In Their First Televised Debate, All Four Republican Lieutenant Governor Candidates in Texas Embrace Creationism

During their first televised debate Thursday night, the four Republican candidates to become the next Lieutenant Governor of Texas unanimously agreed that public school science curriculums needed less science and more God.

The four stooges on stage (Jerry Larson – Waco Tribune-Herald)

Late last month, state Board of Education members adopted new high school science books that include full coverage of evolution without the disclaimers sought by social conservatives and other critics of Charles Darwin’s theory.

While none of the lieutenant governor candidates mentioned the board’s decision, three — [Sen. Dan Patrick, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples] — blasted teaching only evolution as a form of “political correctness.” They linked it to what they described as a broader moral decline.

“The breakup of the family in this country has started when we took God out of the classroom,” said Patrick, a radio talk show host.

“As a Christian, certainly creationism should be taught,” said Staples, a former state legislator.

[Lt. Gov. David] Dewhurst, who is seeking a fourth term, agreed.

“It’s a fair discussion to expose students to both sides and let them make the decision with the advice and counsel of their parents,” he said.

Patterson said the country has gone too far in deleting religious instruction from government institutions such as schools. A 1987 U.S. Supreme Court ruling banned teaching of creationism in science classes.

“We need to go back to those things that made this country great,” he said.

Who knew ignorance made our country great?

God, that’s embarrassing. Even for Texas.

The whole conversation evoked the unforgettable moment from 2007 when three Republican candidates for President admitted they didn’t accept evolution:

By the way, if you’d like to fight back, consider donating to Democratic gubernatorial candidate (and filibuster-er extraordinaire) Wendy Davis or her running mate State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (before science suffers even more).

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • idoubtit

    Just finished reading the B. Franklin biography. Made me think how completely inept today’s politicians are. For example: When Franklin narrowly escaped a shipwreck near the English coast he joke that were he a Catholic, he would find this an occasion to build a chapel to some saint. But, he says, were I to vow at all, it should be to build a lighthouse.

    Also, when a town in MA named itself Franklin and asked him to donate the church bell, Franklin told them to forsake the steeple and build a library: “books instead of a bell, sense being preferable to sound”.

    Ah, those were the days of enlightened people.

    [Source: Isaacson, p 467]

  • wallofseparation

    I am all for teaching creation myths in a science classroom.
    PLEASE PLease PLEASE, give me the freedom to use logic, evidence, and the scientific method to DESTROY creationism in a public school classroom.
    Within days the fundies will be crying about those teachers using reality to destroy their kids beliefs in myths.

  • Steve Bowen

    There is some mileage in this…unfortunately you are not the only potential teacher…shame though.

  • MyScienceCanBeatUpYourGod

    Men with big words and numbers say volcano god not real.. Make volcano angry!!! Must make men with numbers go away or volcano will destroy us!!!

  • C Peterson

    Clearly, the country needs less Texas and more sanity.

  • Mario Strada

    The stupid… Hurts!

  • WallofSleep

    And thanks to my fellow voters in California passing a certain ballot initiative, that is pretty much what my General Election ballot looks like for my district. *sigh*

  • primenumbers

    Doesn’t work. Their creationist beliefs are not based on logic and logic does not defeat them. To defeat creationism you must defeat faith first.

  • Peter Naus


    No, no, no, no. Teach the “controversy” in a social studies or religious class, for sure.

    But the moment you even crack open the fairytale book in a science class, the conversation becomes “my pastor says…” and the scientific method doesn’t even get a LOOK in.

    Then once it’s part of the curriculum, the entire science course becomes controversial instead of instructional. And what about the mythicist/fundamentalist school boards? They would be short-stroking all over the place, delighted that they finally get to “teach the controversy” – fundy-speak for ignoring science and teaching religion. That’s what they want.

    While I’m sure you and many other teachers would be able to control the conversation once started, there are far many more teachers salivating to get to talk religion in a science class. Hell, they’re doing it now, across the bible belt, even though it’s illegal. Giving them a chance to legitimately preach faith would be a huge step backwards.

  • wallofseparation

    Thats the point, in a science classroom we get apply logic to the myths. No preachers, no parents, no outside illogical influences…just the scientific method.
    I dont think this is really what fundies want…but I am all for it.

  • Rain

    Dumbest debate ever.

  • wallofseparation

    For some maybe.
    But for me, “your pastor says what? Oh lets look at the evidence…your pastor is wrong and it will be on the test”
    See by opening the door to destroy creation myths we get to do it with evidence and direct counterarguments…trust me, an effective science teacher will create many new realists given the opportunity. See, scientifically there is no controversy and we get to teach Chinese and Native american myths right alongside Christian ones…it could be glorious to the point of outrage by the fundies.

  • John

    “Broader moral decline” meaning Christian morals, naturally. From a secular perspective, I think we’re more moral on average today than we’ve ever been in recorded history.

  • $324578

    “The breakup of the family in this country” started when we decided money, possessions, and running the rat race were more important than living.

  • WallofSleep
  • baal

    Be quiet and stop dissing the memes that serve our corporate masters. For they are Just and Holy.

  • C Peterson

    Absolutely. Access to abortion has reduced the number of unwanted kids ending up on the streets, often as criminals. Easy (and largely acceptable) divorce has greatly reduced both spousal abuse and child abuse. Crime rates have been dropping for decades. Our culture is intolerant of all sorts of bad behavior that was simply ignored in the past.

    I wouldn’t try to compare morals over too long a period, but I think our society is on more solid moral ground today than at any time during the lifetimes of anybody alive.

  • primenumbers

    Yes, in the science classroom you get to use good science, logic and facts. The kids may even answer the questions on evolution correctly in the exam yet still not believe the answers are true. Then the kids go back to their parents, back to their churches and have holiday trips off the the creationist museum.

  • IAmAGuest

    Ugh… The kids are at school, what, 6-8 hours?…. and with 8 hours of sleep and 24 hour days, you have at least 8 hours to put whatever crap in their heads you want.

    And even if I was a christian, I sure as hell wouldnt want some random crazy teacher teach my kids their type of christianity or creationism… this stuff is rather individual since its not based on any sort of objdctiveness…

  • A3Kr0n

    Educators don’t have time to waste debating creationists in science classrooms. China just made a soft landing on the moon with a rover, and India has a space probe en route to Mars.

  • wallofseparation

    Really it would just be a day or too…and yes, they have plenty of time considering how much is wasted on other things…including checking their email.

  • flowerchild

    Or better yet why not add the people who brought in the sex revolution.

  • TruthIsHere

    Or society proves itself time and again its self-righteous and sees itself as moral on its own. Believe it or not people back in their day would see themselves as moral and never question anything they did as a society. One could say that abortion could be compared to how people threw out babies or still as today got divorced. True society is intolerant of behaviors but sometimes those behaviors evolve into new acceptable forms.

  • C Peterson

    That’s why I don’t believe there are any immoral societies. But I believe there are societies with better morals, and ours today is better than nearly any others throughout history.

  • EuropeanCommunist

    …adopted new high school science books that include full coverage of evolution without the disclaimers…

    Yes, let’s just put disclaimers everywhere!

    The mean radius of Earth is 6,371km. Note: According to some people Earth is actually flat so the previous statement may or may not be correct.

  • Aleister Gates

    this is some creepy crap

  • Miip

    Sometimes the repubs are a bunch of Jackasses….

  • Miip

    LOL!!! Very funny… :)

  • Miip

    Yes indeed. If it were not for Franklin, Payne, Jefferson, Adams & Washington. The constitution would not have the separation of church & state… They new all to well of religious tierny before the Constitution & Declaration of Independence.

    “The most stringent controls on speech in the colonial period were controls that outlawed or otherwise censored speech that was considered blasphemous in a religious sense. A 1646 Massachusetts law, for example, punished persons who denied the immortality of the soul. In 1612, a Virginia governor declared the death penalty for a person that denied the Trinity under Virginia’s Laws Divine, Moral and Martial, which also outlawed blasphemy, speaking badly of ministers and royalty, and “disgraceful word.”

    The Founding Fathers

  • Madison Blane

    Science doesn’t have ‘both sides’!!

  • UWIR

    ““As a Christian, certainly creationism should be taught,” said Staples, a former state legislator.”

    As a much-overlooked skill, how to write sentences without misplaced modifiers should be taught.

  • CottonBlimp

    One could say that abortion could be compared to how people threw out babies

    Yeah, if you don’t care about “facts”.

    For that matter, you could say that the ACA could be compared to slavery, but you’d be a moron.

  • CottonBlimp

    You’d expect better grammar from someone who sells stationary.

  • Castilliano

    Why does that feel redundant?

  • Rich Wilson
  • Rich Wilson

    Did you also get to choose between the wife of the guy who held the district before, and the guy who wrote prop 8?

    Democracy! Fuck Yeah!