Pharyngula

There is hope in Texas. Deranged creationist dentist Don McLeroy is getting grilled in confirmation hearings.

State Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy, R-Bryan, faced searing questioning during his uncommonly long confirmation hearing Wednesday at the Senate Nominations Committee.

And Chairman Mike Jackson, R-La Porte, said McLeroy’s nomination is on shaky ground because he might not be able to get the required two-thirds vote from the Senate.

Texans, call your congresscritters and urge them to purge this embarrassment from the board of education. If you can shed McLeroy, I will celebrate and write a post fulsome in its praise of the beauty and wisdom of Texans, I promise.

Comments

  1. #1 JD
    April 22, 2009

    What’s with all these Don characters showing up in Texas? Maybe Don Knotts can teach young universe cosmology (NOMA style).

  2. #2 Waydude
    April 22, 2009

    PZ, sorry for off topic, I checked on your flight, looks like the plane you are taking was late getting in from Albuquerque, you should be leaving in about 30 minutes, getting in at 11pm.

    also, I know the captain, he did my initial training at the airline, great guy, excellent pilot.

  3. #3 PZ Myers
    April 22, 2009

    Yep, plane is now at the gate, we get to start boarding soon. I might get some sleep tonight after all!

  4. #4 Greg Esres
    April 22, 2009

    It’s about damn time they tried to take the offensive against this guy.

  5. #5 JD
    April 22, 2009

    We’ll discuss dental sedation options with Don after the hearings.

  6. #6 Ranger_Rick
    April 22, 2009

    I say, send him back to the electric dentist chair, Texas…then he can play make-believe with his tooth-fairy again.

  7. #7 John Harshman
    April 22, 2009

    Texans, call your congresscritters and urge them to purge this embarrassment from the board of education.

    It might be more effective for them to call their state senator.

  8. #8 James F
    April 22, 2009

    I just hope that if they block McLeroy’s confirmation, the position of chair doesn’t automatically pass to David Bradley. Passing the torch from Tweedledee to Tweedledum.

    (Aside: Wow, PZ gets flight updates on his blog. Now that’s service!)

  9. #9 tmaxPA
    April 23, 2009

    I would seriously love to get more details on this questioning. The link doesn’t have much more than PZ quoted.

  10. #10 junco
    April 23, 2009

    check out TFN (texas freedom network). They have a little more detail, but it is still describing the same session.

  11. #11 chuckgoecke
    April 23, 2009

    Done, last night!

  12. #12 Zeno
    April 23, 2009

    “fulsome”? As in “excessive and insincere”?

  13. #13 Andrew
    April 23, 2009

    Who do I call if I live in Bryan/College Station? Haha! They named this town after Wm.J.Bryan! What kind of people do you think live here?

  14. #14 Texas Ceph Nerd
    April 23, 2009

    Andrew, despair not, Bryan, TX was named after William Joel Bryan, a nephew of Stephen F. Austin – not William Jennings “Crucified on a Cross of Gold” Bryan who gained prominence during the Scopes farce.

    Though you are completely right about the type of people that seem to aggregate in that area there – I imagine you are neck deep in rednecks wearing camouflage Palin 2012 hats in their big trucks – and I say that as an Aggie myself- though I attended the laid-back/free thinking/beach bum Galveston campus where we weren’t quite so inundated with those types :)

  15. #15 Leigh Williams
    April 23, 2009

    Texans, find your state senator (or other elected official) with this handy-dandy finder. The issue was before the Senate Nominations committee today; the nominations are voted on by the full state senate.

    And here is the link to an Austin-American Statesman article, fresh off the press, provided by the tireless and vigilant president of Texas Citizens for Science, Steve Schafersman.

  16. #16 Leigh Williams
    April 23, 2009

    TEXANS, LISTEN UP.

    Call your state senator tomorrow to express your displeasure with Dr. McLeroy.

    Pharyngulating (or is it pharyngulizing?) polls is fun. This is the same principle, BUT IT COUNTS.

    We have a shot at getting that asshat out of the chairman’s seat, where he’s abused the power of the office.

    Do it for science. Do it for our teachers. JUST DO IT.

  17. #17 Chris Richards
    April 23, 2009

    The Texas Freedom Network has up their liveblog from the hearing: http://tfnblog.wordpress.com/2009/04/22/live-blogging-the-mcleroy-hearing/

    All Texans, and especially Texan educators (at all levels!) need to get involved and tell their representatives that this cannot stand. McLeroy does not deserve to set educational standards for Texas at all. His dismissal of science is nearly topped by his disregard for education and his partisanship.

    Rick Perry ought to be ashamed for appointing this clown, but Rick Perry has a lot of other things to be ashamed of, so I guess that’s not out of the ordinary here.

  18. #18 Bacopa
    April 23, 2009

    I did this before you told me to. Hell, I even filled out a bunch of forms to vote for a write in candidate for SBOE I heard interviewed on KPFT.

    BTW, I know you were interviewed on KPFT’s “Partisan Gridlock” and it wasn’t so great. The show has matured and developed a fanbase. Please try again.

  19. #19 flawedplan
    April 23, 2009

    “I would seriously love to get more details on this questioning. The link doesn’t have much more than PZ quoted.”

    I’m a writer who covered this today. Stream it here:

    http://www.senate.state.tx.us/avarchive/ramav.php?ram=00004208

    His interrogation begins around 1:20.

    Yahoots!

  20. #20 Walton
    April 23, 2009

    It seems to me that the real question here is: why is one committee of unqualified political hacks allowed to decide on the education standards for an entire state?

    My suggestion would be this: make all schools independent of government, and allow parents to choose their children’s school in a free market (regardless of district), with funding provided directly to parents by the state. That way, teachers rather than politicians will be deciding the curriculum; and if a school’s teaching standards fall below par, parents will abandon it and take their children elsewhere.

  21. #21 Blind Squirrel FCD
    April 23, 2009

    Walton, what is the name of the planet you live on again?

  22. #22 tweeybirdie386sx
    April 23, 2009

    Nice to know that Texas senators know how to use teh google! McLeroy seems to be having a lot of “regrets”. Bye bye Mr. McLeroy. Nice knowin ya.

  23. #23 Aquaria
    April 23, 2009

    exans, find your state senator (or other elected official) with this handy-dandy finder. The issue was before the Senate Nominations committee today; the nominations are voted on by the full state senate.

    It never fails to amaze me how many people don’t know who their pols are. Whenever I move somewhere new, it’s the first thing I get to know, even before, “How do I get the frackin’ electricity turned on?”

    Mine is Leticia van de Putte. She’s on the Education Committee, so I will definitely be calling her later this morning.

  24. #24 bobxxxx
    April 23, 2009

    And Chairman Mike Jackson, R-La Porte, said McLeroy’s nomination is on shaky ground because he might not be able to get the required two-thirds vote from the Senate.

    If this wasn’t the United States of Jeebus, McLeroy would get zero votes.

    McLeroy believes in a 6,000 year old earth and Texas has given him the power to make decisions about science curriculums. Way to go Texas.

  25. #25 Aquaria
    April 23, 2009

    Walton, please–shut up.

    Your laissez fairey tale will not work with education.

    There’s a reason why the religious are pushing “market-driven” education. They would make a fucking killing off it, because very few normal businesses will go into the business of education. There’s no profit in it for them. How will they make money? Tuition? You’d have to make it so damned high to show a profit that only the rich could afford it. And that’s exactly how it is with private, non-religious schools. Their fees are in the tens of thousands a year–right now. How many Americans can afford that?

    That leaves religious organizations who don’t have to worry about profit and pleasing shareholders. With a religious organization that doesn’t pay taxes, and can pool a smallish tuition with their tithing money, and doesn’t have to answer to anybody for how much they pay teachers, (notoriously, shockingly low in many religious schools), the coffers can swell quite disgustingly.

    And of course there’s that problem of having your kids indoctrinated with whatever the local faith-based school offers. Not everyplace can have a wide range of school types, and most won’t. They barely have enough students for one public school in a significant number of rural areas and small towns.

    Never mind that the religious schools will be permitted (as they are right now) to discriminate based on religious grounds. What if you’re Catholic and the only school in your town believes Catholics are idolators–and even deny your child admission because he’s a pagan to them? What if your child is gay, and is thrown out of the only school in town over it–and within the school’s right to do so? Do you realize that there are fundie schools right now that will throw out a student if they go to a secular pop concert? No? Didn’t think so.

    As usual, you’re too inexperienced with the real world, too unfamiliar with America, and far too blinded by your libertard ideology, to know enough to open your trap.

  26. #26 Ichthyic
    April 23, 2009

    My suggestion would be this: make all schools independent of government, and allow parents to choose their children’s school in a free market (regardless of district), with funding provided directly to parents by the state. That way, teachers rather than politicians will be deciding the curriculum

    oops.

    Walton apparently hasn’t realized the fundamental opposition in these two operators.

    and if a school’s teaching standards fall below par, parents will abandon it and take their children elsewhere.

    ah, yes, he hasn’t.

    great way to miss the entire point of limiting creationist education there, sport.

    here, let me help you with a question:

    Who decides when teaching standards have fallen “below par”, and what criteria will they use, eh?

    If left up to the parents, can you fucking well NOT see that you would get huge swaths of little more than churches set up as schools?

    How is that beneficial to a functioning democracy?

  27. #27 Walton
    April 23, 2009

    Aquaria @#25:

    What I am suggesting is this. At present, the average US state spends about $11,000 per annum per child on public education. Why not let the parents, if they choose to do so, control that money directly? Why not give them a handout of $11,000 to spend on school tuition? Why should private schools and school choice be just for the rich? My proposed system would extend that choice to everyone.

    Yes, I am aware that most existing secular private schools are prohibitively expensive – but the reason for this is that, at present, the wealthy are the only demographic who send their children to private schools, so the incentive for private schools is to have high tuition and high standards. Under my proposed system, every family would have access to cash to spend on private school tuition – meaning that a large number of new, low-cost private schools (both secular and religious) would spring up to service this new market.

    As to your issues about expulsion of students – I would say that any private school which accepts public money, under my proposed system, should have to refrain from religious discrimination and should have to follow model disciplinary guidelines. (Obviously, existing private/religious schools will be free to refrain from accepting public money and to maintain their existing admissions policies, should they so choose. But since there will be a large pot of public cash there for the taking, the incentive will be for existing schools to get involved.)

  28. #28 CJ
    April 23, 2009

    Walton – exchange a small group of unqualified hacks for a larger group of unqualified hacks? Genius!

  29. #29 Walton
    April 23, 2009

    Ichthyic @#26:

    Yes, I realise that under my proposed system, many fundie parents will send their children to fundie religious schools and teach them nonsense. That’s, unfortunately, unavoidable; but it’s better than the present situation, in which those same fundie lunatics are able, through voting and running for office, to impose their lunacy on everyone’s children. If we give parents, rather than politicians, control of children’s education, then at least the damage will be limited to those children unlucky enough to be born in loony households – rather than allowing fundie elected officials to screw up education for everyone.

  30. #30 Josh
    April 23, 2009

    Aquaria addresses the economic realities of such a plan nicely in #25, but this merits comment:

    …and if a school’s teaching standards fall below par, parents will abandon it and take their children elsewhere.

    And those teaching standards would be set by whom?

    And those teaching standards would be “enforced” by whom?

    Walton, I also don’t like having politicians making curriculum decisions (although I’m not convinced that you’re not erecting a strawman here with respect to the writing of actual policy), but your suggestion in #20 simply shifts the burden of curriculum design from the state/fed BOEs to the teachers (if I’m reading you correctly). I’m not sure that you’ve thought through the implications of that.

    Do you have any idea of how big of a pain-in-the-ass it is to set up a state curriculum? I’ve only recently become educated as to just how large a pain it is, but let’s just say it’s not a responsibility I want. But instead of this one giant ball of wax to try and sort out, you want to have 1500 or so smaller balls per state. What’s the mechanism by which the teachers that get selected to weigh in on curriculum design are chosen? We’ve got teachers teaching biology who were trained in English. Do they get the same say in curriculum design as those who have, say, an MS in biology? Who answers this question? And then there’s the question of oversight. I know that this word makes you wanna throw things at your keyboard, and that’s fine in principal*, but in practice oversight simply must be addressed in some way. You yourself recognized this need in comment 20 by writing and if a school’s teaching standards fall below par, parents will abandon it and take their children elsewhere, which brings me right back to the two questions I ask above. Who decides what those standards are? And who enforces them? I’ve met enough high school science teachers, in the past year alone, who teach that if you fail to falsify a scientific theory for long enough it gets promoted to a law, that you’ll forgive me if I don’t want to just hand the teachers a blank check with respect to design.

    *Sorry–I just couldn’t resist.

  31. #31 SC, OM
    April 23, 2009

    Yup, Walton’s in the cockpit waving around a fake weapon, and he’s takin’ this baby straight to propertopia.

  32. #32 CJ
    April 23, 2009

    Dude Walton!

    then at least the damage will be limited to those children unlucky enough to be born in loony households

    Mais non! Even ignoring the cost issues associated with privatising schools which would exclude huge numbers of people from any sort of education – do you propose people should have to move themselves around the country until they find an area where they agree with the majority viewpoint? Forgive me if I’m misunderstanding what you’re saying but it seems like you’re suggesting educational standards should be set on a demand-supply basis? Surely this post illustrates exactly how dangerous majority rules are even with oversight?

    On a voting with your feet note. Catchment areas stuffed full of CofE schools are the height of tedium.

  33. #33 Robbie Taylor
    April 23, 2009

    Crap. He would have to be from my hometown…

  34. #34 Ichthyic
    April 23, 2009

    Why not let the parents, if they choose to do so, control that money directly?

    why not let crack addicts decide how to spend money on health care?

  35. #35 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 23, 2009

    Walton, shut the fuck up. We are tired of your libertard politics/economics hijacking threads. Same to you AG. You have had your say.

  36. #36 Ichthyic
    April 23, 2009

    You have had your say.

    agreed.

    This should be about Donny-boy, not Waltie.

    Anybody have any updates to share?

  37. #37 Walton
    April 23, 2009

    why not let crack addicts decide how to spend money on health care?

    We certainly should let them decide how to spend money on their own healthcare. Just like we should let individual parents decide how to spend money on their own children’s education. The point is, no one else – whether fundie or crack addict – should have any say in my healthcare, or my education, or my lifestyle. Which is why social democracy is stupid.

  38. #38 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 23, 2009

    Walton, the only stupidity around here at the moment is you. Enough already. We heard the same stuff months ago, a week later, a week later….
    Only nobody is buying. The first rule of sales, if they aren’t interested move on.

  39. #39 Kel
    April 23, 2009

    We certainly should let them decide how to spend money on their own healthcare. Just like we should let individual parents decide how to spend money on their own children’s education. The point is, no one else – whether fundie or crack addict – should have any say in my healthcare, or my education, or my lifestyle. Which is why social democracy is stupid.

    Walton, you do realise we live in this thing called a society correct? This is why libertarianism is stupid, it’s espousing extreme rights for the individual and pays no attention to the fact that we are social beings who need society in order for us to have standard of living that we do now. Extreme individualism does not work in society, and the only reason that you can even proclaim it now is because you have a society that takes away most of the duties you would be doing alone. Break the social bonds of a society and see what happens…

  40. #40 CJ
    April 23, 2009

    @ Nerd – Sorry for contributing to the hijack – I’ll go do something useful like harrass my lazy, childless Texan friends who need to get in on this instead.

  41. #41 Rorschach
    April 23, 2009

    Here’s wishing that the YEC dentist can be removed from the Texas SBOE !
    How someone can pull wisdom teeth all day and tell people that the earth is 6000 years old is truly and honestly beyond me.

    And Walton,
    serioulsy man,get a life,go out there and get some life experience,stop hijacking every fucking thread with your undigested not-thought-through lib BS.

  42. #42 Kel
    April 23, 2009

    I’m with the others Walton. If you want to go on with your libertarian fantasy, there are other places where your mental ejaculations would be more than welcome. But seriously, remember that this is a community and as such pissing people off by hijacking as many threads as possible to talk about libertarianism is just going to make people think less of you. You are capable of contributing, but seriously you need to ease up on the libertarian ideology.

  43. #43 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    April 23, 2009

    I will celebrate and write a post

    If they succeed, I’ll offer to give Texas a big hug, or a flogging, or both. Their choice. Go, Texans!

  44. #44 flawedprefect
    April 23, 2009

    Yes! There IS a GOD!

    The irony of the above statement is not beyond me.

  45. #45 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 23, 2009

    It seems to me that the real question here is: why is one committee of unqualified political hacks allowed to decide on the education standards for an entire state?

    And then you say this

    My suggestion would be this: make all schools independent of government, and allow parents to choose their children’s school in a free market (regardless of district), with funding provided directly to parents by the state. That way, teachers rather than politicians will be deciding the curriculum; and if a school’s teaching standards fall below par, parents will abandon it and take their children elsewhere.

    So how are you going to make sure that the teachers aren’t teaching absolute nonsense? Do we want generations of children being taught at different standards?

    It’s already bad enough it its current form.

  46. #46 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 23, 2009

    *kicks self for feeding the fires of Walton’s public masturbatory fantasies.

  47. #47 Walton
    April 23, 2009

    But seriously, remember that this is a community and as such pissing people off by hijacking as many threads as possible to talk about libertarianism is just going to make people think less of you.

    Erm, how many threads have I “hijacked” recently to talk about libertarianism? Look back through the last 30 or so threads; you’ll find that on the vast majority I have not commented at all, and that in some places I have commented about non-political matters. But when the topic of the thread is manifestly political and I have a strong viewpoint on it, I generally chip in with that viewpoint. Is that so wrong?

  48. #48 John C. Welch
    April 23, 2009

    If you keep Walton dancing around enough, eventually, to answer all the legit questions, like “how do you ensure kids learn what they need to so they won’t be laughed out of a college admittance office”, eventually, he keeps altering his magic system until it’s pretty much what we have now, but since it’s created by a LIBERTARIAN, it’s magically better.

    Libertarians are big into magical thinking.

  49. #49 Josh
    April 23, 2009

    The point is, no one else – whether fundie or crack addict – should have any say in my healthcare, or my education, or my lifestyle. Which is why social democracy is stupid.

    But you don’t have a problem with the society having a say in your defense. A socialistic military is okay. It must be, since you directly support the institution*:

    Having some (very limited) experience of the military (I’m in my university’s OTC unit, a non-deployable cadet unit)

    *comment #139 in the Enablers of Torture thread.

  50. #50 SAWells
    April 23, 2009

    Walton, last time you bought, say, flour, you didn’t do your own chemical analyses on it. Instead, we have food standard and require suppliers to conform to them. Similarly, if someone can show a degree in science, _you shouldn’t have to double-check that they weren’t actually taught a flat earth and magical creation stories as science_; the degree should mean something and institutions providing them have to hew to standards.

  51. #51 Brian Coughlan
    April 23, 2009

    http://www.senate.state.tx.us/avarchive/ramav.php?ram=00004208

    His interrogation begins around 1:20.

    The above posted at #19 is very interesting.

  52. #52 Walton
    April 23, 2009

    But you don’t have a problem with the society having a say in your defense. A socialistic military is okay. It must be, since you directly support the institution

    A national military force is necessary; since national defence is a non-rivalrous and non-excludable public good, it is not practical to expect citizens to pay for it on a voluntary basis, and so it must be provided by the state. Ditto for policing, the judiciary, and certain other core services.

    But what I would like to see, supplementing the core regular and reserve military forces, is a large-scale (albeit non-compulsory) citizens’ militia; every adult citizen should be encouraged to have an assault rifle at home and to train in its use.

  53. #53 Walton
    April 23, 2009

    Walton, last time you bought, say, flour, you didn’t do your own chemical analyses on it. Instead, we have food standard and require suppliers to conform to them. Similarly, if someone can show a degree in science, _you shouldn’t have to double-check that they weren’t actually taught a flat earth and magical creation stories as science_; the degree should mean something and institutions providing them have to hew to standards.

    That’s a pretty good analogy, in fact. In the field of food and drugs, I agree with labelling laws, but not with compulsory standards. That is, if (for instance) someone wants to buy a drug which has not been FDA-approved, they should be able to do so; but the suppliers of such drugs should be required to make clear on the packaging that the drugs are unapproved and may not be safe. Similarly, if you want to buy flour that’s full of chemical gunk, you should be allowed to; as long as the manufacturer is required to clearly indicate the flour’s chemical contents on the packaging (along with a notice such as “may be unsafe, consume at your own risk”), so that consumers are informed, I don’t see any problem. Consumer protection laws have gone much too far, IMO.

  54. #54 Josh
    April 23, 2009

    I’m sorry all; I won’t keep feeding this long.

    A national military force is necessary

    But why aren’t you strenuously advocating for each unit to teach their own people? You don’t seem to have a problem with the militiamen training themselves:

    …every adult citizen should be encouraged to have an assault rifle at home and to train in its use.

    So, unless I have missed where you have previously argued for this, why aren’t you advocating for a similar educational system for the “national defense force?” Why not give training over to the individual unit commanders?

  55. #55 SAWells
    April 23, 2009

    So the world should be full of labels which give anyone who isn’t a professional food chemist the exciting opportunity to poison themselves simply by assuming that stuff being sold as food is actually food and not cement powder. Great. Thanks a bunch.

  56. #56 Walton
    April 23, 2009

    But why aren’t you strenuously advocating for each unit to teach their own people?

    Operational efficiency. For better or worse, we are currently deploying large numbers of troops in combat theatres abroad; it would be grossly irresponsible, and a huge waste of life, to send them there without proper training. This is nothing to do with ideology, just common sense and decency.

    To clarify, my proposed popular militia would certainly not be deployed overseas; we would continue deploying regular and active reserve personnel on operations, whereas the militia would concentrate on home defence in preparation for a state of national emergency, rather like the British Home Guard in WW2.

  57. #57 SAWells
    April 23, 2009

    Limitless waste and confusion in education/health care/food supply: A-OK. Inefficient killing of foreigners: indecent. I have nothing to add.

  58. #58 Ichthyic
    April 23, 2009

    Erm, how many threads have I “hijacked” recently to talk about libertarianism?

    any would be too many, and you’ve been guilty of it often enough to piss everyone off. You can’t seem to understand this?

    are there any other very simple communications issues you need help with?

    until then…

  59. #59 Anonymous
    April 23, 2009

    Operational efficiency. For better or worse, we are currently deploying large numbers of troops in combat theatres abroad; it would be grossly irresponsible, and a huge waste of life, to send them there without proper training. This is nothing to do with ideology, just common sense and decency.

    But you don’t see a similar need for “operational efficiency” with respect to education? You don’t think it’s grossly irresponsible to make education compulsory and not ensure that the trainees get proper training?

    To clarify, my proposed popular militia would certainly not be deployed overseas; we would continue deploying regular and active reserve personnel on operations, whereas the militia would concentrate on home defence in preparation for a state of national emergency,

    I’ll argue that your and my main thread of conversation is on topic (standards of education), but that this aspect of it is getting off topic, but I fail to see how what your proposing is not just an additional national guard, unless you’re actually proposing that these people arm and train themselves, in which case I think that you’ve thrown any thought of operational efficiency completely out the window with respect to this group of militiafolk*.

    *For example, if all you have done is given them the rigth to arm themselves to the teeth, then how the heck do you expect them to provide any adequate response to a national disaster? Do you even know, beforehand, if any of them know CPR?

  60. #60 Josh
    April 23, 2009

    Fuck.
    #59 was me.

  61. #61 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 23, 2009

    A national military force is necessary; since national defence is a non-rivalrous and non-excludable public good

    And having educated citizens is not?

  62. #62 NewEnglandBob
    April 23, 2009

    Whatever Walton has said here, I am for the exact opposite.

    As 95% of people know, libertarianism would be anarchy and would destroy civilization and rule of law and any form of rational government. It would be as bad as totalitarianism.

    So, Walton, go hide in your bunker with your paranoid buddies.

  63. #63 Josh
    April 23, 2009

    As usual, Rev. makes my point in like 5 fucking words.

    *sigh*

  64. #64 Ichthyic
    April 23, 2009

    And having educated citizens is not?

    don’t be daft. Of course we need educated citizenry…

    randomly educated citizenry.

    *rolleyes*

    I’d call Poe’s Law on Walton if he didn’t come up with some occasional posts that make him seem like a shut-in.

    mmm, puppies.

  65. #65 Walton
    April 23, 2009

    As 95% of people know…

    Argumentum ad populum.

    …libertarianism would be anarchy and would destroy civilization and rule of law and any form of rational government. It would be as bad as totalitarianism.

    Do I really need to respond to this? Please tell me you’re taking the piss.

    I’d call Poe’s Law on Walton if he didn’t come up with some occasional posts that make him seem like a shut-in.

    mmm, puppies.

    What’s a “shut-in”?

    And I thought Poe’s Law applied only to (parody) religious fundamentalists?

  66. #66 Rorschach
    April 23, 2009

    @ 65,

    As 95% of people know
    Argumentum ad populum. …

    Actually,as truthy pointed out earlier,thats an argumentum ad consensus gentium.

  67. #67 Walton
    April 23, 2009

    Well, what would the rest of you prefer? Federal takeover of education standards? A United States Education Commission, consisting of professional educators, scientists and academics, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, to take direct control of school curricula across the country and impose the same uniform standards everywhere?

    (Because think how fantastic that would be if the members of the Commission were appointed by President Sarah Palin or Bobby Jindal…)

  68. #68 Josh
    April 23, 2009

    randomly educated citizenry.

    Which would of course lead to the development of various higher level “educational taxonomic units” which might then compete, with greater or lesser success, for available resources within society, causing only the stronger of them to preferentially propegate progeny according to their selected philosophies and…

    …uh, nevermind.

    *turns back to editing some cladobabble*

  69. #69 Kate
    April 23, 2009

    *cue dramatic soap opera music*

    Will PZ Make it home from his harrowing journey?

    Will Rev. Big Dumb Chimp make a snarky, funny and on point comment which slays his competition?

    Will Walton ever see the utter hypocrisy of complaining about how stupid people are while in the very same comment he states that he wants to unleash that stupid in a torrent of burning ignorance across the land?

    WON’T SOMEBODY ACTUALLY THINK OF THE CHILDREN FOR ONCE! (Meaning: Give those poor little Texan kiddies a decent education based on FACTS, not stupid myths, so that they may one day grow up to be productive, intelligent members of society!)

  70. #70 William Fortin
    April 23, 2009

    Well I did my part. My senator is the chair of the education committee. Didn’t know that. I should have written her sooner.

  71. #71 Kate
    April 23, 2009

    Walton, you’re an idiot.

    No, really.

    What “we” want is to have science education based on….. wait for it…. wait for it…. wait for it……

    SCIENCE! ACTUAL SCIENCE!

    OMG. What a friggin’ concept, eh?

  72. #72 john C. Welch
    April 23, 2009

    Oh Walton, see, that’s why Madison et al were so much smarter than you. The senate actually approves the president’s appointees, and in the senate, the minority party/parties have effectively the same power as the majority. Even the magic 60 number isn’t that magic, because that assumes that all members of a party vote lockstep, and as we see, that rarely happens.

    However, given the stupidity of this country at the lower levels, and the complete educational collapse if every neighborhood can decides standards, regardless of qualification to do so, then yeah, I’d actually take a Palin run presidency setting standards over the fundioids down the block.

    At least Palin would have to contend with the senate.

  73. #73 Walton
    April 23, 2009

    What “we” want is to have science education based on….. wait for it…. wait for it…. wait for it……

    SCIENCE! ACTUAL SCIENCE!

    OMG. What a friggin’ concept, eh?

    And you’re going to achieve this how? As long as education is controlled by majority vote, there will be some school boards, in heavily religious areas, which want to teach creationism and unscientific woo. What I’m suggesting is that, rather than engaging in the pointless spectacle of democratic politics, we simply give the sane and rational people the chance to opt out of the whole mess and to educate their children how they see fit.

  74. #74 Josh
    April 23, 2009

    Well, what would the rest of you prefer? Federal takeover of education standards? A United States Education Commission, consisting of professional educators, scientists and academics, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, to take direct control of school curricula across the country and impose the same uniform standards everywhere?

    *wipes straw from shoulders*

    Nice dodge Walton*, but this doesn’t really address those questions that I put to you, does it? Certainly not the ones I asked in #30.

    *and a nice attempt at convergence with Nat Weeks.

  75. #75 Fred Mounts
    April 23, 2009

    P.Z., please take out the trash. Walton is the epitome of tedium. Wherever Donnie Boy ends up, Walton should be sent to join him, preferably on the island of misfit fucktards.

  76. #76 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 23, 2009

    Oh Walton, see, that’s why Madison et al were so much smarter than you. The senate actually approves the president’s appointees, and in the senate, the minority party/parties have effectively the same power as the majority. Even the magic 60 number isn’t that magic, because that assumes that all members of a party vote lockstep, and as we see, that rarely happens.

    That and we as citizens vote every 2 and 4 (and essentially 6) years for our representatives.

  77. #77 Ichthyic
    April 23, 2009

    Do I really need to respond to this? Please tell me you’re taking the piss.

    a little light went on in your head right when you typed that, eh?

    …then promptly went out.

  78. #78 Walton
    April 23, 2009

    Btw, on a related note: whoever keeps posting poorly-written erotic fan fiction in the comments on my blog, please stop. The joke’s getting tired. (Romeo and Juliet fanfic about a gay sexual encounter between Mercutio and Tybalt? Really?)

  79. #79 Kate
    April 23, 2009

    …and again you fail, Walton.

    You see, Walton, I am not an American. I live in a different country than you do. It’s political system is similar to yours, but we have actual “Separation of Church and State”. ( Our politicians do not make an issue of their religion, and it’s considered CRASS here to talk about your beliefs when dealing with matters of government. )

    Our educational system? Parents where I live have a choice of school boards: The “regular kind” or the “Catholic School Board”… but you know what… BOTH TEACH THE SAME THING IN THE SCIENCE CLASSROOM… not only because they must satisfy the curriculum to receive public funding, but because THEY ARE CONCERNED WITH ENSURING CHILDREN GET A DECENT EDUCATION.

    You, on the other hand, seem to think America should let people legislate willy-nilly, deciding on what counts as education based solely on political stripe, instead of focusing on educating politicians and parents about education, and ensuring that science based education is based on actual science.

    Of course, you’re a libertarian, so I don’t expect that actually care about people or society, or the future of humanity.

  80. #80 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 23, 2009

    Walton if you install Halsocan commenting you can block by IP address if it is the same person doing it.

  81. #81 Walton
    April 23, 2009

    And I’ll bow out of this thread now, since I sense I’ve outstayed my welcome for today (and I need to do some revision for an exam tomorrow).

  82. #82 Walton
    April 23, 2009

    You see, Walton, I am not an American.

    Neither am I. (Just thought I’d clear that up.)

    Farewell for now, all.

  83. #83 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 23, 2009

    Haloscan that is

  84. #84 Kate
    April 23, 2009

    Well, Walton, I apologize. It’s just that you spout such utterly idiotic and blindingly stupid ideas. I forget, sometimes, that America does not have a monoploy on Stupid People Who Can’t Think Their Way Out of a Paper Bag.

    Now, are you going to address the rest of my comment, or are you just going to say more pointless things?

  85. #85 JD
    April 23, 2009

    How’s the trip PZ? Get enough sleep? Or did the Morons, I mean Mormons abduct you?

  86. #86 Cosmic Teapot
    April 23, 2009

    I’ve avoided this for so long because I normally avoid the hijacked threads, and he does seem like a nice chap, but enough is enough, …

    Walton, killfile engaged.

  87. #87 Josh
    April 23, 2009

    And you’re going to achieve this how?

    Exactly as some of us are. By spending energy in the trenches trying to improve the science that the teachers know.

    As long as education is controlled by majority vote, there will be some school boards, in heavily religious areas, which want to teach creationism and unscientific woo. What I’m suggesting is that, rather than engaging in the pointless spectacle of democratic politics, we simply give the sane and rational people the chance to opt out of the whole mess and to educate their children how they see fit.

    And again, how do the parents evaluate what is fit? You really are advocating for random education. Why the hell bother with advocating compulsary education at all? The result is going to be the same: those small few who give a shit about getting themselves educated will fight and scrap and find a way, and the rest of the great pedagogically unwashed will get most of their learnin’ from Spongebob and Dancing with the fucking stars.

  88. #88 SteveM
    April 23, 2009

    What I’m suggesting is that…we simply give the sane and rational people the chance to opt out of the whole mess and to educate their children how they see fit.

    No you aren’t. People already have the option to opt out of the public school system. What you are suggesting is to force everyone out of the system, by essentially eliminating the public schools.

    Regardless, this article is about trying to get someone off of a school board. Not how to restructure the entire educational system.

  89. #89 Fred the Hun
    April 23, 2009

    Ichthyic @ 58,

    With or without a non FDA approved sweetener?

    I am so stealing that concept, though I may modify the graphic :-)

  90. #90 nigelTheBold
    April 23, 2009

    Ah, the young and the naive libertarians. I remember back in my college days, I was very similar: I’d play my D&D with my friends, and we’d really wish the world were like that (with magic and all), and our Ayn Rand was JRR Tolkien.

    Why, like libertarians, we wished currency were in gold and silver and copper!

    Aaaaanyway, I’m glad W. is in a nice, safe, non-deployable unit, so he can play soldier in a secure, non-threatening environment.

    The simple fact that TX is grilling McLeroy like the cheesy tool he is makes for heartening news. It makes it seem like our democratic republic works some of the time, doesn’t it? Kind of restores faith in our fellow citizens.

    Okay, maybe not *restores* faith, but strengthens it a little, like a +1 spell of regain constitution. Or is that too nerdy?

  91. #91 Walton
    April 23, 2009

    OK, Kate, I’ll address the rest of your comment (but then I really do need to log off and get on with some work).

    You, on the other hand, seem to think America should let people legislate willy-nilly, deciding on what counts as education based solely on political stripe, instead of focusing on educating politicians and parents about education, and ensuring that science based education is based on actual science.

    I didn’t say that.

    What I am pointing out is simply this. As we are both well aware, many people and politicians in America want creationism taught in science lessons. I agree with you that creationism is a pile of steaming bullshit, and that it does not belong in science lessons, or anywhere else except the dustbin. However…

    If you have educational standards set by elected government officials, then you always run the risk that, in heavily religious areas, the democratic majority will want to teach creationism and other woo in the public schools. If this happens, then the minority of rational parents have no choice but to put up with it (unless they’re lucky enough to be able to afford private schools).

    By contrast, under my proposed system, each parent would choose how their children should be educated. This does, unfortunately, mean that the fundies will indoctrinate their children with nonsense; but it also means that rational parents will not be forced to send their children to schools which teach woo.

    Simply put: stupidity is inevitable. But democracy allows the stupid majority to impose their stupidity on everyone. Individual freedom, by contrast, means that stupid people are free to fuck up their own lives and their children’s lives, but – crucially – they can’t use the coercive power of the State to fuck up everyone else’s life, too. Am I making sense here?

    I realise this is a rather pessimistic view. But I have no faith whatsoever in democracy. As far as I’m concerned, the only realistic approach is this: let other people do whatever stupid shit they want, as long as they stay out of my life.

  92. #92 Kate
    April 23, 2009

    “As far as I’m concerned, the only realistic approach is this: let other people do whatever stupid shit they want, as long as they stay out of my life.”

    …and that, right there, is your problem. You can’t think past today, past the moment and to the future.

    Screw it, I’m through trying to use intelligence and reason with you. I hope some day you grow up, go out in the real world and figure out just how silly you’ve been. Until then: Killfile for you.

  93. #93 SteveM
    April 23, 2009

    Kate @ 79:

    You [Walton], on the other hand, seem to think America should let people legislate willy-nilly, deciding on what counts as [any subject at all] based solely on political stripe…

    That Walton is not an American, yet comments so frequently how America should turn libertarian I find really offensive as an American. Criticism of America by non-Americans is one thing, we deserve it as much (or more) as any other country. But he goes beyond criticism of America’s outward face to rooting around in the internals. Like this, subject, really what is his stake in whether america has a public school system or entirely private “free market” school system?

    [I know this sounds more "patriotic" than I really mean it to, it's just I'm getting really annoyed at Walton. He is like the house guest that walks around telling you how to do all the repairs your house might need when he doesn't own a house himself and has never even used a hand tool, or gives advice on how to raise your children when he himself is single, or how to train your dog while he hates puppies.]

  94. #94 JD
    April 23, 2009

    Walton: I see where you’re going with this. The only problem is that there can exist no consensus of fact when left to the subjectivity of individual values. While it is certainly true that dumbass creationsist parents will do what they want, an established criteria has to remain predominate that *all* government officials adhere to pending provisional evidence. Same goes for medicine and aviation. Imagine subjective flight schools.

  95. #95 Walton
    April 23, 2009

    Criticism of America by non-Americans is one thing, we deserve it as much (or more) as any other country. But he goes beyond criticism of America’s outward face to rooting around in the internals. Like this, subject, really what is his stake in whether america has a public school system or entirely private “free market” school system?

    I apologise, I didn’t mean it to come across that way. FWIW, my own country (the UK) is in much more desperate need than the US of more libertarian policies. I was placing my comments in a US context here because this thread is about US education, but they can apply with the same force to any other country.

    Kate: I’m sorry you feel that way. And maybe I am stupid – or, I’d prefer to think, just a poor communicator. But we don’t seem to have been able to communicate at all. I acknowledge, and apologise for, the fact that my social skills are not the best, and that I probably came over as more arrogant / ideologically secure than I actually am.

  96. #96 Josh
    April 23, 2009

    By contrast, under my proposed system, each parent would choose how their children should be educated. This does, unfortunately, mean that the fundies will indoctrinate their children with nonsense; but it also means that rational parents will not be forced to send their children to schools which teach woo.

    I think that maybe what we all continually find odd here, Walton, is that you somehow think that your proposed system is going to result in a better overall turnout. Either that, or you truly are so concerned about making sure that no parent is ever “forced” to do anything by the big bad machine that you’re will to sell the children completely down the fucking river.

  97. #97 Kate
    April 23, 2009

    @ Steve M. – #95

    Don’t apologize for your patriotism. Ever. It’s your country, and it’s obvious that you love your country. You want to make it better, which is really what patriotism is, yes?

  98. #98 redstripe
    April 23, 2009

    I wonder if I’m the only Pharyngulite that lives in Senator Jackson’s district. I emailed and phoned his Capitol office this morning asking for McLeroy’s removal. I’ll ask my wife to do so this afternoon.

    *crossing my fingers*

  99. #99 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 23, 2009

    Walton, you said you needed to revise a paper. Do so.

    Everytime you, or any other like minded individual, opens their mouth on libertardism they show us classic evidence of why it is morally bankrupt. You would do better just avoid politics here.

  100. #100 RickK
    April 23, 2009

    Texas parents teaching their children that the Moon is NOT illuminated by the Sun, but in fact generates its own light:

    http://www.examiner.com/x-4112-Skepticism-Examiner~y2009m4d22-Just-shoot-me

  101. #101 «bønez_brigade»
    April 23, 2009

    PZ sez,

    “If you can shed McLeroy, I will celebrate and write a post fulsome in its praise of the beauty and wisdom of Texans, I promise.”

    Nah, morph the facial hair into a gangsta-ass pencil-thin “beard”; praise the Texans as an added bonus.

  102. #102 Kagato
    April 23, 2009
    I’d call Poe’s Law on Walton if he didn’t come up with some occasional posts that make him seem like a shut-in.

    What’s a “shut-in”?

    Am I the only one who found this to be unintentionally hilarious?

  103. #103 raven
    April 23, 2009

    Grilling McLeroy is a great idea (not on a barbecue but verbally). They should review his extensive paper trail that indicates serious wackalooney. It won’t make him normal but will expose his agenda and cult fanaticism.

    But even if he is denied the chairmanship, there are other creos just as weird and Perry will just appoint one of them. Cynthia Dunbar probably, the one who thinks Jeffrey Dahlmer is a moral authority and evolution leads inevitably to cannibalism because JD said so.

    Texas parents teaching their children that the Moon is NOT illuminated by the Sun, but in fact generates its own light:

    They also believe that the sky is a dome held up by the four pillars of the world and the stars are just lights stuck on the ceiling of the earth. Which is flat while the sun orbits the earth.

    As many fundies have shown, the bible is a reliable science textbook.

    This would be merely amusing excpt that fundies set their kids up to fail. Cthulhu knows what they will end up doing for a living, but it isn’t going to require much thought or knowledge.

  104. #104 norm!
    April 23, 2009

    I sent this to my state senator, Steve Ogden:

    Don McLeroy is an embarrassment to Texas and a severe impediment to education. He is transparently attempting to inject religion into our schools. Show him the door! Reject his re-appointment to SBOE chair.

    McLeroy does not have the integrity to evaluate science (or education in general) without personal bias. His actions during the TEKS adoption process betrayed his willing ignorace every step of the way.

    While we’re at it, see to it that we don’t get in this mess again — McLeroy isn’t the only member acting in poor faith. Retract the enormous power of the SBOE by supporting SB 2275.

  105. #105 KyleMarsh
    April 23, 2009

    longtime Pharyngula follower, infrequent poster. Used to identify myself a Libertarian having been influenced by Atlas Shrugged, but am being slowly swayed here. Walton’s posts make some sense to me, but I’ve come to have immense respect for the logic presented in posts by Rev, Kate, Kel, Janine, et.al.. here and elsewhere. Most libertarians are atheists as well, so there ought to be some NOMA here, no? *ducking*

  106. #106 bobxxxx
    April 23, 2009

    RickK @100, thanks for that link. I knew Christians were idiots but I had no idea they were that hopelessly stupid.

    Trouble started when the children’s entertainer brought up Genesis 1:16, which reads: “God made two great lights — the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars,” and pointed out that the lesser light was actually a reflector.

    At this point, several people in the audience stormed out, including woman with three small children who shouted, “We believe in God!” and left.

  107. #107 Donnie B.
    April 23, 2009

    @Nerd OM: “Revision” is Brit-speak for “studying”. I learned that from Harry Potter fandom, heh.

    It seems to me that, in any jurisdiction that makes education mandatory, it’s up to that jurisdiction to define what they mean by education. Thus it should be the U.S. Federal government that sets minimum standards for education throughout the country, unless and until the “mandatory” part of mandatory education is lifted.

    Odin help us if it ever is, though.

  108. #108 Ahnald Brownshwagga the Monkey
    April 23, 2009

    Sorry, but I don’t see the big problem with Walton’s comments. He hasn’t made fun of anyone, he’s just expressed his views. I thought one major advantage of blogs was the ability for constructive dialogue following a post by the blogger. He offered an idea and has defended it pretty civilly, especially considering the retorts he received. Give the guy a break. Civics and civility share a root, you know.

    As for his actual idea, I completely disagree. For his plan to work, the number of schools would have to be astronomical, and we simply do not have enough people that want to be teachers and would be good at it.

    First, before reforming the entire educational system, why don’t we educate and pay teachers differently. Make them experts in the fields in which they plan to teach, rather than just expert teachers. Also, we should increase teacher pay and decrease administrator’s salary.

    Second, reform the textbook industry. Instead of massive, one-size-fits-all texts, use abridged versions of textbooks supplemented with online curricula of the expert teacher’s design. Provide external incentives for teachers who produce great curricula, with those incentives handed out by a joint-venture between higher education and government. Govt provides the money, universities do the judging.

    Any thoughts?

  109. #109 Kate
    April 23, 2009

    @ KyleMarsh:

    Thank you for thinking my comments were logical, and grouping my nym with the stars of Pharyngula.

    …I guess the point I’ve tried to make to Walton is that personal responsibility does not exist in a vacuum. You must, if you are of the mind that your freedom, safety, and liberty are important and valuable, protect and fight for those things for EVERYONE, even those who are too stupid to know they need that protection.

    Walton seems to only want what Walton wants, and screw everyone else, because what do they matter to him? He’s an island unto himself, that Walton. (Yeah, we’ll see how well that philosophy works out for him in the end. In his “perfect world” anyone can be a doctor, lawyer, veterinarian, fighter pilot or whatever they like because the damn gummint can’t say they aren’t, and when an F-18 piloted by a drunk 16 year old crashes into his house and he discovers himself in a hospital run by people who call themselves doctors despite inadequate training, he can lie in his hospital cot secure in the knowledge that everyone gets to do whatever they bloody well want to, without regard to consequences.)

  110. #110 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 23, 2009

    Sorry, but I don’t see the big problem with Walton’s comments. He hasn’t made fun of anyone, he’s just expressed his views. I thought one major advantage of blogs was the ability for constructive dialogue following a post by the blogger. He offered an idea and has defended it pretty civilly, especially considering the retorts he received. Give the guy a break. Civics and civility share a root, you know.

    No offense mean here at all but

    How long have you been reading this blog? I know I recognize you for the past month or two but Walton has been spewing the same inane ideas for a long time. Over and over.

    And he’ll turn any, and I do mean any, thread into one of a public libertarian wankfest. That’s why some people get annoyed.

    I personally like Walton. I don’t agree with him on many things but I see him as a young naive and sheltered man that has much to learn about how the real world operates.

  111. #111 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 23, 2009

    mean = meant

  112. #112 Glen Davidson
    April 23, 2009

    And if you can’t muster a mere 33 and 1/3 percent of the Senate intelligent enough to vote against an unshined turd like McLeroy, you really are sad, Texas.

    Surely it cannot be too disconcerting to lose your status as the biggest bad ass dumbass state in the union.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  113. #113 Ahnald Brownshwagga the Monkey
    April 23, 2009

    Well, I’ve been reading/commenting for a month or two now.

    “I personally like Walton. I don’t agree with him on many things but I see him as a young naive and sheltered man that has much to learn about how the real world operates.”

    I just get irritated when someone expresses a dissenting viewpoint and immediately gets called an idiot. Even Christians. Ad hominem attacks don’t add anything, and subtract from the potential of converting someone to your side. I see that as the prime problem in politics today and throughout the ages, and while I won’t say I am immune to that course of behavior, I try and address people’s points as much as possible.

    If you listen to the great thinkers and debaters, they try to avoid these kinds of polemics. I’m not advocating the elimination of sarcasm, either, but name-calling is not useful. Calling someone a “libertard” doesn’t reflect well on one’s own intelligence or civility, IMO.

  114. #114 James F
    April 23, 2009

    #100

    That does it. I call Poe on the entire Southern Baptist Convention.

  115. #115 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    April 23, 2009

    Sorry, but I don’t see the big problem with Walton’s comments.

    People who have been reading this blog for awhile get tired of watching Walton repeat the same logically, socially, and morally bankrupt arguments. Eventually, you can begin ignoring him (like I do) or start right in on the bashing because you know that he isn’t going to make any effort to learn about the reality outside his inconsistent and unrealistic political agenda.

    This behavior is exacerbated by his frequent highjacking of threads to push his libertarian notions, regardless of how unrelated the topic at hand may be. This has been a frequent problem with Walton and other libertarians around here, and that’s what’s really setting people off. They know Walton, they know what he’s said before and what he’s going to say now because it never varies, and they know that rational arguments are fruitless, so why pretend otherwise?

  116. #116 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 23, 2009

    Calling someone a “libertard” doesn’t reflect well on one’s own intelligence or civility, IMO.

    Neither does continually hijacking threads to promote their politics/economics, which almost all libertarians have done at one time or another. This has been happening since about 4 months prior to the election, and most of the regulars are tired of it. If this was an open thread, or a political thread (from the heading), not a problem. But this thread is about a leader of a state board of education trying to bring creationism into the classroom. There is a time and place for everything, and this is not the place for libertarian screeds.

  117. #117 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    April 23, 2009

    I just get irritated when someone expresses a dissenting viewpoint and immediately gets called an idiot.

    So do I, but that has nothing to do with how Walton is treated. I very rarely see the regulars here call anyone an “idiot” until they’ve demonstrated that they are, in fact, an idiot. With otherwise sensible people like Walton, that can take a bit of work.

  118. #118 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 23, 2009

    Ad hominem attacks don’t add anything, and subtract from the potential of converting someone to your side. I see that as the prime problem in politics today and throughout the ages, and while I won’t say I am immune to that course of behavior, I try and address people’s points as much as possible.

    Well honestly, calling someone an idiot isn’t really an ad hom attack if that’s all you are doing. If you call someone an idiot and then say that no argument that person can make will therefore be good. That is ad hom.

    You can call someone an idiot and then dissect their argument and it’s not ad hom.

    So Walton could very well be an idiot but that has nothing to do with the argument he makes. Though, his arguments could be (and frequently are) idiotic.

    Source A makes claim X
    There is something objectionable about Source A
    Therefore claim X is false

  119. #119 Ahnald Brownshwagga the Monkey
    April 23, 2009

    Pardon me, Nerd of Redhead, but wasn’t his original post offering a potential solution to this Texas School Board nonsense? Again, I don’t agree with his solution, but that’s not the point. I’m just saying he shouldn’t be immediately insulted for expressing his libertarian views. If these views are as irrational as everyone claims, why not attack them solely on their merits? It’s not like anything’s at stake here. This, to me anyway, is just a forum where you get to bounce your ideas off of mostly like-minded people, with some dissidents thrown in for counter-points.

    Also, this IS at least in part a political blog, as evidenced both by the subtitle (which includes the word “liberal” for a reason) and by the content, with posts about torture and science education, etc.

    The point is that even if his arguments are fallacious, he should get to say them without getting made fun of. Doing otherwise reverts us back to playground politics. Again, civics and civility share a common root.

  120. #120 Kate
    April 23, 2009

    @Ahnald Brownshwagga the Monkey

    …so what do YOU call it when someone makes the same arguments over and over and over when those arguments have been refuted time and again?

    I call that being an idiot.

  121. #121 No monkey for you
    April 23, 2009

    “The point is that even if his arguments are fallacious, he should get to say them without getting made fun of.”

    Ummm, no.

    He needs to be made fun of. A lot. Much, much more often.

    Then, after he has been appropriately shamed, he might do a better job of presenting and defending his position.

    “Pardon me, Nerd of Redhead, but wasn’t his original post offering a potential solution to this Texas School Board nonsense?”

    No, it was not. It was never presented as a solution, just as a personal tangent. For example, when discussing the appropriate way to deal with a group of evangelicals at your front door, two people might argue whether it is better to be polite or to be rude. If a third person argues that you should invite them in for tea and then cut off their hands and feet with a machete, that person should not be taken seriously because they are not offering a serious position.

    Walton’s argument was so far off track from the serious arguments that it should not be respected. It should be mocked.

  122. #122 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    April 23, 2009

    wasn’t his original post offering a potential solution to this Texas School Board nonsense?

    *sighs and scrolls up to look*

    I suppose you could call it that. Of course, I could suggest that everyone get educated by downloading the Library of Congress directly into their heads, and it would technically be a “potential solution”. But if people pointed out to me that (a) downloading books without learning how to think is a terrible way to learn anything and (b) we can’t do it anyway, and I spent the next six months ignoring those facts and simply repeating my idea every time libraries or books or computers came us, I’d expect some people to get irritated with me.

  123. #123 SteveM
    April 23, 2009

    but wasn’t [Walton's] original post offering a potential solution to this Texas School Board nonsense?

    No it isn’t a potential solution to the issue, it is a Libertarian fantasy of a solution. It is no different than if we were discussing Jenny McCarthy’s anti-vaccine movement and someone suggesting that America should adopt a Canadian style health system.

  124. #124 Matt Heath
    April 23, 2009

    I just get irritated when someone expresses a dissenting viewpoint and immediately gets called an idiot. Even Christians. Ad hominem attacks don’t add anything, and subtract from the potential of converting someone to your side

    A quick tutorial on the use and misuse of the term ad hominem from that nice Comrade PhysioProf.

  125. #125 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 23, 2009

    Ahnald, the “libertardian” label started being use, not by me, after the election when everybody was tired of them. They could not accept that we see their politics as being morally bankrupt, since there is no common good, like roads, science funding, education, health, and welfare that they approve of. They see their role to edumacate us, so all rebutals roll off of them.
    Actually, there are may be a score of so of libertarians who post here regularly, but only a small handful of them hijack threads. We save or scorn for those who hijack threads.

  126. #126 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    April 23, 2009

    The point is that even if his arguments are fallacious, he should get to say them without getting made fun of.

    I disagree. Some ideas are simply ludicrous, and listening to them politely gives them an unwarranted amount of respect.

    Doing otherwise reverts us back to playground politics.

    Also known as “the real world”. I’m sorry, but Earth is not an ivory tower populated by emotionless scholars. Neither debates nor elections are won solely by providing a well-supported logical argument. You’re being as unrealistic about human psychology as Walton is.

  127. #127 Ahnald Brownshwagga the Monkey
    April 23, 2009

    I hope I haven’t “hijacked” this thread either, so I’ll end with this.

    A) I should’ve been clearer, I guess, with what I meant by ad hom. Rev Chimp nailed it. Sorry, but I’m at work and not proofreading…gotta sneak this posts in when the boss aint lookin.

    B) I am not a Libertarian, but I do think the Libertarian movement is capable of producing good ideas. Just not in this case.

    C) I’m sick of “Ron Paul 2008!…Zeitgeist!” shouters too, and I know that they can be unreasonable. I just saw no reason to flame Walton. If you guys did see such a reason, either in this post or over the last year or whatever,
    fine. I just wanted to throw in my 2 cents. Really, the part about Walton was, to me anyway, the less important component of my original post. I was curious as to everyone’s ideas regarding systemic change in the education system.

    Let’s encourage healthy debate. Or else I will open my mouth and stare at you in typical monkey threat-face style!

  128. #128 REBoho
    April 23, 2009

    Larry Fafarman makes an appearance in the comments section of the article.

  129. #129 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 23, 2009

    Larry Fafarman makes an appearance in the comments section of the article.

    I thought I sensed a disturbance in the force.

  130. #130 James F
    April 23, 2009

    #67

    Well, what would the rest of you prefer? Federal takeover of education standards? A United States Education Commission, consisting of professional educators, scientists and academics, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, to take direct control of school curricula across the country and impose the same uniform standards everywhere?

    Yes, please! Setting basic requirements for national use, like the AP exams and SATs.

    (Because think how fantastic that would be if the members of the Commission were appointed by President Sarah Palin or Bobby Jindal…)

    They’d still have to be confirmed by the Senate. In most states believing that the universe is 6,000 years old is not a plus.

  131. #131 Stu
    April 23, 2009

    Let’s encourage healthy debate.

    The healthy debate has come and gone with the libertarians here. All Walton, Africangenesis et al. do is regurgitate the same tired, repeatedly refuted arguments as if nothing ever happened. This is not the first time a libertarian has brought up his brilliant solution to public education’s woes here. It’s bullshit, we’ve been over it, and to pop up and throw it out AGAIN is asinine and will get you flamed.

    Also: Walton, things will not work just because you want them to.

  132. #132 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    April 23, 2009

    The healthy debate has come and gone

    Dontcha love it when people assume that something didn’t happen just because they weren’t around to see it?

  133. #133 Stu
    April 23, 2009

    Dontcha love it when people assume that something didn’t happen just because they weren’t around to see it?

    Well, I do that all the time *cough* life and times of Jesus *cough*. On the other hand, proof of that isn’t two clicks away :-)

  134. #134 Lowell
    April 23, 2009

    I don’t know if it’s been discussed yet on Pharyngula, but the Texas Senate Education Committee has promulgated a bill that would transfer power over the curriculum from the board to the education commissioner based on recommendations from a group of educators.

    Sounds like the Republican sponsor of the bill, Kip Averitt, is fed up with the nonsense from the YECs on the board.

    From here: http://texasedequity.blogspot.com/2009/04/bill-would-limit-education-boards-power.html

    “All I hear is that the Republicans want to push their religious views into the curriculum, and the Democrats want to teach our children how to masturbate,” Averitt said during the committee hearing Tuesday.

    Senate Bill 2275 would give the state’s education commissioner, who is appointed by the governor, the authority to approve the curriculum standards and textbooks based on the recommendations of a group of educators. The board members, however, could override the commissioner’s decision with a four-fifths vote.

    State Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy, R-College Station, said that under the proposal, only the “education establishment” would shape curriculum and textbook decisions and that the board would simply become a rubber stamp.

  135. #135 Matt Heath
    April 23, 2009

    All Walton, Africangenesis et al. do is regurgitate the same tired, repeatedly refuted arguments as if nothing ever happened.

    Not all. Well In AG’s case, OK it’s probably all he does, but regurgitating the same tired, repeatedly refuted arguments as if nothing ever happened, is only one of a few things Walton does. He also explains epistemological flaws in godbots’ “reasoning” in a superhumanly patient manner and has on several occasions graciously backed down when shown to wrong about things. As naive, priggish Tory-libertarians go, he’s OK.

  136. #136 James Morris
    April 23, 2009

    I am a long time lurker and seldom comment because I seldom feel I have anything to add.

    As to the Walton back and forth, I think both he and his opposition are overlooking an important fact. Walton fears creationists will take over a school board and non creadtionists have no recourse but to establish a competing school system. His detractors argue the impractacality of this.

    However there is another way that has long established record.

    The First Amendment’s establishment clause and various court’s including the Supreme Court’s Judgments.

  137. #137 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 23, 2009

    As to the Walton back and forth, I think both he and his opposition are overlooking an important fact. Walton fears creationists will take over a school board and non creadtionists have no recourse but to establish a competing school system. His detractors argue the impractacality of this.

    However there is another way that has long established record.

    The First Amendment’s establishment clause and various court’s including the Supreme Court’s Judgments.

    It’s not just creationism, it’s bad education all the way around and there being no standards for what constitutes a standard.

  138. #138 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    April 23, 2009

    Well, I do that all the time *cough* life and times of Jesus *cough*.

    Eh, I figure there was some sort of cult leader back then who was the kernel for the accreted mythological mess we have now. We see that sort of thing happen all the time. Doesn’t mean I think he was a sorcerer, though. And, as you say, I can’t find out first-hand on Google.

  139. #139 PinheadX
    April 23, 2009

    My state senator: http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/members/dist7/dist7.htm

    Seems a true waste of my time to even attempt to contact him and let him know I don’t approve of McLeroy. But his wife is an elementary school teacher, so… nah.

  140. #140 Stu
    April 23, 2009

    [Walton] also explains epistemological flaws in godbots’ “reasoning” in a superhumanly patient manner and has on several occasions graciously backed down when shown to wrong about things.

    Fair enough. He is — by far, far, far — the best of a sorry lot.

  141. #141 REBoho
    April 23, 2009

    I wrote to my state senator and respectfully requested that she vote for science and the children of Texas by voting against Don McLeroy.

  142. #142 Walton
    April 23, 2009

    On the topic of backing down, when shown to be wrong:

    (1) I will concede that my earlier plan is probably not practical across the board, for a number reasons which people have pointed out. In particular, it would be very difficult to achieve genuine “school choice” in rural areas and small towns which can only support a minimal number of local schools; privatising all such schools would quite possibly allow religious sectarian groups to take over all local education in rural areas. (Especially dominant sectarian groups, such as the Baptists in parts of the Bible Belt or the Mormons in Utah.) This would be a bad idea, as it would provide no alternative avenue for those parents who live in a remote area but want a secular (or non-Christian religious) education for their children.

    (2) I would suggest, perhaps, that the “school voucher” and “school choice” programmes tend to work best in larger cities, where there are lots of schools and a genuine competitive market is able to operate. I hear it’s been very successful in Milwaukee, for instance.

    (3) I was too hasty in proposing a straightforward ideological solution to the complex problem of education. Different states and areas have their own different problems, and it wouldn’t be right to impose one system across the board and say “this will make it better”. So I was wrong in what I suggested earlier; but, for precisely the same reason, those who propose a federal takeover of education standards are equally wrong.

  143. #143 Cosmic Teapot
    April 23, 2009

    Reverend, are your fingers are going astray again?

    I thought I sensed a disturbance in the force farce.

  144. #144 Stu
    April 23, 2009

    those who propose a federal takeover of education standards are equally wrong

    [Citation needed]

  145. #145 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 23, 2009

    Reverend, are your fingers are going astray again?

    I thought I sensed a disturbance in the force farce.

    Yes yes. Thank you.

  146. #146 nmcvaugh
    April 23, 2009

    Teapot 86

    Walton, killfile engaged.

    So just where is the killfile option? Or are you using RSS?

  147. #147 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 23, 2009

    If you use firefox.

    Search for greasemonkey

    install

    search for killfile

    install

  148. #148 tsig
    April 23, 2009

    Short Walton:

    I got mine. Fuck you.

  149. #149 Emmet, OM
    April 23, 2009
  150. #150 tweetytweet386sx
    April 23, 2009

    State Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy, R-College Station, said that under the proposal, only the “education establishment” would shape curriculum and textbook decisions and that the board would simply become a rubber stamp.

    Wow sounds pretty dreadful. Shock and horror!!! (Yawn.)

  151. #151 Emmet, OM
    April 23, 2009

    Different states and areas have their own different problems ? [so] ? a federal takeover of education standards are equally wrong.

    I fail to see how, say, a federal science syllabus would impact on the local issues that were identified as problematic, like the number of schools a parent might be able to send their child to.

    Indeed, I think it would be a great idea to have (horror of horrors) international collaboration on the development of baseline syllabuses for subjects that are ?locale neutral? like mathematics and the sciences. It would be great to be able to say ?I’ve done Level 2 Mathematics with Calculus A and Statistics B? and for that to mean something to someone in China or the US.

  152. #152 Kate
    April 23, 2009

    Emmet, I think I love you.

  153. #153 Monado in Toronto
    April 23, 2009

    Emmett, that’s a great idea, about having some international standards. It breaks my heart to see Canada suck in hyper-qualified doctors &c. (_I_ wouldn’t qualify to immigrate) and then refuse to employ them because they have no Canadian experience or we’re not sure if their qualifications add up. You’d think there’d be some logical way to address those issues, say, a 6-month internship. Instead, I find them driving cab and guarding buildings at night.

    And then we could put the requirements, tests, and tutorials on the web and people could educate themselves _in situ_.

    And thanks for the killfile info. I’m installing it now.

  154. #154 b_sharp
    April 23, 2009

    Walton, if you haven’t done so, go join up with the people at darwincentral.org. They are a group of pro-science conservative and libertarian scientists and laypeople.

  155. #155 Monado in Toronto
    April 23, 2009

    SteveM, hey, what’s wrong with that? _We_ did it?

  156. #156 GaryB
    April 23, 2009

    Posted by: Kate | April 23, 2009 11:59 AM

    @Ahnald Brownshwagga the Monkey

    …so what do YOU call it when someone makes the same arguments over and over and over when those arguments have been refuted time and again?

    I call that being an idiot.

    That really depends on how the offender views the refutation. If he finds it to be unsatisfying and unconvincing according to his own knowledge base then it isn’t idiocy, it’s stubborness. In this case it is a political/economic idealogy so insanity comes with the turf. In my view, ideology = bad, practicality/pragmatism = good.

    Kate, I assume from a prior comment you are from Canuckville, as am I. Even though the Catholic school board is required to teach science in science class, many of the teachers are free to inject their own doubts about evolution into the mix. I’ve argued with several people that have grown up in the CSB and have come away with rote learning but no trust in the evidence. We have work to do here too.

  157. #157 Walton
    April 23, 2009

    In this case it is a political/economic idealogy so insanity comes with the turf. In my view, ideology = bad, practicality/pragmatism = good.

    I disagree profoundly. As the late great Barry Goldwater said, “Extremism in the defence of liberty is no vice, and moderation in the pursuit of justice is not a virtue.”

  158. #158 nmcvaugh
    April 23, 2009

    Thanks Emmet and Rev!

  159. #159 Theo
    April 23, 2009

    Walton,
    The problems you admit in regards to rural schools and vouchers do not go away in larger metropolitan areas with “more competition.” Entities like churches can dominate education there as well.

    Any voucher system favors private schools with existing infrastructure like those operated by non-profit tax-exempt churches. To even things up do you then proceed to sell existing public school facilities so that private entities can run them as private schools? Who determines who gets to buy them? Them with the most money, right? So the Mormons run them in Utah, and the casinos run them in Nevada and the Babtists run them in the South. What if all the “white nationalists” pool their funds to buy a school somewhere? Is that the kind of competition that you think will result in better educated youth?

    And then there is the issue of accreditation. Do citizens have the right to expect that schools who are receiving public funds to teach accepted standards? No, wait that’s “equally wrong”

    I am beginning to agree with the regulars here about you Walton.

  160. #160 Emmet, OM
    April 23, 2009

    Emmet, I think I love you.

    Only because you’ve never met me ;o)

  161. #161 Ace of Sevens
    April 23, 2009

    Primary problem with Walton’s suggestion (which applies to Libertarian social policy in general): Parents don’t own their children.

    Education is for the benefit of the children, not their parents and I don’t see any reason to say parents understand the best interests of their children better than others as a general principle.

  162. #162 SC, OM
    April 23, 2009

    Emmet, I think I love you.

    Only because you’ve never met me ;o)

    Don’t believe him for a second. ;)

  163. #163 Emmet, OM
    April 23, 2009

    Don’t believe him for a second. ;)

    That’s a good rule of thumb :o)

  164. #164 Kate
    April 23, 2009

    Dare I say it….?

    I lol’d.

  165. #165 Emmet, OM
    April 23, 2009

    Dare I say it….? I lol’d.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egNki0kQb3A

  166. #166 Marcus Ranum
    April 23, 2009

    Icthyic writes:
    any would be too many, and you’ve been guilty of it often enough to piss everyone off. You can’t seem to understand this?

    I’m finding it interesting reading and I don’t think it’s appropriate to go around telling people to “shut the fuck up”, no matter how much you disagree with them. Screech, ridicule, throw poo, whatever, or maybe just let the conversation die down. Very few people enjoy being told to “shut the fuck up” and I’m guessing you wouldn’t like it one bit if someone handed you a taste of it for yourself.

  167. #167 SteveM
    April 23, 2009

    Monado in Canada:

    I did not mean to imply that the Canadian health system is a “bad thing”, just that it is an inappropriately huge solution to offer to the discussion of a small problem. Somewhat like saying that a leaky faucet should be repaired by replacing the entire plumbing system. Or when we discuss the problems of mass transit in the US, one solution would be to empty the suburbs and make everyone move into cities. Yes, that would be a solution, but not practical in the near term.

  168. #168 Kate
    April 23, 2009

    @Emett

    No, no… funny like that Uncle who wasn’t allowed to babysit me.

    (I kid, I kid.)

  169. #169 Ichthyic
    April 23, 2009

    no matter how much you disagree with them.

    that’s irrelevant.

    what’s relevant is that he’s been trolling the same shit through here for months now.

    if you find it interesting, you can go back to any of the dozen or more threads he’s already trashed with it, and respond there.

    why encourage it?

    btw, that you find it interesting, since it’s grade-school level libertarianism, is noted.

  170. #170 Kseniya
    April 23, 2009

    Walton’s first comment is about the beauty and perfection of a free-market solution to the “problem” of government interference in the setting of educational standards, and it’s not a thread hijack? Okay. Maybe not the first time, but the fortieth time?

  171. #171 Leigh Williams
    April 24, 2009

    Raven:

    But even if he is denied the chairmanship, there are other creos just as weird and Perry will just appoint one of them. Cynthia Dunbar probably, the one who thinks Jeffrey Dahlmer is a moral authority and evolution leads inevitably to cannibalism because JD said so.

    Entirely possible. In which case, we’ll let you know about it, and then . . .

    Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

    Until he nominates somebody who’s acceptable.

  172. #172 Malcolm
    April 24, 2009

    Emmet,OM @151

    Indeed, I think it would be a great idea to have (horror of horrors) international collaboration on the development of baseline syllabuses for subjects that are ?locale neutral? like mathematics and the sciences. It would be great to be able to say ?I’ve done Level 2 Mathematics with Calculus A and Statistics B? and for that to mean something to someone in China or the US.

    When I was in what is now referred to as level 12 here in NZ (11th grade in the US), we had 3 international exchange students in my Maths class. One was from Japan, the other two were half sisters who were growing up in different states.
    The Japanese girl was bored out of her mind, as everything was far too easy for her. The two girls from the US were totally out of their depth, one ended up dropping back a year and still struggling.
    All three girls had good maths grades in their home countries, but this gave my school absolutely no indication of their actual level of competency.

  173. #173 Angel
    April 24, 2009

    There is no such thing as beauty and wisdom in Texas. And yes, I live here (in East Texas nonetheless). It’s embarrassing to watch the news and see how low this state is willing to go in terms of education. The state that has Mission Control for NASA and the MD Anderson Cancer Center appoints those morons to their education boards. Will the madness never end? And then people have the gall to wonder why in the world are other countries doing so much better than the US when it comes to science education.

  174. #174 Mike McCants
    April 24, 2009

    “appoints those morons to their education boards”

    They are elected from single member districts.

    North Austin votes for/against the Dallas member and south Austin votes for/against the San Antonio member. Can you spell Republican gerrymander?

    If he is not confirmed as Chairman, he will still be a voting member and Gov. Perry will just appoint a different creationist as Chairman for the next 2 years.

    There are many bills before this session of the Texas Legislature to strip this Board of its powers or even abolish it.

  175. #175 Tony Whitson
    April 25, 2009

    for links to audio and video of the Senate Committee hearings, see
    https://tw-curricuwiki.wikispaces.com/TxSenNommCommMcL_0904

  176. #176 Glen Davidson
    April 26, 2009

    Thanks to signing up for an “Expelled” DVD giveaway, I receive alerts from the CDC. Here’s one, where they’re pushing a writing campaign in favor of McLeroy:

    When elected officials take a stand for academic freedom, they become targets for the Darwin lobby. Because of his leadership and support for critical thinking on evolution, Texas State Board of Education Chair Don McLeroy has been targeted by Darwin’s defenders in the Texas Senate who want to remove him from his position. Less than a month ago, the Texas Board adopted landmark science standards that will protect teachers who want to let students evaluate and critique the evidence for Darwinian evolution. Now Darwinists are trying to convince the state Senate to block McLeroy’s reappointment as Board Chair.

    “Supporting those, like Don McLeroy, who take a stand for academic freedom to question evolution at personal cost is one of the most important and effective things citizens can do,” said CSC Associate Director John West. “It sends a message to elected officials that expelling leaders like Dr. McLeroy because of their stance on Darwin’s theory is simply not acceptable.”

    Here’s one thing you can do to help:
    E-mail the chairman of the Senate Nominating Committee, Mike Jackson, at MIKE.JACKSON@SENATE.STATE.TX.US and tell him you support Dr. McLeroy as Chair of the State Board of Education. Be sure to e-mail the other committee members as well at these addresses: KEVIN.ELTIFE@SENATE.STATE.TX.US, GLENN.HEGAR@SENATE.STATE.TX.US, JANE.NELSON@SENATE.STATE.TX.US, ROBERT.NICHOLS@SENATE.STATE.TX.US,, ELIOT.SHAPLEIGH@SENATE.STATE.TX.US, KIRK.WATSON@SENATE.STATE.TX.US .

    We’ve included a sample letter below:

    Dear [Committee Member],

    I support Don McLeroy as Chair of the State Board of Education, and I urge you to confirm the governor’s nomination and bring it before the Senate for a vote.

    Don McLeroy is a proven leader in education for Texas students. It is reprehensible that he has been targeted for removal because he has dared to question evolution and encouraged young minds to remain open to critical examination of Darwin’s theory. It is for this reason that Darwin’s defenders are trying to expel Dr. McLeroy from his role as SBOE Chair, and I hope that you will hear those of us who stand by Dr. McLeroy and support him against this political bullying by Darwinist groups.

    Sincerely,

    [Your Name]

    Please stand with Don McLeroy and support academic freedom in Texas. Forward this email to your friends and family, and let’s show the Darwin-lobby that they cannot expel critical thinking from the science classroom.

    I think we probably need more from our side.

    Glen D
    http://electricconsciousness.tripod.com

  177. #177 «bønez_brigade»
    April 26, 2009

    @Glen,
    CDC = Cult of the Dead Christ?

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