Tuesday, March 7, 2017

I May Have Spoken Too Soon . . .

Just last week I said in a post:

"Rep Butler [R-AL] is using teachers as a kind of scapegoat to justify his actions.  Let's not forget that this same politician tried a similar bill (which failed) and did manage to get a Student Religious Freedom bill passed just last year.  God forbid a politician be honest in his motivations." (An Alabama State Representative Shows His Ignorance)
Rather than hide in the shadows, this State representative (Mary Bentley, R - AR) is sponsoring a bill that states very clearly:
With the failure of so many so-called 'academic freedom' bills, you know the bills that have absolutely nothing to do with academic freedom, I guess one politician got tired of trying to sneak their religion into the classroom through the backdoor.  While I disagree with her, I have to respect her honesty!  

Normally, I would say her bill doesn't stand a prayer [pun intended], but then I didn't think America was foolish enough to elect a hamster-haired misogynistic liar for President.  But isn't Arkansas the same state where their law to make teaching of evolution illegal was overturned in the 1960's (Epperson v. Arkansas) and also their effort to teach  a 'Balanced Treatment', that is teaching Creationism (renamed Creation Science at the time) and Evolution side-by-side and on equal terms -- got dumped as well in the 1980's (McLean v. Arkansas)?  

So, again while I do applaud her honesty, I have to question why she wants her religion to be taught in the classroom as if it were science.  Does she also want Numerology in math class or Astrology in Astronomy?  If not, why not?  I also have to ask the people in Arkansas why they keep electing politicians who seem to spend more time focusing on preaching religion than dealing with other issues facing the State.  Let's see, how does Arkansas rank in a few areas?

  • Education - Arkansas ranks 43rd lowest out of the 50 states in HS graduation rate, 48th in Bachelor degrees and 49th in Advanced degrees. (Wikipedia: source)
  • Violent Crime - 9th highest rank in violent crimes (World Atlas: source)
  • Teen Pregnancy - 4th highest rate of teen pregnancy (LiveScience: source)
  • Unemployment - Actually not bad, 13th lowest (BLS: source)
Well, it looks like to me Rep Bentley needs to ask herself a few questions.  the first is simple: "Why does she insist on inflicting her religious beliefs on the rest of the State in violation of the US Constitution?" and second is "Doesn't she have any real problems to deal with?"  I guess a third question, and maybe the only one that matters might be "Why does she think teaching religion in science class is going to help any of the real problems facing Arkansas?"Does she actually believe dumbing down science will improve education?  And of course everyone knows theists never commit violent crimes (please add a sarcastic snort after that sentence).  And theists never get pregnant at a young age, seriously?  Check this out:
"With data aggregated at the state level, conservative religious beliefs strongly predict U.S. teen birth rates, in a relationship that does not appear to be the result of confounding by income or abortion rates. One possible explanation for this relationship is that teens in more religious communities may be less likely to use contraception." (BioMed Central: source)
Similar things have been reported in many sources including Live Science, the New York Times, and the Christian Science Monitor.  Not only are they less likely to use contraception, but their sex education is generally lacking.

I doubt she will ever answer any of these questions, after all she is more than likely just 'pandering' for votes.  Oh, I am sure she's a church-goer and holds a set of religious beliefs, but being elected does not give her the right to force those beliefs onto other people!  But sponsoring such bills will probably have the affect of gaining her some votes.  Sorta like a certain hamster-haired politician holding up the Bible, a book I doubt he has ever opened up . . . of course that is strictly my opinion, but has anyone ever seen him actually use it for most than a speech prop?

OK, one last time, I do respect her honesty, but I certainly do not support her efforts.  Intelligent Design and Creationism are religious concepts that do not belong in science class.  No matter how you dress them up, there are standards within science and neither of those ideas meet any of them.  The nearest they come to actual science is being  defined as:
" . . . claims, beliefs, or practices presented as being plausible scientifically, but which are not justifiable by the scientific method"  (Wikipedia: pseudo-science)

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