Preface: I wrote this last night, and it appears… maybe, just maybe, science will win. If something pops up you can expect a rant of much less cohesiveness… and after looking this back over… that could be tough to top.
If you haven’t noticed, there has been a lot of activity in former.ly.cious about the recent bantering within the State of Texas legislature and other bureaucratic branches. Texas is so anti-big-government that they only allow lawmakers meet for 140 days at a time once every 2 years. Everything from the two-year budget to the thousands of bills seeking an audience must be discussed, reviewed, and voted on in the 140 day window, or it disappears for two years. Even if it does pass, our governor has line item veto power even after the state legislature has adjourned, meaning the bill dies until the next meeting. It’s dumb, but it is what it is.
The big news coming out this week is the Board of Education panel who is deciding the curriculum taught by state science teachers for the next few years. Texas is well on its way to becoming the next Kansas when it comes to jokes about the state’s total lack of scientific belief. Today, after several votes denying the mandatory study of the “weaknesses” of evolution, the vote started to swing the other way.
The 15 person panel that decides the future of Texas education is currently comprised of 7 “social conservatives,” 7 people opposing the mandatory creationism education, and one guy who is generally against the creationism eduction, but comes from a highly religious district that may pressure him to at least concede to some “socially conservative” viewpoints. Most votes have finished at 8-7 in favor of real science (non-social conservatives don’t have an official “group title,” so I’m siding them with science, as they apparently do know something about what they are voting on).
Like I said though, today brought a little bit of a change in the way things had been going in the meetings. The one swing vote himself made amendments to the groups proposed legislation including eliminating any reference to the world being over a billion years old and adding material about holes in the fossil record (what?). This is a bad sign.
The final vote on the material is expected to come tomorrow, which in Texas Politics means late next weekend. Not only does the debate sometimes get intense, but religious zealots are interrupting the processions yelling things like “my grandpa wasn’t a monkey.” Yes, that was yelled in the middle of the procession. The people brought in to speak are treating the legislative group with respect and have offered every piece of evidence they can to show that evolution is a solid theory through and through, but they continue to be harassed by the religious right.
I struggle mightily understanding how people can be so stupid about accepting evolution. I understand religion has its place, but even the pope and the Catholic Church as a whole accepts evolution as a truth. America and its 86% or so who either aren’t sure or don’t believe in evolution need to get a clue.