniya
    June 17, 2008

    Wow. Mats the Feeble has returned from his epic journey across the distant horizons of the Innertubes.

    [cue trumpets]

  104. #104 MAJeff, OM
    June 17, 2008

    [cue trumpets]

    ok

  105. #105 Josephine
    June 18, 2008

    @ #70

    In history, in Sweden, we study how the human species has evolved from earlier species. In my school it was even the subjects of a rather throughout essay, I believe. When human evolution has been dealt with history moves on to the “evolution” of social structure, via the route of hunter/gatherer to the first agricultural cities and then off it goes.

    I hope that clarifies it a bit.

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