‘Dinosaurs and Denial’

That’s the headline to a piece by New York Times columnist Charles Blow. Blow suggests that confusing comments by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, about his thoughts on the age of Earth are just another example of modern American conservatism trapped in the grip of anti-intellectual zealots. Money quote:

This anti-intellectualism is antediluvian. No wonder a 2009 Pew Research Center report found that only 6 percent of scientists identified as Republican and 9 percent identified as conservative.

Furthermore, a 2005 study found that just 11 percent of college professors identified as Republican and 15 percent identified as conservative. Some argue that this simply represents a liberal bias in academia. But just as strong a case could be made that people who absorb facts easily don’t suffer fools gladly.

Last month, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, said on CNN:

“We need to stop being the dumb party. We need to offer smart, conservative, intelligent ideas and policies.”

Unfortunately, as Blow then points out, Jindal has signed into Louisiana law a voucher scheme for using public tax dollars to fund religious schools that teach, among other nonsense, that the Loch Ness monster is real and that its existence is evidence against evolution.

State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, the new chairman of the Senate Education Committee in Texas, has said he will soon file a bill for a private school voucher scheme in this state. If that bill passes, Texas taxpayers will be funding similar religious schools that teach students about humans walking with dinosaurs just a few thousand years ago.

You can read Blow’s column here.

4 thoughts on “‘Dinosaurs and Denial’

  1. Just a note from Charles:

    The extreme right has unofficially declared 2013 as “National Private School Voucher Year.”

    The Tennessee state legislature (both houses) consists almost entirely of right wing extremist nutcases. The very few moderates (just a tiny handful) and Democrats that were still left mostly lost in the November election. Unless our somewhat more moderate Republican governor vetoes the legislation, I believe that passage of a school voucher bill here in Tennessee is a 99.9% certainty this year. My best guess is that the governor will refuse to sign the bill, as he did the recent anti-evolution bill, which means that the bill will go into effect as law automatically within a short specified time after the legislative vote.

    Then you just wait and see. A Christian fundamentalist or conservative evangelical school will pop up on every street corner in Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Clarksville. Principals and teachers will put signs out front:

    “Got stupid and dangerous negroes at your house? Send them here. We got plenty of white paint. Jesus was white, and we can make them white too!!!”

  2. The Tennessee legislature reflects the will of their voters, much as the Texas legislature does. Until the electorate
    grapples with these issues in an informed,
    reasoned and logical way, I think we can expect to continue to see this type of ultra conservatism in the south and mid west.
    There are a lot of these types of folks out there voting for these guys. I know because I recently worked in San Antonio with representatives of the oil and gas professional class. Based on their attitudes, I have to assume working class political views are skewed even further to the right , if thats possible. America definitely needs to spend money on educating good teachers and encouraging them to stay in the classroom. Texas teaching suffers
    from continuing deficencies carried forward year after year. Improved quality is important.

  3. There remains one problem that will hamper the school voucher program for the fundamentalist right wing nut brigade of the squirrel nut job faction of Christianity, the people who in their wisdom(?) do not worship the God of Christianity! These people will demand equal treatment under this law of diminishing public school value, that they get the same money as the Christians do.
    What will be the result of this push for public school dollars spent in parochial schools? Well, in my opinion the case will certainly reach SCoTUS very quickly because of the implications brought on by the favouritism based on some people’s view of Christianity.