Deep dark secrets in South Carolina

| 68 Comments

Last week a Toledo Blade editorial called the Ohio State Board of Education “… a painful carbuncle on the posterior of state government …”. Demonstrating that Ohio doesn’t have a lock on governmental duplicity, a report in The State.com out of South Carolina tells us that a legislator plans to call two “experts” to advise a school oversight panel.

State Sen. Mike Fair has invited two experts to advise the school reform oversight agency, which is evaluating the standards for teaching the origins of life.

Fair said he promised the two advisers he would protect their identities to minimize scrutiny of their views and credentials prior to their appearance before an EOC subcommittee next week..

Experts who can’t be identified? Who have to be anonymous to prevent scrutiny of their credentials? I wonder if they’ll wear brown paper bags over the heads with those neat little eyeholes cut in them.

Between Senator Buttars of Utah pushing “divine design” and anonymous “experts” in South Carolina, it looks like there’s a mad race to the bottom out there in creationism land. But the newspapers are catching on. Of Buttars, the Salt Lake Tribune said

But every time the West Jordan Republican opens his mouth to address the subject, he removes all doubt about the fact that he has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about.

Buttars’ constant references to the lack of a “missing link” or his insistence that he’s never seen a dog change into a cat display a towering ignorance of the subject. That would be his own business, and perhaps a source of comfort to him, were it not for the fact that he is trying to enshrine his willful misunderstandings into state law.

As Nick points out just below, one of the Disco Institute’s official goals is to have 10 states “rectify the ideological imbalance in their science curricula & include design theory”. Unfortunately, since there is no “design theory”, the freelancers out there in the world are taking the bit in their teeth and running straight to creationism. They’re not fooled at all by the Disco Institute’s rhetoric, it seems.

RBH

(Hat tip to Red State Rabble.)

68 Comments

South Carolina is terrible. It is among the worst among states in terms of education, poverty, religion, and crime.

If Christian Exodus wants it, they can have it.

Steve as a supporter of science and as a proud member of the banjo picking minority i cordially invite you to shut the hell up about south carolina. there are more things to life than education, poverty, religion and crime.

Well, I do love me some banjo…

(More than just a joke, I actually do. Did you see Steve Martin playing banjo on Letterman with Earl Scruggs? Kick-Aass)

Anyway, I am allowed to disparage rednecks because I am one. My family is from Kentucky, I was born in a trailer in north Florida, and have lived in Texas, Indiana, Georgia, and North Carolina. I own an expensive Stetson and can speak in a beautiful Valdosta accent. I have owned and can do major repairs on a Ford F-150. And I believe fancy pointy boots go well with a suit. So I can talk about South Carolina all I want and you can kiss my ass!

;-)

And if I need any more redneck cred, my dad drove a dump truck for Anderson Columbia in Lake City, Florida, and is a Young Earth Creationist.

So are these expert witnesses in the Witness Protection Program or some such? To what could they possibly testify that would require their protection?

Maybe they know who killed off the Dinosaurs

So are these expert witnesses in the Witness Protection Program or some such? To what could they possibly testify that would require their protection?

Maybe one of the witnesses is Ghost of Paley. He seems to really want to be a famous published scientist, but he never reveals his true name. I can see him showing up at the state school board in SC with a brown bag over his head, and a little name tag that says ‘G.O. Paley’.

Maybe they know who killed off the Dinosaurs

Screw that, ask ‘em who really killed JFK. :-)

South Carolina was one of the few states that received an ‘A’ in the most recent Fordham Foundation The State of State Science Standards 2005 report. And they were also given a 3 out of 3 for the way they taught evolution. But that could change if Mike Fair has his way.

Experts who can’t be identified? Who have to be anonymous to prevent scrutiny of their credentials? I wonder if they’ll wear brown paper bags over the heads with those neat little eyeholes cut in them.

Perhaps one of the experts is the Intelligent Designer himself/herself.

Having been subjected to the South Carolina public school system during my time in Junior and Senior High school, I can only say that I am surprised that it has taken so long for this to happen. I did have a good experience with science in my high school classes due to an exceptional teacher, but she was one of a rare few. South Carolina is peopled overwhelmingly with bumpkins, hillbillies, and rubes, and I have no doubt that the threat of legal action, and financial consequences for local school districts, or the state as a whole, will do nothing to dissuade these backwards, bible-thumpers from exploiting any flimsy excuse to preach about the “Lord Jaysus,” in the science classroom. I was frankly shocked when I saw that S.C. was given an A rating by the Fordham Foundation, but now I can rest well-assured that South Carolinians are doing their level best to retain their status as 50th in education.

Speaking as a geologist, it’s a shame that such a geologically interesting state as SC has morons in it like Mr. Fair. I can visualize the examination now. “What is your name?” “Hey, wait a minute. Sen. Fair said I wouldn’t have to give my name. I’d rather not say, because I’m worried that those evilutionists will… do something to me.” “Hm… What are your qualifications?” “Well, you’ll just have to take my word for it, I know alot about this.”

Yup, pretty convincing advice these guys will give.

Anecdotally, I do have hope. About 5 years ago I was in SC for about the 10th time to collect some fossils called Belemnites. After collecting a couple of dozen of the little guys, I headed back to the main road. Even though I’d been in this area several times before, I managed to get lost. I stopped in at a little country store for directions, and talked to a group of 3 or 4 locals. After giving me directions, they asked what I’d been doing (I was pretty muddy) in a friendly sort of way. I talked about the fossils, their age (at least 65 million years old), their behavior and appearence when alive, etc. All of these gentlemen were polite, understood the concepts, and seemed receptive to the ideas. So at least in this area, even though it was an extremely rural environment, some of the people are not “hicks” when it comes to modern science.

Fair said he promised the two advisers he would protect their identities to minimize scrutiny of their views and credentials prior to their appearance before an EOC subcommittee next week..

This is disturbing to say the least. And this is how he is handling a government hearing. In secrecy. That is not how an open democracy works.

I’m from SC and have been lurking around here for about a year, and I have to concur with the prevailing idea on this thread (namely that South Carolina is full of fundigelical morons). Personally, I don’t know how I ended up not being one of them, since most of the people in my town are loud and proud with their “I didn’t come from no monkey” rhetoric, and my high school biology classes gave as quick and rudimentary a look at evolution as they could get by with.

I would love to see my home state deal another blow to the ID movement, but I have serious concerns that the population here will bring sufficient resistance. I, personally, have no children, so I probably won’t be able to bring anything to court myself, and I have yet to meet anyone in my town who opposes the IDC movement.

This is disturbing to say the least. And this is how he is handling a government hearing. In secrecy. That is not how an open democracy works.

They’ve learned their lessons from the Bush administration well.

I, personally, have no children, so I probably won’t be able to bring anything to court myself, and I have yet to meet anyone in my town who opposes the IDC movement.

Be the first then! start up a local chapter of NCSE.

http://www.natcenscied.org/

gotta start somewhere!

Nyarlathotep Wrote:

South Carolina is peopled overwhelmingly with bumpkins, hillbillies, and rubes…

I will thank you not to refer to my friends and family that way.

I was frankly shocked when I saw that S.C. was given an A rating by the Fordham Foundation…

I wasn’t shocked at all. I went to public schools in SC and received an excellent education, particularly when it came to biology and evolution.

…but now I can rest well-assured that South Carolinians are doing their level best to retain their status as 50th in education.

According to what metric do you consider SC to be last in education? If it’s SAT scores, I hope you realize that fewer than half the states even use the SAT as their primary test.

Anyone who wants to pile on SC can first wonder what’s wrong with PA, GA, CA, OH, and just about every other state that got into the anti-evolution business long before SC did. Of course SC is hardly some beacon of progressivity, but if there’s any lesson to be learned by the anti-evolution shenanigans in recent years, it’s that every state is vulnerable, and the typical (and typically wrong) stereotypes don’t apply.

Anyone who wants to pile on SC can first wonder what’s wrong with PA, GA, CA, OH, and just about every other state that got into the anti-evolution business long before SC did.

Folks shouldn’t forget that “liberal” California should be included on that list. Believe me, the “Deep South” comes nowhere near having a monopoly on the wingnuts.

Those of us on the Left Coast may feel tempted to “pile on” Southerners from time to time, but we really shouldn’t let ourselves get too smug.… lest we forget that Lebec is located in California, not Alabama, and that the Murrieta Calvary Chapel (the outfit that is suing the University of California for refusing to give students science credits for taking “creation biology” classes) is located right here in southern California, not South Carolina.

Folks should not underestimate California winguts (and we’ve got ‘em by the *millions* here). They may have more money, live in bigger houses, and drive fancier cars than a lot of poor Southern folks do, but that doesn’t mean they are any more sophisticated than those stereotypical Southerners.…

“I will thank you not to refer to my friends and family that way.”

My family and a number of my friends still live in South Carolina too, but that doesn‘t change the fact that the majority of the population of the state only stop dragging their knuckles long enough to bang their bibles into their heads.

“I wasn’t shocked at all. I went to public schools in SC and received an excellent education, particularly when it came to biology and evolution.”

I did too, but that was because I had an exceptional teacher. The other science/biology teachers in my school taught as little about evolution as they could possibly get away with from what I heard.

“According to what metric do you consider SC to be last in education?”

When I lived there, I can remember politicians putting up billboards promising to lift South Carolina out of the nation‘s lowest place for things like literacy and test scores. I wonder whether they didn‘t get elected, or whether they reneged.

I would love to see South Carolina strike another blow against ignorant fundamentalism, but I think it far more likely that just the opposite will happen. Rare is the parent in South Carolina that will buck the entrenched theocracy and bring a suit against a district or the state for pulling these kinds of theology-as-science dog and pony shows.

Folks shouldn’t forget that “liberal” California should be included on that list.

Silly me.… California *is* on that list (as well as it *should* be).

And frankly, if it weren’t for the democratic Latino base here in CA, the Republican Party would *own* California. And in California (as in many other states), the wingnuts *own* the Republican party.

Folks should not underestimate California winguts (and we’ve got ‘em by the *millions* here). They may have more money, live in bigger houses, and drive fancier cars than a lot of poor Southern folks do, but that doesn’t mean they are any more sophisticated than those stereotypical Southerners.…

Lalalarry Fafarman lives in LA.

‘nuff said.

When I lived there, I can remember politicians putting up billboards promising to lift South Carolina out of the nation’s lowest place for things like literacy and test scores.

Well, I guess “billboards I’ve seen” is a type of hard data. ;)

Fair said he promised the two advisers he would protect their identities to minimize scrutiny of their views and credentials prior to their appearance before an EOC subcommittee next week..

Fine, but who are the likely suspects? Doesn’t the NCSE Dirty Tricks department have a filing cabinet with all the dirt on all major players in the IDC team? And if not, why not? :-)

Bob

And frankly, if it weren’t for the democratic Latino base here in CA, the Republican Party would *own* California. And in California (as in many other states), the wingnuts *own* the Republican party.

CA is a lot more complicated than that. having lived in SF, San Jose, and grew up in Orange County, I can say from experience that CA is about split into three parts:

Northern CA metropolitan is about as “liberal” as it gets (think San Francisco).

Southern CA metropolitan (especially OC) is about as close to pure neocon (excepting the latino base mentioned above) as you can find.

hell, the OC folks got Reagan, Wilson, and Arnold elected governor. The neocon base there is as strong as anywhere in the country. In fact, Howie Ahmanson has his primary residence there, IIRC.

then you have most of rural CA, which is just like every other “redneck” area you can pick off the map in any part of the US (think Lebec), and has a mix of Agricultural interests and down-home christian evangelism. hard to classify, but usually vote republican,

anywho, just like most states, CA isn’t just a “blue” or a “red” state.

Dave Cerutti Wrote:

Perhaps one of the experts is the Intelligent Designer himself/herself.

I don’t see how that could be possible. I wasn’t planning to go.

Me: “I am The Designer!” Deep voice from the back: “No, I am The Designer!”

The identity of the ‘experts’ has just been revealed as Rebecca W. Keller (an associate of the ARN), and Richard M. von Sternberg (who we all know is a fellow of Dembski’s ISCID). http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestat[…]13667674.htm

Totally and completely of topic, but I know that Ed Brayton reads here. I have been unable to log onto your new web site to make comments. I do not know why. Could you please investigate the situation and get your comment provider to correct it. My “handle” is the same as here–raj. I do not know what I originally registered as–my previous computer died.

TIA

“The identity of the ‘experts’ has just been revealed as Rebecca W. Keller (an associate of the ARN), and Richard M. von Sternberg…”

It should be interesting to see whether Dr. von Wternberg manages to maintain his stated position of ‘non-Creationist’.

I suspect it’s on the cards that somebody will make a determined effort to ‘out’ the good doctor. Other than ISCID, Baraminology & occasional attendence at ‘Creationists only’ seminars, is there anything else linking him directly to Creationism?

Having been born and raised in the South, and having spent my formative military years in South Carolina, I can honestly tell you that South Carolina exists for no other reason than to hold up highways that go to other places.

And the back gate of Carowinds. I wonder if the ticket price on the South Carolina side of the park is lower?

Now that I’ve picked on my southern neighbors enough to get me shot the next time I roll through there…

My question is has anyone challeneged this idea that the advisors should be kept secret? I mean, it’s an extreme example to be sure, but they could nick Charles Manson or Jack the Ripper in there under the guise of anonymity. Who would know better?

This sounds like the kind of dirty sleight of hand that the Bush era is going to be remembered for long after anyone remembers the Taliban. Oh wait…already forgotten.

2 scientists to advise in evolution debate

By BILL ROBINSON Staff Writer

A pair of scientists with experience in challenging the teaching of evolution will serve as advisers during next week’s review of South Carolina’s curriculum guidelines for teaching the origins of life.

The S.C. Education Oversight Committee received commitments Thursday from Rebecca W. Keller, a former chemistry professor at the University of New Mexico, and Richard M. von Sternberg, a Smithsonian Institute researcher, to offer their views on biology lesson guidelines that emphasize the theory of evolution.

Keller, who helped write her state’s public school science standards in 2003, and Sternberg will participate at the invitation of state Sen. Mike Fair.

Fair has called on educators to be more flexible in teaching about life’s origins. Fair, R-Greenville, said Thursday he will pay the advisers’ expenses from his election campaign account.

Fair initially shielded the scientists’ identities. Thursday, he declined to explain how he identified Keller and Sternberg as specialists in the field.

Both have signed the DI’s “Scientific Dissent from Darwinism” petition.

South Carolina is peopled overwhelmingly with bumpkins, hillbillies, and rubes, and I have no doubt that the threat of legal action, and financial consequences for local school districts, or the state as a whole, will do nothing to dissuade these backwards, bible-thumpers from exploiting any flimsy excuse to preach about the “Lord Jaysus,” in the science classroom.

and

Anecdotally, I do have hope. About 5 years ago I was in SC for about the 10th time to collect some fossils called Belemnites. After collecting a couple of dozen of the little guys, I headed back to the main road. Even though I’d been in this area several times before, I managed to get lost. I stopped in at a little country store for directions, and talked to a group of 3 or 4 locals. After giving me directions, they asked what I’d been doing (I was pretty muddy) in a friendly sort of way. I talked about the fossils, their age (at least 65 million years old), their behavior and appearence when alive, etc. All of these gentlemen were polite, understood the concepts, and seemed receptive to the ideas. So at least in this area, even though it was an extremely rural environment, some of the people are not “hicks” when it comes to modern science.

This nation has achieved great things because time after time, the hicks and rubes that we all are have risen to the occasion and created education systems that provide better educations for our children than we got ourselves.

I regret momentary lack of focus on the part of entire states, sometimes; I have faith that South Carolinians can and will pull themselves out of the little backwater eddy they seem to have got stuck in on science education.

Sometimes we overlook the amazing: The Scopes trial in 1925 took place because good citizens rose to the occasion and defied a stupid law, by teaching science. Who says there are no miracles?

Keller said that the changes made in New Mexico included revisions of wording like “students will know” to “students will critically analyze” or “understand.”

Well, evolution is one of the dozen or so great ideas of Western civilization. South Carolina probably doesn’t want kids to uncritically accept the notion of free markets and democracy, either, do they?

I mean, fair is fair: If kids in South Carolina get a full instruction on Marxism, they should also get a complete instruction on Marxism’s brother in biology, creationism.

But if kids in South Carolina are not told that Marxism offers valid criticisms of capitalism that should be considered, and that should be considered closer to godliness, then they shouldn’t get ID philosophy like that, either.

RBH posted a link to http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/ml[…]12320837.htm which included the following revelation

Associated Press Wrote:

The three-day conference addressed whether schools should teach only Darwin’s evolution theory, or if students should be exposed to ideas like intelligent design. The legislation filed by Fair in June calls for public school students to be exposed to the “full range of scientific views that exist” on topics like evolution. Fair attended Friday to learn about the intelligent design concept. “This has been an area of interest for me for years,” he said. “If you listen to these speakers, you learn that we really need to teach students what it means when you use the term evolution, when you talk about the complexity of organisms.” Fair said his bill wouldn’t prevent teachers from discussing evolution, but would require them to present other theories like intelligent design to students. He acknowledged that his Christian beliefs play a part in his desire for other theories besides evolution to have a chance in the classroom. [Emphasis mine]

Keep that one to use at the trial.

Casey’s searched the phone directory as we speak

Keep that one to use at the trial.

It sure is a good thing for us that IDers are so bone-crushingly stupid that they STILL haven’t figured out why they lost at Dover …

Like I’ve always said, IDers are their own worst enemies. Just let them talk long enough, and they will shoot themselves in the head every single time. (shrug)

Greg H Wrote:

Actually, I think it would be just as important to also illustrate the negative effects. If nothing else, it might make those Sunday school classes more lively.

I would, of course, agree, but I fear our point of view is entirely too rational to be enacted into real policy.

Bill,

Unfortunately, you’re right. That sort of class would be shot down by the fundies for violating the right to not expose their children to anything of the sort.

Of course that sort of argument never works when it runs the other way, but then Logic never has been as important as The AgendaTM.

South Carolina is my home state, I love the state but it is and always has been a racist state. The white population in my early years were the most racist and now the blacks are the most racist. The elected people in the state government are crude dishonest left wing ass kissers, without concern for anything but their own sorry butts. They have moral values of a Bill Clinton or a Barbara Striesand. I am a black free thinking man and people like Jessie Jackson make me sick, why do you dumbass people fail to see him for what he is.….God help us all.….

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on January 19, 2006 6:54 PM.

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