Brian Tashman's blog

Texas Textbook Reviewer Sheds Light On Creationist Efforts To Undercut Science Education

In a letter sent to the State Board of Education, Jimmy Gollihar of the University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology describes the lengths to which creationists are going to undermine science and advance Creationism in Texas classrooms, as well as the help they are receiving from board chair Barbara Cargill.

While the panels reviewing science textbooks are supposed to be independent of the school board, Cargill worked closely with creationism advocates on the panels, leading Gollihar to note that Cargill aided “those who might reasonably be regarded as creationists.”

Gollihar’s letter details how the creationists who are serving on the panel not only lack any credentials but seem not to understand basic science, such as the one panelist, a dietician, who demanded that biology textbooks incorporate “creation science based on biblical principles.”

“With such a gross misunderstanding of science, it is hard to fathom that any other comments the reviewer made would have been helpful or even accurate, and it further underscores the unfortunate skewing of the panels away from real, practicing scientists,” Gollihar writes.

As Dan Quinn of the Texas Freedom Network points out, Gollihar’s name was even added to the anti-evolution panelist’s comment.

“The net result of having a huge raft of non-scientists on the panels was that rather than checking for factual errors in the texts I was put into the position of having to painstakingly educate other panel members on past and current literature,” Gollihar continues. “[E]ven beyond the obviously ideologically-derived comments on the materials many of the comments found littered throughout those reviews make no sense whatsoever from a scientific viewpoint.”

He notes that actual biologists are being sidelined in the process as he was “among a small minority of panelists that possessed any post-secondary education in the biological sciences.”

By stacking the panels with advocates of Creationism, the bodies did “not in any way reflect the distribution of viewpoints within the scientific community.”

First, it would seem that the selection process for reviewers is lacking, at best — politically motivated at worst. Coming into the live review session in Austin, I fully expected that as a doctoral student at the University of Texas at Austin I would be the least-qualified member on the panel. My fears of inadequacy would soon subside; it seems that I was in fact one of only two practicing scientists present; indeed, I was among a small minority of panelists that possessed any post-secondary education in the biological sciences. Given the high interest amongst the scientific community in improving science education in Texas, I doubt that the make-up of the panel reflected the application pool in any way.

In fact, I know that several of my colleagues who hold PhD or equivalent degrees in their respective fields were passed over in the selection process. Instead, we had several well-known creationists and even a Fellow of the Discovery Institute, an Intelligent Design think tank. Beyond the established creationists, apologists for “creation science” were scattered throughout each of the review teams. This does not in any way reflect the distribution of viewpoints within the scientific community. It is impossible to conclude that the teams reviewing textbooks were anything other than grossly skewed and obviously biased.

The net result of having a huge raft of non-scientists on the panels was that rather than checking for factual errors in the texts I was put into the position of having to painstakingly educate other panel members on past and current literature. Somewhat unsurprisingly, a reviewer from another table, who is also a well-known creationist without any training in biology, was quite proud that he was the one reviewing the sections on evolution for his table … with no scientific counterpoint to be had. As a result, even beyond the obviously ideologically-derived comments on the materials many of the comments found littered throughout those reviews make no sense whatsoever from a scientific viewpoint and are absolutely not germane to the content prescribed in the TEKS [Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills].

Secondly, I and other members of my group grew increasingly concerned with both the actions and presence of Chairwoman Barbara Cargill during the review of course materials for high school biology. We appreciated her kind words about our service to the state, but we were taken aback by the sheer amount of time spent with other panel members, especially those who might reasonably be regarded as creationists. From our vantage, Ms. Cargill was clearly trying to steer the independent review process by providing specific guidance and direction to the two other teams. She appeared to be pointing to specific locations within certain texts and encouraging the members of the panel to recommend changes to the publishers. It is our understanding that the review process should be absent of any undue influence from SBOE members.

...

Finally, I have recently been made aware that a reviewer from another team made what appears to be a grossly misrepresentative comment to the publisher. For example, in the review of the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt textbook, an incredible resource, a panel member comments:

I understand the National Academy of Science's strong support of the theory of evolution. At the same time, this is a theory. As an educator and parent, I feel very strongly that "creation science" based on Biblical principles should be incorporated to every Biology book that is up for adoption. It is very important for students to use critical thinking skills and give them the opportunity to weigh the evidence between evolution and "creation science."

This is disturbing for a number of reasons. The author of this comment has obviously not mastered the material contained within the TEKS, especially 2C. With such a gross misunderstanding of science, it is hard to fathom that any other comments the reviewer made would have been helpful or even accurate, and it further underscores the unfortunate skewing of the panels away from real, practicing scientists. Moreover, while I entered into this process hoping to improve it, I now find that my name appears on the final document containing this comment! At no time did I ever sign anything resembling such nonsense. In fact, the author of that comment and I never worked on anything together. I do not know how this inaccurate statement and my name have been paired, but because I am a professional in good standing I strongly ask you to please remove my name from anything that does not have my direct signature when providing materials to the public. To do otherwise is to potentially sully my reputation. In sum, the review process is either broken or corrupt.

In hopes of the former, let’s learn from this and ensure that the next generation of students from our state is equipped with a solid foundation in the biological sciences and can compete globally. Future panel members should be experts in the irrespective fields, preferably practicing scientists up to date on the modern information that students need. If necessary, it might be useful to partition the TEKS to academics and professionals who deal with these topics in their work and research. We should absolutely not see network, mechanical or chemical engineers, dieticians or others making decisions or pressuring publishers to change books on biology. Let biologists do biology. We’re actually pretty good at it.

Erik Rush: Obama Engaging In Triple Cover-Up Of Benghazi

Channeling Glenn Beck, WorldNetDaily columnist and Fox News regular Erik Rush today writes that President Obama orchestrated the attack on the US annex in Benghazi, which he claims had “clandestinely provided arms to the rebels in Syria,” to cover up the weapons shipment. 

Now why would Obama and his supposed Islamist allies attack the same US annex they believe was arming Islamists? Well, as Rush explains, it was all an effort to cover up the fact that they were doing it in the first place, and then the administration had to cover up the reasons for the attack.

A cover-up of the cover-up.

But despite the fact that this makes absolutely no sense, Rush went on to say that the insurgents in Syria “came to possess chemical weapons” thanks to Obama, so now Obama must attack Syria in order to “erase the evidence of having provided them” and cover that up too.

Yep, it’s the old cover-up of the cover-up of the cover-up.

Most observers have settled on the likelihood that it is his desire to redirect attention from his many scandals, Obamacare and immigration reform legislation that impels the president toward carrying out this attack. There is also a distinct possibility that the Muslim Brotherhood (whom he has supported worldwide and who have fighters among the rebels in Syria) is putting pressure on him to deliver after his failure to resist the ouster of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

Q: How does Obama know what kind of weapons the rebels in Syria have?

A: He has the receipts …

I propose another scenario: It has been well-established that the Obama administration clandestinely provided arms to the rebels in Syria. (I say “rebels in Syria” rather than “Syrian rebels” because many of them are jihadis from other nations.) It is a pretty safe bet that this operation was at least part of the reason for the 9/11/12 attack on the American facility in Benghazi. I have contended for some time that President Obama himself either orchestrated the attack or was party to it. His motivation, I have asserted, would have been in perceiving a need to erase the evidence of the Benghazi operation – and perhaps even some of the personnel involved.

A subsequent revelation that Morsi provided military assets for the attack on the Benghazi compound does tend to lend credence to the notion that Obama was involved. After all, Obama was Morsi’s benefactor; indeed, there would have been no Arab Spring and no Muslim Brotherhood ascendancy in Egypt had it not been for Obama’s destabilization of the region.

Since it has been established that the Obama administration provided weapons to the rebels in Syria, and nearly a certainty these factions came to possess chemical weapons, is it then possible that Obama’s desire to strike Syria with all due speed stems from a need to erase the evidence of having provided them, and perhaps even other treasonous actions? It would certainly make the truth getting out with regard to Benghazi much more of a threat to Obama if evidence speaking to this being factual exists.

If this is factual, Barack Obama might ultimately be looking at occupying a noted place in history quite different from the one he currently occupies.

Cahn: Gay Marriage And Obama's Re-Election Are Signs Of The End Of America

Author Jonathan Cahn has become a star in Religious Right circles over his new book, The Harbinger, which basically claims that biblical prophecy regarding ancient Israel applies to the United States today. Cahn states that the September 11 attacks were a warning from God to repent and prophesied in the Bible. Instead of repenting, however, America is increasingly rebelling against God and Cahn predicts that such defiance will lead to the country’s ultimate destruction.

He appeared on Washington Watch with Tony Perkins yesterday to mark the anniversary of 9/11 and discuss a recent prayer gathering in the Capitol, where Michele Bachmann delivered a Cahn-like speech about how 9/11 and the Benghazi attack represented divine judgment. Cahn also spoke at the event.

After Perkins asked Cahn if the US is “responding to these warning signs of the Lord” appropriately, since Cahn of course knows exactly how God views America, Cahn responded that while America is in spiritual decline, the good news is that lots of people are buying his book!

The End Times author reiterated his claim that members of Congress are reading The Harbinger, including members he met at the Capitol prayer summit.

Unfortunately, America is still going downhill thanks to gay marriage and the re-election of Obama, so we may all be doomed anyway.

What I’ve experienced is there’s a lot of people—The Harbinger’s been spreading across the country, it’s even been reaching Capitol Hill. You and I were there on that night of prayer and several congressmen came up to me about it, so it’s been spreading on one hand. So we’re seeing prayers, we’re seeing repentance; we’re seeing much of that. But, on the other hand, as a nation since The Harbinger came out, America has continued its descent, its moral descent, rapidly. And this has affected the church. I believe, when I look back at it, it came out in 2012 and 2013, this is a real tipping point time where for the first time you have more Americans in favor of gay marriage, you have a president who was re-elected after declaring this, you have states coming forward, you have so many tipping points. I think there’s a reason why The Harbinger came out at that time because it’s a warning and it’s a wakeup call. What happens with a tipping point is things accelerate, unless there’s an intervention of God, things accelerate and I believe we’re really watching an acceleration; the Supreme Court just came out with its decision, I mean so much.

Perkins: Boycott Betty Crocker For Baking Wedding Cakes For Gay Couples

When gay rights advocates criticized Chick-fil-A for the company’s financial support of anti-gay organizations, the Family Research Council decried their “gaystapo tactics.” Apparently, the FRC believes that boycotts are only acceptable if they are organized by conservative groups.

In fact, the FRC is already boycotting companies like Starbucks and McDonalds, and even the Girl Scout Cookies.

Today on his daily radio commentary, FRC president Tony Perkins urged listeners to also boycott Betty Crocker and offered a link to the National Organization for Marriage’s campaign at DumpGeneralMills.com.

Perkins was outraged that Betty Crocker donated custom cakes to three gay Minnesota couples who were married after the state legalized same-sex marriage, and upset that a company spokesman said that “Betty celebrates all families.” Perkins warned that Betty Crocker’s “latest promotion is a recipe for disaster” and claimed that it is offensive to a majority of Americans who have already “made it tough on companies like Target, Starbucks and JC Penney” for not opposing gay rights.

“When you’re at the store, think outside the Betty Crocker box!”

At Betty Crocker, the only thing they're mixing up is their priorities. Hello, I'm Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council in Washington. If you ask conservatives, Betty Crocker's latest promotion is a recipe for disaster. This summer, the famous dessert line decided to jump on the same-sex marriage bandwagon and bring cakes to celebrate. In Minnesota, where parent company General Mills is headquartered, Betty Crocker decided to donate wedding cakes to the first homosexual couples who exchanged vows on the first day that counterfeit marriage was legal. "Betty celebrates all families…. We don't want to be old fashioned," the company explained. Unfortunately for General Mills, the majority of Americans think natural marriage is anything but old fashioned. And they've made it tough on companies like Target, Starbucks, and JC Penney who disagree. Know where your money is going. When you're at the store, think outside the Betty Crocker box!

Klingenschmitt: Colorado Recall Election A Victory For Jesus

Heavenly angels were singing when two Democratic state senators in Colorado were defeated in a low-turnout recall election that focused on the lawmakers’ support for tougher gun laws, at least according to “Dr. Chaps” Gordon Klingenschmitt. The exorcist and former navy chaplain actively campaigned for the Republican challengers, the Colorado Independent reports:

“I was praying tonight that God would inspire His people,” Gordon Klingenschmitt, assured Linda Herpin, wife of the GOP recall challenger, minutes before El Paso County Republicans announced that her husband had unseated Morse, a Democrat.



“I wanted to help recall John Morse specifically because of 2nd Amendment issues,” he said. “As a Christian, as a person who follows Jesus, I believe in the 2nd Amendment. I believe that when Jesus said, for example, ‘sell your cloak and buy a sword,’ that he endorsed the idea of self-defense, that defending yourself is not a crime. In fact, it’s a moral obligation to defend your wife, to defend your family, and John Morse stands against families who want to do that —stands against people who want to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights.”

In an email to members of his Pray In Jesus Name Project, Klingenschmitt writes that Jesus was the real winner in Colorado:

Victory! Jesus and 2nd Amendment win Colorado Senate races

Not only do I live in southern Colorado, where conservatives just successfully recalled two gun-grabbing liberal Senators who voted to restrict our 2nd Amendment rights, but I got personally involved in the local politics (block walking, petition gathering, donating, making phone calls, and praying) that helped elect a new Republican State Senator Bernie Herpin and throw out the Democrat Senate President John Morse. This internationally-watched race confronted President Obama himself, who sent VP Joe Biden to lobby the Colorado Senate to punish gun-owners, but those efforts backfired.



That said, I still believe religious freedom is the First right, because even if you have the right to bear arms, assemble, speak, and petition, but you don't have the right to worship Almighty God or pray in Jesus' name, then the government still owns your soul. Let's tell them "not my soul" today.

WND Is Just Asking The Question: Is Obama 'Ushering In Islamic Caliphate?'

Today’s WorldNetDaily News Alert was a true double-whammy, with two heavily slated reports phrased as questions so as to not take actual responsibility for the incendiary claims made in the articles.

“Are Terrorists Setting U.S. Wildfires?’ Joe Kovacs asks, relying on unsupported claims that Islamic extremists were maybe behind a Colorado wildfire.

As WND reported in June, an expert on Islamic terrorism believes a wildfire that ravaged the outskirts of Colorado Springs, Colo., killing two people and destroying more than 500 homes, should be examined by terror investigators.

“One thing that my investigators have given me the authority to state is that they have all but ruled out natural causes as the cause of this fire,” said Sheriff Terry Maketa at the time. “I can’t really go any further on that, but I can say we are pretty confident it was not, for instance, a lightning strike.”

In a message to WND’s Muslim readers, the NewsAlert offered this message: “If you are a Muslim … a Sunni Muslim … and you dream of the day the caliphate will be restored … then thank Allah for this man …”

Obama, of course!

WND reporter Aaron Klein’s post, “‘Manchurian President’ Ushering In Islamic Caliphate?,” argues that Obama has “empowered Islamic radicals” in order to create a global Islamic government. Klein, the author of “The Manchurian President,” is publicizing his new book “Impeachable Offenses.”

Since assuming office, President Obama has weakened America both domestically and abroad by emboldening U.S. enemies and tacitly supporting Muslim Brotherhood revolutions that have empowered Islamic radicals, charges a new book.

In “Impeachable Offenses: The Case to Remove Barack Obama from Office,”New York Times bestselling authors Aaron Klein and Brenda J. Elliott demonstrate that Obama’s policies have been helping to install Muslim Brotherhood-friendly regimes to the detriment of U.S. national security and world stability.

“Obama’s policies are installing political Islam throughout the Middle East and North Africa in a tidal wave of change already reaping disastrous results for those regions as well as for U.S. interests there,” write Klein and Elliott.



Islamic caliphate?

Mubarak was only the beginning, write Klein and Elliott. Obama’s support for a U.S. ally’s ouster and replacement with radical Islamic elements would be repeated numerous times in the Middle East and North Africa, to the great detriment of the American war on terror, the authors write.

'Homo Akbar!' Bryan Fischer Decries The 'Homosexual Mafia' And Obama's 'Spiritual Cleansing'

American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer yesterday tied together the closure of an Oregon bakery that refused to serve gay customers who were trying to find a wedding cake and the rapidly-collapsing story of an Air Force officer who insists he was punished by a superior over his views on gay marriage. Fischer said that the two accounts were proof of growing anti-Christian persecution in Obama’s America.

Lifting a line from WorldNetDaily, he accused gay rights advocates of using mob-like tactics and shouting “Homo Akbar!”

“This is happening everywhere,” Fischer argued. “That bakery couple in Oregon had their bakery completely shut down by a homosexual mob, a homosexual mafia; they cried ‘Homo-Akbar!’ and assaulted, stormed metaphorically, the bakery and got it completely shut down.”

Later in the segment, the Focal Point host maintained that President Obama “has made it a criminal offense to be a sincerely devoted follower of Jesus Christ in the United States Military” and accused Obama of “leading this purge of Christians from the military. This is ethnic cleansing, this is spiritual cleansing.”

Watch:

Anti-Immigrant Activist on Undocumented Population: 'Weed The Garden' And 'Cull The Herd'

Zack Taylor of the National Association for Former Border Patrol Officers has been a leading voice against immigration reform, charging that “America’s immigration laws are not broken” and estimating that there are around 20 million undocumented immigrants in the US. In an interview with the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios today, Taylor claimed that of the 20 million (a grossly inflated number), “potentially thirty percent” have criminal records – and that immigration enforcement officials must “cull the herd” of immigrants.

Actually, immigrants – both documented and undocumented -- are far less likely to be incarcerated than native-born Americans, and many of those who are in prison are there as a result of immigration violations rather than violent crimes.

Taylor then went on to falsely suggest that the Obama administration is ignoring laws and not targeting immigrants with criminal records. But as Beth Caldwell notes, two million undocumented immigrants have been deported in the last five years and the Senate reform bill “categorically excludes most people with criminal convictions from relief.”

“It’s just like having a garden; you have to weed the garden. If you’re raising animals; you have to cull the herd. That’s what needs to happen,” Taylor said.

This whole business about legalizing an unknown—when I talk about unknown, we’re talking about potentially 30% of the people that are here have criminal records. Why don’t we just go ahead and enforce the current immigration laws? It’s just like having a garden; you have to weed the garden. If you’re raising animals; you have to cull the herd. That’s what needs to happen. We need to turn our law enforcement people into a screw to where the people that are taken full custody arrest of are processed for immigration backgrounds and those that have criminal records removed. That’s not so hard to understand because these people are being picked up committing other crimes.

Liberty Counsel: Public Schools Have 'Become Some Of The Most Dangerous Places In America'

In last month’s edition of The Liberator [PDF], Liberty Counsel president Anita Staver blasted public school as “dangerous, anti-God indoctrination camps” that “threaten our nation’s very survival.” Pleading with parents to homeschool their children in a column titled “Stealth Creation of Government Indoctrination Camps Underway,” Staver lamented that “millions of helpless people are taken there on busses to be brainwashed and victimized” in “repressive” schools controlled by “secularists, humanists, and socialists.”

“Public schools have indeed, become some of the most dangerous places in America,” she writes. “We cannot stick our head in the sand while our nation’s children are held hostage in government indoctrination camps.”

“Resist the godless, socialist indoctrination before it’s too late!”

Most Americans are blissfully unaware that dangerous, anti-God indoctrination camps have been opened in every state in our nation!

A further outrage: You and I are being forced to support these socialist camps that threaten our nation’s very survival.

Under the guise of bringing positive reform, these camps are undermining the American way of life. Every day, millions of helpless people are taken there on busses to be brainwashed and victimized. In fact, our government has created an entire bureaucracy dedicated to advancing these repressive institutions.

You probably even have relatives or friends who are mandated to live in these camps for countless hours of the most impressionable and formative years of their lives. Of course, these government indoctrination camps are also known as “public schools.”

Public schools have indeed, become some of the most dangerous places in America, not just because of potential violence, but due to humanists with revisionist textbooks espousing anti-God lies to throngs of unsuspecting indoctrinees.



Although public schools were started to spread and affirm Christian morals and the Bible, government schools have become hostile places for God’s Word. The tragic fact is that the lack of morals in our public school classrooms is endangering our nation’s future.

These days, when parental authority is overruled by bureaucrats and activist judges, leaving parents as mere caretakers, Christians need to heed the warnings and take control of the public schools while they still can. And while we are working on school reform, we need to be sure our own children do not fall victim to the brainwashing.



I believe that many Christians will need to ask God’s forgiveness for neglecting His most precious gift: our nation’s children. And while we are training up our own children, we must also take the public schools back from the secularists, humanists, and socialists who have gained a stranglehold on their curricula. Even if we do not have children or grandchildren in the government controlled school systems, we must be deeply concerned about those who will someday govern our nation.



We cannot stick our head in the sand while our nation’s children are held hostage in government indoctrination camps. We dare not leave our most precious resource – our children – to the humanists. Secularization has deeply infected many school systems nationwide, spurred on by anti -Christian groups like the ACLU, People for the American Way, Freedom From Religion Foundation, and other radical groups that systematically coerce administrators into kicking God out the door.

The threat posed to our constitutional republic by socialist indoctrination in government school systems is very real and very present. But the good news is that Liberty Counsel and other pro-liberty groups are standing up against this subversion and are winning the battles! Join with us for the sake of our children and grandchildren. Resist the godless, socialist indoctrination before it’s too late!

Pat Robertson Marks 9/11 By Blaming Separation Of Church And State For Inviting Radical Muslim 'Fifth Column' Into America

Two days following 9/11 terrorist attacks, televangelists Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell blamed the attacks on “the pagans, the abortions, the feminists and the gays and lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way.”

Today, Robertson remembered 9/11 by attacking former president George W. Bush for calling Islam a “religion of peace.”

“They believe that anybody who doesn’t submit is at war with them and they are prime targets, and for the Western nations to welcome this fifth column into their midst is just committing suicide,” Robertson claimed.

“The reason is they have lost their faith in God, they have lost their faith in Jesus Christ, they don’t believe in what the Bible says and the core values of our society have gone away,” Robertson continued. “We’ve done it here in America, we’ve abolished prayer in the schools, we’ve taken out Bible-reading in the schools and little by little by little we’ve eroded the rights—we keep talking about separation and this that and the other.”

Watch:

Robertson made the remarks following a report by Dale Hurd which linked radical Islamic groups to liberals. “Muslims and the European left continue their strange political partnership; while they’re polar opposites when it comes to women’s rights, abortions and homosexuality, Muslims vote for the left while the left grows its constituency by encouraging Muslim immigration and the spread of Islamic values,” Hurd claimed. “America too has been knowingly trying to advance the cause of Muslim radicals in Syria and Egypt.”

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