Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Legislative morons

I could probably have a weekly blog post on the stupidity of our elected officials.

Watch this short clip of Louisiana State Senator Mike Walsworth (R) questioning Darlene Reaves, a retired fourth-grade science teacher, during a hearing last April on SB 374 - a bill to repeal the infamous 2008 Lousiana Science Education Act (LSEA).

Wow!  A few comments.

There's nothing wrong with being ignorant of evolution (there are all kinds of topics I'm ignorant about), but there is definitely something wrong about being ignorant of a topic and then belittling people (people who know a lot more about it) with your arrogant stupidity.  How can these people call themselves Christians?  Isn't humility still a Christian virtue?  Dude, you're making Louisiana a laughing stock among educated people around the world who think you're a pompous dumbass (and they're right!).

Senator Walsworth is on the Louisiana State Senate Education Committee.  This moron has a voice in educating the children of Louisiana - the state that ranks 48/50 by the Statistical Research Center at the American Institute of Physics which studied how well U.S. schools are preparing students for science and engineering careers.

From his stupid questions (and, yes, there is such a thing as a stupid question despite what teachers told you in an attempt to make you feel better), the Senator makes it clear that he not only doesn't understand the concept of biological evolution, he doesn't understand how science works either.  Not surprising considering his background before becoming a State Senator was as a real estate developer (perfect background for serving on the Education Committee, don't you think?).

Darlene Reaves, the elementary school science teacher is too nice to this buffoon (although the expression on her face after he asks if any bacteria evolved into humans is great).  I would have called him on his idiotic question - "Are you serious Senator, is this what you believe evolutionary theory predicts?  I expect better of 4th graders!"

Also, if you'd like to read more about the very interesting experiment showing the evolution of  E. coli that Ms Reaves mentioned, here's a summary.

By the way, the 2008 Lousiana Science Education Act (LSEA) stipulates:

"The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, upon request of a city, parish, or other local public school board, shall allow and assist teachers, principals, and other school administrators to create and foster an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning."

While there's nothing wrong with promoting "critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories" - those are great things - singling out evolution, origin of life, global warming, and human cloning shows the political motivations of this bill.  Bills like this, introduced in states around the country by Republican legislators, have been used to introduce creationism and climate change denialism into public school classrooms.

To top it off, SB 374 died in the Education Committee after these hearings.  Apparently the State Senators in Louisiana want the children of Louisiana to be as stupid and ignorant as they are about science.

There is a hero in all of this, Google Zack Kopplin, a 19-year-old student who's been working for a couple of years now against this nonsense.

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