Help me, Richard Branson — you’re my only hope

Image from "The Simpsons" showing the gun-wielding  "rich Texan" character.Living in Texas, I probably don’t have an accurate picture of how Texas is viewed by the rest of the world. But I think it’s safe to say our politicians have hurt our image. If I were to instantly teleport myself to another state (can we pleeeaase stop with the home automation crap and get to work on this one?), I’d wonder what it is about Texas that makes it such a draw for the feeble-minded. That’s the only explanation for having elected the likes of Rick Perry and Ted Cruz.

I know — I said I wasn’t going to get political here, and now I’m breaking my own rule. But this morning, I heard something on the radio that made my blood boil, then had me quickly formulating a plan that involves winning the lottery and hiring Richard Branson to build me a shuttle to another planet.

Photo of Richard Branson in a space helmetTexas Agriculture Commissioner and Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor Todd Staples says he wants to ensure creationism is taught in Texas science classes. (Blood pressure rising . . . )

I don’t have anything against creationism. I was raised Catholic, and went to Catholic school through 8th grade, and we were taught creationism. But we learned about it during religion class. During science class, we learned about the theory of evolution.

The theory of evolution is a scientific theory, whereas creationism is a religious belief. I think religious beliefs can be taught in public schools in the context of a social studies course, where the traditions and beliefs of all the world’s religions, and the conflicts they cause, can be discussed. But not in science class. Religion isn’t science. Science isn’t religion.

Why not teach music theory in a chemistry class? How about studying psychology in a cooking class? Oooh — do they still have health class? If so, that would be the perfect venue for discussing algebra!

The disconnect inherent in talking about religion in a science class is just one of the problems with Mr. Staples’ plan. And it’s not even the biggest. Here are the others:

1. Schools are where children learn what they need to function in society. Home is where parents indoctrinate their children into their chosen religion.

2. If I want my child to hold any religious belief, it’s my privilege as his parent to impart that belief.

3. Taxpayer-supported institutions are not an appropriate venue for preaching or attempted religious conversion. This is why my taxes don’t pay for private schools.

4. If you seriously believe creationism is in any way scientific, you aren’t qualified to be involved in decisions relating to education.

The fact that Staples already holds a public office is an absolute embarrassment. It means people in this state looked at his lack of reason and elected him in spite of it (or worse, because of it). And the creationism-should-be-in-science-books belief is only one of Mr. Staples’ personal beliefs that he feels should be made into law.

I’m really going to try to leave the others off the blog, because I don’t want it to become a magnet for irrational arguments. The problem with all the major topics that set the far right apart from everyone else is that they are irrational beliefs, and you cannot argue with someone who refuses to bring rationalism into either their thinking or the discussion at hand. Religious beliefs aren’t about rational thinking. They are about faith. But when you bring judgment into your beliefs, they cease to be solely about faith, and require logic and supporting arguments. Try to imagine the court system banning the use of logic and supporting arguments during a trial. It would be chaos, and there would be no justice. Yet that’s what happens anytime people try to argue against the theory of evolution, or gay marriage, or semiautomatic weapons bans. It’s all emotion, no reason.

Photo of Rick Perry firing a gun and looking like a dufus.

Photo of Governor Rick Perry by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

(Never mind the fact that creationism and evolution are not mutually exclusive ideas.)

I don’t care for arguments that don’t involve reason. And I don’t care for politicians who don’t employ it. My little nephews show greater capacity for reason and fairness than Mr. Staples and his lot, and the oldest one isn’t even in first grade yet.

I think the time has come for us to vote preschoolers into public office.


I’m not alone!!! Here’s another great blog post about crazy Texas.

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One comment on “Help me, Richard Branson — you’re my only hope

  1. lbwoodgate says:

    It will rattle you even further when you discover that the 2012 Texas GOP platform included this little bit of insanity:

    We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority. SOURCE

    The brain is a terrible thing to waste but for the Texas GOP, it’s merely something that comes with the decoder ring out of a box of Cracker-Jacks

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