What the Fuck is Wrong With These People? - OK House Bill 2211

Sunday, March 9, 2008
Yes, it's time for another edition of "What the Fuck is Wrong With These People?"

At the risk of giving John the Scientist an apoplexy, today's winner is the Oklahoma House of Representatives Education Committee, who recently passed House Bill 2211. According to Dave McNeely of the Edmund Sun:

"The Oklahoma House of Representatives Education Committee has just approved House Bill 2211. The bill is expected to pass the full House, and then to go to the Senate. Its authors describe it as promoting freedom of religion in the public schools. In fact, it does the opposite.
...
"The bill requires public schools to guarantee students the right to express their religious viewpoints in a public forum, in class, in homework and in other ways without being penalized. If a student’s religious beliefs were in conflict with scientific theory, and the student chose to express those beliefs rather than explain the theory in response to an exam question, the student’s incorrect response would be deemed satisfactory, according to this bill.

"The school would be required to reward the student with a good grade, or be considered in violation of the law. Even simple, factual information such as the age of the earth (4.65 billion years) would be subject to the student’s belief, and if the student answered 6,000 years based on his or her religious belief, the school would have to credit it as correct. Science education becomes absurd under such a situation."

What the hell are these dumbasses thinking? If one of the problems in America is our inability to compete in science and technology education, then allowing some drooling inbred straight out of The Hills Have Eyes to insist the universe is 6,000 years old without challenge is not the way to address it.

Really, the people who lose the most here are the students. Once they're done with their so-called "education," the only job they'll be qualified to perform is that of Postal Robot. Can you imagine how they'll be treated when they move on to University, and discover that the rest of the "educated" world considers them backwards and ill-informed, suitable only for ridicule? Poking Oklahoma educated students with a stick will become the newest pastime at Colleges and Universities all over the country. Except at Liberty University, of course. They'll probably be on the fast track for admissions, there.

However, I don't really know how long this will last. As soon as non-Christian students start using their religious beliefs to answer questions on exams, I imagine the House members' heads will explode. "God did it - it's in the Bible" might be an acceptable answer to how the universe was created under this bill, but I suspect that "Brahma did it - it's in the Puranas" will not.

What the fuck is wrong with these people? Is an inability to think a prerequisite for membership on this committee? Or has pandering to the religious right reached a level of such ass-kissing that the ability of our nation to compete internationally just doesn't matter anymore?

Oh, that's right. We're God's Chosen. He'll take care of everything.

British Columbia, here I come.

*Thanks to Abbie Smith over at ERV for bringing this to my attention.

19 comments:

Shawn Powers said...

I know many Young Earth Creationists. I adamantly disagree with their views, of course, but if they want to believe such rubbish -- I think that's their right.

Here's the deal though, the kids need to function in a world that doesn't think the same way they do. Even if kids are taught to think YECish, they also need to be educated as to what the rest of the (sane) world believes, so that they can function in society.

Yes, the bill is the most absurd form of cow towing I've ever seen. Here's what I think should be allowed:

1) Student must learn material as presented. Science is taught scientifically, and must be learned as such.

2) Children must answers questions correctly, according to the scientific material provided.

3) Here's the "freedom of religion" part: A student, after answering the question correctly, should be allowed to politely note that they disagree with the scientific evidence provided, and are answering based on the textbook answer, not their true beliefs. Period. Their declaration should not affect their grade one way or another, and if they get the answer wrong, they should get no points for said wrong answers.

This topic depresses me...

Janiece Murphy said...

Shawn, I could live with that compromise. I don't think the school has the right to ridicule someones religious beliefs, but there is a certain level of fact-based knowledge that should be required in order to be considered educated.

This topic depresses me, too. It seems so obvious to me, and I don't understand why people just can't seem to grasp the concept of separation of church and state.

Michelle K said...

(boggle)

Excuse me, I think I need to go look at pictures of fluffy happy things for awhile.

Jeri said...

In my religion, Algebra is a thing of the devil. I should be able to take pottery instead and still graduate.

Also, I believe in sacrificing a chicken to relieve test anxiety. If the school won't provide me an altar and let me carry a chicken knife, it would interfere with my freedom of religion.

Nathan said...

I worship the Great A'Tuin, who carries four giant elephants on his back and who, in turn, support the Discworld. I shall speak of this incessantly in Astronomy class.

(They probably won't have a problem with the flat earth part of it.)

Shawn Powers said...

Janiece - Yeah, I agree that the compromise would be good, if not incredibly sad... My wish would be that the children would actually learn the truth, and as they grow, reject such stupidity.

The unfortunate truth, however, is that the whackjob fundies won't compromise to such a thing. Any compromise is "of the devil", and must certainly be a path to hell. How dare we fill our children with such lies lies LIES.

Yeah, depressing. Generational stupidity, coming soon to a town near you...

Janiece Murphy said...

Shawn, I think you have just discovered the root of all evil in current American politics - the inability to compromise.

Sigh.

Tom said...

So now we know. Oklahoma sucks!

But that's a good thing, otherwise Texas would slide off into the Gulf.

WTFIWWTP!

(but that makes me think, "What The Fuck Is World Wide Toilet Paper?")

Unfortunately, I have known functionally illiterate people who are capable of living in this world. One was my ex-wife's first husband. Makes me fear for the 3 girls (maybe more by now) he was raising.

The world doesn't really care if you believe in it.

John the Scientist said...

Does OK have no home school law? Are there no Fundamentlist Christian schools there? Are there really no alternatives to the devout (devout what I leave open to debate)?

It's things like this that make me believe that the state should get out of the education business altogether.

vince said...

The problem with these people is they play "follow the leader." Like unthinking robots, they swallow whatever their pastor/minister/leader says and regurgitate it without ever even thinking to question, or investigate for themselves.

Janiece, I really don't think the problems is an inability to compromise. It's a willful ignorance of what the Constitution stands for, how and why it came to be the way it is, and a fierce desire to force their beliefs on all others.

By the way, try being a Christian who does not conform to these people's warped version of Christianity. They can be vicious when attacking what they see as heresy. In a different place and time, people like Shawn and I would be in deep doodoo.

Of course, with some intelligence and reading skills, you can usually confuse them until they chase their tales in frustration :-).

John, homeschooling is perfectly legal in Oklahoma, and explicitly allowed by the state's constitution.

Janiece Murphy said...

Vince, it's people like you and Shawn who give me hope, actually. The religious right FDWAL's (freeze-dried whack-a-loons) make me want to get all militantly atheist, even though I'm not an atheist. Moderate folks who understand that forcing you ideology on others is Bad Thing make me feel better.

So hurray for people of faith who don't make me go all Dawkins-ish.

Michelle K said...

Vince,

It could be worse. My family is Catholic.

Many evangelicals don't even consider Catholics to be Christian.

Janiece Murphy said...

Michelle, I think Catholics are higher up the chain than the LDS folks. They seem to be everyone's favorite pariah.

Jim Wright said...

Man, I wish they had this law when I was a kid - because I've got to tell you my math teachers and I often disagreed on the correct answer, and it sure would have been handy if I could have just put down whatever the fuck I felt like and then claimed it was correct because Jesus said so.

Hysterical - OK schools should print their diplomas on toilet paper. In one fell stroke, OK has rendered every diploma issued in the state not worth the paper it's printed on. Seriously, think about it, even if you agree with and understand science and biology as presented in school - because the law will not allow job and college interviewers to inquire regarding your religious beliefs - interviewers will then have to assume lowest common denominator for anybody graduating from OK schools and colleges. Additionally, I'm curious how OK will handle national standards such as the ACT/SAT tests, and the NCLB National Standardized Testing battery. what happens when students pull this bullshit on the SAT? or better yet, on the National Standardized Test, and the school systems start losing federal funding? Whoops, might be time to rethink this silly nonsense. Of course, OK could go it alone - smugly raising the next generation of superstitious, pig farming, peasants.

Yeah, it's things like this that make me think about joining the Alaskan Independence movement.

John the Scientist said...

Jim - I was thinking that kids in OK who invoke the "I don't believe the evidence" clause should get a different diploma from everyone else - a modern day scarlet letter that IDs them to potential employers.

Janiece Murphy said...

John, you're assuming employers check diplomas.

John the Scientist said...

They will now.

John the Scientist said...

And we could always tattoo the "special" diploma on their foreheads. Not many letters required, just 18:

Jackasus Americanus

Anne C. said...

Damn, Jim got there before me. All the really smart kids will make up ridiculous answers and then claim religious right. Bye bye studying, hello bullshit machine!