Another school district’s assault on science

The blogs are ablaze with a school district in Maine whose director wants evolution expelled from the curriculum. Matthew Linkletter, director of School Adminstrative District No. 59, has said evolution, along with other “origins” theories such as the Big Bang, have to be believed by faith, that “you can’t show, observe, or prove it.” He also said, “If it’s not scientifically verifiable, then maybe we should leave it out of the science classes. When you make a statement that’s not backed by facts and just represents a world view, then it has no place.”

This has been well covered already, so I’ll let you find other capable coverage elsewhere. For now, I think Linkletter provides an excellent opportunity to put to use The Hovind Scale, a method for quantifying the stupidity of creationist statements.

Here we go:

Hovind Factor = (X + s + i + p) x (m + 1)

Belief in Scripture:
X = 0 – No doctrinal belief required

Now it seems rather obvious that the person making this statement is coming from a literalist religious perspective, but the Hovind Scale is about statements, and Linkletter’s particular statements don’t rest on a particular dogmatic interpretation. Thus, he gets off easy on this one.

Science Illiteracy:
S = 4 – Rejection of basic scientific facts/laws/robust theories and/or denial of any evidence that contradicts scripture

Linkletter has said that evolution is scientifically unverifiable. This, in spite of the fact that the theory of evolution is as well established as the theory of gravity (if not more.) Should we take the theory of gravity out of the classroom too, Mr. Linkletter?

Idiocy scale
i = 8 – unlikely to be accepted by anyone with more than two functioning neurons

Really, Mr. Linkletter? You really believe that evolution (and the Big Bang, for some reason) are not based on sound observation and experimentation? Despite displaying an obvious and utter lack of understanding of science? That’s pretty stupid.

p = 3 – Self contradiction invalidates statement completely, and is left unaddressed.

Linkletter says that evolution can’t be proven. Well watch out for the news flash, because nothing in science is proven! If we have to throw out every unproven scientific theory, we should just chuck ’em all, because not one of them is proven in the slightest. There’s plenty of evidence for the best ones, of course.

m = 4 – Complete, burn-in-Hell, perjury grade, super-lie – for example, one that is strategically designed to mislead authorities or the general public (e.g. as witnessed in the Dover trial and Expelled).

Ah, mendacity: the first and choicest refuge of the scoundrel. Mr. Linkletter deserves the highest mendacity value for several reasons. First, he is in a position of power, and is using that position to attack science. That makes any dishonesty far more egregious than a simple creationist blog (or Venom Fang X video.) Second, he’s pretending to be acting purely in the interest of good science education, despite the self-evident fact that his lack of any expertise in science should disqualify him from making such sweeping recommendations. Finally, he deserves a high value here because of the target of his mendacious attack: Children. Whatever he feels about it, if his attack on science education is successful, it will have the effect of undermining the future of the area’s children. A great deal of humanity’s future (and whether there is much future to speak of) will center on science, and for that reason we must give our students every advantage in gaining a scientific education. Linkletter’s ludicrous motion would leave them far behind the rest of the world.

All right, if we add all that up, we get a Hovind Factor of 75%; just 5% less than Expelled. Not bad, Mr. Linkletter; not bad.

Anyone in the area interested in registering their disgust with Mr. Linkletter can attend the school board meeting on May 19th. I’ll bet it’s a lively time!


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