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Revisionsts Altering Science, History, Social Studies

This blog entry is trying to describe a moving target.. Every time I get ready to cut it loose, some other wing nut comes out of the woodwork. Anyway, here goes.

When Bill Nye, the Science Guy, has a video on YouTube about the current state of science teaching in our public schools, you just have to say something.

Add to that the current conventional wisdom that says we have a lack of scientists and engineers and will lose our nation’s competitiveness if we don’t do something.

This is what none other than Bill Gates testified before Congress in order to up the number of H1B visas available to bring foreign engineers and software developers into the country.

Follow this up with the political firestorm of the recent presidential election, where the GOP has repeatedly demonstrated that they are anti-science or quote incredulous research to back their claims.

No less than the Florida Senator Marco Rubio who stated that the world was 6,000 years old because the bible says so.

He has since rescinded this claim by saying that the world is some 4 billion plus years old but that teachers can teach the 6,000 year date if they so choose.

This is really disturbing as he sits on the Senate Commerce, Science. and Transportation Committee.

Over in the House, we have the Republican Representative from Georgia who has stated that Evolution and the Big Bang Theory are “lies straight from the pit of hell.”

Hanging in the balance are funds for scientific research and development which could be drastically cut. Some research, such as stem cell, will be drastically curtailed or even eliminated.

Even agencies, such as the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and NOAA (National Organization of Atmospheric Agency) could be eliminated.

Birth control and abortions, even those caused by rape or incest, could be done away with.

The latest in this front is from Oklahoma. The state is seriously considering passing a low stating that a woman who becomes pregnant for a rape cannot abort the fetus, because it in itself is evidence of the rape.

The most insidious occurrence has to do with the science education in our schools.

Some states, such as Louisiana, Florida, and Texas, want creationism as explained by the Bible to be taught as a basic fundamental fact, and evolution discussed as a “theory”.

The Louisiana schools are adopting texts from Bob Jones University. These texts are filled with such statements as, “the Klu Klux Klan was a benevolent organization.”

How much remedial teaching will be required before these students can even attempt college. Unless they go to Bob Jones University, of course.

Here are some direct quotes from texts, including books from Bob Jones University Press.

- Only ten percent of Africans can read or write, because Christian mission schools have been shut down by communists.

- The Ku Klux Klan in some areas of the country tried to be a means of reform, fighting the decline in morality and using the symbol of the cross…In some communities it achieved a certain respectability as it worked with politicians.

-God used the ‘Trail of Tears’ to bring many Indians to Christ.

- [It] cannot be shown scientifically that that man-made pollutants will one day drastically reduce the depth of the atmosphere’s ozone layer.

-God has provided certain ‘checks and balances’ in creation to prevent many of the global upsets that have been predicted by environmentalists.

-Unions have always been plagued by socialists and anarchists who use laborers to destroy the free-enterprise system that hardworking Americans have created.”

To bring the matter closer to home, there was a fascinating documentary on TV this past Monday. Scott Thurman presented a PBS “Independent Lens” episode titled “Revisionaries” in Texas on Monday, Jan. 28, 2013.

The documentary pointed out in vivid detail how the “revisionists” are setting the standards for Texas public school textbooks on science, history, social studies, and so on. If possible, by all means, watch the show. The Texas Freedom Network has been following this process and have to be lauded for their efforts in helping the “truth” survive. They are counter the efforts of the religious right to inflict their beliefs on public education in Texas. According to one person interviewed there has been

a concentrated effort in Texas for approximately 18 years on the part of the revisionists to influence Texas school children in grades 3 through 12.

This is very, very frightening news, as Texas is the largest market for school textbooks in the nation. As goes Texas, so does the nation.

Every school should take a serious look at eBooks on the iPad, Kindle, Nook or other such device. The teacher would then, hopefully, have the freedom to choose from a number of textbooks that are anathema in Texas. Books that were not dictated by extreme right-wing adherents, such as Don McLeroy, a dentist, who is determined that “intelligent design” be taught versus evolution, which he considers a theory, not as fact.

Another encouraging sign, there is an effort underway to bring Texas back from the far, far right. People are becoming aware of what is afoot. They may be late to the dance, but .at least they are listening now.

Children in Texas and elsewhere (if the Texas textbooks are adopted) will be graduating from high school with theories that are not accepted by most of the world. This does not bode well for a scientific viewpoint.

As it is we are are falling fast. We went from first to 15th in an Innovation Index in one year’’s time. Are we in a race to the bottom?

The most bloodcurdling statement in the entire documentary came from McLeroy. When asked by a commentator if Texas can come back to the 21st Century in light of the recently revised texts, he answered, “Long after my grandchildren are gone. And I am proud of that fact.”

The face of our state will be changed for decades. The current standards will not be reviewed again until 2020. So very, very sad for our children and Texas.

To get back to Bill Nye, his message is this. “Parents, if you want to believe in creationism, even though evolution is accepted throughout most of the world, don’t force this belief on your children. We need scientists with open minds, and engineers who can make things.”

I agree. We need to do everything we can to ensure that science is based on proven, accepted facts, not revisionist history or a questionable source such as the Bible.

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