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August 18, 2011 1:45 PM Perry tackles science in N.H.

By Steve Benen

ABC News has a video up today showing Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry answering a question from a young boy in New Hampshire. “How old do you think the Earth is?” the kid said. Given Perry’s larger worldview, it seems like a reasonable question. The Texas governor replied, “I don’t have any idea; I know it’s pretty old. So, it goes back a long, long way.”

We can hope Perry doesn’t think 6,000 years is “pretty old.”

At this point, the boy’s mother pushed him to ask Perry about evolution. The candidate explained:

“Your mom is asking about evolution. You know, that’s a theory that’s out there; it’s got some gaps in it. In Texas, we teach both creationism and evolution in our public schools — because I figure you’re smart enough to figure out which one is right.”

This is important for a couple of reasons. First, Perry may have no idea what goes on in Texas’ public schools, but if they’re teaching “both creationism and evolution,” they’re violating the law. It’s not even a gray area — the Supreme Court has already struck down a law that called for “balanced treatment for creation-science and evolution-science in public school instruction,” concluding that the law violated the separation of church and state. Teaching religion in science class is illegal under the First Amendment.

It’s not exactly a secret that plenty of school districts ignore the law, but that’s not really the point here. Rather, this is a governor arguing publicly that his entire state is ignoring the law. That should, in theory, be a problem for him. (Follow up question for Perry: what other laws do you ignore in Texas?)

Also, Perry’s explanation reinforces the underlying problem: Texas, he claims, teaches both science and pseudo-science and leaves it to students to “figure out which one is right.” On a fundamental level, this is a failure of what education is even supposed to be. Reality is not multiple choice. Public school curricula are not supposed to present fact and fiction, only to leave it ambiguous which is which. It’s a recipe for prolonged ignorance and stunted growth.

In other words, over the course of about 45 seconds, Perry admitted on camera that his state is flouting the law and he’s comfortable with promoting ignorance in science classes.

Postscript: As for the notion that evolutionary biology is somehow dubious because of “gaps,” Perry should probably wake up and smell the 21st century. As the National Academy of Sciences has explained, “The occurrence of evolution in this sense is a fact. Scientists no longer question whether descent with modification occurred because the evidence supporting the idea is so strong.”

Other scientific theories that are “out there” include gravity, electromagnetism, plate tectonics, and general relativity. Does Perry also want science classes to teach the opposite of all of these and hope kids are “smart enough to figure out which one is right”?

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

Comments

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  • Bob on August 18, 2011 1:51 PM:

    The evolution comment that always made a lot of sense to me: "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." Explanation in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nothing_in_Biology_Makes_Sense_Except_in_the_Light_of_Evolution

  • martin on August 18, 2011 1:53 PM:

    In Texas, we teach both creationism and evolution in our public schools — because I figure you’re smart enough to figure out which one is right.”

    I believe the proper followup is "Have you?"

  • c u n d gulag on August 18, 2011 1:53 PM:

    "Gov. Perry, do you believe that humans and dinosaurs lived together at the same time?'

    "Well, sure son. Adam and Eve rode 'em to work an' back."

    'How do you know, Governor?'

    "Well, where do think the term SUV comes from?
    'Saurian Utility Vehicle.
    Duh!
    Don't they teach you nothin' in them fancy Liberal Northeast schools?"

  • Gerald on August 18, 2011 2:06 PM:

    I believe you should instead be criticizing Mr. Perry for lying just to please his base. My children finished their 12 years in Texas public schools four years ago and two years ago, respectively, and no, creationism was not taught in their schools. I was not in their classrooms, but knowing them as I do, I firmly believe they would have mentioned that to me if it had happened.

    Possibly the curriculum has changed since they were in elementary school, but I expect I would have heard about it if creationism were added.

  • T2 on August 18, 2011 2:14 PM:

    another day aboard the Perry Gaffe Express...."present fact and fiction" and let them decide which they like best-a perfect example of a Rick Perry campaign....truth, lies, whatever works best for whatever crowd he's blabbering at.

  • truth=freedom on August 18, 2011 2:16 PM:

    Just an FYI: gravity isn't a theory. It's a fact. Like evolution (which is to say "descent with modification"). Natural selection and punctuated equilibrium are theories of evolution. General relativity is, in this same sense, a theory of gravity. There are many theories of gravity, and the truth is that while we can use general relativity to describe the effects of gravity in many situations, it's not nearly as good a theory of gravity as natural selection and punctuated equilibrium are as theories of evolution.

  • ChristianPointOfView on August 18, 2011 2:18 PM:

    Goddamn Jesus hating liberals...

    We real Christians know that the sun rises in the west and sets in the east. Everyone else would know this as the truth if you goddamn liberals had not lied to everyone about which direction is east and which is west!

  • SteveT on August 18, 2011 2:24 PM:

    Other scientific theories that are "out there" include gravity, electromagnetism, plate tectonics, and general relativity.

    Our entire nuclear arsenal is based on Einstein's theoretical equation: E=mxC(squared)

    (The energy released by an atomic explosion will equal the mass exploded multiplied by the speed of light squared.)

    And yet the nuclear tests fired by North Korea in 2006 and 2009 yielded only a small fraction of the energy predicted by Einstein's theory. So given that contrary data, shouldn't we assume our country's nuclear deterrent is based on an unproven theory, and that the billions of dollars that we spend is being wasted?

    I assume Gov. Perry soon will call for a complete dismantling of our nuclear weapons program.

  • Stetson Kennedy on August 18, 2011 2:27 PM:

    In other news, Governor Perry explains how Texas schools teach math:

    [i]Some schools will teach you 2+2=4, but we tell you 2+2 could equal 4, or it could be 5. We know you're smart enough to figure it out![/i]

  • Maylib on August 18, 2011 2:29 PM:

    Actually, gravity is a law. It can be repeatedly tested and proven.

    Evolution will always be a theory because it describes a process that is going on right now and can never be truly tested repeatedly like gravity.

    that doesn't make it less true and we have an enourmous amount of micro and macro evidence to show that it's accurate but, in science it can't ever be considered a law.

  • Cookie on August 18, 2011 2:31 PM:

    And for all of those who hate Obama because he is not pure enough and think there is no difference between the candidates....

  • estamm on August 18, 2011 2:32 PM:

    To follow up on 'truth=freedom', Evolution (like Gravity) is both a fact and a theory. Evolution happened, and there are several theories on how it happened, chief amongst them is 'natural selection' (but also 'punctuated equilibrium' and 'God-directed evolution'). If it turn out that 'natural selection' is wrong, that does not mean that evolution did not happen. The other problem is that the general public tosses around the word 'theory' like it means something like an 'educated guess'. A scientific hypothesis (aka "a really really educated guess") does not graduate to become 'theory' until it is almost certainly a fact.

  • HBinBoston on August 18, 2011 2:32 PM:

    It's common for anti-evolutionists to place a huge amount of meaning on the word "just" (as in "Evolution is just a theory.)" This is a vulgar use of the term "theory," but one we often employ. "Do you know who stole your sandwich?" "No, but I have a theory." In scientific usage, the term "theory" means explanations based on empirical observations, linked to methods of classification, and which are consistent with the class of explanations in the field of study. That's the "theory" of evolution.

  • T2 on August 18, 2011 2:36 PM:

    gravity exists on planet Earth to the degree we all know. It does not exist on every planet or celestial body, although it does exist to a degree in some (moon). So the Law of Gravity is not universal.

  • stormskies on August 18, 2011 2:40 PM:

    Yet the fact remains, not theory, that 40% of our population 'believes' that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old, and that human co-mingled with the Dinosaurs.. this pretty much correlates with the 40% or so will always vote for Repiglicans no matter what because they do indeed offer an 'alternative' universe = reality to 'believe' in.

    They do in fact live in a 'fact free universe'. So of course evil buffoon like Perry has to answer in exactly the way he did ....... and the utterly ignorant cheer on ...

  • Jeff In Ohio on August 18, 2011 2:40 PM:

    If people in Texas are able to distinguish the difference between 'scientific theory' and 'Sherlock Holmes has a theory', then they might also figure out that an economy based on distortions and bottom of the barrel jobs is a sham.

  • 2Manchu on August 18, 2011 2:44 PM:

    How do you teach creationism? What evidence do teachers use to back it up? The Book of Genesis?

  • Ron Byers on August 18, 2011 2:45 PM:

    Imagine the direction America will head if Perry or someone like him were elected President and the Congress was controlled with Paul Ryan clones.

    Scary isn't it?

    Now do you need a reason to back Obama and the Democrats in 2012?

  • stormskies on August 18, 2011 2:48 PM:

    You said it all Ron Byers ...

  • rick on August 18, 2011 2:51 PM:

    T2
    What century were you born in?
    Are you still waiting for the apple to fall?
    ijit!

  • jonas on August 18, 2011 2:54 PM:

    I'll just add that gravity is a "theory" as well. Ask any physicist -- Einstein's relativity equations and quantum mechanics are incompatible! There's massive holes (black ones! Har!) in the theory! Teach the controversy!

    Here's some other things we should ask Perry to consider letting students make up their own minds about. And isn't that really what education is all about? Letting kids decide what's best for themselves? Science: it's about how you feel.

    The Holocaust: some poindexter historians claim it was a massive program by the Nazis to eradicate the Jews in Europe; others disagree. You decide!

    Jesus: the only historical witnesses to his existence are fragmentary bits of the Gospels written in the equivalent of Greek ebonics decades after he is alleged to have lived by people with a vested interest in affirming his existence. No contemporary Greco-Roman sources prior to the Gospels mention him. What's up with that? What kind of educational system lets you think the life of Jesus is an ironclad historical fact? It's full of holes and contradictions! You decide!

    Grammar: whose to sey what speling is "rite" or "rong"? Let kidz figger it out! Dictionaries were written by elitist, Ivy League professors. What do they know? I can't even find the word "y'all" in Websters and we all know that's a real wurd. I think Jesus used it.

    Any others? I bet we can come up with a great list of things.

  • maylib on August 18, 2011 2:56 PM:

    re2manchu

    http://nwcreation.net/homeschool.html

    I thought that was an interesting question. That's one example. And yes, the bible is the textbook.

    that's some scary shite!

  • SadOldVet on August 18, 2011 2:57 PM:

    @ Cookie...

    And for all of those who hate Obama because he is not pure enough and think there is no difference between the candidates....

    Who are you referring to? Other than an occasional repuke plant, there is virtually zero hatred of Obama expressed among the commenters on this site. I have myself expressed a great amount of displeasure at things that 'The Obomination' has done or not done. To believe that any criticism of Obama is equivalent to hating Obama and believing that there would be no difference with any of the repuke candidates is an absolute distortion. You need to pull your head out of your ObamaNut ass.

    @ T2...

    It (gravity) does not exist on every planet or celestial body.

    Sorry dude, unless you can point to some 'non-fictional, non-republican' scientific evidence that supports your claim that gravity does not exist everywhere, you are flying in the face of established science and are wrong, wrong, wrong.

    Sometimes, the amount of gravity from a planet or celestial body has been more or less than what scientists expected before they go more data from exploratory space vehicles, but all of them do have gravity.


  • Ron Byers on August 18, 2011 2:57 PM:

    What you or I or anybody is irrelevant to gravity. Gravity just is. The same with evolution. The stories we spin to explain gravity and evolution are called theories. Theories can be modified as new facts come to light.

    Scientific theories explain the facts as they exist. Good scientific theories explain all of the facts as they are known. If a fact comes to light that can't be explained or isn't predicted by the existing theory, then a scientific theory will be modifies. Newton's theory of gravity was a very good scientific theory. It explained all the known facts right up to the moment it couldn't explain all the known facts. It was replaced by Einstein's theories which did explain the known facts. There are some who say Einstein doesn't do a good job of explaining some facts that have emerged over the years. His theories have been tweaked, altered and in some ways replaced by later theories.

    The point is science is fact based. Facts control the theories.

    Religion is faith based. Facts have no place in religion.

  • Ron Byers on August 18, 2011 2:59 PM:

    "What you or I believe." Review is my friend.

  • truth=freedom on August 18, 2011 3:00 PM:

    @T2: Gravity exists everywhere in the universe. The degree to which it is experienced in any given location is a function of the mass distribution of the universe (and to a lesser degree the amount the mass spins, and the like), but mostly just the mass that's quite nearby.

    So, in that sense, Gravity is quite universal.

  • QuestionEverything on August 18, 2011 3:03 PM:

    "We report, you decide" - FoxNews

    This is just a variation to what Fox does: We present information that leaves out important details or we just flat out lie about a topic. Then based on that and no other information, you decide.

    We bring in paid 'experts' that may not be experts but we tell you they are. We may have serious credibility issues or have financial incentive to lie/mislead but we'd never use the term "full disclosure" because you might suspect we're lying to you.

    We may also use some 'fake liberals' to show you the 'other point of view' but they are idiots and Fox would never use an actual progressive/liberal like RachelM, KeithO, SteveB, etc. because they would eat them alive with facts and show you to be the dipshits that you are (like Rachel has done on the Sunday AM News shows from time to time).

    We'll hook in an emotional element to it using fear, patriotism, or anger to 'indoctrinate' the easily manipulated, so you won't question it. And you'll willfully and arrogantly insist on your ignorance despite information to the contrary that you willfully ignore.

    Then we repeat it it incessantly and tell you no one tells you the truth except us and if you hear anything different it's because it's 'liberal' (a really bad word that can mean anything we want it to). It's a word that you're so 'conditioned' to hate that you stop thinking about what is being said by the 'liberals' that you focus solely on the silly label.

  • captain obvious on August 18, 2011 3:06 PM:

    2Manchu

    How do you teach creationism? What evidence do teachers use to back it up? The Book of Genesis?

    Easy. GOD gave the universe a Big Bang. In a literal sense. We are nothing more than the by=products of his spilled seed.

  • Old Uncle Dave on August 18, 2011 3:06 PM:

    Conversation with a creationist:

    "There are 3000 species of lizards in the world. Did Noah take 6000 lizards on the ark?"

    "No, the bible says he took two of every kind, so he just took two lizards on ark."

    "And the offspring of those two lizards, over the course of years since the flood, turned into the 3000 different species on the planet today?"

    "Yes."

    "One species of lizards, the pair Noah took on the ark, was the ancestor of all 3000 species around today?

    "Yes."

    "Congratulations, you have just agreed with the theory of evolution."

    At that point, they gave me some tracts and moved on to the next house.

  • Perspecticus on August 18, 2011 3:06 PM:

    To be fair, 6,000 years is still pretty old. Not as old as 6 billion, but much older than Rick Perry. So, yeah.

  • ChristianPointOfView on August 18, 2011 3:07 PM:

    Thanks Ron Byers! Someone finally has gotten it right.

    Facts have no place

    The important thing in life is to believe. When you attempt to attack and confuse our beliefs with what you call facts, you are obviously expressing your belief in facts.

    Our Christian beliefs will not suffer lightly your atheistic belief in facts that contradict what we believe.

    Plus, if you ever even infer that our Christian leaders are providing false beliefs fed to them by the wealthy and corporate interests who provide them with funding, we Christians will be looking for you to provide some Christian insight by sticking a burning cross up your @ss.

  • T2 on August 18, 2011 3:10 PM:

    maybe you guys should watch NASA TV.....people FLOAT around in space. Last time I checked, space=universe.

  • stormskies on August 18, 2011 3:12 PM:

    August 18, 2011 07:00 AM
    Paranoid Style: The Black Helicopter Republicans
    By Matt Osborne
    Crossposted from Video Cafe


    The operative word here is "believe," for as soon as the question is about conviction of faith the human mind will be immune to facts. The brain actively resists information that does not fit the story of the operating belief system, and stores contrary information in a way that does not change the system.

    That we have evolved this peculiar trait is why so much of the right wing media dissected here at C&L is about a belief system, or rather the constant and deliberate invocation of that system. The audience craves confirmation of what they already believe. Plato described the mental system of paranoid politics as a cave with shadows projected on the walls. The current terminology for this phenomenon is "epistemic closure," but like the name Plato, that is a phrase guaranteed to make eyelids heavy.

    I call this phenomenon "the paranoid universe." First described by Richard Hofstadter in The Paranoid Style in American Politics, it is a cyclical construct:
    THEY are out to get us.

    THEY are responsible for all the problems.

    THEY are all in it together.

    Thus do Muslims and liberals and feminists and socialists and Kenyans and Chinese and umpteen other suspects become Emmanuel Goldstein -- a monolithic enemy to be feared. The enemy makes them angry. They hate the enemy. Such minds don't care for details; they only know they are scared, and must blame it on someone that is outside the belief system -- alien. Fear the alien; suffer him not to live, and fight his future.

    More on the League of the South, a neo-confederate organization, here.

  • Perspecticus on August 18, 2011 3:16 PM:

    "gravity exists on planet Earth to the degree we all know. It does not exist on every planet or celestial body, although it does exist to a degree in some (moon). So the Law of Gravity is not universal."

    Great. Now I have a forehead-shaped dent in my desk. I'm getting in trouble for that for sure.

    My favorite part of this is the qualifier that gravity exists on Earth "to the degree we all know." Yes, as far as I am aware, and as far as anyone I know has told me, there is gravity on Earth. But really, that's all just second and third-hand, so...

  • SadOldVet on August 18, 2011 3:16 PM:

    @ T2...

    Are you suffering today from a temporary state of stupid or is it a permanent condition?

    ??? ...space=universe. ???

    People 'float' in space because there is something close to an equilibrium among all of the gravities that are acting upon them. Astronauts train in swimming pools because they are the closest approximation to that degree of equilibrium of gravitation forces.

    Believe it or not, you are still being acted upon by gravities when you 'float' in a swimming pool!

  • doubtful on August 18, 2011 3:16 PM:

    Could this guy sound any more like W?

  • Polijay on August 18, 2011 3:17 PM:

    "One species of lizards, the pair Noah took on the ark, was the ancestor of all 3000 species around today?"

    Of those lizards how many gave birth to non-lizards?

    Remove the evolutionary theory from the books and no technological advancement or scientific fact would have to be taken away.

    "Strong" evidence based on the opinion of scientists does not prove macro-evolution.

    BTW - an eel was just discovered which scientists said was extinct 100 million years ago. Those who are so sure of the current evolutionary theory need to be reminded that 20 years ago those people were sure about their evolutionary theory. Evolutionists today consider evolution of 20 years ago to be ridiculous. Guess what will happen in 20 years?

  • Perspecticus on August 18, 2011 3:17 PM:

    "maybe you guys should watch NASA TV.....people FLOAT around in space. Last time I checked, space=universe."

    Please. Just stop.

  • Anonymous on August 18, 2011 3:19 PM:

    "Other scientific theories that are οΏ½out thereοΏ½ include gravity, electromagnetism, plate tectonics, and general relativity. Does Perry also want science classes to teach the opposite of all of these and hope kids are οΏ½smart enough to figure out which one is rightοΏ½?"

    Quibble. There may be opposing theories, but let's not talk opposites (implying either/or). As others have noted, gravity is a 'fact'... what forces are at play is still in question. The same is true of your other examples. We know they happen, but the root forces at work are largely unknown. The same is not true of evolution, though anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of biology would realize that bacteria and viruses epitomize evolution in its simplest form. Too bad these idiots pretend it's all God all the time. Just send us back to the dark ages.

  • citizen_pain on August 18, 2011 3:21 PM:

    "Reality is not multiple choice."
    Um, if you are a Christian Conservative it is...

    The bottom line is that people who choose to hide their head in the sand and ignore the realities of the world around them are selfish cowards.


  • Perspecticus on August 18, 2011 3:23 PM:

    "One species of lizards, the pair Noah took on the ark, was the ancestor of all 3000 species around today?"

    Of those lizards how many gave birth to non-lizards?

    Remove the evolutionary theory from the books and no technological advancement or scientific fact would have to be taken away.

    "Strong" evidence based on the opinion of scientists does not prove macro-evolution.

    BTW - an eel was just discovered which scientists said was extinct 100 million years ago. Those who are so sure of the current evolutionary theory need to be reminded that 20 years ago those people were sure about their evolutionary theory. Evolutionists today consider evolution of 20 years ago to be ridiculous. Guess what will happen in 20 years?
    ============================

    I...

    Nevermind.

  • Jilli on August 18, 2011 3:25 PM:

    Is there any further explanation needed to explain why Texas ranks near the bottom in education?

    I could never vote for a candidate that doesn't believe in science.

  • Marko on August 18, 2011 3:25 PM:

    "Your mom is asking about evolution. You know, that’s a theory that’s out there; it’s got some gaps in it." - Rick Perry

    Yeah? Well there's gaps in the Theory of Jesus, too. Yet you have no problems at all believing it.

  • SadOldVet on August 18, 2011 3:34 PM:

    I am waiting for a reply from T2. He has been part of my entertainment while I wait for a teleconference at the top of the hour.

    Earth to T2. Earth to T2. Come on down, the price is right! Oops, that would require gravity, wouldn't it.

    Or, in the choice of words of Craptcha ratiolli metal.

  • Perspecticus on August 18, 2011 3:59 PM:

    Ron Byers, just one thing: gravity is not a theory. Gravity has been proven sufficiently enough to be a law.

  • Skip on August 18, 2011 4:14 PM:

    And that pesky gravitational force keeping our solar system, the planets, moons, asteroid belt, from just floating all over space and at the very center of our galaxy, the gravitational power at the event horizon of a black hole...such equations, lotz and lotz of equations, pretty equations that must be denied, along with the denied GW data, and the denied evolution theory.

    captcha: same tsofer - yes, it is.

  • troglodyte on August 18, 2011 4:19 PM:

    Again with "theory" versus "hypothesis" versus "fact"!!

    A scientific fact is an observation. If you let go of a glass of water in your earthbound kitchen, it will fall to the floor. That is a fact.

    A scientific hypothesis is a guess at the process that could explain the facts/observations at hand, that is all the different times that glasses fall to the floor, apples fall from the tree, or Nolan Ryan fastballs eventually hit the dirt.

    A scientific theory is a hypothesis that has been tested repeatedly against the facts, and consistently explains them. In most cases, the formulation of the theory allows the observer to predict future observations and explain phenomena over a wider range than apples, water glasses and fastballs. For instance, the motions of satellites, moons and the differing gravitational forces one experiences on Earth, moon, Mars, etc.

    Evolution is a theory, descent with modification. Its precepts can be verified with the genetics of corn, of blue eyes, and other macroscopic observations since the 19th century. In the past few decades biologists have gone to the microscopic level to see the inner workings of the selection mechanisms.

  • Stetson Kennedy on August 18, 2011 4:23 PM:

    T2 on August 18, 2011 3:10 PM:

    maybe you guys should watch NASA TV.....people FLOAT around in space. Last time I checked, space=universe.

    I have a theory that T2 is as dumbb as a bag of rocks, and in inly 2 posts, T2 proves it!

  • DAY on August 18, 2011 4:25 PM:

    Just got back from Mass, Confession,;my Penance was to read every eff'in previous comment here.
    And now, I gotta go gargle with Holy H2O. . .

  • troglodyte on August 18, 2011 4:41 PM:

    Dont be hating on T2! It is a common misconception to confuse facts and theories. Most people would explain gravity by letting a ball drop to the floor, and this is OK. When you start talking about the theory of gravity you have to write down inverse-square equations, do an inventory of all the mass in the celestial neighborhood, and integrate. To a person who understands "gravity" as that which makes apples fall, the "weightlessness" of an astronaut in orbit is misinterpreted. The astronaut and his spaceship are still in the pull of Earth's gravity, but suspended above the planet by a balancing centripetal force. But here the gravity isnt something one feels directly (one feels weightless), but its influence on your motion can be calculated by theory and verified by observation.

  • DRF on August 18, 2011 4:47 PM:

    A truly moronic statement. If high school biology students are smart enough to figure out which theory is right, then so are the science teachers in Texas schools and, dare I say it, the government officials in the State of Texas. So if they all can "figure out" which is right, then shouldn't they be teaching the "right" theory and not the "wrong" theory? Why teach both if one is clearly right and the other clearly wrong?

    Perry may have great political skills within the state of Texas, but he strikes me as not ready for the national stage. Even Bachmann comes across as sharper.

  • royalblue_tom on August 18, 2011 4:53 PM:

    Oh yes, Gravity is a law. It was a law in Newton's time, and it was still a law after they changed it. The law as understood, was proved wrong*. By a theory. Einstein's special THEORY of Relativity.

    Just give it up with the "It's a law" crock. You're just looking silly.

    * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitation

  • James at home on August 18, 2011 5:08 PM:

    Newton's law of universal gravitation
    About fifty years after Kepler announced the laws now named after him, Isaac Newton showed that every particle in the Universe attracts every other with a force which is proportional to the products of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of their separation.

    Hence:

    If F is the force due to gravity, g the acceleration due to gravity, G the Universal Gravitational Constant (6.67x10-11 N.m2/kg2), m the mass and r the distance between two objects. Then

    F = G m1 m2 / r2

  • maylib on August 18, 2011 5:11 PM:

    Reroyalblue_tom

    I see your wikipage and throw down about.com

    http://physics.about.com/od/classicalmechanics/a/gravity.htm

    the law of gravity wasn't proven wrong.

    "So when we are scientifically discussing gravity, we can talk about the law that describes the attraction between two objects, and we can also talk about the theory that describes why the objects attract each other." - http://thehappyscientist.com/science-experiment/gravity-theory-or-law

    :P

  • don on August 18, 2011 5:16 PM:

    Teaching both sides? Remember when liberals were accused of this touchy-feely crap? Every kid is right and there are no wrong answers?

  • rrk1 on August 18, 2011 5:55 PM:

    Perry shoots from the hip. That's his brand, and no media personality is going to challenge him. He makes it up from whole cloth. So what if he says something untrue. He doesn't know, he doesn't care. It won't matter. Just like Bush. The 19th century Christian know-nothings will adore him even if he's found in bed with a dead girl, a live boy, or both.

    It's nice, Steve, that you point out reality, but Perry lives very securely in a parallel universe, which we here in the northeast can't comprehend. We shouldn't try, and neither should Obama try to compromise with it.

    What's the compromise between 6,000 years and 4.5-billion? What's the compromise between evolution and creationism? What's the compromise between gravity and non-gravity? I'm sure Obama will look for bipartisan compromise. Since no one will be happy, that must make it right.

    Oh, what a clown circus this already is.

  • Don Coyote on August 18, 2011 6:15 PM:

    Add the germ theory. I wonder if Texas teaches the alternative: demonic possession. The med labs ought to be pretty interesting in Dallas!

  • AndThenThere'sThat on August 18, 2011 6:53 PM:

    I have a theory that T2 is as dumbb as a bag of rocks, and in inly 2 posts, T2 proves it!-Stetson Kennedy

    T2 is a frequent commenter on this site, and most certainly isn't stupid.

    As for half the commenter's here wasting time on the semantics of "theory", I can't say the same.

    Pure and simple -
    Perry = Snake oil peddler in a cowboy hat.

  • AndThenThere'sThat on August 18, 2011 6:55 PM:

    scratch the apostrophe in commenters

  • cmdicely on August 18, 2011 6:59 PM:

    Remove the evolutionary theory from the books and no technological advancement or scientific fact would have to be taken away.

    To reject macro-evolution, you have to reject the sources of the genetic changes which produce the changes on which selection operates (which are fundamental to many modern technologies in the life sciences, including the whole field of genetic engineering), since selection -- that those creatures whose traits make them most able to survive and reproduce will do so more than others in the same environment -- is essentially true by definition, and macro-evolution is simply the inevitable consequence of a source of variation combined with selection.

  • Ted Frier on August 18, 2011 7:53 PM:

    It would be one thing if the right opposed evolution and climate change on scientific grounds, but they don't. They oppose evolution because it offends their theology of an omniponent and interventionist God. They oppose climate science on economic grounds, that it threatens to raise the price of gasoline or to diminish Koch brother's profits.

    As soon as the Koch brothers and the rest of the gas and oil oligopoly figure out a way to dominate the market for wind and solar the way they own fossil fuels, Fox News will do an immediate about-face and begin breathlessly warning that we have to end our dependence on non-renewable energy and "Go Green" -- NOW!!!

    And all those "global warming alarmists" that Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity like to torment so much everyday will suddenly become paid Fox analysts. Mark my word.

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  • lance on August 19, 2011 10:00 AM:

    "Evolution will always be a theory because it describes a process that is going on right now and can never be truly tested repeatedly like gravity."

    Sorry MayLib, but Evolution IS A FACT. We can see it happen, and have both laboratory and controlled field (in nature) evidence that it does.

    Evolution even has laws.

    Evolutionary Theory is, and will always be a theory, but evolutionary Theory is merely the EXPLANATION of the observed facts of Evolution.

    So get a grip on Reality.

  • Anonymous on August 19, 2011 10:06 AM:

    XtianPOV,

    "Our Christian beliefs will not suffer lightly your atheistic belief in facts that contradict what we believe. "

    Here's a suggestion: "Try having more FAITH in fewer BELIEFS."

    (yes, I know it was parody)

  • tamiasmin on August 19, 2011 2:45 PM:

    Those NASA people are not floating, T2. They are moving at several thousand miles an hour. If the earth's gravity did not act on them, they would shoot off in a line tangent to the earth. Or if they were not moving in relation to the earth, they would fall back in a plumb line to the ground. So they are, in effect, falling around the earth, in equilibrium between their own uniform motion in a straight line and the force (earth's gravity) that is acting on them. They appear to be floating because the camera and other equipment up there are doing the same thing.

    Sir Isaac explained it pretty well quite a long time ago.

  • B'Ellen on September 17, 2011 2:31 PM:

    Hello out there !
    I don't know if anyone is still interested in this forum, but I have enjoyed (most of) the comments.

    I have been a Biology teacher in NH for 30+ years and have watched the "evolution" of the creationists' tactics since undergraduate school. I never believed that America could continue to beat the dead horse, but I was wrong.

    Creationism surfaced in NH in the mid 90's and left a path of destruction on the town before it was withdrawn without implementation.

    I shall continue to be watchful of this year's legislative session to see how far they go this time.

    Please be alert, too !

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