Crippling Brains for Jesus

Does anyone need more proof that Ron McLeroy, the newly-appointed Texas State Board of Education Chairman, is a superstitious asshat who’s out to cripple the state’s education system? Here’s what he told his church in 2005:

“Whether you’re a progressive creationist, recent creationist, young-Earth, old-Earth, it’s all in the tent of intelligent design,” McLeroy said. “And intelligent design here at Grace Bible Church is actually a smaller tent than you would have in the intelligent design movement as a whole, because we are all Biblical literalists…. So because it’s a bigger tent, just don’t waste our time arguing with each other about…all of the side issues.”

“Modern science today,” McLeroy complained, “is totally based on naturalism,” thus “it is the naturalistic base that is [our] target.”

What’s frightening is that this assclown is in charge of education in Texas. And as bad as that is, the effect of his militant ignorance won’t be confined to one state: Texas is the second-largest market for school textbooks (after California). This means that publishers will tone down the science in their books if they think it’ll make them more likely to sell in Texas.

Maybe we need a new rule: that someone in charge of X must not be ideologically committed to destroying X.

(HT Texas ObserverTexas Freedom NetworkAmericans United)

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4 Responses to Crippling Brains for Jesus

  1. Troublesome Frog says:

    Maybe we need a new rule: that someone in charge of X must not be ideologically committed to destroying X.

    That’s a tactic that can easily be used against Libertarian candidates in a lot of cases. I heard it during the most recent election here in California. The candidates for Insurance Commissioner were on public radio taking questions from callers, and one caller asked the Libertarian candidate if he thought the position he was running for should exist at all. To his credit, he answered honestly. Of course, saying that the position you’re running for shouldn’t exist isn’t really a great way to convince people that you’d be great for the job (the word “job” usually meaning that you’ll have to do something). We did not elect him.

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  2. arensb says:

    Good point, and I can imagine cases where you’d want that sort of person, so I guess I should have left off the last paragraph of the post. For instance, I imagine a fire commissioner’s dream would be to improve fire safety in the community so that there don’t need to be as many firefighters, and ideally to make the fire department unnecessary. So a fire commissioner who’s doing a good job may be working himself out of a job.

    I also wouldn’t mind a secretary of defense who thinks that, while defense is important and all, that military spending is out of control and needs to be cut back.

    I was thinking of something like hiring a vegan as a butcher, or a communist as a stockbroker. But I’m not sure there’s a sharp division between those, and the examples above.

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  3. Troublesome Frog says:

    I was thinking of something like hiring a vegan as a butcher, or a communist as a stockbroker. But I’m not sure there’s a sharp division between those, and the examples above.

    I would argue that electing a Libertarian as an industry regulator is very much like hiring a vegan as a butcher. 🙂

    I’ve been thinking a little bit about the sway Texas holds over the textbook industry. As a Californian, I think that it might be interesting to see what would happen in the textbook industry if California simply refused to buy textbooks that conform to this nutjob’s view of what science textbooks should be. Then, instead of deciding between “all 50 states” or “49 states but no Texas”, they’d be choosing between “49 states but no Texas” and “49 states but no California”. Sure, some might go the Texas route, but it would be a much more interesting payoff matrix. I’m thinking that we can still win this one.

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  4. arensb says:

    Troublesome Frog:

    I would argue that electing a Libertarian as an industry regulator is very much like hiring a vegan as a butcher.

    Yeah, after you brought it up, I thought about it and found that I could come up with a whole spectrum of situations, gradually shading from “nutjob scuttling an obviously worthwhile endeavor” to “responsible administrator cutting down a department that needed it”.

    I think that it might be interesting to see what would happen in the textbook industry if California simply refused to buy textbooks that conform to this nutjob’s view of what science textbooks should be.

    As I understand it, textbook publishers see one huge customer (California), a somewhat less huge customer (Texas), and a bunch of small customers. The winning strategy for them is then to spend a lot of effort wooing the two big customers. Ideally, they want to sell a textbook to both of them, and if that means altering the texts to make them more appealing, then so be it. Publishing two books costs more than publishing just one, so if they can sell the same book to California and Texas, then not only do they make a lot of money from these two sales, they’re also keeping their costs down.

    If California and Texas have such different requirements that there’s no way a single book can satisfy them both, then I imagine publishers will opt for Plan B: publish one book for California, and another for Texas. Or it might be cheaper to have only one book, but separate Californian and Texan editions.

    If that happened, I doubt you’d have a “49 states” book and a “Texas” book. More likely, the Texas book or edition would likely also appeal to Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska—the “red” states. And the book tailored to California would be the book of choice in the “blue” states.

    I expect that textbook marketing strategy is closely related to electoral strategy: in both cases, you want to win the most populous states, precisely because they’re the most populous.

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