When Genius Passes You By

Who knew that all the world’s best climate scientists and their research could be proven wrong by a fringe political activist from Minnesota?

We told you in May that Don McLeroy, still chair of the Texas State Board of Education at the time, wanted to appoint to the social studies curriculum “expert panel” a political activist from Minnesota who made his career opposing abortion, homosexuality and a list of other “culture war” demons. Allen Quist — whose academic work includes a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in speech, but nothing in social studies — has also created a “curriculum module” that has students discuss historical “evidence” for the coexistence of humans and dinosaurs and the effects of “Darwinism” on American law and politics. Fortunately, Quist’s nomination to the “expert” panel failed for lack of support from a second board member.

But now this supposed social studies “expert” claims that a map from the 1500s, supposedly rediscovered in 1960 in government archives, proves that the world’s scientists are all wrong when it comes to global warming:

“The map demonstrates that Antarctica had been extensively explored and mapped long before it was known to the Western world. Since Antarctica was much warmer when some of the source-maps were drawn than it is today, the theory that man-made carbon dioxide emissions are the primary cause of climate change must be given up.”

So there you have it. All of the world’s best climate scientists can finally turn their attention to something else. And the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in August can be cancelled. Quist has a map showing they’re all wrong! And to think that Texas students won’t be benefitting from this man’s genius…

18 thoughts on “When Genius Passes You By

  1. Gads, what crankery.

    While I miss Austin and all my friends, etc., I’ve found that having recently moved to Chicago I do not miss crazies actively trying to destroy civil society. Chicago has its problems of course. While I don’t condone graft, at least I understand it. The climate, evolution, and geological denialists just baffle me. I fundamentally can’t grasp what they get out of publicly advertising their nuttiness.

    At least in Chicago, sooner or later someone steps out too far out of line and they go to jail. Not so with Texas crazies. Those most obviously detached from reality seem to get promoted and funded to do more damage.

    I fear that on my return to Texas I will become far more activist in going after these cranks. It will probably put my job and personal safety at risk but I’m tired of Texas being a laughing-stock because of these people. And it’s not even a matter of religion – there are plenty of religious people who don’t deny evidence and the best available science, and frankly I have no interest in the religious beliefs (if any) of others. However, people who believe the universe is 6,000 (vs ~13.7 billion) years old have absolutely no business setting policy especially for education and they need to be mercilessly hounded from office, not on the basis of their conscience, but on the basis they are completely, thoroughly, and willfully incompetent.

  2. Bob, I couldn’t agree with you more. My advice though is stay in Chicago…Texas is too far gone and a lost cause. I have been here 17 years now and am amazed at the anti-intellectual bs that this state puts out daily. My husband and are educated…advanced degrees, MA and MBA. We find the intellectual curiousity here, all but drowned out by the religious nutz and the sports nutz, ergo, we have a 50% high school drop out rate. We have the third highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation; we have the most undernourished, malnourished children in the nation; we are not providing access to healthcare to 1.5 Million children in this state currently. Thanks Guv Perry for vetoing the expansion of S-Chip for children. We are well on our way to looking like our neighbors to the south, Mexico. The electorate is so into being able to do “whatever, wherever, whenever” they want that they have all forgotten that their rights end when they abut others. It is this crazy survival of the fittest, wild West philosophy, that creates a culture in this state of every man/woman/child for himself/herself. It is sad and is the reason I will be leaving Texas in the next year…I wouldn’t want to grow old here as they probably would feed you to wolves in West Texas if some perceived you to be a burden in your old age. This state lacks not only good sense, but absolutely NO Compassion.

  3. So, a nazi renegade of the religious raiders of the lost arc, has uncovered a secret map, obviously part of a much larger government conspiracy to keep us commoners away from truth, from the 1500s? Certainly, we must know who the explorer of the Antarctic was, who produced this long hidden map? Perhaps some Dutch fella? Is this supposed to be setting up an explanation for the fossil evidence that a very long time ago, the land mass that is the south pole today, had jungles and large reptiles? If that’s so, and us moderns cohabitated with these big lizards, within the last 6k years, where’s the human remains, and how did it get so cold so fast from being so hot. Got to follow those secret maps, cause they will lead you to the Arc, or other revelations about God’s power. And, this was supposed to do what with the social studies curriculum? I still can’t figure out how they explain away all that data we’ve collected at NASA over the last five decades?

  4. I spent the better part of the weekend debating, by email, with a very good friend about AGW. I was sort of shocked to learn he’s a denialist. Not just an “Oh, well, I’m not sure” sort of stance, but a raving, bitter denialist driven by political motivations. He kept bringing up the evils of cap and trade, and I kept reminding him that the politics associated with AGW had nothing to do with whether we humans are actually the cause.

    He says there is no real evidence, denies that there is a consensus, thinks left-leaning scientists can’t be trusted to remain objective, etc etc. And our government obviously will benefit from the hysteria, so they can’t be trusted either.

    It was really weird. When there is a mountain of legitimate evidence and a person chooses to say, “I just don’t believe it and I never will,” there’s not much you can do.

  5. The map is Soooo… secret that only this “expert” has access to it. Perhaps the same authors can give us similarly reliable maps of the Martian canals. I deem this BS totally unworthy of even a one-liner in the back most page of the Star.

  6. Ben. I am convinced that what you encountered in your Twilght Zone experience with your friend crosses some threshold line between realism and the haze of a real psychological disorder. Such encounters are not new to me. I think your friend is holding on to some security blanket of some sort, and admission that man-caused global warming is real would somehow jerk that safety blanket right out of his hands, leaving him alone to face a world full of really enormous problems that scare him poopless. Do you know what his security blanket is?

  7. I am a science teacher in South Texas. I was born and raised in the Northeast. I went to the University of Vermont, and Indiana University. It is much worse than any of you can imagine. Supposed science teachers believe this fecal matter, and disseminate it to their students. I agree with Carol, and I am moving back to Vermont.

    Bill Gonzalez

  8. Well. There you have it from Bill and Carol. The best and the brightest are fleeing Texas as it sinks ever deeper towards being our American homegrown Iran. But take heart, if you can call it that, my state is nowhere near Texas, but it is not much different here.

    It reminds me of an old encounter from years ago. I met this guy who was looking for a job out on the streets. I asked him what kind of work he did. He then showed me has hands and start moving one hand over the other back and forth rapidly—as if he were deep-scrubbing his hands with soap. All the while he was saying over and over and over again, “I use my hands. I jist want sum work that’ll use my hands. My hands you see. I do hand work. I like to work with ma hands.” I am sure he lives in Texas now and probably voted for Governor Perry.

    However, I would like to praise Texas on this day for its wonderful role in sending astronauts to land on the moon. Outside of the Alamo, that had to be the greatest day.

  9. I recently heard on NPR that businesses are moving to Texas. I wonder if the influx will bring a bit of reason with it?

  10. Today the Apollo 11 astronauts implored the President to invest in space science. Seven of the former astronauts were at a news conference and they all urged America to invest in science and knowledge. America has benefitted from the space age investment in education and technology. We can’t let the numskull BLZ bubbas on the SBOE do anything more to hurt education here in Texas. We must support the 8 members that usually stand up for good education, and we must also work to remove those who don’t.

  11. I sure am glad to learn that all those movies from the 1950’s that showed humans and dinosaurs living and fighting together was actually HISTORICAL rather than fictitious entertainment.

    Not sure about what was so great about the Alamo but this Michiganian snow refugee is also looking to leave Texas. Have to confess that it’s my whacked-out boss who is my biggest incentive for leaving but, if a new job takes me out of TX, that would be just fine with me. I like Texas but I don’t fit in with Texas culture which seems to becoming freakier by the day. The insertion of Christianity into the TX GOP platform is only a symbolic, meaningless thing FOR NOW. I’ve no doubt though that bigger and better plans are in the works for the future – when TX is its own sovereign country.

    As for this newfound map, I wonder if it’s anything like the alleged 1,000 scientists who have signed some kind of statement declaring global climate change is false. Funny how nobody can seem to name ONE of those scientists. I wonder if anyone can identify the genius who charted this newfound map. Has the cartographer been named? Has anyone carbon-dated the paper and the ink on it to determine it really does date to the 1500’s?

    Oh yes, and, of course, ALL maps dated in the 16th century were right on target with land/seacoasts, distances, etc. Most maps that old look like a 3-year-old drew them. But, of course, THIS map is different. To be sure.

  12. James F, I’m sure it’s great tax breaks that are luring business to Texas. The wealthiest can get wealthier here. We at the bottom can get our little trickle.

  13. Charles, I have no idea what his security blanket is. Just doesn’t like government dictating solutions, I guess. So, instead of acknowledging the evidence and suggesting other solutions, he denies the evidence.

  14. OK, I had a look, and the map sounds totally legit. I’m sure it is.

    But that doesn’t prove this map says anything about the status of ice on Antarctica. By this map, I can’t tell if there is or isn’t any ice on Antarctica. And the map itself doesn’t look any more accurate than any other map drawn at that time. It looks as crude as any other contemporary map.

  15. I collect and study antique maps. I know how they were made and who made them. Thus, with only a single other person vouching for me, I am nearly a self-proclaimed expert in cartography and the history of cartography.

    Therefore it is my considered expert opinion that Mr. Quist is a certified MORON.

    Thank you.

    p.s. Off topic but of historical interest, up until around 1730 some maps of the Americas depicted California as an island.

  16. he’s probably talking about the Piri Reis map. It was compiled in 1513 from older source maps.

    Its not exactly a government secret though, you can find images of it on the web.

  17. I’m sure McLeroy and the other creationist idiots on the board love the Quist argument from Kooksville because he uses small words.

    Real scholarship is a little different, and more thorough. Check it out:

    The Map.