Dumb is a word that I try hard not to use. To me, it always seemed to have a bit of playground cruelty to it. It's a word that kids used when they really wanted to be mean, although maybe today's youth have graduated to more colorful language.
That being said, Louisiana state senator Mike Walsworth is D-U-M-B, dumb. The video below was taken during testimony involving Senate Bill 374 that would repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act.
This anti-science law seems rather innocuous. It states that the state board of education will allow and assist school districts
to create and foster an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.
Notice how it singles out the politically controversial topics of evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning. Jerry Coyne, professor of biology at the University of Chicago, sarcastically noted,
Yep, we don’t need more critical thinking in areas like physics, chemistry, or medicine—just human cloning, evolution, and global warming.
The attempt to repeal the law never made it out of committee.
But I digress. Back to the dumb state senator.
During testimony on SB 374, the senator asked Ms. Reeves, a retired science teacher with 31 years of experience, if there were any experiments that demonstrated evolution. She began describing Richard Lenski's E. coli Long-Term Experimental Evolution Project. He interrupts her and asks,
They evolve into a person?
Remember the old saw about there being no dumb questions? This is a dumb question. Does Senator Dumb-Dumb really think that biological theory predicts that humans evolved from E. coli? Does he think that biological theory predicts that this occurred over a few generations? Does he even begin to comprehend what 4.5 billion years is?
Yet there is some good news from Louisiana. Zach Kopplin, a 17 year-old student, is leading the fight to repeal the idiocy. The Orleans Parish school board prohibited the teaching of creationism and intelligent design, and the Baton Rouge Advocate asked why the Loch Ness monster, presented as evidence against evolution, is part of the science curriculum. The paper went on to call for the education department to
open its eyes to this kind of educational malpractice before children’s futures are endangered.
Education. It prevents the dumb.