I am afraid we are a little late out of the blocks, but a troll who is well known to PT readers as atheistoclast, Ravi, and most recently Joe Bloggs has recently posted a petition, A nationwide moratorium on the teaching of evolution, directed to, of all people, Vice President-Elect Pence. Jerry Coyne, among others, publicized the petition, and it quickly gathered a lot of patently phony signatures, many at the level of jokes I remember from junior high school. David Klinghoffer, at Evolution News and Views, argued that “evolutionists” had fallen for a phony petition.
Well, the petition is not phony, at least not in the sense that Mr. Klinghoffer means it. I have received 3 e-mail messages directly from Joseph Hannon. The first of these was sent to approximately 30 other people, and all I can tell you is that I must travel in very good company. That e-mail, sent on December 17, alerted us to the existence of the petition with the words,
I thought you might be interested to read a fresh online petition which is directed at VP-elect Mike Pence calling on the incoming Trump Adminstration to impose an immediate,unconditional and indefinite nationwide moratorium on the teaching of evolution in public schools, including the threat of crippling financial sanctions on those schools that do not fully comply with this proposed executive action[.]
Mr. Hannon then assured me,
However, the real business will begin when Congress reconvenes on Jan 3rd. We will be speaking with Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) who heads the House Education Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education. We will be asking for his subcommittee to approve a similar measure as an amendment to a House bill on education in 2017. Hopefully, the incoming Trump-Pence Administration will let high school students learn actual biology without the flawed narrative of evolutionism forced down their throats.
His second e-mail advised me,
Just sign the petition, pal, and post it on the Panda’s thumb [sic] for all to view.
Why he thinks I would sign such a petition is beyond me. His third e-mail, dated December 19, said,
Thanks in no small part to the exposure given on the blogs of PZ Myers and Jerry Coyne, the teaching moratorium petition reach[ed] over 250 in 2 days[.]
The Canadian troll Robert Byers signed the petition, but other than that, I thought that the vast majority of the signatures on the petition were fakes, and most of the comments were somewhere between puerile and scathing, but in any case very negative. Mr. Hannon concludes,
Darwinists’ economic/financial vulnerability will be targeted and the public encouraged to divest their money from institutions that promote it. Cuts in the National Science Foundation funds is [sic] another related objective. So far, it looks like 2017 will be a very good year!