Latest Posts

  • Are You Smarter Than a Bible School-Educated Louisianan?

    Thanks to legislation signed by Louisiana governor and potential Mitt Romney running mate Bobby Jindal,  beginning this fall, thousands Louisiana schoolkids will receive taxpayer funded vouchers covering the full cost of tuition at private religious schools, some of which are reputed to be excellent alternatives to the state's under-performing public schools and some of which are fly by night operations relying on the hilarious-in-a-cry-yourself-to-sleep-kind-of-way curriculum contained in textbooks published by A Beka Book and Bob Jones University Press.

    Mother Jones did yeoman's work of highlighting the wackiest facts these textbooks teach, which leads us to this quiz: Are You Smarter Than a Bible School-Educated Louisianan?

    1. Which of the following is a true statement about the Trail of Tears?
    a) It was a God-ordained event that brought Native Americans closer to Jesus Christ
    b) It was a Department of Agriculture program designed to increase cotton production
    c) All of the above
    d) None of the above

    2. Paleontologists have have found large chambers in certain dinosaur skulls. These chambers likely allowed the creatures to do what…?
    a) Encase a larger brain
    b) Maintain balance while walking
    c) Shoot fire from their mouths or nostrils, like dragons
    d) Store food near their energy-hungry brains

    Read More »

    Tags: 30 Rock, Bobby Jindal, Christianity, Education, Evolution, Louisiana, Science & Technology
  • Louisiana Schoolkids Taught Loch Ness Monster Is Real

    At least in theory, there lives a beautiful creature that inhabits lochs and bayous. Evidence of its existence is anecdotal, with minimal and much-disputed photographic material and journalistic accounts. Unfortunately, this creature, "the Louisiana Republican state legislator that makes a modicum of sense," is most likely a modern myth.

    The latest strike against this elusive creature's existence came in the form of legislation signed by Governor Bobby Jindal, making Louisiana the leader in privatizing public education. Beginning this fall, thousands Louisiana schoolkids will receive taxpayer funded vouchers covering the full cost of tuition at private religious schools, while the public school they previously attended will lose funding.

    But whatever the damage done to the separation of church and state, at least the kids will be getting a solid education

    Thousands of American school pupils are to be taught that the Loch Ness monster is real — in an attempt by religious teachers to disprove Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

    Pupils attending privately-run Christian schools in the southern state of Louisiana will learn from textbooks next year, which claim Scotland's most famous mythological beast is a living creature…Youngsters will be told that if it can be proved that dinosaurs walked the earth at the same time as man, then Darwinism is fatally flawed…

    "Have you heard of the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland? 'Nessie' for short has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur."

    Another claim taught is that a Japanese whaling boat once caught a dinosaur.

    And to think, Muslims almost ruined this great innovation in American education policy, just like they ruin everything! An Islamic school had briefly applied for the voucher program, drawing ire from Republican lawmakers, before withdrawing its application.

    Just as well, since Arabic words like "algebra" would fit in poorly with the rest of the Jesus Science curriculum.

    Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Bobby Jindal, Education, Evolution, Louisiana, Religion, Republicans, Science & Technology
  • Tennessee Revives Scopes Case with New "Monkey Bill"

    Tennessee state capitolRemember the Scopes Monkey trial? You know, that case from way back in the '20s where a school teacher was convicted of teaching evil monkey evolution science to the good Christian children of Tennessee?

    Tennessee sure hasn't forgotten

    Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) announced yesterday that he will "probably" sign a bill that attacks the teaching of "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning" by giving broad new legal immunities to teachers who question evolution and other widely accepted scientific theories…

    Although the bill is written to seem benign, as it neither specifically authorizes the teaching of creationism nor permits teachers to do more than criticize scientific theories "in an objective matter," the practical impact of this bill will be to intimidate all but the heartiest of school administrators against disciplining teachers who preach the most outlandish junk science in their classrooms.

    Democrats like to make fun of the GOP candidates for being stuck in the '50s, but at least they're in the post-WWII era. Tennessee is currently reliving the '20s, but without all those fun speakeasies and flapper dresses.

    Between this "monkey" law and the state's "Don't Say Gay" bill, the state is really not doing itself any favors. Ironically, although the "theory" of evolution is pretty much a scientific fact at this point, the people of Tennessee are themselves pretty strong evidence against evolution.

    Tags: Education, Evolution, Laws, Science & Technology, Tennessee
  • Indiana Creationism Bill Goes Extinct

    Bummer news for Indiana residents. Despite the heroic efforts of certain factions of their state legislature, they will not be able to preach evidence-free creationist theories in science classes, leaving just every single other aspect of their lives in which to preach it

    A bill that would have specifically allowed Indiana's public schools to teach creationism alongside evolution in science classes has been shelved by the leader of the Indiana House of Representatives.

    The proposal cleared the state Senate two weeks ago, but Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma is using a procedural move to kill the proposal for this legislative session.

    "It seemed to me not to be a productive discussion, particularly in light that there is a United States Supreme Court case that appears to be on point that very similar language is counter to the constitution," Bosma said Tuesday. "It looked to me to be buying a lawsuit when the state can ill afford it."

    So, there you go. A victory for science. A short term one at least. I think it's a pretty safe bet to assume that this effort will eventually evolve to adapt to this changing legal climate. It's all part of God's plan.

    (via Center for Inquiry)

    Tags: Education, Evolution, Indiana, Religion, Science & Technology, State Legislature, Supreme Court
  • Social Conservatives Are Dumb-Dumbs, According to Science

    With their opposition to stem cell research and stubborn refusal to believe in evolution or global warming, conservatives don't seem to like science very much.

    Apparently, the feeling is mutual

    [R]esearch finds that children with low intelligence are more likely to hold prejudiced attitudes as adults… Low-intelligence adults tend to gravitate toward socially conservative ideologies, the study found. Those ideologies, in turn, stress hierarchy and resistance to change, attitudes that can contribute to prejudice…

    [T]here is reason to believe that strict right-wing ideology might appeal to those who have trouble grasping the complexity of the world.

    "Socially conservative ideologies tend to offer structure and order," Hodson said, explaining why these beliefs might draw those with low intelligence. "Unfortunately, many of these features can also contribute to prejudice."

    While this study may prove an invaluable contribution to psychology and political science, it's a huge waste of money. If researchers wanted to show a link between low IQ and conservative values, they could have simply printed a giant photo of Rick Perry.

    Of course, the study would explain why the Republican candidates oppose programs that benefit minorities. There's just too much nuance and complexity tied up in the issues of gay marriage, immigration and welfare. Conservatives just want solutions that are black and white. But mostly white.

    Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Conservatives, Education, Evolution, Republicans, Science & Technology