I think we should be able to agree on this: someone who is elected to a state school board should not be a) criminally ignorant and b) an idiot. Yes, I know that no one elected to any public office should be either of these things, but there is something especially offensive about the educational policy in a state being made by people who by all available evidence are either uneducated themselves or uneducable.
This naturally raises the matter of Texas State Board of Education member Ken Mercer (R-San Antonio). You think I am being too harsh on Mr. Mercer? Consider this statement on the topic of evolution, which Mr. Mercer considers a laughable myth:
“If your theory’s right, all these species would get together and form a new species, then where is the cat-dog or the rat-cat, whatever it be. They don’t come together. Cats go with cats, and dogs go with dogs.”
Idiot? Ignoramus? You decide: the fact is that this man is passing judgment on Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, which he has been fighting to marginalize in the Texas schools for years. If he hasn’t read it, than he is unforgivably ignorant, but at least ignorance explains his rat-cat theory—sort of. If, however, he had read enough about evolution to explain it, and his level of comprehension produced the rat-cat argument, then he is, res ipsa loquitur, an idiot. I think that’s fair.
You still doubt me? Consider this brain-teaser, from the same interview:
“We cannot teach openly creation and ‘intelligent design,’ but where we draw the line is that we allow kids to ask honest questions in class. And that’s the strength of it right there because sometimes in debate it isn’t you really don’t have to prove your point, but if you can just prove another point.”
Right. Mercer is also on record as opposing what he calls “liberal indoctrination” in textbooks, as opposed to what he calls “education,” but which the Thomas B. Fordham Institute described this way, critiquing the social studies standards that he and some of his colleagues on the Board championed:
“…Complex historical issues are obscured with blatant politicizing throughout the document. Biblical influences on America’s founding are exaggerated, if not invented. The complicated but undeniable history of separation between church and state is flatly dismissed. From the earliest grades, students are pressed to uncritically celebrate the ‘free enterprise system and its benefits.’ ‘Minimal government intrusion’ is hailed as key to the early nineteenth-century commercial boom—ignoring the critical role of the state and federal governments in internal improvements and economic expansion.”
The problem with this particular breed of proud, unapologetic and arrogant idiot is that if given the power, they will try to replicate themselves, soon flooding the land with dangerously ignorant people just like them. And you thought zombies were dangerous…just wait til you see..
The Night of the Living Mercers!!