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Texas and The Flintstones

Most of Rationality Now’s readers are probably quite familiar with the influence Texas has on our country’s textbooks… and the mind-numbing inanity of some Texas Board of Education members, like Don McLeroy, who wield that influence. Fortunately, there are some school board members who have their feet firmly planted in reality, but they’re in the minority (still?) and they’ve got a continuous battle on their hands to keep Texas education standards from drowning in an anti-intellectual, anti-science, and anti-reality flood of woo.

Sadly, they get far too little support from the general population of their state, at least according to a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll. 51% of Texans surveyed disagree with the statement that humans developed from earlier species. 22% say that they believe life existed in its present form since the beginning of time. Almost a third (a third!) believe that humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time… or, as A Simple Prop says, a third of Texans apparently think The Flintstones is a documentary.

That a horrifyingly large number of people who blatantly reject scientific facts in favor of ancient mythology.

Perhaps that’s not fair. Perhaps they aren’t rejecting facts. Perhaps they are ignorant of the facts. Perhaps they’ve never spent the time to do any actual research (apart from reading the bible, which doesn’t really count). Perhaps they’ve just been taught that the bible is all they need to know and so haven’t been exposed to the actual facts.

So perhaps it’s not an arrogant rejection of facts. Perhaps it’s just an ignorance of facts. However, I would wager that the ignorance is, in most cases, suffused with a strong bunker mentality built of bibles and hallelujahs… a nearly impenetrable wall designed to keep out any reality that contradicts the bronze and iron age dogma so prevalent in Texas.

However, arrogance or ignorance, it’s a disgrace that people who reject reality have any influence whatsoever in the education of our children and the running of our government. It’s bad enough when the influence is on a local level, but when that influence is able to reach every corner of our country, as it is with Texas education standards and textbooks, it approaches a level of crippling absurdity that threatens to flush our country’s intellectual integrity into the sewers.

…if it hasn’t been flushed already.

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