Writing about the controversy the Texas Board of Education sparked by removing a requirement to teach evolution on its merits, Steven Benen neatly summed up the left’s position in his article at the Washington Monthly. His points and my replies are below, his in plain black, mine mine in blue italics.
At some point in the future, we’ll stop seeing foolish disputes like these.
No, I don’t think so. I’ll paraphrase Robert Bork here by saying that conservatives, Christians in particular, deliberately set themselves apart from the kind of cultural relativism that would allow the let-the-liberals-win kind of end to the debate the Benen is dreaming of.
…the creationists want public school science classes to "analyze and evaluate scientific explanations using empirical evidence." As a practical matter, that means incorporating religious dogma into the curriculum to undermine modern biology.
Does it? Or is the liberal paranoia brought on by the realization that their pet scientific theory is insufficient to meet the scrutiny of people interested in the raw, unvarnished truth?
That last is the ideal that scientists are supposed to strive for – the revelation of facts, the discovery of the unknown, the making certain of beliefs. Yet here is another liberal pundit on record as saying that truth-seeking is not important. Wrong – it is the fundamental purpose of science.
First, Texas is "one of the nation’s biggest buyers of textbooks, and publishers are reluctant to produce different versions of the same material." Weaker science classes in Texas has far-reaching consequences for students elsewhere.
Publishers produce what is demanded. If 49 other states wish to pursue an evolution-only science curriculum then publishers will print the books they want – unless there is government interference with the textbook market that prohibits them from acting in their best interests. In this scenario it might be difficult for Texas to find the textbooks it wants to teach from.
But that surely is not Benen’s concern. Rather his concern is that a rebel state like Texas might stray from the official dogma of the big government heroes in Washington who in their wisdom must whip the ignoramuses in backwards states like Texas into compliance, for their own good.
Second, Texans have elected nutjobs to the State Board of Education, but that’s not a good reason to punish the state’s public school students.
Allowing the statement for the moment, of course it is. The BoE conducts its business in such as way as to best represent the views of the citizens in the state. That is the purpose of democratic elections. Further, voters in the state have every right to expect and demand that their values be reflected in the state’s education system. To the extent that there is substantive dissonance, government is failing to fulfill its purpose.
…this nonsense really needs to stop as a national phenomenon.
According to who? Steve Benen is the final authority on public discourse? Hardly.
Before spouting off lines like this from their self-created pedestals, liberals would do well to remember that it was their radical revolution that created the conflict in the first place. If Benen and those on the left want to unite the country they should tone down their self-righteous rhetoric and remember that the nation was doing pretty well, thanks, before their nihilist ideology began to metastasize in the 1960s.
The country just can’t afford to tolerate this nonsense anymore — the competitive advantage the United States used to enjoy is vanishing, and conservatives’ anti-science push comes with too high a burden for the country.
Our competitive advantage in science and engineering is more than vanishing – it’s effectively gone. In part that’s due to progress in other countries such as China, Korea, and Japan. But it’s also due to the stunting effects of rampant liberalism in our schools that has resulting in mind-numbingly inane policies that keep too many schools from tracking the best students together to maximize their outcomes, forcing schools to include discipline problems and special needs students in classrooms at the expense of the vast majority of students, the expansion of school curriculums into non-essential programs that diminish the emphasis placed on "hard" subjects like math and science, and the removal of schools’ ability to properly discipline students at school which in turn causes the predictable lack of discipline in their behavior and study habits, to name just a few of the results of a modern liberal educational system.
And now we can’t afford to tolerate conservatives’ nonsense? What we can’t afford, Mr. Benen, is to indulge ourselves in the fantasy that the Bill Ayers-era "reforms" that modern liberalism foisted upon American society have done anything except denigrate the nation and literally destroy its future. That’s what we cannot tolerate.
A software executive told the NYT, "The political games we are playing right now are going to burn us all."
The vast majority of Americans believe that life on this planet was initially formed by a Creator. A relative handful of overly vocal activists have managed to adjudicate the right to have that belief reflected in the education system that citizens are effectively forced to put their children in the care of. So who is playing the games?
The truth will come out in the fullness of time. Christians could be proven wrong by scientists and if I am then so be it. I don’t reject that possibility simply because I believe otherwise, but I will continue to believe until there is proof to the contrary.
Conversely, liberals should be honest and admit that evolutionary theory is a best-guess that isn’t getting much better as time goes on. They may in fact be proven wrong by an unexpected Divine Appearance someday. Or they may not.
What is imperative is that we all acknowledge the truth, which is that no one is certain, that no one has all the answers, and that only investigation of all facts and evidence can lead us in the direction of the answer.
That’s not a game. It’s just the way it is.