Hmmm. At ipetitions:
A nationwide moratorium on the teaching of evolution in schools
To Mike Pence, Vice-President of the United States of America:
We the undersigned note that, when you were a member of the U.S House of Representatives, you spoke out on the subject of science education and for presenting students with all available information. Recently, we have seen the passage of academic freedom bills in Louisiana and Tennessee which have allowed for critical evaluation in the classroom and improved educational standards. However, whilst an important development, they were only enacted owing to the need to protect students from indoctrination. We object to the teaching of the very controversial theory of evolution as part of the K-12 science curriculum which we regard to be unnecessary and unhelpful.
It is obvious to us that Evolutionism-Darwinism is an anti-Christian atheistic dogma masquerading as science. According to renown philosopher of science, Professor Michael Ruse, himself an ardent evolutionist, there is no doubt that the theory of evolution represents a philosophical worldview: “Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion—a full-fledged alternative to Christianity.”
Evolutionists, indeed, themselves speak about their “theory” with an unmistakably religious fervour. More.
Snopes alert? Who knows. Whoever wrote this must be a Brit or Canuck (or educated in such a tradition). Note “fervour,” not “fervor,” in the last quoted line. The petition reads like a lecture, actually. An elected official might wonder, what do you want me to do, apart from listening to your lecture [glances at timer]?
Well, the petitioners do eventually get round to action items:
We therefore urge you to persuade President Trump to issue an executive order imposing a nationwide indefinite moratorium on the teaching of evolution in public schools. For it to be effective, this order should clearly state that it supersedes the decisions of state and district boards of education regarding the science curriculum. Those schools that don’t comply with it should be completely denied federal funding and aid by the Department of Education, just as it is proposed that cities that provide sanctuary to illegal aliens ought to be denied assistance. We hope that you will act upon this very urgent matter and uphold truth and the American way of life we hold so dear.
A friend notes that most of the signatories are either fake names (e.g., William Jennings Bryan or Donald Trump) or sneers like “someignorantfool” — and some clever efforts like Ima Paulled.
Jerry Coyne, a surviving U Chicago Darwinist, advises that he tried signing up:
I swear that the ignorance of Americans sometimes astounds me, not that I think we’re all ignorant. But I have to question the rationality of people who started the petition below (click on screenshot to go to petition, but for god’s sake don’t sign it!). Lots of biologists and scientists were sent this link by a creationist whom I’ll leave unnamed to protect the benighted.
Jerry, do just tell us who sent you this. The world doesn’t need as much protection from correct information as you must think.
I tried adding another humorous one like the above, but for some reason (LOL) they apparently aren’t accepting signatures. You might want to try one.
Alas, Coyne has been upstaged by, at 14:50 EST: youaresodumb, iamsodumb, someignorantfool, Carol stanley, Diddly Squat, Ima Paulled, Euell P Yorpanz, Donald J Drumpf, Clarence Darrow, Ima Dickhead, Ignt Git, Chuck Darwin, D Bill Platypus, Not Muhammad, and a host of other luminaries of our time.
This sideshow will be fun for our current “Last one out, turn off the lights” mainstream media.
Unfortunately, it’s a distraction from the serious look that is needed at why the United States spends so much on education but performs so poorly in international rankings. Stop blaming multiculturalism. Canada is multicultural too, so is Britain. Also, stop attributing it to how hard you try with difficult kids. We try hard too. Something else is the problem in the States. Maybe a new broom is a good start for sweeping some pretty dusty corners.
One problem in the United States is these stupid controversies, fronted by rent-seeking lobbies to the now nearly-useless legacy media. It wouldn’t even be legal to prevent the teaching of evolution as such or to teach any religion-based theory thereof in publicly funded schools. But some will keep their pressure group jobs by keeping the pot on the boil.
It’s got so crazy in the vast, rich, and creative United States that, as I said, in response to a commenter offering the usual bitch against charter schools at an earlier story, it can sound surreal:
[Commenter: ] “Maybe charter schools cream off the best students leaving public schools to deal with what’s left.”
[News:] It testifies to how bad things have become that people can make such an argument in good faith (I believe it is in good faith) and count on most of their audience to be oblivious to the implications: The escaping students and parents were responsible for saving the school from ruin at the hands of baby-kissers, ‘crats, and union thugs. So they have an obligation to stay and fight.
If so, let’s make all schools charter schools, obviating the flight risk.
Why should US prisons be full of kids from failing education systems? Those are the kinds of discussions needed now, not pressure group fundraising via headline grabbers from media that may not even be here a decade from now.
Okay, back to the real questions around evolution soon. O’Leary for News
UPDATED: A friend kindly writes to say that PZ Myers reports that he got the following email about the petition that is seeking to ban evolution:
Howdie. 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: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/moratorium-teaching-evolution
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.
Merry Christmas to y’all,
Republicans Abroad (Make America Great Again)
Well, it all sounded like the Christmas Rush on snake oil to our diligent friend. So he took to Google. Turns out, there is a “Joseph Huff-Hannon,” a prolific American anti-Trump activist living in Canada (he seems to have taken remedial spelling lessons here).
The friend’s search turned up, without too much effort, an item from a western Canadian newspaper:
Joseph Huff-Hannon, a spokesman for Avaaz based in Washington, D.C., and campaigner at the rally in Vancouver, said a Trump presidency would affect Canada. “It’s a U.S. issue but it’s also a global issue. Donald Trump, beyond being a dangerous president, would be a terrible neighbour to Canada,” Huff-Hannon said. “We want to make sure Donald Trump sticks to the hotel business.
So, the friend wonders, is someone trolling Huff-Hannon, creating petitions in his name that he would not want to be a part of? If so, he might be best to publicly disavow the matter.
See also: Larry Krauss goes after new US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Really, the vast underperformance of publicly-funded US school systems, relative to those of other technologically advanced nations, should be the only issue on the table down there just now.
And possibly, Christopher Hitchens (1949–2011) as hero to scientists—especially Larry Krauss: The fact that the article opens with this particular constellation of “greats who still care” makes sense. Hitchens was, after all, one of the Four Horsemen of the new atheist Apocalypse.
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