Monday, February 19, 2007

Get me off this crazy planet!

There is a really bizarre and crazy story on Panda's Thumb about Georgia State Rep. Ben Bridges of Cleveland, Texas State Rep. Warren Chisum, and a memo to members of the Texas House of Representatives. The memo called for the end of “tax-supported evolution science” because it has a religious agenda. Since the courts have ruled that “creation science” has a religious agenda and so violates the “Establishment Clause” Ben Bridges set out to prove that Darwinian evolution and the big bang theory were religious. Rep. Bridges claims it is the alternate “creation scenario” of the Pharisee Religion, derived concept-for-concept from Rabbinic writings in the Kabbala dating back at least two millennia and it has a very specific religious agenda thus it cannot legally be taught in taxpayer supported schools. The memo then invites lawmakers to visit, the "non-moving Earth & anti-evolution web page of the Fair Education Foundation, Inc."

Is reality ripping off The Onion? Just how crazy and ignorant are our government representatives and the voters who elect them? We're talking "fixed Earth" here people, they can't believe in that little scientific factoid that got Galileo in trouble with the Catholic Church. They don't believe it after NASA has sent probes to Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn. We couldn't do that if we were wrong about a heliocentric solar system. It prompted Panda's Thumb writer, Reed A. Cartwright, to say this:

"What Texas needs is not another anti-evolution bill, but a bill that would give politicians the Bridges-Chisum-Hall test. If the politician actually believes that there is any merit to the rantings of a fixed-earth creationist, then he fails the test, is declared legally stupid, and required to stay five counties away from any child."
-- Reed A. Cartwright

I wish. There are civil servant tests, almost every country has them, (there are scandals about them in China because their tests are so hard) and it seems that our elected representatives are civil servants so shouldn't they have to pass such tests before they run for office? Maybe we should learn from China?

Here's a general outline for a two phase plan; phase one – petition and write congress so that all people who want to run for office have to pass a basic civil service exam with a mild intelligence test included before they can campaign for any such representative position. Phase two – keep pressuring congress to make the test harder so we get the best people and also pressure for more scientific awareness and general intelligence.

What we would have to leave out, for the moment, is anything about evolution. In a different world maybe that would be included, but we're working with an electorate here in the U.S. where, according to Gallup polls, most people don't believe that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution is supported by the evidence. The results have been similar since 2001, the first year in which Gallup asked the question.

Only 1.2 percent said they believe the scientific theory of evolution and "God had no part" according to some polls.

With poll numbers like that it's utterly amazing that we're winning the court cases. So, I'd be reluctant to push too hard. However, a simple bit of intelligence testing could weed out some of the real morons, like Rep. Ben Bridges of Cleveland and Rep. Warren Chisum.

So, get thinking people, how do we word a petition for testing would-be elected representatives before they can run?

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