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February 21, 2010 10:30 PM   Subscribe

Nearly a third of Texans believe humans and dinosaurs roamed the earth at the same time, according to a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll. Meet the Flinstones.
posted by flapjax at midnite (177 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
I grew up in Texas and fondly remember learning in history class about how Jesus slayed the dinosaurs and founded America before being betrayed and murdered by the gays. I still can't point out Canada on a map, but at least I know the important stuff.
posted by chasing at 10:38 PM on February 21, 2010 [29 favorites]


Well, for a start, from the evidence of MeFi it's the whiniest state.
posted by Artw at 10:39 PM on February 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


Only a third? I would expect more (even amongst the US population in general).
posted by mrnutty at 10:45 PM on February 21, 2010


I remember having conversations with classmates about this in Biology 11 twenty years ago in when I was in high school in a "liberal" (we don't use that term in Canada, because we're pretty much all "liberal") part of Canada.

I had classmates who really believed that Jesus walked with the dinosaurs or whatever. They weren't particularly fundamentalist Christians, they just attended an evangelical church.

We could all agree that Mr. Fillion's mummified cat was the coolest thing in the world.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:47 PM on February 21, 2010


i may be an atheist today but this article sure makes me feel good about growing up catholic :P
posted by liza at 10:52 PM on February 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


Anybody catch the episode of 18 Kids and Counting where they went to the Creation Museum in Kentucky and were told by the tour guide about how there were dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden which were in fact vegetarian dinosaurs, because that was back before sin was introduced into the world?
posted by XMLicious at 10:55 PM on February 21, 2010


There's a cartoon about this at The Far Left Side, which is kind of a cross between Daily Kos and The Far Side, which is to say, it's freakin' awesome.
posted by smcameron at 10:55 PM on February 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


I have two 60ish friends that are married and who are both very thoughtful. She has an MSW and he's an architect and both are old Seattle hippies as well as being very catholic. I asked them of course wtf. Their response was that they took from religion what they found useful no matter that it was contrary to their other views. I'm less concerned that some may choose to believe an idea that is easily disproved than I am with the "therefore" that it may be employed to justify (therefore we need more religion in government). Still, dang.
posted by vapidave at 10:55 PM on February 21, 2010


Oh yeah, full disclosure, I've been a resident of TX since 1984, and my entire adult life. *cries*
posted by smcameron at 10:59 PM on February 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Cause everything else in religion is perfectly reasonable? We either have standards or we don't, but it's not as though the whole "dinosaurs lived with humans" thing is the first time a religious person has believed something just a little bit cakey. I'm not wanting to get into an argument, just to say that your favorite epistemological position is worthless here.

"Dinosaurs walked with humans, that's ridiculous! Your god sure comes out with some funny things."
posted by Sova at 11:01 PM on February 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


Sova: Right, because if I were to write what I really thought, I would totally not get banned, right?
posted by smcameron at 11:05 PM on February 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


OI was going to try to defend Texas somewhat because I lived in Houston's Montrose district for a time and really fell in love with it's civic-mindedness, sense of history, huge gay community, love of the arts, etc., but to be honest, my first thought was "only a third? That's not as bad as I'd feared."
posted by treepour at 11:06 PM on February 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


OI was a typo, sorry, please ignore the O
posted by treepour at 11:07 PM on February 21, 2010


Here's my Texas dinosaur story. We were about to head back to Fort Worth after a day trip to Dinosaur Valley State Park. It's the usual 110+ degree-with-humidity summer day, with fire ants as an added bonus. We had just moved from Canada, where my folks had bought a Ford Escort station wagon with no air conditioning — who needs AC in Montreal, right? We're sitting in the car and our windows were rolled down, so a pair of born-agains took this as an invitation to come up and chat about Jaysus. My mum sips on some Minute Maid limeade we just made out of the can of frozen concentrate and tells one of them that we're very sorry, but we're not into Jaysus, and quietly asks if wasn't odd to proselytize among a chunk of the fossil record? They walked away with the saddest, most disappointed looks on their faces. Poor fellows.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:08 PM on February 21, 2010 [8 favorites]


Xoebe: "Let the Texas-bashing commence."

True it's not unique to Texas although it is sort of an epicenter of contradiction.
posted by stbalbach at 11:21 PM on February 21, 2010


Well, believing dinosaurs and humans coexisted is slightly better than when I was growing up in rural Northern California where some people didn't even believe in dinosaurs.
posted by CarolynG at 11:27 PM on February 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


"If I owned Hell and Texas I would rent out Texas and live in Hell." Philip Henry Sheridan
posted by photoslob at 11:28 PM on February 21, 2010 [13 favorites]


Sigh.
posted by WolfDaddy at 11:28 PM on February 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Let the Texas-bashing commence

Sure, but, if anything, though, the poll does seem to make a good case to argue for some kind of oversight over the undue influence Texas has on how the United States as a whole educates its children, by the kind of control the Texas Board of Education has on science textbooks and curricula, particularly where the matter of evolution is concerned. It's one thing to poke fun at the state of Texas. It's another to dumbify the whole country with this kind of jaw-dropping ignorance.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:28 PM on February 21, 2010 [30 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon; They didn't try to sell you on the (in)famous human/dino footprints of the Paluxy river?
posted by smcameron at 11:31 PM on February 21, 2010


Only a third? I would expect more (even amongst the US population in general).

Let me tell you a little story about the people who believe dinosaur fossils were put in the ground by God to test our faith....
posted by contessa at 11:37 PM on February 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


We could all agree that Mr. Fillion's mummified cat was the coolest thing in the world.

Wait wait wait. Did you grow up in Edmonton?
posted by kmz at 11:53 PM on February 21, 2010


It sure would be horrible to go through life with a faith so intellectually threadbare that the only responses you have to rational challenges is either to lie or to go LALALALALA I CANT HEAR YOU.

It would be even more horrible to actively work to perpetuate that nonsense. Because then you're not just weak and ignorant, you're actively evil.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:54 PM on February 21, 2010 [25 favorites]


They left one important question out of that poll "and which church do you attend?"
posted by fshgrl at 12:02 AM on February 22, 2010


Humans and 'living dinosaurs' roam wild in New Zealand today!

yeah yeah, I know it's technically a close reptilian relative and not an actual dinosaur.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 12:03 AM on February 22, 2010


I grew up in Texas and fondly remember learning in history class about how Jesus slayed the dinosaurs and founded America before being betrayed and murdered by the gays. I still can't point out Canada on a map, but at least I know the important stuff.

Hell, Texas schools are so bad, I couldn't even speak English until I was 7!

Wait, that might have been more because I lived in China until I was 7.
posted by kmz at 12:03 AM on February 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm grateful for Texas because, on rare occasions, it makes Kansas look downright intellectual.
posted by amyms at 12:06 AM on February 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Only a third? I would expect more (even amongst the US population in general).
Seems to me the wording of the questions make the different surveys play out quite differently. The questions in this seemed rather balanced to my (untrained) eye.
posted by Harald74 at 12:09 AM on February 22, 2010


Clearly, they are correct. I think it's about time for dinosaurs like blatant disregard for reality to face a mass extinction event, though.
posted by clockzero at 12:10 AM on February 22, 2010


Does it count if I WISH that dinosaurs and humans roamed the earth at the same time?
posted by JimmyJames at 12:22 AM on February 22, 2010 [9 favorites]


I have a relative who doesn't believe in dinosaurs because they're not supported by the bible or something. He also likes to bring it up incessantly in front of me because it pushes my, "But... but... SCIENCE!" buttons. So pretty much every Thanksgiving for the last 10 years my Crazy Uncle Dave shows up, waits until I've had a couple beers and then ensnares me in this trap and I fall for it and totally lose my shit every time. But this year I was prepared. I was just like, "Hmm, yeah, ok. That's cool if you want to think that I guess..." I changed the subject immediately even though he kept trying to bring it up again.

And then I bought this for his kids for Christmas.
posted by howrobotsaremade at 12:31 AM on February 22, 2010 [13 favorites]


Children provide entirely new vistas for passive aggression. Remember: the really good toys are the ones that MAKE LOTS OF NOISE.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:37 AM on February 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Me, I got dinosaurs roaming around my back yard.
posted by flabdablet at 12:41 AM on February 22, 2010


The Future of Texas
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:49 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, at least it's better than the Canadians, of whom 42% think humans and dinosaurs coexisted.
posted by FuManchu at 12:51 AM on February 22, 2010


"There's a cartoon about this at The Far Left Side, which is kind of a cross between Daily Kos and The Far Side, which is to say, it's freakin' awesome."

Somewhat ironically the artist doesn't believe that the planes that brought down the WTC were actually responsible for the destruction or that a plane even struck the pentagon on 9/11 at all. It's no wonder there is crazy debate on the existence and/or time line of dinosaurs.
posted by Mitheral at 12:52 AM on February 22, 2010


And it looks like Texas is actually exactly in line with the entirety of the US, as far as belief in evolution goes.
posted by FuManchu at 12:54 AM on February 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Well, at least it's better than the Canadians, of whom 42% think humans and dinosaurs coexisted."

Nah, they were just agreeing that the Big Valley Creation Science Museum opened in Alberta. IE: What a horrible question.
posted by Mitheral at 12:55 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


And it looks like 44% of Democrats believe that "God created Human Beings in Present Form" HAR HAR HAR
posted by FuManchu at 1:05 AM on February 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Well, at least it's better than the Canadians, of whom 42% think humans and dinosaurs coexisted.

If you use the same calculation method ("not sure" + "agree"), 60% of Texans think humans and dinosaurs coexisted.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:06 AM on February 22, 2010


The differences in beliefs about evolution and the length of time that living things have existed on earth are reflected in the political and religious preference of our respondents, who were asked four questions about biological history and God:

Shouldn't there be a question about party affiliation or choice for governor on survey?
posted by inconsequentialist at 1:08 AM on February 22, 2010


Well, at least it's better than the Canadians, of whom 42% think humans and dinosaurs coexisted.

If you use the same calculation method ("not sure" + "agree"), 60% of Texans think humans and dinosaurs coexisted.


Huh? There's no adding involved. Though the question wording is a bit dubious.
posted by kmz at 1:08 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you use the same calculation method ("not sure" + "agree"), 60% of Texans think humans and dinosaurs coexisted.

Well if you use that method, 63% of Canadians are "not sure" or "agree". From the bottom table.

Also, Dino-God forgive me, I posted to MeTa
posted by FuManchu at 1:36 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure Texas exists. I've never seen it and it sure doesn't sound plausible.
posted by pracowity at 1:53 AM on February 22, 2010 [25 favorites]


Wow. That article is all kinds of misleading. I took a look at the Tribune's polling center after reading through this article's "reference material." As far as I can tell, no one was ever polled about about their views on biological history and God, at least not by UT/TT. The percentages reported seem to be mere speculation about how certain people would answer certain questions and appear to be based on (or are nearly identical to) the results found on pages 6-9 of this poll and a portion of these recent crosstabs. And it looks like the author has done the same thing in this article on the effectiveness of negative campaign ads in the governor's race.
posted by inconsequentialist at 3:16 AM on February 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


"There's a cartoon about this at The Far Left Side, which is kind of a cross between Daily Kos and The Far Side, which is to say, it's freakin' awesome."

This comic is garbage and comparing it to Gary Larson's work is insulting.
posted by griphus at 3:27 AM on February 22, 2010 [34 favorites]


More and more, I wish we'd lost the war.
posted by orthogonality at 3:27 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


That helps explain what this is all about.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:39 AM on February 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


As far as I can tell, no one was ever polled about about their views on biological history and God

The first two questions of the poll (from the page link) ask exactly that question. What are you saying?

The percentages reported seem to be mere speculation about how certain people would answer certain questions and appear to be based on (or are nearly identical to) the results found on pages 6-9 of this poll...

The poll in the article has a demographics section which happens to be the same sort of questions as their other poll's demographic section. I don't think it's surprising or suspicious that this series of polls has similar demographics questions and results.

I'm not seeing any evidence that suggests trickery. Can you be more specific about your accusation?
posted by fleacircus at 3:57 AM on February 22, 2010


To my fellow Texas-registered voters: State Board of Education Districts 1, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 12, and 15 are up for election this year. Just thought I'd point that out.
posted by fireoyster at 4:02 AM on February 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Okay, now can we mess with Texas?
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:12 AM on February 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Horseshit. I am going to start scanning the papers for every story I can find about the northern states that make them look like shit. I have been here my whole life and not ONE person believes this. NOT ONE!!! So, get ready for war, bitches. This story is baiting, is all it is.
posted by Senator at 4:23 AM on February 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


Well, at least it's better than the Canadians, of whom 42% think humans and dinosaurs coexisted.

That result is because Canadians can coexist with anyone.
posted by srboisvert at 4:23 AM on February 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


When I die, I may not go to heaven
cuz I don't know if they let cowgirls in
But if I don't, just let me go to Texas
Cuz Texas is as close as I've been
-- Tanya Tucker
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:36 AM on February 22, 2010


I am going to start scanning the papers for every story I can find about the northern states that make them look like shit.

It's not a north/south thing. It's an open-minded/deliberately-ignorant thing.

I have been here my whole life and not ONE person believes this. NOT ONE!!!

To demonstrate your state's deep belief in science you are rejecting poll results?
posted by DU at 4:38 AM on February 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


This story is baiting, is all it is.

Pollsters baiting Texans, or vice versa?
posted by Phanx at 4:43 AM on February 22, 2010


I really wish that they'd included a "dinosaurs never existed" option. I'd guess that a significant chunk of the "did not coexist" and "don't know" wedges would be in the "never existed" wedge.
posted by Stylus Happenstance at 4:56 AM on February 22, 2010


Does the petroleum industry not need geologists? You have to figure that with a proportion as high as 1/3rd in a state like Texas, a significant number of those working in the fossil fuel extraction industry straight up don't believe the science that tells them where to drill. I'm sure there's self selection going on in this case, but it is funny to imagine three employees praying really hard that God guides their drill rig to oil while the other six actually study the site geology.
posted by nowoutside at 5:20 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


fourcheesemac, that's a nice reminder of a question I've been dying to ask lately: what the hell is Tanya Tucker's belief system?
posted by kittyprecious at 5:21 AM on February 22, 2010


True story: About 10 years ago, I toured the Inner Space Cavern, just outside Austin, Texas. A very cool experience. The guide is cheerfully explaining all the features of the cave, and we're of course admonished not to touch anything, because some of the features in the cave are delicate things that are millions of years old. Part of the tour includes talk of all the fossils they've found in the cave.

In the middle of the tour, in the largest room, we stop, and the guide says they has a special message. He flicks a switch, and the lights dim, and a voiceover starts from hidden speakers. While a simple lightshow plays, the voiceover starts reading from the Book of Genesis. "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth..."

And I'm like, "Dude, you just told us the cave is millions of years old."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:22 AM on February 22, 2010 [9 favorites]


I rather like this, and am surprised that so many people who pride themselves on their own transgressive attitudes and personal independence should get huffy that there is a strong working-class counterculture that refuses to accept the establishment view of history. I admire these people for having the balls to stand up to the smarty-pantses of the world, and enjoy a version of history that supports their happiness in a mostly harmless way. What difference does it make to their ability to live and contribute to their world if dinosaurs lived at the same time as humans or in different geological eras? Whether one believes that the earth revolves around the sun or the sun around the earth makes very little difference to the lives of the 98 percent of us who are not astronomers or theoretical physicists. People like us hate these creationists with a red hot hatred because they are poor and working class and have the temerity to to hold independent views on a subject that we all know belongs to the upper middle class -- science. Poor and working class people should not dare to pronounce on topic that we own. The fact is that many upper middle class people (including scientists of my acquaintance) hold ideas that are just as foolish and unscientific as these dinosaur/Jesus people -- especially in the realms of alternative medicine, soothsaying and climate change advocacy. It's all right to think outside the box -- unless you're poor and white and southern.
posted by Faze at 5:29 AM on February 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I admire these people for having the balls to stand up to the smarty-pantses of the world

The problem comes when this "us vs. the smarty-pants" attitude drifts into topics for which they're spectacularly unsuited and armed with misinformation that does have an impact on the rest of us.

For example, economics. "Take your government hands off my Medicare."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:34 AM on February 22, 2010 [9 favorites]


I admire these people for having the balls to stand up to the smarty-pantses of the world...

I would too, if that's what they were doing. But they aren't standing up to, they are putting their fingers in their ears and ignoring. There's no debate, just a bunch of "nuh uh because JAYSUS".

People like us hate these creationists with a red hot hatred because they are poor and working class...

Your right wing is showing.

...ideas that are just as foolish and unscientific as these dinosaur/Jesus people -- especially in the realms ... climate change advocacy.

lol, flagged as trolling.
posted by DU at 5:43 AM on February 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


fleacircus, I think their polling method makes the data difficult to interpret.
posted by inconsequentialist at 5:48 AM on February 22, 2010


nowoutside, (and to some extent faze): Weirdly, here in Calgary - which is kind of a suburb of Houston - most of the creationists I've met have been geologists or engineers. There's something exquisitely bizarre about their ability to tolerate that much dissonance in their lives. On the other hand, I sincerely believe that no matter how poor or uneducated, their goal is to wreck society - something I can't really approve.
posted by sneebler at 5:53 AM on February 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I come to support Texas because in my experience Texas produces a certain blend of tall, willowy art-y yet awful friendly and unpretenious gay male which I support without reservation.
posted by The Whelk at 6:03 AM on February 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


What difference does it make to their ability to live and contribute to their world if dinosaurs lived at the same time as humans or in different geological eras?

Do you know how much productivity is lost due to constantly checking over one's shoulder for velociraptors?
posted by mikepop at 6:05 AM on February 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


That result is because Canadians can coexist with anyone.

Except each other.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 6:11 AM on February 22, 2010


2007 USA/Gallop poll shows 66% of Americans agree that the Earth was created in the past 10,000 years.

So, if you are one of these 66%, that means you must either think dinosaurs really existed within the past 10k years along with humans (which explains this poll), or that fossils are just demon bones planted by Satan to trick us (explaining the 30% "don't know" answer). Either way Texan beliefs aren't even out of line with the general population's...
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 6:21 AM on February 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Seconding sneebler's comment. Here in Houston, in the oil business, a colleague of mine has his kids home schooled because he doesn't believe in evolution. Quote: "I ain't descended from no monkey". Yet, he works on designing wells that tap hydrocarbons from formations laid down millions of years ago.

Anecdatapoint, he's a committed Roman Catholic who is also a Teabagger and doesn't believe in climate change.

Never underestimate the human capacity for denial.
posted by arcticseal at 6:30 AM on February 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


People suck at science. I think it's bad form to assume that religion is the reason behind anyone who believes that humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time, when there's a good chance that people might believe that because they are bad at science. Ask people which is bigger, the Earth or the sun. Or ask them why we have seasons. Ask people how planes fly, or how DVDs work. Just because people don't know stuff doesn't mean their religion is the reason for their misunderstandings.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:30 AM on February 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


What difference does it make to their ability to live and contribute to their world if dinosaurs lived at the same time as humans or in different geological eras? Whether one believes that the earth revolves around the sun or the sun around the earth makes very little difference to the lives of the 98 percent of us who are not astronomers or theoretical physicists.

It stops being an innocent game of private belief when the school board of that very state uniformly holds the same viewpoints, and basically re-writes history and science to their own liking which affects the educations of school children all over the country.
posted by contessa at 6:33 AM on February 22, 2010 [10 favorites]


As a liberal, science-loving, Darwin-hugging, Buddhist-approving Christian, I would hope that so many of you lolxtians would take a careful look at all the science-friendly theology being done out there.

Maybe start here?
posted by reverend cuttle at 6:33 AM on February 22, 2010


As a liberal, science-loving, Darwin-hugging, Buddhist-approving Christian, I would hope that so many of you lolxtians would take a careful look at all the science-friendly theology being done out there.

Not that the dinosaur-skeptics are science-friendly, just that Christianity isn't as homogenous as many of the comments here indicate.
posted by reverend cuttle at 6:35 AM on February 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


The problem comes when this "us vs. the smarty-pants" attitude drifts into topics for which they're spectacularly unsuited and armed with misinformation that does have an impact on the rest of us.

For example, economics. "Take your government hands off my Medicare."


I must have missed the questions about economics in this survey. What page were those on?

Faze is right. The events of millions of years ago (or 10,000 years ago if you swing that way) don't matter in the day to day life of an accountant, used car salesman, or even a petroleum geologist. There's no point to surveys and metafilter posts like this other than lol-xians/texans/whateverans. When is the last time you (unless you are a scientist who works in a field related to evolutionary biology) had to consider evolutionary timelines in a decision you made? People who study this stuff need to know. Who cares how anyone else believes we were formed? Maybe someday the science will be clear and understandable enough to the average layperson to remove any doubt. Right now it isn't. So let them doubt.

If your concern is that people who believe in scientific weirdness also tend to disagree with you politically, deal with the political disagreements and ignore what they think about the origins of life, or space aliens, or whatever. Save your outrage for actual problems.
posted by Dojie at 6:35 AM on February 22, 2010


When is the last time you ... had to consider evolutionary timelines in a decision you made?

When I was voting for school board candidates who planned to purchase textbooks.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:41 AM on February 22, 2010 [20 favorites]


slight derail . . .


Wait wait wait. Did you grow up in Edmonton?


I just read that wiki, and apparently Nathan Fillion is my distant cousin. Strangely enough, we're related through the black side of my family.
posted by anansi at 6:42 AM on February 22, 2010


Why does everyone get so upset when the Governor Perry talks of seceding? Let them go.
posted by Scoo at 6:42 AM on February 22, 2010


Oh, and its only "thinking outside the box" if it makes some semblance of sense. Otherwise, its just being willfully ignorant.
posted by anansi at 6:43 AM on February 22, 2010


People suck at science. I think it's bad form to assume that religion is the reason behind anyone who believes that humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time, when there's a good chance that people might believe that because they are bad at science.

Graph of religious fervor by country

Graph of acceptance of fact of evolution by country

Graph of higher education spending by country

Scan down the list and it seems clear that a correlation could be found among these variables. "People" aren't bad at science, "religous people" are.
posted by DU at 6:44 AM on February 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


Dojie and Faze, the problem is that if you allow people to just not care and/or believe differently than the "smarty-pants scientists", you give them a license for ignorance and outright denial of the scientific method. Even if the details of a scientific theory -- like evolution -- don't seem accessible or relevant to the average Joe's life, acceptance of the method that led to that theory (and understanding of what a theory is) is critical to good citizenship. How can you seriously evaluate arguments about global climate change if you don't at least have a grasp of how the current data was collected and evaluated? What about stem cell research? What about FDA drug trials? How about an understanding of why you shouldn't just throw antibiotics at every minor illness you have? To understand these issues you have to have a basic understanding of how science works.

If you tell people it's okay to hold scientific beliefs based on their gut, it has far reaching consequences for scientific issues that become political issues, and for those of us who work in science and technology it *IS* harmful to us, our federal research funding, and frankly everyone's lives and well-being if a bunch of people unwilling to accept standard scientific methods in favor of gutsy standing up to "those smarty-pants" have a statistically significant voting bloc.
posted by olinerd at 6:45 AM on February 22, 2010 [35 favorites]


Texas/USA = USA/World
posted by stinkycheese at 6:46 AM on February 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


Why does everyone get so upset when the Governor Perry talks of seceding? Let them go.

Because it's our state, too.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:46 AM on February 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Dojie, what about those who I disagree with politically, and when I try to engage them on it, they claim that god wants it that way? Or that, as mentioned above, people on schoolboards who choose to ignore scientific research but feel they have the right to dictate science curriculum in favor of their religious beliefs? When people who are willfully ignorant, and then try to force their views on others?

Or, on preview, what Cool Papa Bell said.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:51 AM on February 22, 2010


Faze, there's plenty to admire about poor, white Southerners. Wilful ignorance about basic science and unwillingness to listen to reason aren't among those admirable traits, no matter how much you'd like to spin it as class warfare when it's pointed out.

What you sound like to these poor white Southern ears is just another snake-oil salesman in the tradition George Wallace, who made a career spouting precisely that kind of doublespeak.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:59 AM on February 22, 2010 [13 favorites]


Me, I got dinosaurs roaming around my back yard.
posted by flabdablet at 3:41 AM on February 22 [+] [!]


Me too!
posted by toodleydoodley at 6:59 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's not just Texas-- I'm sure if you polled North Carolinians you would see the same results.

Sometimes I just wish the fundamentalist Muslims and the fundamentalist Christians and the fundamentalist Jews would all get together and plunge us into a nice little Dark Age. Then maybe we could get it out of our system and at some point have a re-birth.

Also, I am tired of battling the fundies in my head. I'm listening to A History of the World in 100 Objects and every episode I'm thinking "Nyah, nyah, what do you say to that that! A clay model of cows so old that the cows depicted are extinct. Tell me again about how the earth is only 6000 years old!" Which is of course stupid and a total waste of my time and aggravation. Nothing will convince the True Believers. Nothing.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:09 AM on February 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Whether one believes that the earth revolves around the sun or the sun around the earth makes very little difference to the lives of the 98 percent of us who are not astronomers or theoretical physicists. Or users of cell phones or GPS anything else that relies on satellites.


People like us hate these creationists with a red hot hatred because they are poor and working class and have the temerity to to hold independent views on a subject that we all know belongs to the upper middle class.
As a child of the trailer park, allow me to say, nah, not so much. I don't care how much these people make. (and I would be surprised to find out that 51% of Texas is poor, although I could be wrong on that) My anger comes from the thought that we, as a nation, are becoming stupider. These people vote. They elect other idiots. Those idiots make policy decisions based on wholly irrational beliefs because they do not recognize the difference between belief and science. They also force teachers to use text books that further erode scientific knowledge. And the cycle continues. I live here. My kids are growing up here. And I find this intolerable.

Calling these folks out may, just may, slow the collapse.
posted by qldaddy at 7:12 AM on February 22, 2010 [9 favorites]


People like us hate these creationists with a red hot hatred because they are poor and working class...

Are there any socio-economic data to support your position that these views are primarily held by "poor and working" class people?
posted by ericb at 7:15 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Somewhat ironically the artist doesn't believe that the planes that brought down the WTC were actually responsible for the destruction or that a plane even struck the pentagon on 9/11 at all. It's no wonder there is crazy debate on the existence and/or time line of dinosaurs."

Holding 9/11 Conspiracy beliefs really is a litmus test for crazy.
posted by ged at 7:19 AM on February 22, 2010


As a liberal, science-loving, Darwin-hugging, Buddhist-approving Christian, I would hope that so many of you lolxtians would take a careful look at all the science-friendly theology being done out there.

Maybe start here?


http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2009/06/21/fighting-back-against-templeton/
http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/02/the_templeton_foundation_plays.php
posted by device55 at 7:30 AM on February 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


It's weird... About how different cultures view things. The Flintstones is a good example of something that is valued differently by 2 similar countries. The people of Dubai, for instance, do not like the Flinstones, but the people of Abu Dhabi do.
posted by BeerFilter at 7:31 AM on February 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


That reply from Dennett to the Templeton invite was hilarious. *checks for unread Dennett books in pile*
posted by DU at 7:43 AM on February 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


My kids go to school in Texas and I fully expect that they will pick up some bunk from textbooks, just like I did thirty years ago. I also fully expect that by the time they leave my home, they will have learned that some of the stuff they see in textbooks is overly simplified, questionable, or just wrong. They'll also learn the same thing about some of the stuff I tell them. And they'll learn the same thing about some of the stuff lots of other people who should know better will tell them.

This stuff is not new, and as pointed out repeatedly, it is certainly not unique to Texas. To the best of my knowledge, public schools in the U.S. have always taught that the Founding Fathers were Christian. It's only pretty recently that that was in doubt in any significant way. They've always presented evolution as a theory that can legitimately be questioned, if they presented it at all. Honestly, does anyone believe that textbooks of the past were more historically and scientifically accurate than those of today? Think about all the cold war propaganda that was taught in schools in the fifties. Think about some of the bizarre ideas people had about disease in the twenties. Think about pretty much anything that would have been taught as science in the 1850s.

Our country is not becoming dumber. Kids in the U.S. (and the rest of the world) are getting better science in now than they did in the past, flawed textbooks and screwed up schools notwithstanding. Yes, textbooks with bad info are being put out. And they were in the past, and they will be in the future. As science gets better and human knowledge expands, the science taught in schools gets better, but some of it will always be iffy. Polls (and posts) like this are just a lot of handwringing and panicking over nothing.
posted by Dojie at 7:49 AM on February 22, 2010


Dojie:

If your concern is that people who believe in scientific weirdness also tend to disagree with you politically...

That's not it at all. My concern is that such people are immune to reason. If their pastor or religious leader or Rush Limbaugh tells them that Obama is a socialist or health care reform will bring death panels or stem cell research is evil or abortion is murder or tax cuts always increase revenues or the bailouts were unnecessary or homosexuality is a choice or Obama hates America then they will believe them. They're like hosts without immune systems waiting for people to deliberately infect them.

Nobody is saying that the left is immune to this. Some of the vaccine-autism nuts, the "truthers", the homeopathy and astrology and new agey nuts, they have the same problem. But it's not as entrenched or institutionalized or monolithic as the Christian right. They're not folded into the Democratic national strategy as the most important bloc, etc. Nobody's going out on voting day to round up all the astrologers to go vote and national textbooks don't take seriously teaching "both sides" of the psychology-astrology "debate." ("Some smarty-pants scientists think that openness may be partially heritable blah blah blah but others believe that the constellation that was in ascension during your birth is the cause of openness...")

Just because there are nuts on both sides doesn't mean that the nuts are either evenly distributed or equally harmful. One side is coordinated and has people in very important places in government, in school boards, and in the media. The other is an eclectic collection of do-it-yourself mystical beliefs that rarely (although with some exceptions like vaccinations) harm others.
posted by callmejay at 7:55 AM on February 22, 2010 [16 favorites]


My wedge-issue-button-pushing-culture-war-divide-and-conquer spider sense is raging right now. Especially after all the bullshit Faze wrote above about how we should be inspired by "poor southern whites" elevating willful ignorance to the level of legitimate ideology. What a load of class-baiting, culture warfare crap.

Interestingly, through Googling I once inadvertently came across a significant number of extremist Islamist sites that took a great deal of relish in citing exactly these kinds of polling statistics (although a lot of them were blatantly fake, claiming in one case that as many as 75% of Americans now rejected evolutionary theory), proudly touting the results as proof of God's greatness, since they demonstrated that even the secular Western infidels were one-by-one abandoning their core Western scientific principles and blasphemous evolutionary theories in favor of a return to their preferred fundamentalist interpretation of the bible.

So congratulations, Texas. Thanks to you, Muslim and other religious extremists are winning American hearts and minds. Give yourself a big pat on the back there.

That said, I doubt any of these polls actually mean a damn thing.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:55 AM on February 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2009/06/21/fighting-back-against-templeton/
http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/02/the_templeton_foundation_plays.php


People who don't take religion seriously don't like science playing nice with religion... not surprising. The only problem is the linked blogs are little glib for me, and don't give me any arguments about why we shouldn't want scientists to talk to theologians, or vice versa. I mean, I know that it may seem self-evident to Dennett and others that religion=irrationality, but this is surely not always the case.

Especially if one does some history and philosophy of science and sees that the scientific method is brilliant when it comes to coming up with generalizations to account for sense-experience, but explicitly excludes other forms of experience (emotional, memory, aesthetic, ethical, even mystical) from its purview. Sure, these other types of experience aren't as uniform and agreed-upon as sense experience, but they're no less real or causal. By excluding them from our input, we're producing incomplete descriptions of the world. Perhaps laboratory science, as currently practiced, needs to be complemented by other forms of inquiry.
posted by reverend cuttle at 7:57 AM on February 22, 2010


don't give me any arguments about why we shouldn't want scientists to talk to theologians, or vice versa.

No arguments are given because that is not the position held. From the link:
Templeton likes having big-name scientists and secular academics on its panels and in its published discussions, for their presence lends an air of versimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing enterprise.
Scientists and theologians can talk all they want. What the link author doesn't want is theologians coopting science by saying "I agree with everything you just said about the natural world and PS God totally exists".

explicitly excludes other forms of experience (emotional, memory, aesthetic, ethical, even mystical) from its purview.

Again, from the link:
I have had my say about materialism and the persistent attempt by religious spokespeople to muddy the waters by claiming, without a shred of support, that materialism (in the sense I have defended for my entire career) is any obstacle to meaning, or to an ethical life.
posted by DU at 8:07 AM on February 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


While I was reading this thread, my helpful Maine Coon brought me a dinosaur to prove they exist.

And then promptly dropped it into my empty shoe. He thinks I cannot hunt for myself and does his best to feed me, the big teddy bear.
posted by misha at 8:07 AM on February 22, 2010


What the link author doesn't want is theologians coopting science by saying "I agree with everything you just said about the natural world and PS God totally exists".

Or, more accurately, "It seems we both agree on everything and PS God totally exists".
posted by DU at 8:08 AM on February 22, 2010


man, I miss my Maine Coon, Cat. She's bring in the strangest stuff (cigarettes, living baby bunnies, etc) to me and then follow me around the house looking hurt if I didn't immediately praise the fuck out of her.
posted by The Whelk at 8:11 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've understood that there is a clean break between dinosaurs and humans, although I'm fuzzy about the passage of time. It can be difficult to wrap your head around what million of years mean. Whenever I wander amongst the bones of the local museum, I'm puzzled by the way that dinosaur bones can be mapped to our own. They have skulls and a jawbone, spine, ribcage, hipbones, pelvis, scapula, one bone in the upper half of the limb, two in the lower, and a similar arrangement of bones in the extremities. With such a long passage of time between extinction of the dinosaurs and the birth of man, no evolutionary tie between dinousaurs and mammals, and such different ways we live on the land, how did our structures develop along such similar lines? Also, on behalf of the poorly educated, I'd like to note that at this museum a visitor walks in the same rooms (I blame Daniel Libeskind) from the 70 million year old bones of dinosaurs to the bones of the much more recent animals like mastodons and sabre-toothed tigers, grouping them all together as prehistoric, large, and extinct. I do anyway, with no guidance from God, just my natural inattentiveness and foggy memory of all that I was supposed to learn decades ago.
posted by TimTypeZed at 8:12 AM on February 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


What just happened with Cheddar (the Maine Coon) reminded me of my son's friend, who believes the Earth was created 5000 years ago. Because, you know, the Bible says so.

This girl also has a cat, and they do not have a screened porch, so the indoor cat was looking wistfully out the window at the lizards streaking across the yard. So the girl went out and brought in a lizard for her cat. My son was caught between how tenderhearted she was (from the cat owner perspective) and how bloodthirsty and calculating the action was (from the lizard's point of view).

Anyway, my response, when hearing this, was to suggest my son ask her innocently, "But aren't the lizards all God's creatures, too?"*

*He did not take me up on this, as she is pretty and blonde. But he did think about it.
posted by misha at 8:14 AM on February 22, 2010


To the best of my knowledge, public schools in the U.S. have always taught that the Founding Fathers were Christian. It's only pretty recently that that was in doubt in any significant way. They've always presented evolution as a theory that can legitimately be questioned, if they presented it at all.

Evolution was taught to my biology class in 9th grade in what could only be described as unequivocal, forthright language. In other words, it was taught as fact.

In my all-girls Catholic high school.
posted by contessa at 8:17 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Templeton Foundation once funded the Discovery Institute. They promote accommodationism, not science.

Dennett was quite clear in his response (first link) that engaging in debates or interviews with theologians equates the two sides in the minds of an audience. This is why accommodationists choose debate over, say, publishing a peer reviewed paper. It's a dishonest tactic.

Especially if one does some history and philosophy of science and sees that the scientific
method is brilliant when it comes to coming up with generalizations to account for sense-experience, but explicitly excludes other forms of experience (emotional, memory, aesthetic, ethical, even mystical) from its purview.


This is false. For your amusement I will find articles for all the above topics using only the Googles.

Emotion
Memory
Aesthetics
Ethics
Mystical
posted by device55 at 8:21 AM on February 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


People like us hate these creationists with a red hot hatred because they are poor and working class and have the temerity to to hold independent views on a subject that we all know belongs to the upper middle class -- science.

Look, I AM poor and working class. And I don't "hate" creationists, I "hate" their epistemological views, and not out of some misplaced class distrust (shit, most of my students are wealthier than I am) but because it's then MY job to drum the stupid out of them in the classroom. And it sucks.

Take your act somewhere else, dude. It's moved from tired to straight-up offensive to just pathetic.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:27 AM on February 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


To the best of my knowledge, public schools in the U.S. have always taught that the Founding Fathers were Christian. It's only pretty recently that that was in doubt in any significant way. They've always presented evolution as a theory that can legitimately be questioned, if they presented it at all.

You are quite wrong about this. I went to public school in NJ in the seventies and was not taught this at all. I was taught that the founding fathers were free thinkers, many of whom rejected conventional religion. And in 12 years of science classes, evolution was the only thing taught to me, creationism was never mentioned.
posted by octothorpe at 8:33 AM on February 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


Nearly a third of all Texans are idiots, but then the level of idiotry in the general populace is near 100%, and if you believe the latest fpp it is 100% What am I saying? I have no idea as I am an idiot like all the rest of you. Nevertheless, one third of all Texans are special idiots.
posted by caddis at 8:39 AM on February 22, 2010


And in 12 years of science classes, evolution was the only thing taught to me, creationism was never mentioned.

Same for me...

in Texas! *musical stinger*
posted by kmz at 8:40 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one that finds it ironic that the guy that does The Far Left Side has ads for Scientology on his site? Pot meet kettle.
posted by white_devil at 8:43 AM on February 22, 2010


Graph of religious fervor by country

Graph of acceptance of fact of evolution by country

Graph of higher education spending by country


Scan down the list and it seems clear that a correlation could be found among these variables. "People" aren't bad at science, "religous people" are.


But I wasn't talking about people who deny evolution. I was talking about people who think that dinosaurs walked the earth with humans. People who believe that dinosaurs walked the earth with humans could just be idiots. Scrounge up some data on commonly missed science questions (like "Why do we have seasons?") cross-referenced against religious beliefs if you want to say that religious people are bad at science.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:19 AM on February 22, 2010


Let me clarify. I didn't mean ALL public schools in the U.S. have ALWAYS taught those things. I meant those things have been taught in U.S. public schools in the past. This isn't new.

Nobody's (legally) teaching creationism in public schools now either, even in Texas. The Supreme Court has said pretty clearly that creationism as part of the official curriculum is verboten. But until the late sixties, at least two states still banned the teaching of evolution. And since then, there have been plenty of efforts to ban, restrict or otherwise undermine evolution in schools. My point is that there isn't some rosy point in the past when textbooks and schools were perfect until the damned Christians came along to ruin them. There has never been a time when everyone accepted evolution as fact. People have always believed in some screwed up things. They always will. Even if they're not in Texas.

But the human race continues to increase its knowledge and as it does, the most obviously screwed up beliefs go away. When the science is clear and demonstrable (in medicine, for example), the weirdest beliefs (disease is caused by bad humors, for example) will disappear completely over time, although some (Dilute, Dilute, OK!) will persist. When the science is complex and doesn't have controllable real world applications, the weird beliefs will stick around for longer. It's okay. The progress of human kind will not cease just because not everyone is in the same place intellectually.
posted by Dojie at 9:31 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dojie: The events of millions of years ago (or 10,000 years ago if you swing that way) don't matter in the day to day life of ... a petroleum geologist.

That is one of the worst examples you could name. Every single day a petroleum geologist does anything connected with their job, they are dealing with rock formations millions of years old and processes that take tens of thousands of years at a minimum. A young-Earth creationist geologist would be like an airline pilot who believes heavier then air flight is impossible and/or a serious sin.
posted by sandswipe at 9:32 AM on February 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I teach science in a public school in the state of Texas, currently teaching A.P. Physics, but when I was teaching biology, I was the only teacher that taught Evolution at my school. One student came each day I teaching that unit with his bible on his desk declaring loudly, "It's a theory!" and the other gem "If we evolved from monkeys why are they still apes!"

I explained to him, you don't have to believe it, but you do have to able to explain it, consider this your section on opposition research.
posted by ExitPursuedByBear at 9:35 AM on February 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


There may be a place for you in Texas
posted by hortense at 9:37 AM on February 22, 2010


The progress of human kind will not cease just because not everyone is in the same place intellectually.

I don't know. When the anti-science folk are in positions of leadership and really close to supreme positions of leadership while simultaneously viewing science as a threat and something to be actively wiped out - well I wouldn't be so flippantly sure about that.
posted by cashman at 9:39 AM on February 22, 2010


People like us hate these creationists with a red hot hatred because they are poor and working class the Church used to torture and execute people who advanced scientific theories that opposed religious dogma.

FTFY.
posted by CynicalKnight at 9:43 AM on February 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


That is one of the worst examples you could name.

Why? A petroleum geologist studies data about what is in the earth right now. They learn to read the data about rock formations. It doesn't really matter if they believe those rock formations are only a few thousand years old or millions of years old. The seismic profile is the same. Granted, I think it's pretty unlikely a Young Earther would become a petroleum geologist, but the job is to figure out where the oil is, not how long it took to get there.

When the anti-science folk are in positions of leadership and really close to supreme positions of leadership while simultaneously viewing science as a threat and something to be actively wiped out


Do you really think that hasn't ever been the case before? Do you really think that's more of a problem now than 100 years ago, or 500 years ago, or 10,000 years ago when the T-Rexes were in charge (LOLTREXAN)? Do you really think that there has ever been a time in human history when scientific thought was more widely accepted than now? When would that be, exactly?
posted by Dojie at 9:53 AM on February 22, 2010


Granted, I think it's pretty unlikely a Young Earther would become a petroleum geologist, but the job is to figure out where the oil is, not how long it took to get there.

Now, I'm no petroleum geologist, but if I was one, I'd have to have an incredibly stunted — possibly inhumanly dead — sense of curiosity, not to wonder or care at all where the oil came from and how long it took to make, given that the larger subject of petroleum would be my chosen profession.

It's such a bizarre logical premise being put forward. It would be like a heart surgeon not having any interest at all in understanding why her patient is anesthetized before surgery.

I just don't think human beings operate this way.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:06 AM on February 22, 2010


Do you really think that there has ever been a time in human history when scientific thought was more widely accepted than now?

Good points, but that also means right now the anti-science folks are longing more than ever to swim in the oh-those-were-the-days nostalgia of the wonder of god times of yesteryear when people feared god and you didn't have all this PC nonsense to stop you from hatin the not-like-us charlatans as god intended. There is already a huge movement the last decade or so to revisit these times in films, television shows, books. There is a burning desire from many to return to those days when you could count on the way the president would look, when you could say whatever you wanted and you didn't have to worry about anything, because the planet belonged to you. When you could wipe out a people, take over the land they were on and then tell the story completely differently, without consequence. You can hand-wave that away if you like, but that anger that a lot of people express that seemingly comes from nowhere, is coming from there. And it is not subsiding.
posted by cashman at 10:06 AM on February 22, 2010


I just don't think human beings operate this way.

I should qualify this. I don't think that educated, curious human beings generally operate this way.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:10 AM on February 22, 2010


What about the people who believe that man evolved from dinosaurs?
posted by shakespeherian at 10:14 AM on February 22, 2010


Weirdly, here in Calgary - which is kind of a suburb of Houston - most of the creationists I've met have been geologists or engineers.

That's pretty interesting, as I know a couple highly cultured and sophisticated physicians who are creationists by belief. Some wealthy Jewish fundamentalists of my acquaintance are also creationists. When I earlier characterized creationist beliefs as poor and working class, I should have qualified that to say "are perceived as" poor and working class..

I mean, people believe a lot of dumb stuff and it doesn't bother most of us. But those of us who experience the endemic American class anxieties feel the need to loudly and hotly separate ourselves from beliefs like creationism, which are held by social classes we hope not to be associated with.

I certainly don't blame you all for that. You all need to get ahead in America, as do I, and we all know that elite groups in the US bond over "us and them" issues like creationism, and I certainly wouldn't want any of you to ruin your chances in life by holding a harmless and whimsical, yet socially forbidden belief such as that humans and dinosaurs occupied the planet at the same time. Better to believe in wind power and reiki.
posted by Faze at 10:16 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


When the science is clear and demonstrable (in medicine, for example), the weirdest beliefs (disease is caused by bad humors, for example) will disappear completely over time, although some (Dilute, Dilute, OK!) will persist.

That dog won't hunt. Scientific naturalism will not become clearer for people who do not keep up with it. To understand heliocentrism is not something that just got clearer to people, people had to be educated to understand it. This is because to the average observer it is not "clear" that we are on the surface of a globe orbiting a sun. To see the world as it is requires knowledge with out that knowledge noone is going to just understand.

When the science is clear and demonstrable

It is demonstrable, how clear it is to the youth of our country will depend on us showing it to them.
posted by nola at 10:20 AM on February 22, 2010


I certainly don't blame you all for that. You all need to get ahead in America, as do I, and we all know that elite groups in the US bond over "us and them" issues like creationism, and I certainly wouldn't want any of you to ruin your chances in life by holding a harmless and whimsical, yet socially forbidden belief such as that humans and dinosaurs occupied the planet at the same time. Better to believe in wind power and reiki.

Obvious troll is obvious.
posted by anansi at 10:23 AM on February 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


Faze, there is no need to frame this as an elitist vs common man kind of thing and you're smart enough to know better than that.

The idea that truely anti-science ideas are harmless is wrong-headed.


What's the Harm: Eliza Jane Scovill
posted by nola at 10:27 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


What's the Harm: Eliza Jane Scovill

Hey, that's California! I thought only Texans were ignorant hicks.
posted by kmz at 10:38 AM on February 22, 2010


That's pretty interesting, as I know a couple highly cultured and sophisticated physicians who are creationists by belief. Some wealthy Jewish fundamentalists of my acquaintance are also creationists. When I earlier characterized creationist beliefs as poor and working class, I should have qualified that to say "are perceived as" poor and working class..
...
I certainly don't blame you all for that. You all need to get ahead in America, as do I, and we all know that elite groups in the US bond over "us and them" issues like creationism, and I certainly wouldn't want any of you to ruin your chances in life by holding a harmless and whimsical, yet socially forbidden belief such as that humans and dinosaurs occupied the planet at the same time. Better to believe in wind power and reiki.


So you didn't really mean to say that only the poor are creationists - but you still are saying that - and believing that wind can be used to generate power is just like believing that Cain and Abel lived with T-Rex. THINGS THAT MAKE YOU SAY "HUH"
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 10:39 AM on February 22, 2010


Better to believe in wind power and reiki.

Oh, the irony.

You are more likely to find hard evidence supporting the efficacy of reiki, if only as a placebo, than you are of finding hard evidence that humans walked with dinosaurs.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:42 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


hard evidence that humans walked with dinosaurs

Exhibit A
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:45 AM on February 22, 2010


I just don't think human beings operate this way.

I should qualify this. I don't think that educated, curious human beings generally operate this way.


If human beings didn't operate this way, people would not believe humans and dinosaurs co-existed.

Educated, curious people operate this way too: Petroleum Geology for Creationists


It is demonstrable, how clear it is to the youth of our country will depend on us showing it to them.


No - we can demonstrate the evidence of evolution, but we can't demonstrate the process. The process takes millions of years. Contrast that with medicine, where we can grow cultures in a lab, inject them into a mouse who then develops a disease, and then inject the mouse with something else which cures the disease. That's a demonstration which could convince even someone who doesn't understand the science behind it. The evolution of human beings from apes is not something that can be duplicated in a lab.


To understand heliocentrism is not something that just got clearer to people, people had to be educated to understand it. This is because to the average observer it is not "clear" that we are on the surface of a globe orbiting a sun.


Heliocentrism was not discovered one day and embraced by all of humanity the next. Yes, people were educated to understand it, but not until technology advanced enough that people could see it happening with their own eyes. It took hundreds and hundreds of years before heliocentrism became the worldwide norm. Darwinism has only existed for about 150 years and no one can see it happening right this second with their own eyes. These things take time.
posted by Dojie at 10:54 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


With such a long passage of time between extinction of the dinosaurs and the birth of man, no evolutionary tie between dinousaurs and mammals, and such different ways we live on the land, how did our structures develop along such similar lines?

There are, of course, evolutionary ties between dinosaurs and mammals, in that both share a common ancestor that was a tetrapod (four legged), which will account for the basic mappability of the underlying design. Amphibians, reptiles, dinosaurs/birds, and mammals are all tetrapods, and even limbless snakes and whales are tetrapods by descent. Tetrapods emerged in freshwater swamps as lobe-finned fish about 400-350 million years ago (the Devonian period). Lobe-finned fish still exist today as lungfish and the recently rediscovered coelecanth.

By comparison, you see completely different mappings to us in hexapods (eg insects) and octopods (eg octopussies), but all those species share similar mappings between themselves.
posted by Sparx at 10:55 AM on February 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


If human beings didn't operate this way, people would not believe humans and dinosaurs co-existed.

Well, that's why I had to qualify my statement by saying that educated, curious people generally do not operate this way. And they don't, by and large.

Educated, curious people operate this way too: Petroleum Geology for Creationists

Your link is to the "Institute for Creation Research", not to any accredited professional geology association.

So I have to ask you why you are casting your link as if you are referencing any kind of organized group of geologists.

One geologist, who works at a creationism propaganda outlet, does not make your case too strongly.

I would place a strong bet that most credible geologists take their profession seriously and are therefore unlikely to take creationism seriously.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:07 AM on February 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Sova:Cause everything else in religion is perfectly reasonable? We either have standards or we don't, but it's not as though the whole "dinosaurs lived with humans" thing is the first time a religious person has believed something just a little bit cakey.
Sova hits it on the nosey.

As much as I enjoy making fun of the lowest hanging fruit of religious nonsense (e.g. man and dinosaurs walked the earth together, the earth is only 6,500 years old, Noah's ark, etc.), it sidesteps the broader absurdity of religion itself.
posted by Davenhill at 11:16 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


People like us hate these creationists with a red hot hatred because they are poor and working class and have the temerity to to hold independent views on a subject that we all know belongs to the upper middle class -- science.

Not all poor/working class people are ignorant of clearly established science.
posted by nestor_makhno at 11:23 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


One geologist, who works at a creationism propaganda outlet, does not make your case too strongly.

I would place a strong bet that most credible geologists take their profession seriously and are therefore unlikely to take creationism seriously.


No, my link isn't to an accredited professional geology association, it is to an article by someone who "earned his Master's degree in Geology from the University of Michigan while a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow." I am not saying that this guy is credible - but he's clearly educated, and he's clearly curious or he wouldn't be looking for the explanation he's presenting in the link.

I'm not sure where you got the idea that I was trying to claim that most geologists believe in creationism. All I claimed was that it was possible for a petroleum geologist to believe in a Young Earth. You seemed to doubt that - so I found one. I suspect this guy would be a lot better than I would at finding oil deposits, regardless of his odd beliefs as to how they got there.
posted by Dojie at 11:33 AM on February 22, 2010


All I claimed was that it was possible for a petroleum geologist to believe in a Young Earth.

I think you were making a claim that's somewhat larger than this, but no matter.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:36 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thank you Metafilter. My fear was that this thread would not evolve as an analysis of the information and it's wider implications, and simply be one where people point and laugh at the hicks (as has occurred to some extent in other Texas-related threads). So far the thread is a good one. Xoebe approves.

I am Texan by birth and by choice, but I live in Southern California. Yes, there are huge swaths of idiotry in Texas, but these occur elsewhere as well.
posted by Xoebe at 12:24 PM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


No - we can demonstrate the evidence of evolution, but we can't demonstrate the process. The process takes millions of years.

That is a nonsensical statement given that one can demonstrate the process with the evidence in the same way one could for gravity, germ theory, or quantum theory. The objection to certain theories has everything to do with preheld dogmas and nothing to do with science. This is not a lack of knowledge on the part of the scientific community, it is a lack of honesty on the part of some to face up to the truth. It's the same reason oil companies don't want to accept climate change as a demonstrable fact.
posted by nola at 12:26 PM on February 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


No - we can demonstrate the evidence of evolution, but we can't demonstrate the process. The process takes millions of years.

That is a nonsensical statement given that one can demonstrate the process with the evidence in the same way one could for gravity, germ theory, or quantum theory.


But either way it's just evidence that takes some jumps to make it believable to the layman. Yes we can demonstrate the diagenetic process that converts plant material to peats and methane in real time. The development of oil and other natural gases really cannot be replicated due to the time involved. Or so that was how I read the initial claim.

I've met a few religious geologists in passing, and the rare times it comes up the answer is sort of a "well I believe a little of the science and a little of the religion, but not all of either." And then I walk away.

In fact I have an acquantance that I graduated with (an exploration geologist) who frequently sends me right wing noise emails (just got one this morning), and this reminds me to needle him about his philospohical beliefs to see if it jives with the rest of the bizarre crap he believes.
posted by Big_B at 12:52 PM on February 22, 2010


People like us hate these creationists with a red hot hatred because they are poor and working class...

Well, there are prominent and influential Americans who seem to ignore science. Examples:
Republican members of Congress do not believe in climate change.

The First Republican [2008] Presidential Debate: Three Of Them Don't Believe In Evolution.

Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN): I’m Not ‘Anti-Science’…But I Don’t Believe In Global Warming, Stem Cell Research, Or Evolution.
posted by ericb at 1:08 PM on February 22, 2010


CallMeJayThey're like hosts without immune systems waiting for people to deliberately infect them.
Exactly. Religious fundamentalism is a backdoor key into the mind. It allows religious and political leaders a more direct pathway into controlling the thoughts and actions of their (religious/political) followers.

Fundamentalism not only compromises an individual's ability to think critically and independently on their own, but also usually includes a meme to reject and even vilify contradicting sources of information (e.g. it's not unusual for Conservatives to believe the entire mainstream media, except Fox, is Liberal, biased, and lacks credibility). Fundamentalists are also more prone to follow their leaders blindly, without question.

Rejection of Evolution and/or the belief that 'Dinosaurs walked with man' take the fight for control over someone's mind right to the doorsteps of academia; the goal is to indoctrinate children and young adults when they are most vulnerable, before they reach high school or before they are done with college (or even prevent them from going to a liberal college where you may lose that kid forever).

It's why they're fighting over the school boards in Texas. They aren't just trying to re-write America's textbooks to juxtapose Creationism with Evolution, they are influencing education throughout the country to make people more susceptible to their brand of religion and politics.

They are using high school textbooks for things like debunking global warming and glorify conservative politicians like Reagan.
they even managed to add a line requiring books to give space to conservative icons, “such as Newt Gingrich, Phyllis Schlafly and the Moral Majority,” [...]

three of the six people appointed [to help write the textbooks] were right-wing ideologues, among them Peter Marshall, a Massachusetts-based preacher who has argued that California wildfires and Hurricane Katrina were God’s punishment for tolerating gays, and David Barton, former vice chairman of the Texas Republican Party.
Make no mistake, Christian Fundamentalism is at war with Science, Liberalism, and even critical thinking itself (“This critical-thinking stuff is gobbledygook,”), and so on. Revisionaries: How a group of Texas conservatives is rewriting your kids’ textbooks.

And while we're all yukking it up about the Flinstones, they're actually well on their way to succeeding in influencing textbooks for decades to come that will brainwash generations of children into believing their Medieval version of Christianity and extremist brand of conservative political ideology (in as much as there's a difference).

Those who say that it does no harm for Joseph Sixpack to believe that dinosaurs and man coexisted because it doesn't impact their day to day ability to be good citizens who pay their taxes, I agree. But that's not the problem. The problem is that the religious fundamentalist beliefs are a symptom that these people are political Manchurian candidates. When religious leaders and politicians invoke the right words, these people follow them. And vote for them. They are grease on the wheels of this dangerous religious-political movement that hates science, critical thinking, liberalism, and worse.

Some people call them sheep, but I think lemmings is more like it. If they continue to control the direction this country is headed in, they'll run us over a cliff.
posted by Davenhill at 1:12 PM on February 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm all for polls and threads like this, if only they help to keep all the goddamned Californians out of Texas.

And I say this as sincerely as it is possible for somebody of my intensely leftward bent to do.
posted by kaseijin at 1:18 PM on February 22, 2010


By the way, this book Why Evolution is True is excellent, and one that I would highly recommend.

The audibook version is narrated well and makes for a good listen. I would recommend it over Darwin's 'Origin of the Species' (which comes across as more modern than I would have guessed, and contains impressive details and well-reasoned arguments; Richard Dawkins narrates the audiobook, btw) because it is more concise and includes scientific knowledge that wasn't available to Darwin (DNA, plate tectonics, explanations for how we date fossils, etc.).

A review from the link:
With great care, attention to the scientific evidence and a wonderfully accessible style, Coyne, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Chicago, presents an overwhelming case for evolution.

Ranging from biogeography to geology, from anatomy to genetics, and from molecular biology to physiology, he demonstrates that evolutionary theory makes predictions that are consistently borne out by the data—basic requirements for a scientific theory to be valid.

Additionally, although fully respectful of those who promote intelligent design and creationism, he uses the data at his disposal to demolish any thought that creationism is supported by the evidence while also explaining why those ideas fall outside the bounds of science. Coyne directly addresses the concept often advanced by religious fundamentalists that an acceptance of evolution must lead to immorality, concluding that "evolution tells us where we came from, not where we can go."

Readers looking to understand the case for evolution and searching for a response to many of the most common creationist claims should find everything they need in this powerful book, which is clearer and more comprehensive than the many others on the subject.
I would reiterate that Coyne does a good and methodical job of debunking the arguments in favor of Intelligent Design without being condescending, patronizing, or putting up strawmen. (But that is just a small part of the book).
posted by Davenhill at 1:27 PM on February 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dojie, you're right about science getting better and better, but the issue at hand is the deliberate, concerted effort on the part of evangelical Christians to reverse scientific knowledge already established in many, if not most parts of the country. So you and your kid can see through the creationist bullshit taught to them at school, but not everyone is so lucky.

Every creationist should read olinerd's comment again and again. I wish I could favorite that a hundred times.
posted by zardoz at 1:30 PM on February 22, 2010


You are more likely to find hard evidence supporting the efficacy of reiki, if only as a placebo, than you are of finding hard evidence that humans walked with dinosaurs.

You're willing to justify belief in reiki not because it is true, but because it functions to make the patient feel better. So, I'm willing to accept someone's belief in creationism, not because it's true, but because it makes believers feel better. It also makes me feel better to know that some people are ornery and individualistic enough to stand up to the emotionally and historically tone-deaf, autistic scientism of our day.
posted by Faze at 1:43 PM on February 22, 2010


scientism

That's not even a real word!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:47 PM on February 22, 2010


"Other" is just too big a category, you know?
posted by The Whelk at 1:49 PM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


You're willing to justify belief in reiki...

Point missed. As usual.

You're laughing up your sleeve, using a logical aversion to pseudoscience as a wedge between science and religion, so you can continue to assert that science and religion are logically the same, i.e. that it's all just a matter of faith and belief, and that there is no such thing as an incorrect belief.

You're wrong.

I don't believe in the mystic powers of reiki, but at least it's falsifiable, unlike religion. Evolution is falsifiable, too -- show us the fossil evidence that men and dinosaurs once roamed the planet. You can't. And this particular part of the conversation should come to an end right there. But by all means, keep scrabbling for something. It's a real hoot.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:09 PM on February 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


That's not even a real word!

Once again, this hysterical fallback upon hegemonic authority. First it's science. Then it's whomever you seem to believe determines what is or is not a "real word." Please be assured that I am fully credentialed to coin words, so you need not panic that some "outsider" is trying to upset your carefully ordered, obsessive-compulsive world where dinosaurs and human beings must be situated "just so" on history's desktop, or who knows what terrible consequences might ensue!
posted by Faze at 2:14 PM on February 22, 2010


Science and religion are logically the same.

Not what I'm saying at all. Of course science is logical and religion is not. But functionally, it matters little to 98 percent of us whether or not human beings evolved from single celled creatures, or were created by the wave of a magic wand twenty seconds ago. It certainly didn't matter to Newton, or DaVinci, or Johnson, or Tolstoy, or Sherlock Holmes (who once shocked Watson by revealing that he neither knew nor cared whether the sun revolved around the earth or the earth revolved around the sun, since "it doesn't affect my work.") I honor science, but I choose to believe whatever amuses me.
posted by Faze at 2:20 PM on February 22, 2010


I choose to believe whatever amuses me.

Fine. Then please don't run for public office. Or vote, for that matter. I'm not sure I'd want you to drive, either, out of concern that you'd suddenly choose to become amused by oncoming traffic.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:29 PM on February 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


Once again, this hysterical fallback upon hegemonic authority.

I apologize. My point should have been that your premises and your reasoning are faulty enough, without you having to use made-up nonsense words to try to prop them up.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:42 PM on February 22, 2010


I honor science, but I choose to believe whatever amuses me.

That sentiment is a luxury paid for by hard facts understood by people in the real world and you ignore it at our mutual peril.

We haven't reached our standard of living by "choos[ing] to believe whatever amuses [you]"
posted by nola at 4:22 PM on February 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


We haven't reached our standard of living by "choos[ing] to believe whatever amuses [you]"

You'd have to show where believing in creationism has somehow retarded technological and social progress. It hasn't. Creationism is a bogus issue on both sides. It's one of those issues that it's stupid to support, and stupid to oppose.
posted by Faze at 4:29 PM on February 22, 2010


Creationism is a bogus issue on both sides.

It's not a bogus issue as long as creationism is being taught as science in public schools. Then it's a problem, because it displaces science with religious belief. Which is bad for the country in numerous ways, an obvious example being a decrease in scientists and engineers, something, y'know, a society needs.

It's one of those issues that it's stupid to support, and stupid to oppose.

You're half right.
posted by zardoz at 4:35 PM on February 22, 2010


You'd have to show where believing in creationism has somehow retarded technological and social progress. It hasn't.


Influenza A Gradual and Epochal Evolution: Insights from Simple Models


Evolution influences everyone’s life every day, for example:

•decisions you make about conservation and the environment
•choices in the medications you need, such as antibiotics
•ensuring an adequate food supply
•learning skills to work in biotechnology or software development



Five Reasons Why Evolution Is Important


Given that having a working understanding of evolution is important for advanced professions in medicine, biotech, environmental planning, and computer sciences, and for maintaining our first world standard of living I'm not crazy about letting wrong headed people teach children crap science. You know?
posted by nola at 4:52 PM on February 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


You'd have to show where believing in creationism has somehow retarded technological and social progress. It hasn't.

60% of Texas thinks it is plausible idea that The Flintstones was a realistic portrayal of life a few thousand years ago.

I don't know how you keep running a superpower with a populace this fucking dumb — bigger flat-screen TVs, maybe — but greater empires in history than the United States have fallen for much less.

We have already ceded scientific progress in biotechnology to countries like Italy, Singapore and South Korea because we don't value intellectual pursuits here at home. First- and second-generation immigrants are leaving once they get their doctorates. Brain drain is a fact.

Politicians will not prioritize funding to improving the intelligence of the public, when those same voters can't be bothered to learn to count beyond the fingers on their own hands.

Creationism and belief in it are symptoms of the anti-intellectual mindset of religious extremists who are attempting to take over the country, trying their best to run the United States and everyone who lives in it into the ground to help preserve some notion of the world as it once was.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:52 PM on February 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


You'd have to show where believing in creationism has somehow retarded technological and social progress. It hasn't.

Also, I live in the south, and I love it dearly but I'd be lying if I said this place is not "somehow retarded " when it comes to "technological and social progress"

See I love my home state, and I'm not happy about the kids here being held back because of the many unworthy reasons that they are held back. I've got a daughter and I'd like to raise her to be proud of her southern roots. Unfortunately there are still a few things about the south to not be to proud of. I aim to do my part to change that.
posted by nola at 5:02 PM on February 22, 2010


Faze wrote: But functionally, it matters little to 98 percent of us whether or not human beings evolved from single celled creatures, or were created by the wave of a magic wand twenty seconds ago.

If you or a loved one were ever to find yourself in the unenviable position of needing a complicated, surgical procedure… remember to choose a doctor who "chooses to believe in whatever amuses" him and who isn't encumbered with a "carefully ordered, obsessive-compulsive world" that must be situated "just so".

And since it matters little to the 98% of us, perhaps you could find Harry Potter or the once shocked Dr. Watson to perform it.
posted by jabo at 5:42 PM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I choose to believe whatever amuses me.

I learned about dadaism in school, too. But I don't subscribe to that stuff. I have to, you know, feed myself.
posted by ilovemytoaster at 6:11 PM on February 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Can we vote Faze off the freaking island already? Just because you're a consistently contrarian dickhead doesn't make it cute or insightful or whatever you choose to believe solely on the grounds that it "amuses you." It amuses me to believe that you're a detriment to this site and (likely) this planet, but the difference is I've got evidence to point to. You have, uh ... whatever happens to amuse you at the moment? I've got a nephew like that. He's four. And rapidly growing out of that particular narcissistic phase. Er, faze.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:10 PM on February 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, for a start, from the evidence of MeFi it's the whiniest state.

Please feel free to present this evidence.

I would say it is the state most whined about here, as it seems to have become the public face of red-state America ever since Bush, but that doesn't sound like what you're claiming.
posted by Xezlec at 7:12 PM on February 22, 2010


Creationism and belief in it are symptoms of the anti-intellectual mindset of religious extremists who let the losers of the 1917 revolution create the cold war mindset trying their best to run the Soviet Union and the United States and everyone who lives in it into the ground to help preserve some notion of the world as it once was
I'm afraid.
posted by hortense at 7:14 PM on February 22, 2010


Hmmm.
posted by agregoli at 7:38 PM on February 22, 2010


You'd have to show where believing in creationism has somehow retarded technological and social progress. It hasn't.

These people don't believe in extinction, and often don't believe that climate can change drastically or cause extinctions. They see any claims about global warming as obviously absurd and without need of consideration. Not only that, they see evolution as proof that "those scientists don't know what they're talking about" and that "they're just making stuff up". I can't even count how many times I've had an opponent fend off a scientific argument about any subject just by saying something like "sure, that's what scientists say, but they also say that you and I came from monkeys, and I know damn well that ain't true!"

But there's more. I think this is all part of a whole cultural web of lies that is used to demonize urban culture and frighten people away from learning. The "grandpa's a monkey" thing is part of the whole "crazy intellectual elite" boogeyman that is supposed to be waiting for you if you dare to stray off the path of God's Truth (TM). You start out innocently wanting to learn more about the world around you, so you go running off to one of them big-city universities, and pretty soon you're a big, gay, evolutionist, atheist, man-hating, pot-smoking pansy who can't take care of himself. Better go to the local Christian University of Christ instead, or just stay home and git-r-done.

It is absolutely true that Creationism impedes scientific progress (directly, and also indirectly by helping marshal opposition to scientific funding) and social progress (by helping to bias one part of society against another part, by playing into the whole theocratic social control mechanism of the Republican Party, and by fostering an arrogant view of humanity as an almost semi-divine class of beings entitled to destroy whatever creatures they want to destroy and fully capable of fixing any amount of damage they cause to the temporal world).

As for technology, there might not be much technology that is based directly on evolutionary biology, but I'm sure there's some. I wonder if a Creationist can ever be any good at writing genetic algorithms, or even accept that they can work? I wonder if they'd be willing to learn from natural history in designing those algorithms. I wonder whether they would be willing to use evolutionary clues to help figure out ancient migration patterns and what those might tell us about how the Earth has changed and could change in the future. I wonder if they can believe that the fossil record can teach us about genetic engineering, or even help find oil deposits.

Most of all, though, I wonder about setting a precedent that it's OK to believe what you want to believe, that traditional beliefs should come first, and that rational, evidence-based argument is a fool's errand.
posted by Xezlec at 7:44 PM on February 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


Dear America,
We admire the power of your faith and your resolve in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Please continue to teach religion to your children; we want their jobs.
signed, China and India
posted by ambulocetus at 7:45 PM on February 22, 2010 [7 favorites]



You'd have to show where believing in creationism has somehow retarded technological and social progress. It hasn't.

If you spend any time among fundamentalists, you find they're not content to simply state that their beliefs are a matter of faith. There's a big effort to discredit all kinds of scientific knowledge that contribute to the plausibility of evolution - carbon dating (hence nuclear science), a lot of biology, mendelian genetics, genomics, paleontology, geology and plate tectonics, astronomy and astrophysics. After a while, every system of organized knowledge gets tagged as "with" or "against".
posted by newdaddy at 7:57 PM on February 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Texas, as comforting as it may be to believe, is not the root of the problems in America. We may be a point of convergence, we may be a large and powerful state, but the problem is in all of us, everywhere. It is simply biology -- we did not evolve in a friendly world. Let's try to make the world better so our descendants may have that luxury instead of finding reasons to get angry at or mock each other.
posted by polyhedron at 8:20 PM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


From what I understand (not much), alligators and lizards that can be carried by cats have little relation to actual dinosaurs, which were basically birds.
posted by agregoli at 8:47 PM on February 22, 2010


Texas, as comforting as it may be to believe, is not the root of the problems in America. We may be a point of convergence, we may be a large and powerful state, but the problem is in all of us, everywhere. It is simply biology -- we did not evolve in a friendly world. Let's try to make the world better so our descendants may have that luxury instead of finding reasons to get angry at or mock each other.
First, we know at least 33% of Texans will disagree with you, at least on the point of us not 'evolving' in a friendly world.

Second, while Texas may not be the root of all evil, George HW Bush, George W. Bush, Tom Delay, John Cornyn, the current Texas school board, a governor who muses about secession, a state penal system that executes more human beings than any other state in the union (never mind all of the other abysmal statistics like Texas ranking close to last in access to healthcare, quality of care, avoidable hospital spending, and equity among various groups) and Phil Graham (who was not only instrumental in killing health care reform under the Clinton Administration but also championed the banking and derivative deregulation that led to our current global economic meltdown)... but still, that's a heck of a lot evil.

Sure, point taken about the problem being bigger than Texas. But really the problem is primarily concentrated in the former confederate states, with Texas and Florida being far and away the two biggest and most influential of the group, and Texas being the bigger and more radical of the two.

If Texas secedes I hope the Union retains Austin, sort'uv like we did West Berlin during the Cold War.
posted by Davenhill at 9:15 PM on February 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Most of all, though, I wonder about setting a precedent that it's OK to believe what you want to believe, that traditional beliefs should come first, and that rational, evidence-based argument is a fool's errand.

I don't know if it's a problem of believing what you want so much as it is acquiring and accepting beliefs that you may have never really wanted or without even realizing that there are other beliefs you could hold. At that point it's a matter of maintaining the beliefs that you have, of not letting anyone else tell you what to believe, so to speak. And that is a very powerful and persuasive message, whether or not your beliefs are religious in nature.

The other part of the problem is not being able to make a clear distinction between traditional and evidence-based beliefs. Many people who hold traditional religious beliefs about various things often assume that those beliefs are rational and that they do have evidence to support them. What a lot of people haven't been taught, the precedent that hasn't been set, is that it is okay to believe what you want to believe (in some sense) and to question the merits of your own views as well as those of others. It's okay to consider other possibilities and, after consideration, to modify and change your own views.
posted by inconsequentialist at 12:29 AM on February 23, 2010


Top home-school texts dismiss Darwin, evolution
posted by homunculus at 9:37 AM on March 7, 2010


Creationist-Cum-McCarthy-Booster Incumbent Rejected By Texas Republicans
posted by homunculus at 9:30 AM on March 10, 2010


Texas Approves Curriculum Revised by Conservatives
posted by elizardbits at 12:18 PM on March 12, 2010


Texas Approves Curriculum Revised by Conservatives

Oh my god! I can't believe this is for real.
posted by Xezlec at 6:35 PM on March 12, 2010


If the common standards project ever comes to fruition, Texas's influence in the textbook market will be greatly diminished.
posted by caddis at 6:35 AM on March 13, 2010


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