Religious Right activist Frank Turek claimed yesterday that Thomas Jefferson would lead a second American Revolution against the teaching of evolution.
In an interview on Washington Watch, Turek told the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins that by proscribing Creationism, public schools have effectively declared “that the Declaration of Independence is unconstitutional.”
“If [Jefferson] were to come back to America today and find that his tax dollars were going to pay public school teachers to teach his school children that his Declaration of Independence was unconstitutional, I think he’d start the Second American Revolution,” Turek insisted.
Perkins agreed: “I think you’re right.”
Turek: If these bureaucrats are going to say that we can’t mention Creation anywhere in school, I ask them this question: Are you telling me that the Declaration of Independence is unconstitutional? Because the Declaration of Independence talks about our Creator, it says we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, it says that we were created. Please don’t tell me the Declaration of Independence is unconstitutional. I think I know what Thomas Jefferson would do, the man who said that taxation without representation is tyranny, if he were to come back to America today and find that his tax dollars were going to pay public school teachers to teach his school children that his Declaration of Independence was unconstitutional, I think he’d start the Second American Revolution.
Perkins: I think you’re right.
Dr. John Morris of the Institute for Creation Research explains that sickle cell anemia, a blood disorder that affords a selective advantage against malarial infection, demonstrates that evolution, unlike Creationism, is fundamentally flawed.
“Evolution says that beneficial mutations have occurred trillions of times, but their best example is the fatal disease,” John Morris said in a radio bulletin today. “The point is, they’re grasping at straws; the Creation story, like we’re told back in Genesis, it’s much more credible.”
Let PBS explain how this case actually proves that evolution occurs:
A gene known as HbS was the center of a medical and evolutionary detective story that began in the middle 1940s in Africa. Doctors noticed that patients who had sickle cell anemia, a serious hereditary blood disease, were more likely to survive malaria, a disease which kills some 1.2 million people every year. What was puzzling was why sickle cell anemia was so prevalent in some African populations.
Researchers found that the sickle cell gene is especially prevalent in areas of Africa hard-hit by malaria. In some regions, as much as 40 percent of the population carries at least one HbS gene.
It turns out that, in these areas, HbS carriers have been naturally selected, because the trait confers some resistance to malaria. Their red blood cells, containing some abnormal hemoglobin, tend to sickle when they are infected by the malaria parasite. Those infected cells flow through the spleen, which culls them out because of their sickle shape -- and the parasite is eliminated along with them.
Scientists believe the sickle cell gene appeared and disappeared in the population several times, but became permanently established after a particularly vicious form of malaria jumped from animals to humans in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
In areas where the sickle cell gene is common, the immunity conferred has become a selective advantage. Unfortunately, it is also a disadvantage because the chances of being born with sickle cell anemia are relatively high.
For parents who each carry the sickle cell trait, the chance that their child will also have the trait -- and be immune to malaria -- is 50 percent. There is a 25 percent chance that the child will have neither sickle cell anemia nor the trait which enables immunity to malaria. Finally, the chances that their child will have two copies of the gene, and therefore sickle cell anemia, is also 25 percent. This situation is a stark example of genetic compromise, or an evolutionary "trade-off."
On this week's "Hagee Hotline," Matthew Hagee answered a question from a viewer who wanted to know if sex education was ungodly by explaining that things like sex ed, science, English, and math are only ungodly if they are not taught from the perspective that "God is the source of all knowledge."
Provided that those being taught sex ed are told that they were created by God in order be fruitful and multiply for His glory, then it is fine. But, Hagee said, if it is taught from any other perspective in order to "teach perversion," then it is ungodly, just as "whenever you use science to teach the deception of evolution, that's ungodly":
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council alleged yesterday that people who agree with the scientific consensus regarding evolution and climate change are actually out of step with modern science.
Perkins, who has previously professed belief in Young Earth Creationism (the belief that the earth is only several thousand years old), said on Washington Watch that “the theory of evolution just doesn’t work when you consider all the holes, look at the fossil record, the molecular isolation, transitional difficulties, irreducible complexity, cyclical change, genetic limits, there are just so many holes and flaws in the evolutionary theory.”
He later compared the supposed problems with evolution to the purported flaws in climate science: “I remember a few years ago, it might have been Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson, made a reference to a hurricane or a storm being an act of God — it’s interesting that’s how we refer to some of these things in our insurance policies — they were ridiculed, saying ‘how dumb can you be?’ Well, there’s more to back that up than to say what’s happening in our environment, our climate, is because of people driving Suburbans or coal-fired power plants.”
During the controversy over Hobby Lobby’s refusal to provide its employees with contraception insurance coverage and the outrage over Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson’s being denied his supposed constitutional right to appear on television, we witnessed conservative activists stretch the limits of the meaning of religious freedom.
As Justice Scalia put it in Employment Division v. Smith, such an exaggerated view of religious freedom serves “to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself.”
The Religious Right has increasingly brought this religious freedom argument into debates over gay rights and the teaching of evolution.
In Missouri, Republican lawmakers contend that public school students should get an exemption from any class on evolution — the bedrock of modern biology — if they think learning about science amounts to an “infringement on people’s beliefs”:
Rep. Rick Brattin, a Harrisonville Republican, said forcing students to study the natural selection theories developed by Charles Darwin a century and a half ago can violate their religious faith.
“It’s an absolute infringement on people’s beliefs,” Brattin said.
“Even though what’s being taught is just as much faith and, you know, just as much pulled out of the air as, say, any religion,” he said.
“The bill is one of several anti-evolution proposals that have already appeared in statehouses across the country,” TPM notes. “The proposals would allow for a range of approaches to evolution, from presenting a ‘debate’ over evolution versus creationism to requiring that local school boards allow intelligent design to be included in biology courses.”
And GOP lawmakers in at least three states are now citing religious freedom to claim that anti-gay discrimination that violates civil rights laws should not face any legal consequences.
Of course, many proponents of Jim Crow cited religious reasons to support segregation.
When passed, the new law will allow any individual, group, or private business to refuse to serve gay couples if “it would be contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs.” Private employers can continue to fire gay employees on account of their sexuality. Stores may deny gay couples goods and services because they are gay. Hotels can eject gay couples or deny them entry in the first place. Businesses that provide public accommodations—movie theaters, restaurants—can turn away gay couples at the door. And if a gay couple sues for discrimination, they won’t just lose; they’ll be forced to pay their opponent’s attorney’s fees. As I’ve noted before, anti-gay businesses might as well put out signs alerting gay people that their business isn’t welcome.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to barring all anti-discrimination lawsuits against private employers, the new law permits government employees to deny service to gays in the name of “religious liberty.” This is nothing new, but the sweep of Kansas’ statute is breathtaking. Any government employee is given explicit permission to discriminate against gay couples—not just county clerks and DMV employees, but literally anyone who works for the state of Kansas. If a gay couple calls the police, an officer may refuse to help them if interacting with a gay couple violates his religious principles. State hospitals can turn away gay couples at the door and deny them treatment with impunity. Gay couples can be banned from public parks, public pools, anything that operates under the aegis of the Kansas state government.
It gets worse. The law’s advocates claim that it applies only to gay couples—but there’s no clear limiting principle in the text of the bill that would keep it from applying to gay individuals as well. A catch-all clause allows businesses and bureaucrats to discriminate against gay people so long as this discrimination is somehow “related to, orrelated to the celebration of, any marriage, domestic partnership, civil union or similar arrangement.” (Emphases mine.) This subtle loophole is really just a blank check to discriminate: As long as an individual believes that his service is somehow linked to a gay union of any form, he can legally refuse his services. And since anyone who denies gays service is completely shielded from any charges, no one will ever have to prove that their particular form of discrimination fell within the four corners of the law.
Rev. Mark Creech of the Christian Action League – the North Carolina affiliate of the American Family Association – is furious at Pat Robertson for his criticism of Creationism, arguing in a column yesterday that believing in evolution amounts to “blasphemy.”
After linking evolution to Nazism and communism, Creech alleged that Robertson is undermining both the Bible and science: “God is the one who established all scientific laws, and good science will always point to Him. That's why we need not fear there will ever be a discovery of some scientific fact that contradicts the Bible properly interpreted.”
Modern science asserts that the geological ages are predicated on the fossil record, and these fossils speak to us of suffering and death millions of years before Adam and Eve – before the creation of man. That's a direction contradiction of the Bible's teaching that pain, anguish; travail, death and the dysfunctions of nature are a direct result of divine judgment because of man's sin. If there was a primeval prevalence of these things before the fall of man, then that would leave only God himself responsible for such menace and mayhem. The very notion a God of love and order would work arbitrarily and brutally as suggested in evolution's old earth hypothesis – a way so contrary to his own nature – carries with it an implication blasphemy.
Scott Huse, in his book, The Collapse of Evolution, lists two dozen ways the Bible's account of creation and evolutionary theory contradict each other.
Furthermore, Huse notes the general principles of evolution are starkly different than biblical Christianity. He writes:
The fruit of evolution has been all sorts of anti-Christian systems of belief and practice. It has served as an intellectual basis for Hitler's Nazism and Marx's communism. It has prompted apostasy, atheism, secular humanism and libertinism, as well as establishing a basis for ethical relativism, which has spread through society like a cancer. The mind and general welfare of mankind has suffered greatly as a result of this naturalistic philosophy.
According to the Bible, man is a responsible creature. One day he will give an account for his life's actions and motives. But when man is viewed as the product of some vague purposeless evolutionary process, he is conveniently freed from all moral obligations and responsibility. After all, he is merely an accident of nature, an intelligent animal at best.
Although Robertson and some other well-meaning Christians try to reconcile the assertions of evolutionary theory with the Bible, the fact is, the two are in no way compatible. Robertson's remarks trivialize the conflict. Belief in an earth billions of years old, a progressive evolving of earth's life, puts the biblical account in question on several levels.
God is the one who established all scientific laws, and good science will always point to Him. That's why we need not fear there will ever be a discovery of some scientific fact that contradicts the Bible properly interpreted.
Therefore, if Robertson believes that Ham's literal interpretation of the biblical creation account is a "joke." Then I suggest Robertson's remarks make him a ham.
As we reported on Wednesday, televangelist Pat Robertson — for at least the second time — dismissed Young Earth Creationism as “nonsense” that is “making a joke” of Christianity.
Robertson made the remarks in response to the debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham, the leader of the Creation Museum and Answers In Genesis.
CBN’s website even promotes an essay by Kelly Hollowell of Answers In Genesis, called, “Evolution - The Ultimate Compromise,” that attacks critics of Young Earth Creationism for supposedly undermining Christianity.
Many Christians believe that the world is very old based on fossil records that are presumably dated at millions of years. Indeed the dispute between an old earth and a young earth is hotly debated within the Christian community. Unfortunately, those who subscribe to an old earth theory do not realize the enormity of their compromise.
The compromise is that as soon as one allows for an earth millions of years old, then one has accepted death, bloodshed, disease and suffering before Adam’s sin. In other words, the Garden of Eden would have been seated upon a mountain of dead animal bones. This doesn’t sound much like paradise.
Now if the world were millions of years old as suggested by evolutionists, blood was shed and death occurred before Adam's original sin. This would destroy the foundation of the atonement brought by the death of Christ on the cross. According to 1 Corinthians 15:54, sin and death have been swallowed up in victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus the enormity of compromise is revealed. To believe in evolution undermines the entire gospel message of Jesus Christ. All Christians believe that Jesus Christ suffered physical death and shed His blood because death was the penalty for sin. Therefore, teaching millions of years of death, disease and suffering before Adam sinned, is a direct attack on the foundation and message of the Cross.
Yesterday, Ham himself went on the attack. He pushed back against Robertson’s “misinformed and deceived” denunciation of Bishop James Ussher, who helped devise the chronology system that inspired Young Earth Creationism, by saying that Robertson “couldn’t even get the time of Ussher’s life correct. Not the 1800s but 1581-1656.”
Ham called on God to “convict and open the eyes of Christian leaders and Christian college and seminary professors, so many of whom are as uninformed and deceived as Pat Robertson. God have mercy.”
This is really sad. I wonder why Pat Robertson spoke about evolution and the age of the earth on the 700 club yesterday? I wonder if the debate on Tuesday had anything to do with this!
Pat Robertson is so misinformed and deceived. Sad that so many will believe him (who is neither a scientist, nor a Bible scholar rather than open their Bibles and see that evolution and millions of years are totally incompatible with the first 11 chapters of Genesis and rather than think for themselves and check out creationist web sites like Answers in Genesis.
He condemns Bishop Ussher (a brilliant Bible scholar and incredible student of history and ancient writings), but couldn’t even get the time of Ussher's life correct. Not the 1800s but 1581-1656.
Oh, that God would convict and open the eyes of Christian leaders and Christian college and seminary professors, so many of whom are as uninformed and deceived as Pat Robertson. God have mercy.
Back in 2012, televangelist Pat Robertson provoked the ire of Young Earth Creationists when he rejected their claim that the earth is approximately 6,000 years old. Today on the 700 Club, Robertson responded to the debate between Bill Nye and Young Earth Creationist leader Ken Ham — who criticized Robertson’s remarks on creationism as a “destructive teaching” that “gives more fodder to the secularists” — by once again rebuking Young Earth Creationism and the chronology system designed by James Ussher.
“Let’s face it, there was a bishop [Ussher] who added up the dates listed in Genesis and he came up with the world had been around for 6,000 years,” Robertson said. “There ain’t no way that’s possible. To say that it all came about in 6,000 years is just nonsense and I think it’s time we come off of that stuff and say this isn’t possible.”
He continued: “We’ve got to be realistic that the dating of Bishop Ussher just doesn’t comport with anything that is found in science and you can’t just totally deny the geological formations that are out there.”
Robertson added that he disagrees with “evolution as it is currently presented” and knocked Creationists: “Let’s be real, let’s not make a joke of ourselves.”
The group claims that such a move is actually an “authoritarian” and unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment’s establishment clause and protection of the freedom of speech. Also, apparently it advances infanticide, violence and Nazism.
Why are the atheists asking the government to endorse something that is so blatantly wrong and obviously a bait and switch tactic? What’s at stake? There are only two views of how the universe, the world and you and I came to be. Either it was created or it evolved. This is a philosophical debate—ultimately, it’s not really about the science. The constitution calls for the state not to be involved in the establishment of any religion—yet a mandated religious view is being proposed.
This has led to much of the moral decay we see in society. So, let the debate really be about science and let’s see who is really teaching it badly. Such teachings have had disastrous consequences on individuals and our societies including promoting euthanasia—and the abortion of millions of innocent unborn children because of the faulty evolutionary belief that they are not yet fully human. Worse still, even President Obama has agreed with arguably the world’s most radical bioethicist/eugenicist, Peter Singer, that infanticide (killing children after they are born) should be legal. If one is old, handicapped or just unwanted—one is not safe anymore.
See the following for the consequences of evolutionary teaching on society:
How to build a bomb in the public school system—The Columbine high school killers link to evolution.
Inside the evolutionary mindset of a killer—the Finnish high school tragedy.
Darwinism and the Nazi race holocaust.
Darwin, eugenics and the death of the defenseless and how modern evolutionists are advocating some of the same.
How would you feel about possibly being forced to take a public holiday to celebrate Darwin and endorse evolution? It’s already happening in the UK! If we allow this to happen any criticism of evolution will not be tolerated. This brainwashing will increasingly create a moral vacuum in our culture. So much for the scientific method of critiquing any hypothesis! Such censorship is authoritarian, and similar regimes with this evolutionary atheism at its core are responsible for more deaths in the last century than in all of the recorded religious wars in history. This is an attack on free speech and our constitutional rights. There is already ample evidence that shows the discrimination against any scientist who does not hold to an evolutionary worldview. What is happening to our great democracies?
According to Alan Keyes, President Obama’s recent statement that he doesn’t think marijuana “is more dangerous than alcohol” makes him just as bad as the hijackers in the September 11 attacks.
Keyes, who was Obama’s GOP opponent in the 2004 U.S. Senate race in Illinois, writes in Renew America today that “Obama himself” may have “long-term individual damage” from smoking pot when he was young, which Keyes believes has “grave implications for the welfare of the nation as a whole.”
The right-wing activist is also upset about TV shows “saturated” with “zombies, vampires, beastly human-animal hybrids, amoral thugs, and anti-heroes,” adding that such programs “may yet prove more destructively potent than the Nuremburg rallies, or the Hitlerjugend, as factors for producing virtually soulless, self-glorifying perpetrators of atrocity.”
Keyes claims liberal marijuana laws, along with the teaching of evolution, are attempts to “affect the moral judgment and character of the American people” and undermine “America’s liberty.”
“Much like the terrorists who targeted the Towers in New York, which symbolized America's material commerce, these scornful elitists target the pillars of moral and spiritual commerce that uphold our political constitution,” he writes. “But when liberty's pillars fail, the smoke that rises from their crater will signify the fatal triumph of our stupefaction, courtesy of those, like Obama, who are working hard to make us too stupid to be free.”
"Stupéfiant" is a French word for "drug." It is a compound word with roots that literally mean "to put someone into a stupor," to induce a state of mental numbness in which you are unable to think normally. More pungently put, it describes things that make you stupid.
I thought of this recently as I read a report of Obama's indulgent attitude toward marijuana. He claimed that it's less dangerous than alcohol. The salient question is, "Dangerous to whom or in what way?" With respect to individuals, his nonchalance is certainly debatable. As WND's Art Moore has pointed out, data from "an extensive four-decade study published in 2012 by the National Academy of Sciences showed marijuana can lower the IQ of young teenagers and may cause permanent mental impairment" – "a neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife."
Moore points out evidence that lends support to the conclusion that Obama himself may be an instance of this kind of long-term individual damage. But given the office he presently occupies, this compels us to remember that in America, such damage to individuals has grave implications for the welfare of the nation as a whole. After all, the person who occupies the office of president is supposed, among other things, to represent the sovereign interests of the American people.
Yet the TV shows, movies, and games massively promoted by these very elites are increasingly saturated with themes (zombies, vampires, beastly human-animal hybrids, amoral thugs, and anti-heroes who shadow forth every conceivable variety of conscienceless evil) that preoccupy the soul with evil. They focus on concepts, tools, and stratagems for the wholesale violation and degradation of human beings. Rejecting the Christian challenge ("Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good"), their preferred depictions of supposedly humanitarian heroes are often molded according to the treacherous maxim "It takes evil to fight evil."
Thus, righteous indignation is made to flow in channels of wickedness, as if there is no weapon in the arsenal of God's creation potent enough to overcome the power of every imaginable evil. Such "entertainments" may be the most insidious kind of disinformation. And they may yet prove more destructively potent than the Nuremburg rallies, or the Hitlerjugend, as factors for producing virtually soulless, self-glorifying perpetrators of atrocity.
But even in the educational institutions we more formally recognize as such, the leading lights of the elitist faction not only promote, they insist upon, an understanding of humanity (the God-denying version of the theory of evolution) that tendentiously abuses the rubric of science. Indeed, it suppresses the very idea of humanity as such (human nature), in order to discredit the moral and spiritual dimensions of the human condition. Yet these are the very aspects of humanity that inform the practical wisdom required to justify and sustain decent liberty.
Why would an individual sworn to uphold, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States show such little concern respecting things that assault the practical basis for the form of government it establishes? There is no answer consistent with his oath. Instead, such nonchalance is solid evidence that Obama targets America's liberty, as do all those who belittle the significance of issues that affect the moral judgment and character of the American people.
Much like the terrorists who targeted the Towers in New York, which symbolized America's material commerce, these scornful elitists target the pillars of moral and spiritual commerce that uphold our political constitution. But when liberty's pillars fail, the smoke that rises from their crater will signify the fatal triumph of our stupefaction, courtesy of those, like Obama, who are working hard to make us too stupid to be free.
Lady Theresa Thombs, the Republican candidate for the Texas State Board of Education who rails against evolution, “socialist higher education” and “Devil worshipers,” today shared a Facebook post calling for “Straight Pride.”
When several commenters mocked her post, Thombs responded that she doesn’t hate gay people and only thinks that gay people are sinners, just like murderers: “We are not bigoted or hateful. Jesus said to love the sinner but hate the sin. God gives you free will to do what you want. But murder is a sin, but even a murderer is loved and forgiven if he asked to be. We both have the right to believe the way we choose is all that I am saying.”
In another Facebook post, Thombs said that people who criticized her attack on evolution at a school board candidate forum are actually trying to take away the right of Christians to speak freely and run for public office.
The Texas Freedom Network wondered “who has argued that Christians ‘have no right to seek public office,’” reminding Thombs that almost all of the candidates for the post are Christian.
At a debate in Fort Worth on Monday, a Republican candidate for the Texas state board of education warned that the board is currently “using your tax dollars to brainwash our children into socialist issues and ideas.”
“We know we didn’t come from monkeys!” she exclaimed.
Thombs made her remarks at a debate hosted by a Tea Party group, the 912 Project Fort Worth.
Bud Kennedy of the Star-Telegram reports that Thombs considers herself an “international evangelist” who is “running to fight — her spellings — ‘adgendas and ideoligies.’”
She also believes she is running to defeat “Devil worshipers”:
The multi-talented Thombs also serves as a singer at right-wing rallies.
The American Civil Rights Union’s Robert Knight, who has been encouraging Republicans to run on social issues such as hostility to abortion rights and opposition to LGBT equality, now thinks the GOP should campaign on denying the existence of evolution.
Citing a Pew poll which shows that belief in evolution has plummeted in the GOP and is now shared by only a minority of Republicans, Knight told the American Family Association’s One News Now that “Republicans have a great opportunity” to expose the “lies that liberals have told over the years” and begin “questioning evolution more than ever.”
He also warns that a belief in evolution “leads to terrible things like socialism and communism and fascism and Nazism and the more extreme forms of liberalism in this country.”
Knight should take heart that Republicans have been working to undercut the teaching of evolution for decades, and we here at Right Wing Watch hope the GOP embraces this foolproof political strategy. "Evolution is at the core of a left-wing, secular, humanist worldview that has been breathing down everybody's necks in America for years [and telling us that] the best we can do is empower government to make our decisions for us," he offers. "That leads to terrible things like socialism and communism and fascism and Nazism and the more extreme forms of liberalism in this country."
The political commentator is encouraged that more Republicans reject the concept – and believes it could bode well for the GOP at election time later this year.
"The Republicans have a great opportunity to say Look, we've witnessed the collapse of a lot of lies that liberals have told over the years, and now we're questioning evolution more than ever as a basis for people's worldviews," Knight suggests. "So the dynamics are fascinating – and I think they could add up to an enormous conservative revival in this country."
Dr. John Morris of the Institute for Creation Research thinks that “no truly helpful discovery has come from evolution” since evolution proponents, unlike Creationists, “rely on silly evolutionary stories to make us believe it.”
He told co-host Chris O’Brien in a radio bulletin today that evolution fails because it “ought to be obvious” and “people are not gullible enough to think that a frog change into a prince.”
O’Brien: Has evolutionary science been useful to the world?
Morris: Chris, you’d be surprised. Evolutionists say that evolution undergirds all of biology, and yet no truly helpful discovery has come from evolution. It is true that many evolutionists have made amazing discoveries, but these are based on scientific observation of the way things are—how they originated is a different question. It seems to me that if evolution were really a theory of everything, as they claim, then it ought to be obvious; they shouldn’t have to rely on silly evolutionary stories to make us believe it. Face it, evolution is unbelievable because it is simply not true. Most people are not gullible enough to think that a frog change into a prince. Creation is a much better answer and we learn that when we go back to Genesis.
O’Brien: Thanks Dr. Morris!
This afternoon, the Texas State Board of Education gave its final approval to a set of biology textbooks that include scientifically sound teachings about evolution, rebuffing a campaign by creationists to include “biblical principles” in science texts. However, the board delayed its approval of one of the books until a board of experts reviews the complaints of anti-evolutionists.
The Texas Freedom Network, which has been fighting to keep science in the state’s science textbooks, called the vote a “huge win for science education” and noted that “throughout the adoption process, publishers refused to make concessions that would have compromised science instruction on evolution and climate change in their textbooks.” People For the American Way joined TFN earlier this year to deliver 300,000 petitions to the school board urging them to reject attempts to insert creationism into science texts.
Creationists on the school board, in a last-ditch attempt to delay the process, are still holding up one biology book. TFN reported yesterday:
The adoption of the Pearson textbook was held up because an anti-evolution activist appointed to serve as an official state reviewer alleged that it included nearly two dozen factual errors. Some of the alleged “errors” focused on relatively small and almost trivial details — such as whether scientists estimate the age of Earth as 4 billion or 4.2 billion years old. But most dealt with evolution or related concepts and essentially repeated many discredited claims anti-evolution activists have been pushing for decades.
One Republican school board member accused his anti-evolution colleagues of attempting to “hijack” the process by causing the last-minute delay, according to the AP:
Pearson and many other major publishers weren't willing to make suggested major edits and changes, however.
That prompted some of the board's socially conservative members to call for delaying approval of the book because of concerns including how long it took Earth to cool and objection to lessons about natural selection because "selection operates as a selective but not a creative force."
Members outside the socially conservative bloc claimed their colleagues waited until the dead of night to try to impose ideological edits.
"To ask me — a business degree major from Texas Tech University — to distinguish whether the Earth cooled 4 billion years ago or 4.2 billion years ago for purposes of approving a textbook at 10:15 on a Thursday night is laughable," said Thomas Ratliff, a Republican from Mount Pleasant.
He added: "I believe this process is being hijacked, this book is being held hostage to make political changes."
On Wednesday, an oil and gas industry representative objected to another science textbook’s treatment of the harms of fracking and carbon emissions; she gained some allies on the board, but the board ultimately approved the text.
In an Institute for Creation Research radio bulletin, Dr. John Morris claimed that thorns on plants are proof that evolution is nothing but a myth. He told co-host Chris O’Brien that Genesis 3 includes a curse on plants as “thorns and thistles are a direct result of Adam’s sin.”
He claims on a certain ryegrass, a certain fungus sometimes “grows unchecked” and “chokes out the plant” because “a particular gene in the fungus was turned off through mutation.”
“Mutations are thought to be the main mechanism by which evolution occurs but every mutation we see is harmful, not helpful as evolution requires,” Morris argued. “Face it Chris, evolution just doesn’t work, it doesn’t fit the facts and it certainly doesn’t agree with the ‘back to Genesis’ truth of creation.”
Yesterday, we posted clips of Sen. Ted Cruz’s father Rafael Cruz attacking evolution and warning of Satanic control of America. Now, a reader has alerted us to a speech the elder Cruz gave to a Republican gathering in Texas in March, in which he claimed that he could disprove evolution to the “brainwashed” students in attendance.
After making his usual claim that evolution and gay rights are communist plots, Cruz warned, “We are being brainwashed by the school system and you’re called a ‘retrograde,’ you’re called an ‘idiot’ if you fight evolution. Evolution is not a fact, there is nothing factual about evolution.”
Let me just say something for you kids, evolution is based on jumping from one species to another through mutations. How many of you had biology in high school? Mutations normally go in reverse order, they go backwards, when something mutates it mutates into something worse than it was before. So if evolution moves from species to species by mutation, you’re going backwards, not forwards, it doesn’t make sense. It takes more faith to believe in evolution than to believe in the first two chapters of Genesis. Understand, it is a tool to destroy loyalty to God.
Later in the address, Cruz alleged that President Obama wants people to worship him. “Obama needs for you to see him as God,” Cruz said. “The concept is make government your god. It’s done by evolution, it’s done by destroying the concept of religion and God, and secondly by destroying the family.”
“That’s what this whole thing about homosexual marriage is about,” he added. “It has nothing to do with ‘homosexual rights,’ It has to do with the destruction of the traditional family so that there is no loyalty to the family, loyalty is to the government and government is your god.”
Last week, we reported that an organization called Citizens for Objective Public Education filed a lawsuit contesting science standards in Kansas schools, arguing that lessons on evolution represent an unconstitutional establishment of religion.
John Calvert of the Intelligent Design Network, an attorney involved in the lawsuit, told conservative talk radio host Janet Mefferd today that lessons on evolution are “religious education” in violation of the rights of parents, children and taxpayers. Mefferd replied that it is “crazy” to think that public schools could teach evolution to Christian students.
The religious rights that are being promoted here are the religious rights of parents to direct the religious education of their children and a state interferes with that when it seeks to promote an atheistic worldview. The second right is the child’s right, the child has a right not to be indoctrinated by the state to accept a particular religious viewpoint, that right is being taken by the framework. The last right is the taxpayer has a right, you know I pay taxes to Kansas, real estate taxes, a good part of my real estate taxes go to fund Kansas public education and I don’t want the taxes used to promote a nontheistic worldview.
“This really is a case about the establishment of a complete worldview,” Calvert said, arguing that public schools violate the Constitution by teaching “materialistic science” and therefore courts should block the curriculum and instruction on evolution.
“We’ve asked the court to enjoin the whole package, they just need to go back to the drawing board,” Calvert told Mefferd. “In the alternative, if the court is not willing to do that, the court should at least enjoin the teaching of origin science in the primary school grades from kindergarten through the 8th grade.”
Calvert and Mefferd claimed it is only fair to teach creationism and intelligent design alongside evolution. Otherwise, Calvert claimed, schools would be teaching atheism.
“It’s clear that there are lots and lots of people who hold to the biblical account of creation or at the very least a view of intelligent design, share it as a perspective, evolution is not the only perspective out there,” Mefferd said.
Well, there are also “lots and lots of people” who believe that the sun revolves around the earth (one out of five Americans), so is it really settled science that the earth revolves around the sun and schools should teach both points of view?
Must schools also incorporate the claims that the earth is flat into lessons regarding the shape of the earth?
After all, we must keep the curriculum balanced and respect flat-earth proponents who think religion and science back up their beliefs.
At a Texas State Board of Education meeting last month, the Republican head of the school board defended the qualifications of a biology textbook review panelist who said that “creation science based on biblical principles should be incorporated into every biology book that is up for adoption.”
SBOE chair Barbara Cargill defended the panelist, who is not a biologist but… a dietitian. Cargill defended another Creationism advocate on the panel, a businessman, because he has a degree in chemical engineering, saying that not enough biology teachers wanted to serve on the panel reviewing textbooks.
“They might be well-qualified in their own professional fields, but they are no more qualified to review biology textbooks than a biologist would be qualified to review a mathematics or engineering textbook,” Dan Quinn of the Texas Freedom Network points out.
He also notes that Cargill’s claim that teachers didn’t step up to serve on the panels is baloney, as 140 of the 183 of the “individuals who applied or were nominated by State Board of Education members to serve as biology textbook reviewers” were educators, and the “vast majority of them have degrees and teaching experience specifically in biology.”
“Some of them are among the 28 individuals appointed as biology textbook reviewers. But all of the others were passed over for the dietician, business and finance professionals, and various chemical, mechanical, systems and civil engineers who used their positions on the review teams to promote completely discredited junk science attacking evolution (or simply to call for teaching “creation science based on biblical principles” in biology textbooks).”