The creationists' last stand


I’m not sure what they hope to do. Thankfully, their fight has been lost


The last stand? Fear not, the creationists will rise again. Or rather be afraid. And remember that this is why local elections do matter.


That was well-done article. I learned many new things, on a subject in which I’ve read extensively for years. A fair representation of the facts: for example, showing how in the beginning many of the corrections really were about factual errors. Definitely worth the long read.


If only it was the last.


It’s never their last stand. Creationists adapt their strategies to whatever obstacles are put in front of them. Some arguments don’t resonate well with the public, so they change them. Those arguments that don’t do well die off and those that do tend to thrive for a while until scientists find a counterargument that the general population understands. Of course, adapting these strategies require an intelligence behind them. A Prime Mover if you will. And that Prime Mover is…


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Is this actually an issue anywhere but the Bible Belt? I’ve never met anyone who wants to either remove evolution from classrooms or put God into classrooms, and I’ve honestly only ever heard of folks like that either online (mostly on the FSM webpage), or in high school science class. I don’t really feel worried…

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Heh heh.

(Only a little related.)


Yes. I’m not sure if there’s a real definition of “Bible Belt,” but you can find these folks in all 50 states. They probably don’t have much clout in Hawaii, but I’m sure they’re there.

Trivia: Christian fundamentalism was invented at Princeton University.


Only if Kansas is part of the Bible Belt. The descent of what I’d always considered staid, Germanic Midwesterners into racist, fundamentalist loonball batshittery has been, for me, one of the most frightening developments of the 21st century.


Do you think there are enough of them anywhere else to actually upset the status quo though?

love that turn of phrase

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National curricula like Common Core, adopted now by all but five states (among them Texas) have created far larger potential markets.

I hadn’t thought about Common Core as breaking the rule-of-Texas in textbooks, but it is a nice side effect. (Or perhaps it is intentional, but not quite part of the sales pitch.)

I wish I could find the original source, but I distinctly remember one of the architects of Kansas’s descent saying that it wasn’t necessary to win big elections, or even to win a majority of voters, because it was possible to create change simply by targeting small campaigns–like those for school board seats–that most voters didn’t pay attention to.

I’m sure it seemed like a sound strategy at the time, but no matter how small the office people pay attention when when you start pushing racist, fundamentalist loonball batshittery.


My guess would be that James Dobsen <sp?> was the likely source of that strategy – his Focus on the Family/Family Research Council seemed to be one of the primary political advocates at the time.

It may depend on region; but at least in the liberal-elitist northeast (We were Real America before Real America was even American…), the loonball batshittery suddenly starts to draw a lot of flack when people are reminded that, if adopted, it will get their children laughed out of the admissions offices of everywhere except Podunk State University…

Merely being illiberal assholes, they might be able to get away with that; but being illiberal assholes who are at war with anything resembling vague competence, that’s a problem that’s a great deal harder to paper over.

(And it’s arguably a broader one for theocratic wingnuts generally: the more forcefully they try to wall themselves off from wicked secular culture, and the harder they crack down on even incremental dissidents, the shallower their talent pool and supply of cultural capital become. This isn’t counter-reformation Europe, where you didn’t have to like the Catholics to admit that they had some serious cultural clout , or the Protestants to admit that they had an ample supply of hardcore principled reformers and theologians. There are still plenty of sharp people who also happen to be religious; but if a cultural good or institution is prefixed by ‘christian’, that’s now a very, very, bad sign in terms of production values, much less content. And ‘creationist’ or ‘YEC’ means dimmer lights still.)


I believe that was actually a strategy invented by Falwell and his Moral Majority.

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I rather suspect the strategy of trying to force all to be questioned is actually a good thing. If schools taught students to question more and memorize whichever version of ‘facts’ less, we’d be producing more of the minds we should be, anyway. And, it will likely work against them in the end, since they don’t believe in questioning, but in simple belief. Once you let a brain start questioning? It won’t stop.


Is this actually an issue anywhere but the Bible Belt?

Yes. Texas is an early-adopter in the annual cycle of textbook review, and many other states follow their lead. Publishers seem to accept the need for lowest-common-denominator in the adoption process so the whole mess becomes an exercise in “gabage-in, garbage-out,” regardless of subject.

Since true education is not mere recapitulation of “facts,” but of learning how to think – that is meet, define, solve a problem or situation, or create something that didn’t previously exist – binding ourselves willfully to crap textbooks and standardized testing sends us rushing forward into the past.

Good for the robber barons in the short run, I suppose.