Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Scopes Monkey Bill – Victory for anti-Science

Posted by Dave Bath on 2012-04-15

"Tennessee Monkey Bill Becomes Law" (Nature News 2012-04-11) reports the continuing death-throeas of Thomas Jeffersons informed and active citizenry essential for democracy, at least in the USA.

The infamous 1925 "Scopes Monkey Trial" pitched Tennessee against a teacher who dared to cover Darwin and evolution in class.

The governor of Tennessee has allowed the passage of the ‘monkey bill’, giving public-school teachers licence to teach alternatives to those mainstream scientific theories often attacked by religious and political conservatives.

The licence to teach non-science in science classes, nominally to help students analyze controversy, combined with the way school policy in many parts of the US are subject to the bigotry of parents, is a recipe for gutting real science in schools, teaching dogma.

The little-mentioned effect is via textbooks – what sort of general Year-Whatever Science Textbook would prostitute itself to the standards these states want?  That’s a rhetorical question.  Only worthless ones, and there is every reason to believe that the rest of the textbook on non-controversial subjects would be about as worthy as the worthless bits.

Oh well, bad textbooks, anti-science indoctrination, the populace gets dumbed down, the religious zealots get even more power – and we end up with the politicians appealing to the dumbest people on the planet having control of the majority of nuclear weapons on the planet.

The dumbest with the fingers on the button of the biggest weapons?  That can’t be good!

Will this affect Australia?

Indirectly it will.  We are the bum-boy of the US for foreign adventures, the morons here will be encouraged to push our politicians for improper emphasis on ideas regardless of the weight of evidence, and we have a habit of following the US down every stupid path when all the evidence points to doing things the way of the Northern Europeans. (Remember the joke "Most Germans own a second property – it’s called Greece" – well – do we follow German and Nordic social/economic policy, or the US with it’s triple deficit?).

The energized Sky Fairy Fan Clubs in the US and here in Oz will doubtless push for even more dogma-based policy – and even avowed atheist PMs like Gillard (not that her vows mean anything) won’t stand up to the intellectually impoverished pressure the morons are currently putting on policy (including same-sex relationship issues).

What happened to science, and economics, when a dogmatic church had it’s way with Galileo and his uncomfortable truths about moons of planets and a heliocentric solar system?  It went north, where religion was not granted the same weight by society.

It will get worse in the US, and worse here.

This kind of nonsense legislation would have been thought fit only for satire half a century ago.

Stop laughing, this is serious.

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