‘Geek’ Candidate for Texas House of Representatives Speaks Out Against Intelligent Design in Science Textbooks

Brian Boyko is running for Texas State Representative in a Republican-held district and, while that seems like an uphill climb, there are still good reasons to support him.

For one, he’s a self-described geek:

Also, if you want to donate to his campaign, you have to give a Fibonacci number dollar amount:

But here’s the kicker: He attended the Texas State Board of Education meeting this past week at which they were discussing which textbooks should be adopted by all public schools. Considering how we know that science textbooks were reviewed by Creationists, it was important that pro-reality citizens advocated for textbooks promoting proper, evidence-based science.

Boyko wasn’t just there to lend his support, he spoke out in favor of good science — something we’re not accustomed to seeing from possible Texas politicians — and he did it without slamming religion at the same time:

[St. Thomas] Aquinas also said that “wonder is the desire of knowledge” — and both Science and Philosophy seek to fulfill that desire. But Science has a limit — science is limited only to human Reason. Anything that transcends human reason, therefore, cannot be science.

And to attempt to force the Divine — which transcends reason — into the small confines of reason alone, not only makes a general mess of Science, but also diminishes the Divine. To lower the supernal to the study of the terrestrial is, well, blasphemous.

The Bible has a place in schools; that place is in literature and philosophy. But not science.

Boyko admits the speech may not have accomplished anything, but “you have to try.” On his website, he elaborated on where he stands on this issue:

The problem is, within any scientific body of merit, evolution is not under controversy. Certainly the methods by which evolution manifests can be; but to say that evolution isn’t real is to be blind to the mountains of evidence that support the theory; while “intelligent design,” or “creationism” isn’t supported by any scientific evidence at all.

Let’s be frank for a second: Faith is a powerful motivator. It is very hard to convince someone that they’re wrong on the facts when they believe it is a moral duty to insist their side is right.

Because to a believer, faith is a virtue. Indeed, the highest virtue. And evolution may not challenge God’s throne, but it challenges a highly held belief that God created man as the apex of life on Earth. To suggest that man holds no special place amongst the beasts — that our rationality was not the spark of divine creation but the machinations of blind terrestrial navigation belies the idea that God places us first among all his creations.

And it humbles us. It humbles us because there is no guarantee that mankind will or can remain the apex of God’s creation, and that should we falter and face ecological or nuclear Armageddon, He may save our souls, but not our species.

Some people, quite frankly, can’t handle that.

Wow. Very frank, very blunt, and the kind of rhetoric most candidates for office would never use out of fear they would alienate their religious voting base — certainly, that worry would be magnified in Texas. But not for Boyko. He’s trying to play both sides of the spectrum and he doesn’t do all that bad of a job of it.

Like he said, the Texas State Board of Education probably won’t change its mind based on the statements made earlier this week, but how great would it be to have a voice like that on our side?

If you like what you hear, consider donating to his campaign.

(Thanks to Dan for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • pRinzler

    Good luck to him, he’s gonna need it.

  • http://stevebowen58.blogspot.co.uk/ Steve Bowen

    Is there a prohibition against non US citizens financially supporting candidates? If not I’ll donate…

    • MD

      You can donate if you’re a U.S. permanent resident.

      “Contribution Rules
      I am a United States citizen or a permanent resident alien.
      This contribution is made from my own funds, and funds are not being provided to me by another person or entity for the purpose of making this contribution.
      I am making this contribution with my own personal credit card and not with a corporate or business credit card or a card issued to another person.
      I am at least eighteen years old.”

      • http://stevebowen58.blogspot.co.uk/ Steve Bowen

        Thanks, I don’t qualify as I’m not resident. Bizarrely, I don’t think the UK has any restrictions on who can support a party or candidate from a nationality point of view.

    • UWIR

      According to Obama, Citizens United opened the floodgates for foreign contributions. It’s not like he would lie, would he?

  • islandbrewer

    Wait, what happened to the $34 donation button?

    Crap, did I just out myself?

    • HollowGolem

      Guess he figured $21 and $55 were adequate. You could just donate twice, at $13 and $21. In fact, if you want to donate any given Fibonacci dollar amount, you need only donate twice at the previous two. If I’d have been him, I would have skipped every third dollar amount for that very reason, actually.

  • kaydenpat

    Wishing him the best of luck. I wonder if he could get on the TX Board of Education to balance out the theists.

  • Lorinda Pike

    Wow. Sane. Logical. Intelligent.

    Almost makes me wish I lived in his district so I could vote for him. I guess a donation will have to do.

    I also wish him luck. We could use many more candidates (at all levels) with his directness, and with his mindset.

  • James Stevenson

    I like his talk about us not being super special as humbling, which is what it is and its saddening that, as he rightly says, so many people cant just snack on that humble pie. I’m a little dissapointed that we don’t have a non-human terrestial animal of near equivalent intelligence to us as it would be definitely upset this. Though even if there were sadly I imagine Christianity and other traditions with a similar grounding would just worm their way into a different telling to accomdate the reality, yet still preserving our ‘choseness’
    .
    On a similar but slightly different note sometimes I like to do a little thought experiment. If, as is highly likely, there are other lifeforms out there in the wide, wide universe that compare to us equally on all the things Christians consider make us unique. Then if the Christian has to consider that possibility in relation to their belief of the universe as being made for us, then how would we react if we could discover with absolute certainty tommorow that we were truly alone in this wide universe in terms of our awareness?

    We have an eerily nigh impossible array of things that have persisted for millenia that have made our planet ideal for supporting life as we know it. Everything else, and in fairness we have barely scratched the service, is only death by comparison. The universe is incomprehensibly vast so we could never know such a thing for certain, but it makes me wonder what it means if we truly were alone in that capacity. Though I’d be more inclined to believe that this universe, if there was a creator, was just something trying to mess about with nigh infinite variations to see what happens in a comsic scale experiment as opposed to an all-knowing all-wise deity with some grandiose plan in mind.

    • Edmond

      While I think it might make for an interesting world if we did share it with a non-human near-equivalent intelligence, I’m almost glad (for them) that we don’t. We almost surely would’ve enslaved them.

  • Rain

    And to attempt to force the Divine — which transcends reason — into the small confines of reason alone, not only makes a general mess of Science, but also diminishes the Divine. To lower the supernal to the study of the terrestrial is, well, blasphemous.

    Yeahh… baloney. And the board will rightly not be lulled by the phony sucking-up to their fundyism. Although the “blasphemous” part might cause them to do a double-take. They might do one of those movie takes where they all look at each other sideways out of the corners of their eyes checking each other out making sure all is cool in fundy board land. Yes he said the “B” word. Every time someone says the “B” word the “hammer time” theme music starts playing in their fundy heads. © MC Hammer.

  • ImRike

    I did some more reading on his wbsite. Wow, this guy should be a preacher! He is exquisitely subtle about keeping religion out of science (and politics, I’m sure!).
    I think I have a new hero: Brian Boyko.
    He will be so wasted in Texas.

  • Leiningen’s Ants

    Apex, eh?

  • Michaela Samuels

    Wow, that is exciting – a response that just maybe someone will listen to, eventually.


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