The Texas Board of Education is led by Don McLeroy, a creationist dentist and plagiarist who believes that the earth is only 6000 years old.
Just stop there and savor it. The man who wants to dictate what all of the children in one of the largest educational systems in the country should learn about science believes his pathetic and patently false superstition supersedes the evidence and the informed evaluation of virtually all the scientists in the world. There is no other way to put it than to point out that McLeroy is a blithering idiot who willingly puts his incompetence on display. His job is not at risk, and he’s even advancing his freakish agenda with some success.
It’s a marvel, isn’t it? A fellow just wants to laugh and shoo him back to his church and his dental practice, but instead, he’s been given all this power over the education of American children, and it’s hard to laugh, because it is so damned terrifying.
But wait! The unbelievable insanity is not yet complete! The Texas school board is debating and will vote on a revised curriculum this week, a curriculum in which the uninformed, uneducated doubts of this arrogantly ignorant man will be enshrined in the lesson plans of every child in Texas. And the board is about evenly split!
There’s a deeper problem here than the simple superficial fact that we’ve got influential people trying to push nonsense into science classrooms. It’s that somehow, we have a system that gives flaming incompetents this kind of power — that we willingly hand over important decisions about the education of our children to people who aren’t qualified, who have no understanding of science, and who want prioritize a page and a half of vague, poetic metaphor from a ragged old hodge-podge of a book of mythology over the concrete, well-tested, and well-documented body of modern scientific information.
It’s ludicrous and painful to watch. Steve Schafersman will be live-blogging the proceedings. I think we’re obligated to follow along, in order to suffer for our national shortcomings. Think of it as penance, and as an object lesson. We need to correct the structural problems in the governance of our educational systems, no matter which way the decision goes. If you are in Texas, and you care about good science, then you should plan on showing up and testifying.
Even that is sad and pitiful. We rely now on getting enough presentable people to show up and speak forcefully in order to persuade a state board of education to support science?