Texas GOP: Everything Our Children Already Believe Is Correct

I’ve said many times that, in American political discussion, we debate real liberalism and theoretical conservatism; in other words, liberalism is always expected to defend its actual problems and sacrifices, whereas conservatism is only held to the standard of its purely idealistic form. So, for example, you get the claim that conservatism involves a dedication to old ways and values, to the preservation of tradition.

Take it away, Texas GOP:

“We believe the current teaching of a multicultural curriculum is divisive,” the platform says, adding that it supports teaching “common American identity and loyalty instead of political correctness that nurtures alienation among racial and ethnic groups.” In Arizona, where Republicans banned multicultural programs, students in those programs actually out-performed their peers. Texas Republicans also believe “controversial theories” such evolution and climate change — which aren’t controversial at all — “should be taught as challengeable scientific theories subject to change as new data is produced.” There’s more: the GOP also opposes the teaching of “critical thinking skills” because they “focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”

Yes, that’s right: the Texas Republicans are opposed to education that challenges the preexisting beliefs of the person to be educated. You’ll note that this is a total contradiction of several thousand years of educational tradition. It’s an attitude specifically rejected by such traditional figures as the Buddha, Socrates, Aristotle, Jesus Christ, Thomas Aquinas, Sir Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, Immanuel Kant, Thomas Jefferson, Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, etc. I suppose the Texas GOP would reply that the Declaration of Independence clearly provides for life, liberty, and the pursuit of remaining totally immune to being confronted with new ideas or information.

You’ll note that evolution is a challengeable theory, but challenging student’s fixed beliefs generally is wrong. I wonder what would happen if a student in Texas had a fixed belief in evolution because of parental authority; probably a time-space paradox that would destroy the universe. That’s the funny thing about this conservative regard for tradition– it’s never clear how long a belief has to be around for it to deserve that kind of protection. I suppose it doesn’t matter how long evolution is the scientific consensus; challenges will just keep getting grandfathered in. I wonder how this will go for students who have a fixed belief that the earth is flat, or that two plus two makes five. I think the technical term for the fixed beliefs of children is “ignorance.” If you guys need me, I’m going to be digging a shelter behind the shed and stockpiling canned goods.






118 replies
  1. 1
    slippy says:

    Texas is officially the Stupidest State in the Union.

    They’ve won. No need for more dick-measuring, Texas! You can stop now! You’re #1 in dumb-fuckery!

  2. 2
    redshirt says:

    Fun for laughs, but truly dangerous. This is a society wide movement that if allowed to spread further, could send us into an age of super-science (by a few elites) and sorcery.

    Also, Thundarr.

  3. 3
    RepubAnon says:

    So the Texas GOP says that:

    * they believe “controversial” theories should be taught as “challengeable scientific theories subject to change as new data is produced”; and

    * Students should not be taught critical thinking skills.

    Pop quiz: if the students aren’t taught critical thinking skills, how will they be able to evaluate the evidence surrounding those “controversial” scientific theories?

  4. 4

    Whoa… capital letters in a title… who are you and what have you done with the real Freddie deBoer?!

  5. 5

    I’ll repeat my broken record: There are powerful forces (religious, political and financial) in this country that want to repeal the Enlightenment. Stripping away critical thought renders you unable to refute or question whatever consensus reality they’d like to create for you.

    They don’t want Citizens. They want ignorant, docile Peasants.

    I wonder what would happen if a student in Texas had a fixed belief in evolution because of parental authority; probably a time-space paradox that would destroy the universe.

    Were I a parent in Texas, this would be my exact tactic.

  6. 6
    beltane says:

    This is actually good news. As global warming and rapidly changing economic conditions force people to either adapt or perish, Texans have chosen to cling to their delusions like they are some sort of magic life raft.

    The wingnuts may not “believe” in Darwin, but the forces of history will still not pass them by no matter how tightly they close their eyes and block their ears.

  7. 7
    ericblair says:

    @RepubAnon:

    Pop quiz: if the students aren’t taught critical thinking skills, how will they be able to evaluate the evidence surrounding those “controversial” scientific theories?

    Silly rabbit! They evaluate it by parrotting what their pastor said about it. That’s “critical thinking.”

    The wingnuts may not “believe” in Darwin, but the forces of history will still not pass them by no matter how tightly they close their eyes and block their ears.

    Reality doesn’t give a shit if you believe in it or not. That’s the beauty of it.

  8. 8
    Freddie deBoer says:

    @J.W. Hamner: I live to serve.

  9. 9
    Egg Berry says:

    common American identity and loyalty instead of political correctness that nurtures alienation among racial and ethnic groups

    Feh. Take it up with the native Americans, assholes.

  10. 10
    slim's tuna provider says:

    hurry up with the digging. pretty soon only 1%ers will have sheds

    //brought to you by dolorous edd

  11. 11
    beltane says:

    @Egg Berry: I take that that quote to mean that all people who are not white, Anglo, Christians are to revert to their proper status as invisible people.

  12. 12
    japa21 says:

    Of course they don’t want critical thinking taught. Anybody who actually have critical thinking skills can see immediately that the current Republican brand of conservatism is a bunch of crock.

    The real danger here is that what they believe is so off the wall that many people don’t take them seriously and don’t push back against this crap. The next thing they know, these idiots are in power and it is too late.

  13. 13
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    Shorter Texas:

    The world is flat… so there… and shut up!

    Srsly… I’ve been watching the country slowly but surely creep in this direction for three decades and we’re finally getting right where I thought we’d end up… knee deep in Teh Stoooooopid… and it’s rising…

  14. 14
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Judas Escargot, Acerbic Prophet of the Mighty Potato God: All of my kids here in Texas, even my seven year old, understand evolution at some level. He likes to go around pointing out that we evolved from apes not monkeys.

  15. 15
    greennotGreen says:

    Lack of critical thinking skills is the only reason the current Republican party ever gets more than 27% in any election. That and voter suppression.

  16. 16
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    I wonder how this will go for students who have a fixed belief that the earth is flat, or that two plus two makes five.

    In Texas, two plus two is twenty-two.

    Don’t mess with Texas, they don’t need any help. Texans are proudly messing it up for themselves.

  17. 17
    greennotGreen says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): Could you perhaps explain to your seven year old that we *didn’t* evolve from apes? We and apes share a common ancestor at a fairly recent branch in the tree of life.

  18. 18
    shortstop says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): Pssst, actually we evolved separately from a common ancestor. Otherwise, good work pushing back against your state’s tide of purposeful ignorance!

  19. 19
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @greennotGreen: Yes, I will, when I get him to completely understand negative numbers, torque, and what irony truly means. He’s a smart kid, like all of mine are, but you can’t throw everything all at once. He’s still working through the idea that all mammals evolved from a common ancestor a few hundred million years ago.

    He knows that whales and dolphins are mammals, and why a pteradon is not a dinosaur.

    And remember, this is Texas. It’s not like he’s going to get much of this education in school.

    ETA: I didn’t mean for this to sound snippy.

  20. 20
    The Moar You Know says:

    So the Texas GOP has decided to take a baseball bat to the foundations of Western Civilization.

    The terrorists really did win.

  21. 21
    Randy P says:

    This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this attack on critical thinking. It comes from the fundamentalists, and they’re exactly right about the “problem”: kids taught reasoning skills will start questioning the beliefs of their bible-thumping church. Such as creationism.

    So this is standard stuff, the GOP taking code words from the bible-thumpers to pander to the base.

  22. 22
    Poopyman says:

    … adding that it supports teaching “common American identity and loyalty

    Oh good! Will the kids be tested for loyalty? Wingnuts will be glad to get back to that.

    greennotGreen and shortstop beat me to the correction, but I like the kid’s attitude.

  23. 23
    the Conster says:

    I keep wondering how UT is going to adapt to the new reality that their applicant pool will be a bunch of ignorant dumbfucks. Maybe if they make it a policy to reject everyone coming out of the Texas public school system it will wake some of the apathetic non-crazies up.

  24. 24
    Ruckus says:

    @The Moar You Know:
    Well maybe not fully yet, but surly going that direction.
    And it wasn’t even that difficult for them. You turn your back for an instant and the toddlers are sticking their fingers tongues into the socket.

  25. 25
    Mobile Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    @slippy:

    As long as Florida is around, Texas is not the most retarded state in the Union.

    It’s at least a tie.

  26. 26
    beltane says:

    @The Moar You Know: Andrew Sullivan may have been correct in saying there was a danger from a 5th column in this country; he just misidentified the 5th column. The new Dark Age of ignorance, superstition and fear will be ushered in by the flag-waving, Bible-thumping forces of the right.

  27. 27
    chopper says:

    @RepubAnon:

    let’s teach kids that they can only think critically about this one thing we say they can! what could go wrong?

  28. 28
    terraformer says:

    controversial theories should be taught as challengeable scientific theories subject to change as new data is produced.

    This is an interesting statement. Theories are controversial when new data conflict with historical data, and refinement of a theory based on new data is pretty much in line with the scientific method.

    Problem is, these folks want to control both what is labeled as “controversial” and what is labeled as “data”. Call this the “FDISK method.”

  29. 29
    Mudge says:

    My favorite worm hole is their comment about evolution, etc. , “should be taught as challengeable scientific theories subject to change as new data is produced.”

    Religion should be ” subject to change as new data is produced.”
    But their brand of religion never is.

    And data are plural. Data are.

  30. 30
    Poopyman says:

    @Ruckus: Maybe it’s the adults we should be reminding that electricity is delicious! Sort of a Darwin test.

  31. 31
    redshirt says:

    We don’t need no education
    We don’t need no thought control

  32. 32
    Chris says:

    @RepubAnon:

    Pop quiz: if the students aren’t taught critical thinking skills, how will they be able to evaluate the evidence surrounding those “controversial” scientific theories?

    They’re not supposed to.

  33. 33
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Mudge: So are milk, wheat, and cheese. They’re called mass nouns.

  34. 34

    Conservatives are blaming Obama for the Colorado wildfires, even though the forest services contracts firefighting out to private contractors — which, if you’ve been paying attention, conservatives are always telling us do everything better than the government.

    Apparently they can’t maintain their fleet of firefighting bombers though. Free hand of the market FAIL.

  35. 35
    Chris says:

    @Judas Escargot, Acerbic Prophet of the Mighty Potato God:

    I’ll repeat my broken record: There are powerful forces (religious, political and financial) in this country that want to repeal the Enlightenment. Stripping away critical thought renders you unable to refute or question whatever consensus reality they’d like to create for you.

    This.

  36. 36
    Balconesfault says:

    And yet, Fortune 500 companies keep relocating their HQs to Houston and Dallas, and high tech companies keep expanding in Austin. I guess there are always private schools. Or in our kids case, fantastic magnet schools here in Austin.

    I think the big buck GOP donors who aren’t religions wackos tolerate this sop for the rubes because they figure some number of really smart kids will still develop their critical thinking skills in spite of the state, Texas will continue to benefit from a continued inflow of high level talent from other states (here in Austin, there are very few who are actually “from Austin”), and the car dealers, insurance salesmen, homebuilders, etc who make up the backbone of the GOP can continue to believe that the earth is <5,000 years old because that won't affect their jobs but will guarantee they'll continue to vote Republican.

  37. 37
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Ignorant, and proud of it.

    That’s your Texas GOP.

    I give you the deserting coward and Rick Perry as prime examples of said attitude.

  38. 38
    Chris says:

    @japa21:

    The real danger here is that what they believe is so off the wall that many people don’t take them seriously and don’t push back against this crap. The next thing they know, these idiots are in power and it is too late.

    This.

  39. 39
    Balconesfault says:

    @Southern Beale: The free market favors an undersupply of firefighting bombers – saving money on maintenance when they’re not needed, and driving up the cost of them when they are needed.

    Funny how people don’t get that about the free market. It really doesn’t give a crap about what’s best for the people. It only cares about what people are willing to pay for.

  40. 40
    beltane says:

    @Southern Beale: Privatized services are invariably more expensive and less effective than public ones. Private contractors exist to make money for the private contractors (those dressage ponies don’t pay for themselves), not to provide needed services in the most cost-effective way possible.

    Isn’t Focus on the Family based in Colorado Springs? Why aren’t these folks praying harder?

  41. 41
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Ignorant, and proud of it.

    That’s your Texas GOP.

    I give you the deserting coward and Governor Goodhair as prime examples of said attitude.

  42. 42
    MTiffany says:

    Yes, evolution and global warming, errr ‘global climate change’ are merely theories, just like all those other mere theories: gravity, germ, general and special relativity, quantum mechanics, plate tectonics, atom and periodic table, Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory…

  43. 43
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Ack, WP is being stupid again, and duping posts.

  44. 44
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @MTiffany:

    I’ve often suggested that the Theory of Gravity be tested by chucking an Intelligent Design type out of a helicopter. Then they can demonstrate their own theory of “Intelligent Falling”.

  45. 45
    maya says:

    I’ve always believed that “Remember the Alamo” was only an ingenious car rental slogan. Thank you, Texas GOP legislature, for confirming my belief.

  46. 46
    Culture of Truth says:

    States are limiting patients’ benefits by outsourcing Medicaid to for-profit companies. Last year, Texas failed to publish its annual quality report. It was eventually released a year late. “We got behind on reviewing those,” said a spokeswoman for the state’s Medicaid agency.

  47. 47
    Chris says:

    @Balconesfault:

    I think the big buck GOP donors who aren’t religions wackos tolerate this sop for the rubes because they figure some number of really smart kids will still develop their critical thinking skills in spite of the state

    Yeah, I think so too. The big business types like Romney’s attitudes towards the religious right has always been one of general indifference, that “well no matter what they do to the country, we’ll find a way to pull through.”

  48. 48
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mobile Grumpy Code Monkey:

    I hear objections from Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Oklahoma, and late entrant, thanks to Rand Paul, Kentucky.

    Meanwhile, the Left Coast states sit back and laugh.

  49. 49
    Tom the First says:

    They’re also going to mandate that schools water their lawns with Brawndo.

  50. 50
    Culture of Truth says:

    Face it, reality, Texas is just not that into you.

  51. 51
    Cacti says:

    @Chris:

    The big business types like Romney’s attitudes towards the religious right has always been one of general indifference, that “well no matter what they do to the country, we’ll find a way to pull through.”

    In Romney’s faith, America is God’s chosen nation, and will always pull through for that reason.

  52. 52
    magurakurin says:

    @Mudge:

    things change. kind of ironic in a thread about evolution.

    Many careful writers insist that the words data and media are Latin plurals and must, therefore, be used as plural words. The singular Latin forms of these words, however, are seldom used: datum as a single bit of information or medium as a single means of communication. Many authorities nowadays approve sentences like My data is lost. and The media is out to get the President. Even textbooks in computer science are beginning to use “data” as a singular.

  53. 53
    Chris says:

    @Cacti:

    Yeah, that too. The faith in “American Exceptionalism” (what a crock) is another one of the things that’s leading us right over the cliff.

  54. 54
    beltane says:

    The Texas GOP also wants to do away with the 1965 Voting Rights Act http://www.dailykos.com/story/.....Rights-Act

    I guess that as white conservatives become more and more marginalized demographically, we’ll see more efforts to restrict other groups from voting. Minority rule worked in South Africa for a while, why not here?

  55. 55
    NonyNony says:

    @beltane:

    @Southern Beale: Privatized services are invariably more expensive and less effective than public ones. Private contractors exist to make money for the private contractors (those dressage ponies don’t pay for themselves), not to provide needed services in the most cost-effective way possible.

    But this is unpossible! The Free Market always produces more efficient outcomes than bloated gubbmit bureaucracies! Why my Republican father has been telling me this for over 30 years! And it isn’t like I should question my father’s wisdom – what kind of a world would this be if every child questioned whether or not their parents actually knew everything there was to know about, say, Economics, no matter what mid-level management job their father actually did for a living?

    Why it’s an outrageous idea that we should use simple logic here to realize the very trivial notion that giving a company a monopoly to provide a service is no different from having a government-funded organization do it except that the company has to spend more money to get the same effect! (Given that it must turn more of a profit for its owners/shareholders than alternative investments, and has to pay its management more since they’re private sector and have higher expectations about pay)

    I mean even though the logical model above is so trivial and so obvious, we should ignore it completely rather than investigate it. We should just continue to believe what we’re told and not challenge those preconceived ideas.

    After all, it’s what the Texas GOP wants. And it’s how America became such a great bastion of freedom and democracy – never questioning any preconceived notions about how the world works but instead just doing what had always been done before! It’s what Thomas Jefferson would have done. (Or so I’ve been told by my parents, so I’m not allowed to question it).

  56. 56
    Mudge says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): I disagree..milk, cheese and wheat are singular words describing, as you note, mass quantities. They are singular. Datum is the singular for the plural data (more than one datum). Each datum is unique and usually acquired individually. One can easily discuss cheeses, plural, “cheddar and blue are popular cheeses”.

    The usage “data is” is common. Usually only worth a shoulder shrug. Can’t change it, like incorrectly using impact as a verb.

    magurakurin: Yes, things change. A datum has become a “data point”.

  57. 57
    beergoggles says:

    I’m glad the south is racing to provide the uneducated cheap labor force that the rest of the country can use in the future.

  58. 58
    Balconesfault says:

    @NonyNony: The Free Market always produces more efficient outcomes than bloated gubbmit bureaucracies!

    By and large, they do. The problem is that their definition of “efficient” varies greatly from the definition that best fits the public good.

  59. 59
    ericblair says:

    @Balconesfault:

    The free market favors an undersupply of firefighting bombers – saving money on maintenance when they’re not needed, and driving up the cost of them when they are needed.

    Private industry doesn’t do well with high-impact low-probability events unless absolutely forced to do so by evil gubmint, because the easiest way to deal with these events is to pocket the cash and hope the shit doesn’t hit the fan until the decisionmakers are out the door to their next gigs. IBG, UBG: “I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone.”

    Imagine a life insurance industry that isn’t regulated out the yingyang.

  60. 60
    magurakurin says:

    @Mudge:

    seriously. things change. It’s a good thing. It’s what makes language infinite and wonderful and not just set of rules like a computer program.

    noun
    Pronunciation: /ˈɪmpakt/
    1the action of one object coming forcibly into contact with another:
    there was the sound of a third impact
    [mass noun]:
    bullets which expand and cause devastating injury on impact
    2a marked effect or influence:
    our regional measures have had a significant impact on unemployment
    verb
    Pronunciation: /ɪmˈpakt/
    [no object]
    1come into forcible contact with another object:
    the shell impacted twenty yards away
    [with object] chiefly North American come into forcible contact with:
    an asteroid impacted the earth some 60 million years ago
    [with object] press (something) firmly:
    the animals‘ feet do not impact and damage the soil as cows’ hooves do
    2 (impact on) have a strong effect on someone or something:
    high interest rates have impacted on retail spending
    [with object]:
    the move is not expected to impact the company’s employees

    http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/impact

  61. 61
    rlrr says:

    When energy companies in Texas whine about the lack of qualified scientists and engineers, maybe someone should point out they have nobody to blame but themselves for supporting the GOP.

  62. 62
    Citizen_X says:

    @magurakurin: Natural scientists, who have to gather, evaluate, and defend every datum, still generally refer to the singular datum and the plural data.

  63. 63
    scav says:

    “common American identity and loyalty

    Loyalty to the North, the South or only to the Mighty You Don’t Mess With portion, oh pontifical arbitrators of high truth? Please do continue to enlighten.

  64. 64
    Scott S. says:

    And yet Texas is classified as a purple state.

  65. 65
    MattF says:

    Traditionally, the Texas GOP platform has been a source of astonishment. One wonders if there is an archive– I suppose not– each annual version is absolutely true, until next year.

  66. 66
    Cacti says:

    I wonder if the Texas GOP platform sounds better in the original German.

  67. 67
    . says:

    @RepubAnon:

    You win!! They can’t!! Plan working as planned!!

    I would call them Dumbasses, but that would insult Asses, who are hard-working good-natured beasts of burden.

  68. 68
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @Judas Escargot, Acerbic Prophet of the Mighty Potato God:

    I’ll repeat my broken record: There are powerful forces (religious, political and financial) in this country that want to repeal the Enlightenment.

    As recently as a few years ago, I would’ve said that this is crazy talk, but I’ve seen enough people who believe exactly that–including lots who don’t even bother trying to beat around the bush with it but straight up say “the Enlightenment is where everything went wrong”–to know that it’s not crazy talk at all. It is, sadly, true. Hell, just a few days ago, a wingnut was complaining that “nobody raises kids properly anymore,” and once he got going on his rant, he said this:

    Of course the roots of this go back quite a ways – Dewey and his intellectual progenitor, Hegel (and going back even further, to the so-called “Enlightenment” of the 18th century).

    Now there’s a person whose ideas on society need to be taken very, very seriously.

  69. 69
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @rlrr: @Southern Beale:

    If you read a bit more, the reason the fleet of free market bombers can’t fly is that yet another evil market distorting agency, the FAA, has these impossible to meet while maintaining an acceptable level of profit standards for shit that flies.

  70. 70
    Mudge says:

    @magurakurin: Affect is a perfectly good word. “The move is not expected to affect the company’s employees.” Some change is good, some not so good. Certain of the changes are annoying, they degrade the language, but it is an old man’s prerogative to have an opinion on such matters. Not a crusade, just an opinion.

    And I think medium/media is less abused than datum/data. Maybe Marshall McLuhan is responsible.

  71. 71
    Trakker says:

    This is the platform of the dominant political party in the second most populous state in the union. How can anyone not be truly frightened for our future?

    For the last ten years I’ve been smugly telling myself that the American people are too smart to let these people lead, but I’m now coming to the conclusion that the wealthy have finally discovered how to harness the anxieties, mental laziness, and hubris of a frightened population to give it what it wants: everything.

  72. 72
    scav says:

    @Citizen_X: Oh, people here are really going to hate geographers. We use datum pretty much like a standard model of the world, plural datums. Oh, we’re in trouble again

  73. 73
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Judas Escargot, Acerbic Prophet of the Mighty Potato God:

    There are powerful forces (religious, political and financial) in this country that want to repeal the Enlightenment.

    In a supreme example of irony, these same people tend to revere the U.S. Constitution, which itself is a product of Enlightenment thinking. Except that they deny its genesis, and insist that it was handed to the Founding Fathers on stone tablets by Jesus himself.

    They want to return to, at a minimum, Divine Right of Kings, and, ultimately, because central governments are evil, Feudalism.

  74. 74
    Balconesfault says:

    @rlrr: I have actually had a discussion with a very senior engineer for a major Texas-based pipeline company who was taking the position that we really didn’t have adequate evidence to buttress the theory of evolution.

    Even engineers and scientists can be very siloed in what they need to know. If your only concern is making valves and pumps operate and keeping liquid inside the lines and tanks, you can believe all kinds of stupid things on other scientific topics that don’t involve fluid dynamics and mechanical engineering and still be effective at your job.

  75. 75
    Citizen_X says:

    @MattF:

    each annual version is absolutely true, until next year.

    There you go, causing trouble with that critical thinking again.

  76. 76
    MattF says:

    @scav: Oh, it’s fine as long as you understand that datums are not data.

  77. 77
    MattF says:

    @scav: Oh, it’s fine as long as you understand that datums are not data.

  78. 78
    Chris says:

    @beltane:

    I guess that as white conservatives become more and more marginalized demographically, we’ll see more efforts to restrict other groups from voting. Minority rule worked in South Africa for a while, why not here?

    Yeah. The only problem with the “demographic timer” approach to history is what you’ve pointed out – it’s easy to offset demographics just by messing with the system in a few places to keep The Wrong People from voting (hell, how many Latin American countries are there where Rich White People ran the show for centuries despite the numerically greater native population?) And we’ve certainly got experience suppressing the vote here, especially during the Gilded Age which we’re now heading right back into.

  79. 79
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Citizen_X: And, as a software engineer, when I am being specific, I talk about 3 Gigabytes of data. When I am being general, I talk about data. Data is never used by itself, just like I don’t talk about milk by itself when I need to be specific, I use a quantifier like gallons or glass.

    When I am being being abstract, the clump of data itself is a thing, which, like milk, doesn’t become something else if I divide it in two.

    I figure this argument will end up going on like soda versus pop versus coke.

  80. 80

    There’s more: the GOP also opposes the teaching of “critical thinking skills” because they “focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”

    If one starts thinking critically, one might begin to realize just how much the system is rigged against anyone not born into wealth.

    They might also begin to question whether or not an efficient corporatist economy where they must work 2-3 jobs at low wages without insurance to have ‘freedom’ is better than a socialist state where they can see their families, have access to affordable health care, and make a decent wage.

    And, of course, they might also question their parent’s religious beliefs and find that there is 2,000 years of Christian thought and writings that differ quite a bit from the particular brand of American fundamentalist branch which is quite recent.

    Never have I seen a group so proud of their ignorance that they enshrine it as a tenet of their political beliefs. Well done, Texas GOP. Well done.

  81. 81
    Mark S. says:

    @Scott S.:

    Not yet. Obama will probably lose Texas by 8 to 10 points. But in ten years, the story might be different because of the increasing Hispanic population.

    Without Texas, the GOP has no chance in the electoral college. They barely can win it as it is, since they aren’t competitive in the Northeast, West Coast, and parts of the Midwest.

  82. 82
    rlrr says:

    @Balconesfault:

    True, but long term we’re going to lose the people who will teach these engineers and scientists that can be very siloed in what they need to know.

  83. 83
    Patricia Kayden says:

    “In Arizona, where Republicans banned multicultural programs, students in those programs actually out-performed their peers.”

    What does this mean? That minority children were graded higher than non-minority children in multicultural programs?

    Wonder why Repubs hate multiculturalism so much. Will not teaching multiculturalism make those pesky minorities disappear?

  84. 84
    scav says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): You drink code. Through a straw? I really am out of it in modern computing.

    ETA: although, actually, series of Tubes, maybe it all makes sense . . .

  85. 85
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Mudge:
    You can distinguish between cheese as a countable noun and cheese as an uncountable. One speaks of “cheeses” when referring to different varieties of cheese, but of a quantity of cheese (or of cheese in general) as “cheese”.

    Verbing nouns (see what I did there?) is a centuries-old practice in English. Will Shakespeare did it a lot. It’s too late to gripe about it now, although some instances of it are uncommon enough to be jarring and thus better avoided. But not your example “to impact’; how else is a dentist to describe an impacted tooth?

  86. 86
    Mark S. says:

    Like these numbers:

    FLORIDA: Obama 45 – Romney 41 OHIO: Obama 47 – Romney 38 PENNSYLVANIA: Obama 45 – Romney 39

    WHY DO SWING STATES HATE PRIVATE EQUITY?

  87. 87
    Brachiator says:

    It’s an attitude specifically rejected by such traditional figures as the Buddha, Socrates, Aristotle, Jesus Christ, Thomas Aquinas, Sir Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, Immanuel Kant, Thomas Jefferson, Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, etc

    Bunch a commies, ceptin’ for the Baby Jesus, who was most likely misquoted.

  88. 88
    Cacti says:

    @Mark S.:

    Without Texas, the GOP has no chance in the electoral college. They barely can win it as it is, since they aren’t competitive in the Northeast, West Coast, and parts of the Midwest.

    Yup.

    As it stands now, the GOP candidate has to win Ohio and Florida in the swing states to have a shot at POTUS. The Dem can lose one or both and still have a path to victory.

    If Texas ever flips or becomes competitive, the GOP will be dead in the water.

  89. 89
    Jesus Christ says:

    Getting closer Texas, but I still need to see that 5 million man Castrati Choir or I’m a no show.

    Stop blaming my absence on Liberals…

  90. 90
    beltane says:

    @Mark S.: I think Ohioans have had their fill of Job Creators like Mitt Romney. Any more Job Creators like this and everyone will be unemployed.

  91. 91
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    @magurakurin: Even textbooks in computer science are beginning to use “data” as a singular.

    As others have pointed out above, no one actually uses “data” as a singular. Rather, as a mass noun that must be accompanied by a measurement as in “one megabyte of data.”

    I’ve been in the information sciences for 35 years and the only computer scientists / programmers I’ve ever heard use “data” in the count-noun plural sense were trained in other sciences first.

  92. 92
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @scav: When the non-standard plural has a different meaning than the standard plural, the non-standard plural also becomes standard, as it were. I have before me The American Practical Navigator 2002 edition (“Bowditch”) and it uses ‘datums’ in that way.

  93. 93
    shortstop says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Joined by the Northeast and much of the upper Midwest.

  94. 94
    scav says:

    @Davis X. Machina: You have made so very happy, because I now can say “When the non-standard plural has a different meaning than the standard plural, the non-standard plural also becomes standard” in my usual spiel about datums and the need for multiple thereof, when describing irregular oblate spheroids. It’s like cheesecake for the mouth all those syllabblbblless.

  95. 95
    Kane says:

    Students will be taught that humans and dinosaurs walked on earth together, and this instruction will be paid for with public funds. Some Louisiana students receiving publicly funded vouchers and attending private schools in 2012-2013 will be taught from educational media promoting young earth creationism, global warming denial, history that is not factual, and bigotry toward Catholicism, Mormonism, other Protestants, and non-Christian religions. This is predictable because some of the schools that are on the approved list to receive voucher students use curriculum from A Beka Books, Bob Jones University Press, and Accelerated Christian Education (ACE). Public funding of the teaching of creationism is already happening in Pennsylvania, Florida, and other states with “private school choice” programs.

    http://www.talk2action.org/sto.....02521/762/

    It would be one thing if it were limited to Texas, but it is spreading across the country like a cancer.

  96. 96
    shortstop says:

    @scav: Irregular oblate spheroids again. Don’t you ever talk about anything else?!

  97. 97
    Poopyman says:

    @Davis X. Machina: It would be interesting to go back through the various versions to see when “datums” was first used. I doubt the first version (1799), but who knows?

  98. 98
    Culture of Truth says:

    “Steakumms” was first used by Benjamin Franklin in 1785

  99. 99
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Xecky Gilchrist:

    As others have pointed out above, no one actually uses “data” as a singular. Rather, as a mass noun that must be accompanied by a measurement as in “one megabyte of data.”

    Sorry, this is not quite right. The usage “data is” is widely accepted as correct, so “data” clearly is used in the singular. Incidentally, the noun phrase “one megabyte of data” is singular, the countable noun here being “megabyte”. (“One megabyte of data is …”, “Two megabytes of data are …”)

  100. 100
    nominus says:

    Sounds good, I’ll teach my son that the Texas GOP is batshit crazy and they’ll have to respect that since it comes from parental authority.

  101. 101
    dj spellchecka says:

    might it be churlish of me to suggest that 400 years of white people screwing over everyone else in sight “nurtures alienation among racial and ethnic groups?”

  102. 102
    owlbear1 says:

    day-ta or da-tah?

    Hmmm?

  103. 103

    In a world with no limit to funding, time and political constraints, I would love for schools to “challenge” evolution. What better way to show children the patent nonsense of the challenges that denialists love to trumpet. Indeed, there are many great books out there that do exactly that. Carl Zimmer, Neil Shubin, Jerry Coyne etc., have all put together easily understood guides that show how Evolution stands up very well as a scientific theory. And I’d love for creationism and climate denialism to be put under the same scientific microscope and systematically dismantled for all the students to see. Of course these idiot Republicans don’t want that. They want evolution and global warming to be “challenged” in their sense of the word, meaning, summarily dismissed, without any critical thinking involved.

  104. 104
    Amir Khalid says:

    @owlbear1:
    Both are correct, so take your pick.

  105. 105
    Balconesfault says:

    @nominus: I’ll teach my son that the Texas GOP is batshit crazy and they’ll have to respect that since it comes from parental authority.

    I taught my son to be a critical thinker, and remarkably he came to that conclusion on his own …

  106. 106
    PeakVT says:

    @slippy: It’s not ever until it’s over. Louisiana is coming on strong.

  107. 107
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @japa21:

    The real danger here is that what they believe is so off the wall that many people don’t take them seriously and don’t push back against this crap. The next thing they know, these idiots are in power and it is too late.

    I try not to say “This” to comments I agree with, but THIS.

  108. 108
    Roy G. says:

    Everybody knows that Texas history started with Teh Alamo.

    True Fact: Did You Know the Texas motto was originally ‘A land without people for (white) people without land.’

  109. 109
    Felinious Wench says:

    The vast bulk of Texas teachers (I’m married to one and am around them constantly) ignore this shit and just teach.

    My husband uses K-Thug’s textbook in his AP Economics class, and throws in his columns as well. So does his brother. So, let’s just say there’s what the Texas GOP wants, and the reality of what our teachers do for their students.

  110. 110

    @Bubblegum Tate:

    Now there’s a person whose ideas on society need to be taken very, very seriously.

    And I bet he has a nice big truck/SUV with a GPS receiver in it. And a modern cellphone. And a lovely HDTV inside his modern house. And is on at least one medication to extend his life (blood pressure, cholesterol, etc).

    Sometimes I joke about the “Amish Solution”: You don’t buy into the modern consensus? Well then, fine, you don’t get the modern toys then, either, since you clearly lack the intellectual framework to comprehend them (or at least how they might have come about). The rest of us will happily stay on our side of the fence.

    Shame we can’t just carve up the planet and implement it.

  111. 111
    El Cid says:

    Texas Republicans are opposed to education that challenges the preexisting beliefs of the person to be educated.

    I agree with them.

    I oppose any education which is based upon trying to get someone to know something which is different than what they already knew, whether because the something is new, or because it’s different.

    For this reason, I think it’s high time we protected our children from hearing all these words they didn’t know when they were born.

    I propose a Texas-based educational reform movement to get parents to stop impurifying their babies’ brains when they talk to them.

    Why should babies have to have their minds warped by these elite parents with all their “words” and “grammar” and such?

    If the language they were born with isn’t good enough for these fancy-pants linguistic sophisticates, then that’s too bad, because these innocent babies deserve FREEDOM.

  112. 112
    tybee says:

    @Mudge:

    even back in the 80’s in my computer science/math classes, data was used interchangeably as both singular and plural.
    well, except from one really old math professing fart who was a stickler. all us cool professors and kids didn’t use datum at all.

  113. 113
    PWL says:

    Shorter Texas GOP version: “Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fuhrer!….and that’s all you need to know….”

    Who says there’s no such things as devolution? Well, at least as far as Texas goes?

  114. 114
    nickgb says:

    We pulled the highlights of the platform out here: http://www.poisonyourmind.com/.....the-earth/

    By far the most crazy thing to me is the one I started with:
    “Further, we urge Congress to withhold Supreme Court jurisdiction in cases involving abortion, religious freedom, and the Bill of Rights.”

  115. 115
    Sly says:

    You ponder:

    I wonder what would happen if a student in Texas had a fixed belief in evolution because of parental authority; probably a time-space paradox that would destroy the universe.

    Their answer:

    Classroom Discipline – We recommend that local school boards and classroom teachers be given more
    authority to deal with disciplinary problems. Corporal punishment is effective and legal in Texas.

    If you’re not a True Blooded Texan, they’ll beat you until you become one.

  116. 116
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Mudge:

    And data are plural. Data are.

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    So are milk, wheat, and cheese. They’re called mass nouns.

    I love milk. They are wonderful with Oreo.

  117. 117
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    Milk are delicious. I love them with Oreo.

  118. 118
    ayn shtyn says:

    You’re right about real liberalism and theoretical conservatism. There’s a reason for that. Conservatism has an intrinsic structural advantage in that it looks backward by definition, whereas liberalism (or progressivism) looks forward. You don’t “do” the past, and memories tend to filter out most of the annoying details of functional existence. The halcyon days of youth and yesteryear have an easy framing advantage over actually thinking things through. This dynamic should be considered a possible etiology when treating cases of middle-age-onset Republicanism.

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