Sunday, February 22, 2009

Courageous Texas Legislators Call Creationism Anti-Scientific

Kudos to two courageous Texas politicians who had the guts to criticize the Texas Board of Education for its regressive anti-evolution, pro-creationism policies. State Senator Rodney Ellis and State Representative Patrick M. Rose wrote an excellent op-ed column in the Houston Chronicle pointing out that if Texas is serious about becoming a center for cancer research, it can't also embrace creationism.

But Ellis and Rose are far too polite. I suppose that's how you get elected.

Imagine this: The Texas Board of Education invites a crystal-ball gazer to its meetings to divine for them which science textbooks to use. The next day, two Texas politicians write an Op-Ed column, in which they ridicule the Board of Education, calling them an embarrassment to the State of Texas, and and demanding the Board member's immediate resignation.

How is this fictional story any different than the Board of Education consulting creationists about science texts? Creationism has no more foundation than crystal-ball gazing. Both are utterly false, disproved by science hundreds of years ago, and have failed every challenge by believers ever since. So why does creationism get respect?

There are many religious questions where I can respect my friends, family and colleague's theistic beliefs. The origin of the universe, the origin of morals, the nature of the human soul, the afterlife – these are questions for which science has good answers, but I can understand why others disagree.

But creationism is idiotic. I'm sorry, but there is no other word for it. I try to be tolerant and respectful, but when someone deliberately ignores tonnes of evidence, and denies the best-proved scientific theory in the history of the world, I just can't respect that.

I hope I live to see a day when a politician in Texas can openly deride and ridicule creationism for what it is, a fraud, the same way he/she might ridicule a crystal-ball gazer, without fear of losing his seat in government.

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