If you think this happened, you get an A in Texas

Don’t penalize Texas students for any belief about science, bill says | State | Star-Telegram.com — This is actually worse than the headline indicates. Students in Texas can believe anything they want and it’s just peachy.

Don’t believe in the theory of relativity?

Students wouldn’t have to and could not be penalized for it in school under proposed legislation filed Friday.

Teachers could not be penalized, either, if they reject plate tectonics or the kinetic theory of gases.

The bill says that neither student nor teacher could be penalized for subscribing to any particular position on any scientific theories or hypotheses.

“Students could claim they believe anything they wanted in anything in science and if that’s what they say, the teacher would be forced to give that student an A,” said Steven Schafersman, president of Texas Citizens for Science. “That’s how bad this bill is written.”

But Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, who filed the bill, said it is not an out for students, because they must still be evaluated on course materials taught.

“They can be lazy if they want to . . . but teachers are still in charge of the grading system,” Christian said.

The bill does not address evolution specifically, but that seems to be its target. Its goal is to reintroduce the ability to teach “weaknesses” of scientific theories. After two days of heated debate, the State Board of Education narrowly voted this winter to remove a requirement that Texas public schools teach weaknesses in the theory of evolution.

  1. alan b says:


    Americans aren’t falling behind, the rest of the world is just developing and will necessarily improve relative to you – this is what we all want to happen, right?

    Further, the amount by which America seems to fall behind is magnified because of nearly universal secondary college track education in the states – most other countries only allow selected students into the academic track (if they fund secondary ed. at all). So, the US general population is competing against top students in other countries.

    The U.S. university system is still regarded as one of (if not the) best in the world.

  2. gwensdad says:

    So under the proposed regulations, a student could write the plot of Battlestar Galactica as the reason for the current biological state of the human race and get an “A”.

  3. BubbaRay says:

    # 11 Shubee said,

    I don’t have any faith in dark matter.

    Faith? You don’t need it. Dark matter is currently explaining the cosmological constant in the General Theory Of Relativity, and its existence has been shown by several space telescopes.

    I claim that Einstein’s version of special relativity is an occult science.

    Claim what you want, you can join the creationists. The special and general theories of relativity have yet to be found inaccurate. That’s a fact. Every prediction these beautiful theories have made has been borne out by observation. Every one. Not one single failure. So go dream on.

    You just may be a candidate for the BRDDA. I’ll have to consult with bobbo and Mr. Fusion (just for fun) to see if you’re worthy. Say, where is Mr. Fusion?

    Texas has just as many buffoons as any other state, unfortunately, because they’re Texans, they’re just larger buffoons. Makes me ashamed. You can bet these morans didn’t work for EDS or Texas Instruments or Cisco or…

    [Well, naturally anyone who ‘believes’ in creationism would fully understand Einstein’s theories…       wait. – ed.]

  4. Act Butler says:

    That Texas, what a riotous mirthful bundle of laughs.

    Apologies to the ghost of John Scopes we are still trying to live up to your ideals and its been over eighty years.

    how about teaching the weaknesses of religious fiction?

  5. Uncle Patso says:

    Year after year, when nationwide or world-wide educational statistics are released, in the halls of Texas educational administration can be heard the phrase “Thank God for Mississippi!”

  6. bobbo says:

    #34–Bubba==my two cents. I think Shubee has been posting for awhile and I haven’t formed an opinion of him, so he’s probably a reasonable guy?

    Regardless, I thought the comment was high satire. Either that, or real stupid in a way that would have formed an opinion by now I think.

    Hold off on that BRDDD. Wait for the white smoke.

  7. Why I don’t I get is why so many people feel they have to agree with something just to understand it. Many people have decent understanding of Catholicism, Buddhism, Islam, neo-paganism, Fascism, Communisms etc without actually believing in any of them, can’t it be the same for Darwinism? Or even for science in general?

  8. bobbo says:

    #38–Neo==Isn’t the problem just the opposite? People who don’t understand science are not really in a position to form an opinion of belief or not?

    We actually need a new word to go along with believer/atheist/agnostic.

    What would be a catchy one word for: I’m too stupid and ignorant and lazy to understand this scientific subject, so I’m not forming an opinion?

    “Otherwise occupied uninterested simpleton” is as close as I can get, but that is 4 words.

  9. BubbaRay says:

    #37, bobbo, OK, holding off for now. You know I always take things too seriously. It’s just my nature. Sometimes it’s very difficult to evaluate “satire” with this mixed bag of jokers, myself included. Errors on the side of caution seem to not be in order, no one else errs that way.

    OK, where is Mr. Fusion?

  10. Mr. Fusion says:

    #40, Bubba,

    Thank you for the concern; I’ve been occupied the past few days with a few projects.

    As for your explanation of “Dark Matter” in #34, I always appreciate it when something above my head is outlined so well by an expert. Please share that thank you to all who have worked to understand the cosmos we live in.


    #23, Floyd,

    An otherwise good post, but, …

    The Bible might be a source of morality if you want to use it that way, but it’s not a source of scientific information at all.

    I find the idea that mass genocide is justified because “my god is bigger than your god” reprehensible.

    I find the idea that stoning a woman because she was raped pure ignorance. I find that condoning slavery, polygamy, and racial and tribal discrimination intolerable.

    The bible is NOT a moral work. Let me rephrase that, the bible is NOT the kind of morality lesson tolerable in today’s world.

  11. Mr. Fusion says:

    I should add, I like the picture along with the story. Nice find JCD.

    I wonder though, will they teach this?

  12. RBG says:

    34 BubbaRay
    “The special and general theories of relativity have yet to be found inaccurate. That’s a fact. Every prediction these beautiful theories have made has been borne out by observation. Every one. Not one single failure. So go dream on.”

    Welcome to the Pioneer Anomaly.

    “Imagine the weight of a nagging suspicion that what held your world together, a constant and consistent presence you had come to understand and rely on, wasn’t what it seemed. That’s how scientists feel when they ponder gravity these days.”



  13. RBG says:

    My old zoology/evolution prof had a nice way of handling this topic at the beginning of each year.

    He would tell his students that they did not have to believe in evolution but they, nevertheless, had to answer all the exam material according to how it was being taught.

    He would say, “If it makes you feel better, at the top of the exam you may write: “I do not believe the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection to be true, but here are the points that Charles Darwin was making and the underlying science…””


  14. vonchiz says:

    This is the same old argument the religious right always come up with. They play on the fact that most of their followers are ignorant of the difference between the common vernacular “theory” and the scientific, mathematical, and even artistic definitions of “theory.” There are 7 different definitions of the word “theory” in most dictionaries and only 2 of those match the common vernacular.
    If they’re going to take this approach – fine, let them teach “intelligent design.” I guess my kids will automatically get an A in that section, and all kids will suffer because any University with any standards will look at all science education in Texas as a joke.
    The religious right seems to want to take us all back to the 16th century. It makes me really concerned about the quality of education my child will receive if these assholes are going to keep pushing their pseudoscience on everyone.

  15. Nimby says:

    Oh, ArianeB. Once again you have opened your tiny little brain and allowed the poop within to escape. “ROFLMAO at your ignorance. For all intents and purposes a “theory” in scientific terms is a fact.”

    So sorry. Science LOVES to tear apart theories. And science loves to test them. Einstein’s general relativity is very much a theory. It seems to explain the facts in almost every instance which makes it very useful but physicists know it has some weaknesses and love to test it in the real world not just on a blackboard. Someday, we may have Einstein’s Laws of General Relativity. I look forward to the day we have Laws of Evolution. And the death penalty for creationists. But that’s just me. Your opinions are legally entitled to vary. No matter how absurd they are.

  16. Rich says:

    It seems people on both sides of this debate are pushing dogma instead of attempting to educate and edify our children. It’s starting to piss me off. I believe both camps are in league (consciously or not) in the fight to keep our population in darkness, confusion and conflict.

  17. BubbaRay says:

    #43, RGB, this is an interesting puzzle, but note the 1st possibility — dark matter. I doubt relativity is in any kind of trouble.

    It will be a wonderful breakthrough to discover what is the cause of this anomaly. Thanks for bringing it up.

  18. John Paradox says:

    # 25 Dallas said,
    What’s the mathematical symbol for “and magic happens” ?


    Here are the answers to the Final Exam in Creationism:
    1) God did it
    2) God did it
    3) God did it
    4) God did it
    5) God did it


  19. bobbo says:

    #46–Nimby==a personal attack against ArianeB? Very uncharacteristic of you. I must have missed the thread where Ariane recommended private group practice by nurses? ha, ha!!

    When I read #5 I thought “Not really, but close enough especially in context as a response to #1. Then because of you I reread it and noticed specifically “For all intents and purposes a “theory” in scientific terms is a fact.

    Isn’t that more true than false?

    Which theory below is more factual than non-factual:
    1. The sun is pulled across the sky in a chariot.
    2. The sun is held in place by god and his angels thru his love for man.
    3. The sun and planets are subject to the attractive forces of gravity acting thru space on momentum.
    4. Gravity is the effect of space/time warping by mass.
    5. Whatever comes next. God particles dancing in the same direction?

    Aren’t theories more or less “facts” until they are not so much overthrown as further refined or “recontexted” with better explanations which become the new facts? Not like religion at all which was the opposing context?

    I can see making a quibble of this, but not calling brain shit on someone. Especially with someone of your admirable sensitivities?

  20. hhopper says:

    Texas isn’t all bad. Bubbaray and Dallas live there!

  21. Nimby says:

    Bobbo – you shame me. I’ve been feeling bad all night for saying what I did (at least in the way I did) to ArianeB. I think it was just a knee jerk to her “ROFLMAO at your ignorance…” remark followed by … well, ignorance!

    Ariane, my dear, my apologies. I wish I could explain myself by saying I had a bad day. In truth, I had a great day. Maybe I’m just turning into an old codger (Get OFF my lawn!) I’ll try to be better.

    However, theories are NOT facts, more OR less. Theories are an attempt to EXPLAIN facts.

    Thanks for calling me out on this, Bobbo. And, for the record, I have nothing against nurses doing private practice. I’ve enjoyed one or two practicing privately on me…

  22. Now for something completely different says:

    OMG…Texas is trying to beat Mississippi for the dumbest state in the union! ROTFLMAO. Go for it! What a bunch of idiots!

  23. bobbo says:

    52–Nimby==I know the feeling. Better than 80% of the time I get a righteous hardon, I’m wrong. If I get old enough, I’ll probably figure out its better to stifle myself – in theory.

    BTW–didn’t you say your normal practice is to drink yourself into a stupor at night? I’d blame the cane sugar before myself, if I were you. (Mind you, not for myself, but for my reputation.)

    Every day we wake up, we should think: “How can I be a better person today?” But then traffic to this blog would crash!

  24. the_anti-matter_christ says:

    Enjoy your lack of religion when life sends you your very own “fox hole”! You all get one.

  25. bobbo says:

    #55–anti==you are right. In shock and not thinking right would be the only way it could happen.

    As a free man, god is but a tyrant to be contested.

  26. flame hole says:

    They’re texans. What else do they do but be fat, drunk, and stupid. Oh yeah pretend to be cowboys. Yeah, way to be part of the 21st century.

  27. Mr. Fusion says:

    Texans are no better or worse than most Americans. They have some very nice people living there as well as some very stupid and of course the not very nice. On average, I doubt they have a higher percentage of ijits than do other states. It is only when you get that many people in one space that the numbers seem bigger.

  28. Mr. Fusion says:

    #59, joe,

    It is at the lowest rung ‘conjecture’, or in other terms it is basically and simply an out of control urban myth. Albeit a dangerous one,

    I like that description. Very well put.

  29. QB says:

    Science is all about ripping apart theories – that’s how the game works. If the creationists want to play seriously in the arena then they’ll need to bring a better game.

  30. Mr. Fusion says:

    #61, QB,

    Science is all about ripping apart theories

    I respectfully disagree.

    Science is all about learning. If we can learn something new that changes a Scientific Theory, then great. That though is totally different than “ripping it apart”.

    Theories are expected to withstand challenge. To be “provable”. They might not be perfect or have all the answers, but they are the best thing we currently have.


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