Education: you don't need it to sit on stage and prattle

You’ve probably seen this indictment on the intelligence of Americans by now.  If you can stomach the whole thing without developing an ulcer or three, you win the prize.

A fifteen minute-long paper cut would have been more merciful.  If you have evolved pattern-recognition (as most humans have), you’ll quickly notice an emerging formula from most of them:

“I believe evolution should be taught because <shit made up on the spot that exposes the contestant’s utter ignorance of science>.”

It’s literally a bunch of vapid dipshits being paraded around a stage for shallow men to drool at with no consideration whatsoever given to the virtues that actually make an admirable human being.  It makes me want to punch something and to apologize on behalf of my entire gender (and for America for being into this exercise in self-degradation).

The other thing in this video that gave me the red ass was how many of the participants vomited up lines directly from the Discovery Institute’s playbook.

“I think it’s good to provide our students with both sides of the story and let them choose for themselves.  I know that some people obviously believe in evolution, some people believe in creation.  I think that teaching both of those and letting the students decide whether it be of their faith or their personal beliefs, I think that’s the best choice.”  ~ Brittany Bannon, Ms. Arizona

Here’s another iteration of the “let the kids decide” argument.

“I think that we should definitely open up to offering different ways to teach students about everything: different thought processes, different ideas, because it’s important to let students just decide their own ideas on what they want to believe in.”  ~ Blair Griffith, Ms. Colorado

The fuck?  It’s important to let students just decide what they want to believe?  Great idea!  Now you can just throw out the whole idea of testing students to see if they have learned the correct answer.  Hell, students can just choose what they believe and call it a day.

We don’t send kids to school to reinforce whatever hairbrained beliefs their teenage minds can come up with – there would be no purpose in education if that were the case.  We send kids to school to learn the positions that are best-supported by evidence (read: the ones that are fucking true!): it was George Washington who was the first president, not Napoleon; stars are huge-ass burning balls of hydrogen (or other elements) that will fuck up your day if you get too close, not our ancestors watching over us; etc.  If, in a chemistry course, a student raises their hand and says “My daddy says that molecules are held together by microscopic gumdrops, not covalent bonds”, the next words out of that teacher’s mouth need to be “Your daddy is wrong.”

You don’t get to choose what you believe in education – you either learn the correct answer or you fail.  Creationists know the process their ideas must go through in order to be considered a correct answer, but they’re unwilling to play by the same standards as other ideas (even as they whine that all they want is equal treatment), so they don’t get to sit at the big kids table at the ivory tower.

Like facts about history, math, and every other academic discipline, science is not a democracy!  It is a rigorous battlefield upon which only the most defensible ideas survive.  There is a reason scientific facts are decided by a collection of people who have all dedicated decades to familiarizing themselves with the operation of the universe, and not by people whose last contact with biology was in an introductory class in the tenth grade or their kids who are just now taking that course!

If you don’t like the conclusions of science, take your kids out of school (and stop using cell phones, the internet, clean water, medical treatment, and light bulbs), but don’t act like it’s a matter of scholarly interest to lower the standards to appease everybody and their puerile beliefs in contradictory, unthought bullshit by treating those opinions as though they belong on the same playing field as science.

And then there was Ms. Alaska.

“Personally, I don’t believe in evolution.  I believe that each one of us were created with a purpose by god.  And that just gives my life so much more direction.”

Bullshit.  Aside from the not-terribly-noble aspiration of being a vessel of worship to a jealous, choleric, callow being who created you for a purpose but left you to the hands of tangible human beings to develop that purpose, there is no direction in one’s life they can’t honestly ascribe to their own preferences, and no success they cannot attribute to their own hard work.  Stop letting the Christian myth pickpocket your own efforts!  People say that shit about religion giving their life meaning with such pride, blissfully unaware that there is hardly a more effective way to cheapen their lives.

As Jen McCreight points out, there is a sliver of hope.  Take it away, Lauren Carter (Ms. Vermont).

“I think evolution should be taught in schools because not everybody necessarily has the same religious background, and it’s important to have scientific facts about the world. And we do know that evolution exists, even on a small scale like with people, and with bacteria that are becoming resistant to drugs and what not. So, might as well learn about it.”

Sadly, at least for Lauren Carter, there are more effective ways to become the popularity queen of the United States than with intelligence.

Bonus content: I wrote a bit on the basic evidence for evolution for Atheism Resource back in the day.  Enjoy.

  • http://willisweb.com Jon Willis

    I’m still trying to figure out the whole, “We should teach evolution because it’s, like, part of our history and culture because we all have our different beliefs and stuff but, umm, I don’t think evolution is true and, like, we need to teach both sides of the story” argumentation. There are clearly people who haven’t taken a single second out of their day to consider why they hold these views past, “My parents taught me that the Bible is right.” The dumb ones are the ones who are breeding.

  • Russell P

    Apparently there is some correlation between the amount of genetic modifications that make an evoluture more successful and the amount of people who think rationally.

  • http://carlsagansdanceparty.wordpress.com Steven Olsen

    To be fair, the winner of the contest was the woman who unequivocally accepted evolution. While one may not have caused the other, at least she wasn’t punished for being scientifically literate. Silver lining?

  • http://en.allexperts.com/q/Atheism-2724/indexExp_111189.htm Jeffrey Eldred

    Beauty pageants no longer make any sense. They aren’t sexy enough to compete with the rest of TV, too traditional to make sense with feminism, and beaten at their own game by American Idol. They remain only to piss reasonably people off with controversially dumb statements (or piss dumb people off with controversially reasonable statements).

  • Michaelyn

    I have to wonder, has there ever been a nonreligious Miss America?

  • http://raisinghellions.wordpress.com/ Lou Doench

    To paraphrase Eugenie Scott “Why can’t I make up my own mind about Evolution? Because you’re 16 dear…”

  • Melissa Dawn

    Wow. I couldn’t even watch the whole thing. I made it as far as Minnesota, which is where I am, and couldn’t take the stupidity any longer, lol.


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