Pork-Barrel Antievolution

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Antievolutionists have long sought to subvert and infiltrate the public school science classrooms, looking to turn all those lecterns into pulpits to deliver their narrow sectarian doctrines. We’ve seen takeovers of classrooms, of school boards, and the promulgation of legislation to set things up the way they’d like it. Now, we have another untoward development: not content with turning science class into Sectarian Sunday School, they want taxpayers to chip in money to serve the cause. That’s right, instead of passing a collection plate where one gets a choice of contributing or not, they do want to pick your pockets.

The Times-Picayune has the story.

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., earmarked $100,000 in a spending bill for a Louisiana Christian group that has challenged the teaching of Darwinian evolution in the public school system and to which he has political ties.

The money is included in the labor, health and education financing bill for fiscal 2008 and specifies payment to the Louisiana Family Forum “to develop a plan to promote better science education.”

More on the Austringer.

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The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts as are only injurious to others, but it does no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods or no god. It neither picks my pockets nor breaks my legs. — Thomas Jefferson Antievolutioni... Read More

As reported by NCSE, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) has withdrawn his $100,000 earmark for anti-science education: Vitter earmark withdrawn. During yesterday’s session Vitter asked that the money in the earmark be directed to other projects, insisting ... Read More

22 Comments

internal sever error in trying to post to your blog, Wes.

Doesn’t Mr. Vitter have enuf problems of his own or is all of this just a smokescreen or paying his dues to the memory of Rev. Falwell? Perhaps Mr. Thompson can get some needed points with Rev. Dobson by championing this cause? Yogi Berra would really like this as an example of one of his most famous quotes.

OK, PHP is restarted, so try the comment thing again.

Hmm. Just found in email where Kristjan Wager had blogged about this early Sunday morning.

I don’t know where to post this, and it’s pretty OT, but Craigslist’s “Best of” has a post that actually relates to PT (in a humorous way), believe it or not: http://www.craigslist.org/about/bes[…]9930561.html

Hope you all enjoy!

And ON topic, read the comments on the Times-Picayune (which was incredibly conservative when I lived in New Orleans in the early ’80s). They actually make me pretty hopeful. Most of the comments are anti-creationism and anti-ID.

For those insisting on leaving Bathroom Wall comments, please enter them directly there.

The plugin to move them over hasn’t yet been updated, so if you insist on entering them here, they will remain unpublished until such time as the plugin is rewritten and they can be moved, and someone remembers to move them.

The Bible says, “Thou shalt not steal.” So why is a Christian politician stealing the people’s money for a sectarian agenda?

Wes, was your comment directed to me? I’m a little naive about posting OT comments to PT. Should I have sent it directly to the Bathroom wall?

Also, by the way, when I sent the above post, I never got a message saying that the post was received, as happened whit the old PT, but only that the system was “waiting”. I finally clicked on the stop button after several minutes, reloaded, and there it was. This will be the source of a lot of posters placing multiple posts, if it is a common experience on the new PT. If it happens again with this post, I’ll let you know.

That’s an excellent question. I hope it comes up frequently at press conferences.

This looks like a new tactic by the ID creationists. How can we check to see if they are trying similar things in other states?

GvlGeologist,

No, there was a rant that would have fit right in on the Bathroom Wall, but didn’t have a place here. Nothing to do with you.

Wes, Thanks for the info. And I’m still getting the “waiting on Pandas Thumb” message when I post.

Dale Husband:

The Bible says, “Thou shalt not steal.” So why is a Christian politician stealing the people’s money for a sectarian agenda?

Because those people either agree with him, in which case he can take their money with clear conscience, or they don’t agree with him, in which case they are heathens, and therefore a fair game.

The Bible also says “Thou shallt not commit adultery”, and Senator Vitter was caught in the second most recent Washington prostitution scandal (the one with female prostitutes in Washington, not the male hookups in the Minneapolis airport bathroom).

In the immortal words of Matt Dillion:

“There’s a lot of words in that book you ain’t livin by.”

It is a death cultist thing. They routinely toss out the commandments about lying and killing, thereby referring to the 8 commandments.

Vitter seems to be trying to get the 8 commandments down to a smaller number that are easier to forget. Let’s see, hmmmm, toss adultery and stealing public money.

He is now down to the Six commandments.

IANAL but couldn’t someone bring this to federal court and get the bill thrown out as unconstitutional? would there have to be a class action suit by lousiana taxpayers, or could the someone just file a petition for an injunction for the money to be paid? who woul;d have standing?

Things like stock market prices, miniature golf scores, post-drugged semen levels, and chronic back pain and flatulence can fluctuate naturally and may regress towards the mean and uncalled for. The logical flaw is to make predictions that expect exceptional results to continue as if they were the average, a representativeness heuristic if I ever saw one! People are most likely to take action when dissent, like morning wood, is at its peak. Then after results become more normal or less turgid, they believe that their action was the cause of the change when in fact it was not causal, wherein cohesion between objects of similar silly appearance is assumed. While often very useful in everyday life, it can also result in neglect of relevant base rates and volumes, an inability to play funk, and other errors. Another snag you may encounter involves describing some occurrence in vivid detail, even if it is an exceptional occurrence, to convince someone that it is a problem, when, throughout my garbled history, it’s been commonly identified again and again that, if the nuns of the order of Sisters of Saint Joseph are to be believed, I am the one with the “problem”. Though misleading vividness does nothing to support an argument logically, it can have a very strong psychological effect because of a cognitive forceful brainwashing called the availability heuristic. Another area that needs to be dealt with in a timely and thorough manner is several references in my late Elementary/Junior-high phase of mutational development, otherwise known as the “Parade of horribles”, originally referred to as a literal parade of people wearing comic and grotesque costumes, rather like the Philadelphia Mummers Parade or my yearly family reunion. It was a traditional feature of Fourth-of-July parades in dismal parts of the U. S. in the nineteenth century without indoor plumbing. A 1926 newspaper article about July Fourth celebrations in the White Mountains of New Hampshire notes “Old-time celebrations are to be held tomorrow at Littleton, Lancaster, Colebrook, and Conway, with all the usual features of street parades of horribles and grotesques, brass balls bands, decorated automobiles and vehicles, dance exhibitions by fire departments, basket picnics in convenient small groves, finger-sniffing contest sponsored by the local Catholic diocese, and the regional dwarf tossing semi-finals…”. And to further enlighten and confuse, in Hesse’s “Steppenwolf”, the protagonist affirms that the men of the Dark Ages (see “Living at Virginia’s house”) did not suffer more than those of the Classical Antiquity (see “Attending Catholic school in the 60’s”), and vice-versa. It is rather those who live between two times, those who do not know what to follow, that suffer the most. In this token, a man from Virginia’s house attending Catholic school, or the opposite, would undergo a gulping sadness and agony.

If the Dixie Chicks are ashamed that Bush is from Texas, I am ashamed that Vitter is from Louisiana. We routinely battle Mississippi for last place in rankings of state educational systems and with “friends” like Vitter it should be no wonder why.

IANAL but couldn’t someone bring this to federal court and get the bill thrown out as unconstitutional? would there have to be a class action suit by lousiana taxpayers, or could the someone just file a petition for an injunction for the money to be paid? who woul;d have standing?

Maybe it would be more efficient to contact your senators first - the appropriations bill hasn’t passed yet, so theoretically, it’s still possible to stop this part of it.

Why is it that evolution is the ONLY classroom science that is challenged with non-science like ID. I always wrote off this creationism rebirth as a fluke of a few harmless fundementalists that would blow over. Then the tax money pork barrel cycle got going and it picked up steam and acquired some sophistication.

I recently notice boundaries to their ID activities.

1. They never screw around with the children of the connected upper-middle class that are competeting to get into the super competitive colleges. That would be political suicide in most places. A clue is that they never seem to go near the Advanced Placement level of public high schools where make-or-break AP prep and testing occur.

2. Private schools can’t be influenced at all and are immune.

3. They seem to pursue only the children in public schools in places like Dover and outer suburbs (usually in the south) where a bit of organization can get a seat on the school board. Big urban districts are mostly immune - it is too hard to gain a foothold and the school board tasks are much too complex. I can only guess what goes on with public money in rural areas in the bible belt.

4. This is run like an insurgency from the bottom with occasional air support. They lost in Dover, but will just rebrand and repackage and make a comeback in any number of places.

To illustrate how stupid this whole thing is perhaps we should demand equal time for the Alchemy Theory of Chemistry, after all it is as relevant to chemistry as the ID thing is to evolutionary biology.

Because some unsatisfied Christians felt left out when atheists observed that they can be satisfied?

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Wesley R. Elsberry published on September 23, 2007 6:03 PM.

The scientific vacuity of ID: Dembski and the flagellum was the previous entry in this blog.

Steven Pinker on Prof. Steve Steve is the next entry in this blog.

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