Get All Your Back To School Fear Of Science & Muslims Now And Avoid The Rush
It's the penultimate day of July, which means it's almost time for the kiddies to start rolling their eyes at all the Back To School sales. And of course, it's time for wingnuts to stock up on fear, uncertainty, and doubt for the coming school year, too. (Haha, just kidding, that is a year-round activity!) Today, tales of terror from a Kentucky panel on science standards, and from the ever paranoid Fox Radio screamer Todd Starnes, who worries about creeping sharia in a world history textbook that acknowledges the existence of Islam. The world is a scary placy, full of science and Muslims, and it's good to know that some people are willing to take a stand and protect our children from learning anything about it.
First up, a report from the Louisville Courier-Journal about citizens' principled opposition to teaching science facts. The state Department Of Education is considering a routine upgrade of its science standards, and a swarm of concerned parents turned out at a recent meeting to insist that teaching about evolution and climate change will usher in "Soviet-style communism." Some highlights:
One parent, Valerie O’Rear, said the standards promote an “atheistic world view” and a political agenda that pushes government control.
Matt Singleton, a Baptist minister in Louisville who runs an Internet talk-radio program, called teachings on evolution a lie that has led to drug abuse, suicide and other social afflictions.
“Outsiders are telling public school families that we must follow the rich man’s elitist religion of evolution, that we no longer have what the Kentucky Constitution says is the right to worship almighty God,” Singleton said. “Instead, this fascist method teaches that our children are the property of the state.”
Yep, that pretty much matches every science class we've attended, all right. Formulate a hypothesis, design an experiment, institute a socialist dictatorship, commit suicide. Sounds like Rev. Singleton hopes to sit on the House Science Committee some day. Another parent pointed out the inexorably dangerous logic of having standards at all, and how it leads to labeling, ridicule, and eventually genocide:
At one point, opponent Dena Stewart-Gore of Louisville also suggested that the standards will marginalize students with religious beliefs, leading to ridicule and physiological harm in the classroom, and create difficulties for students with learning disabilities.
“The way socialism works is it takes anybody that doesn’t fit the mold and discards them,” she said, adding that “we are even talking genocide and murder here, folks.”
Not sure if "physiological" is Ms. Stewart-Gore's error or the reporter's, but we aren't going to correct it, because that would be elitist and might lead to psychological harm and discrimination against the linguistically different. (This is also our second sighting within a week of a wingnut saying that ridicule is a first step toward genocide, if anyone's counting -- serious thinker Victoria Jackson said it too. These guys have taken the not-really-Gandhi line "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win" and made it all grimdark. Then again, Gandhi wasn't a Christian either...)
The other entrée in our Derp Plate Special comes from the always excitable Todd Starnes, who very reasonably predicted that the SCOTUS ruling against DOMA would lead to the Bible being outlawed as hate speech and to federal agents "hauling pastors out of the pulpit." Now he's worried that a world history textbook used in advanced placement classes in Brevard County, Florida, "favors Islam at the expense of Christianity and Judaism" because it has a 36-page chapter about Islam, but does not have separate chapters on Judaism or Christianity. Possibly because if it's anything like most textbooks, they are presented as the norm throughout western civilization.
Starnes passes along the Very Serious Concerns of Florida state Rep. Ritch Workman, who sees insults and favoritism throughout the book. Among Workman's examples of "bias" are the shocking revelation that the book says that Jesus called himself the Messiah, but elsewhere it refers to Mohammed as a prophet without saying that this too was a self-proclaimed job title. There's a section explaining what the Koran is, and defining the "Five Pillars of Islam," and Workman is very unhappy because "They don’t do that for Christianity ... That is offensive to me.” Another complaint comes from school board member Amy Kneessy, who fretted that
“Some of the descriptions of the battles use the word ‘massacre’ when it’s a Christian battle and ‘takeover’ when it’s a Muslim battle,” she said. “In young minds, massacre paints a very different visual picture than a takeover or occupation -- when in fact both battles were very bloody.”
Wow, that's some bias, if you have to go looking for it with a microscope like that. All these complaints sound rather familiar, don't they? We would just like to say that we have read some biased world history textbooks, we own some biased world history textbooks, and we gave away a biased world history textbook as a door prize at the Seattle Drinky Thing. Mr. Starnes, that's no biased world history textbook.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.