Creationists make stealth bid to takeover Texas education board

Sane members of the Texas State Board of Education hold a slim majority over scripture-at-any-cost-in-science-books creationists.

Creationists are hammering away to defeat at least two incumbent board members to tip the balance, in classic stealth campaigns where they hide their intentions and spend oodles of money hoping to do evil by catching most voters asleep.  The creationists are campaigning to beat conservative, religious Baptists, because the Baptists are “too liberal” on evolution. 

Dallas Morning News columnist Steve Blow presents the facts in the State Education District 11 race, where a secretive urologist who patterns his campaign tactics after Kim Jong Il is outspending the sane incumbent at least $12 to $1.  The entire column is below the fold.

District 11 includes most of Tarrant County (Fort Worth), and Parker, Ellis and Johnson counties.

Social studies is also at risk here:  The stealth candidate, Barney Maddox, is making false claims against Texas social studies teachers and Texas social studies books, especially history books.  The guy looks like an ill-informed nutcase, and he has a good chance of winning.

For example, the campaign flier says: “Barney Maddox believes social studies textbooks should devote more space to American presidents than Marilyn Monroe and that the vicious attack of 9-11 should be portrayed as an aggressive act by terrorists, not an American conspiracy.”

Marilyn Monroe makes no appearance in some books; presidents get 100 times more space in any book you choose.  No book portrays 9-11 as an American conspiracy.  The man campaigns like your standard, wild-eyed nutcase.

Call, write and e-mail everyone you know in Texas to warn them to vote against Barney Maddox, and for Pat Hardy, in the District 11 State School Board race.  Your friends may not live in that district, but they should know.  There are other racess with similar problems.  

Early voting in this primary ends tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m.  Tuesday, March 4,  is election day.

Blow’s column, below the fold.

While you’re working at making the world safe for science, wander over to the Texas Freedom Network’s site, and sign the petition saying you’ll stand up for science.  Tell ’em Ed sent you.

State Board of Education race evolves into key vote for science

08:14 PM CST on Wednesday, February 27, 2008

We’re all mesmerized with the presidential race right now. But an obscure race in a few neighboring counties may have a huge impact on Texas.

Especially on Texas schoolchildren.

Let’s forget Obama and Clinton, McCain and Huckabee for a moment and talk instead about Barney Maddox and Pat Hardy.

I’m guessing those names don’t ring many bells.

They are the candidates in the Republican primary for District 11 on the State Board of Education.

And I’ll bet I’ve really got your pulse pounding now, huh? District 11! State Board of Education!

Yeah, political excitement just doesn’t get any better than that.

This time, however, that humble race really matters. If Dr. Maddox, a Cleburne urologist, succeeds in unseating Ms. Hardy, a Weatherford educator, the whole political balance of the state board could shift.

And that’s when God shows up in the science books.

Dr. Maddox is on record as referring to the theory of evolution as “a myth” and “a fairy tale.”

That will come as news to the vast majority of scientists, who tend to use words like “foundational principle” and “overwhelming evidence” when discussing evolution.

Nevertheless, seven members of the 15-member State Board of Education have sought to muddy the water by introducing creationism into science classrooms in Texas. A victory by Dr. Maddox would give them a majority.

Let me stop a moment and make clear that Ms. Hardy is no free-thinking liberal. She’s a rock-solid Republican and dyed-in-the-wool Southern Baptist who firmly believes God is behind all of creation.

She just thinks science ought to be taught in science class and religion in church – or synagogue or mosque or home or wherever a family chooses.

“Every religious group has different beliefs,” Ms. Hardy said. “We have to be a respecter of all the different kinds of people who are in our public schools today.”

But Dr. Maddox seems less concerned about all that. According to press reports, he strongly supports displaying the Ten Commandments in public schools.

I would love to tell you more of what Dr. Maddox believes, but he doesn’t do interviews. Several reporters covering the race have tried, but Dr. Maddox did not return phone calls.

When I called his office yesterday, an assistant said he does not take nonmedical calls there.

“He seems to be running a stealth campaign,” Ms. Hardy said. And she’s a little unnerved by that.

“I really am worried,” she said. “I don’t know what to expect.”

Campaign finance reports give her cause for worry. My colleague Terry Stutz reported this week that Dr. Maddox has spent $61,203 in the last month and has $70,000 in loans to his campaign. Ms. Hardy has spent only $4,017 from $5,850 in contributions.

Ms. Hardy has seen a campaign flier that Dr. Maddox distributed. She said it leads her to believe he has been badly misled about Texas schools.

“I think he’s a nice guy. I just think he has been given bad information,” she said.

For example, the campaign flier says: “Barney Maddox believes social studies textbooks should devote more space to American presidents than Marilyn Monroe and that the vicious attack of 9-11 should be portrayed as an aggressive act by terrorists, not an American conspiracy.”

Ms. Hardy said she’s floored by something so preposterous. She said she doesn’t know of a single textbook giving Marilyn Monroe more play than the presidents or even hinting that the 9-11 attacks were an American conspiracy.

“There’s not a teacher around who wouldn’t be appalled if Marilyn Monroe and 9-11 were portrayed in such a way,” she said.

Of course, in politics, innuendo is sometimes more powerful than truth.

District 11 includes most of Tarrant County and all of Ellis, Johnson and Parker counties. Let’s hope Republican voters there are looking beyond the top of the ballot.

20 Responses to Creationists make stealth bid to takeover Texas education board

  1. […] in large part because the scientific community has faced near-constant attacks. We're facing the strong possibility that "social conservatives" (in other words, anti-evolution, anti-sex-education, anti-gay, […]


  2. […] Tip of the old scrub brush to reader Ediacaran.  Thanks, Bret. […]


  3. Ediacaran says:

    Pat Hardy and quality science education won in Texas. She beat the creationist Barney Maddox 58,867 to 40,761.

    Her district (District 11) includes all or parts of Ellis, Johnson, Parker, and Tarrant Counties. But Johnson County seems to have fallen for Barney’s BS, and Huckabee’s, too.

    What is wrong with Johnson County?

    A quick check of data shows it to have the lowest median income compared to the other counties with territory in District 11.

    Coincidence? Or causal? If so, which way?


  4. Tony Whitson says:

    “Before you switch primaries, consider all that’s at stake”


  5. Ediacaran says:

    Joel writes: “So, if you know who my creator is, I want to know because I have a bone to pick and it’s long over due.”

    Joel, it’s Mom. Dad helped too, but since Mom did most of the work, she should get the lioness’ share of the credit. So whatever your gripes, you were endowed by your Creator with your genetic makeup (along with certain unalienable rights). Don’t forget to call (if she is still living) and send flowers in May. :-)


  6. Rebecca says:

    Goodness, youall do have exciting times over there in Texas!
    Good luck with this!


  7. Joel says:

    Who is my creator? I sure would like to know because I’m pissed. Genetically speaking I got the short end of the stick and my shortcomings have caused me nothing but trouble and pain my entire life.

    So, if you know who my creator is, I want to know because I have a bone to pick and it’s long over due.


  8. Passerby says:

    Hmmm, a sneaky campaign by Maddox and the setting up of straw men to beat up.

    Well. Ms Hardy believes that babies should be taken care of, not beaten regularly, and that child molesters should be jailed, not given rewarded with tax rebates. She believes that people who work should be paid with money, not with lashings. She believes that schools should be a place for education, not child sexual abuse.

    Vote Pat Hardy!


  9. Ediacaran says:

    Here are some articles written by Barney Maddox:

    The first is a copy of an article published by the Creation Evidence[s] Museum near Glen Rose, Texas, which is run by Carl Baugh (whom you may remember from “A Matter of Degree: Carl Baugh’s Alleged Credentials”, by Glen Kuban, )

    The second article is from the Institute for Creation Research.


  10. garth says:

    So we should change the “creationists aren’t all pig rapers” story since only Ken Ham rapes piglets? Since ONE creationist did it, and even persisted in doing it despite attempts to correct it, ALL creationists are pig-rapists.
    Thanks whois, you really cleared that up for me, you pig-rapist.


  11. Ed Darrell says:

    From the source Whois gave us, quoting the New York Times:

    Mrs. Gabler, always with a smile and careful, precise diction, usually testified at textbook hearings rather than her shyer husband, Mel. She argued for more instruction in morality, free-enterprise economics, phonetics and weaknesses in evolutionary theory. …Why did a history textbook give more space to the French Revolution than to the American Revolution? Were not Vietnam and Watergate overemphasized? Was Robin Hood a hero, as the text claimed, or a dangerous advocate of income redistribution? …

    Let’s consider this: Robin Hood fought against King John and the Sheriff of Nottingham. King John goes down in history as the tyrant forced to sign the Magna Carta by his nobles, conceding that the king is not God’s gift to Earth, and conceding that the noblemen have rights the king may not trample. The Magna Carta is considered the first documentary step towards the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

    Do we really want to claim that this hero fighting tyranny is unAmerican, when his actions lead to the documents that defend Mrs. Gabler’s right to complain, and be wrong?

    It’s not just that the Gablers complained. It’s that much of their complaining was wrong headed. Did she really mean to side with King George III against George Washington? Or was she plug ignorant of the history she was carping about?

    Or perhaps the Gablers regard Washington as a terrorist (George III certainly did).

    People who insist their views of history are absolutely correct are almost always absolutely wrong.

    Leave history to historians, and science to scientists. Religious bias has never improved either discipline.


  12. Ed Darrell says:

    Evolutionists should strive to get their stories straight

    No sweat. The current U.S. history books were approved in 2002. I have access to all of them. Name for me the book, the publisher, tell me the page that Marilyn appears on, and we’ll compare Washington’s entries with hers.

    If she gets more than Washington in a current book, I’ll retract.

    But here’s my challenge to you whois: Can you get your complaints into this century?


  13. Ray C. says:

    Instead of you guys whinning all the time and using offensive language, you would advance your cause more if you more professional


    The mistakes they were credited with discovering included bad grammar



  14. Ray C. says:

    From that link:

    By 1974, their ideas were included in the Texas Education Policy Act which stipulated that no biology text would be adopted by the state unless it prominently described evolution as a theory….

    You cdesign proponentsists keep using that word “theory”. I do not think it means what you think it means.


  15. Nothing wrong with correcting errors, whois, but the key word here is CORRECTING. Even in your own comment here, you are introducing error – such as your implication that there is such a thing as an “evolutionist” or that it somehow amounts to a “faith”, or that the problem described re. Monroe had not already been corrected. You can’t claim to be stepping up to fix a problem if the problem no longer exists.

    Even your reference to 1992 was sixteen years ago, and your reference was to corrective action already being taken. Perhaps you could get a little more current. People might start taking you seriously if you actually spoke out about an extant issue that needed fixing.

    And what offensive language are you referring to? None of these comments are using any that I can see. Are you just lying to try to play the “offended victim” card? Sorry, kid, but that doesn’t fly here – it just makes you look like a nitwit.



  16. Interesting defense … so does that means that a lie isn’t a lie if it was refuted years ago?

    Instead of you guys whinning all the time and using offensive language, you would advance your cause more if you more professional and used empirical evidence and facts to substantiate your faith.

    Also, feel free to volunteer for a ‘liberal’ textbook watchdog group so you can catch errors like this yourself:

    “In 1992, Texas fined textbook publishers almost $1 million for hundreds of errors the Gablers found in 10 U.S. history books the state had approved. The mistakes they were credited with discovering included bad grammar and a passage saying President Harry S. Truman dropped an atomic bomb to end the Korean War.”


  17. clheiny says:

    Good point, whoisyourcreator. Of course, that problem was corrected some 35 years ago. Which opens up all sorts of possibilities for campaign slogans, like: “Barney Maddox – fighting yesterday’s battles today!”, “Out-of-date problems require antique solutions – vote Maddox”, “Maddox – 20/20 hindsight for the future!”, “Barney Maddox – attacking the problems facing 20th century education!” or “Barney Maddox – living in the past, and ready to drag your kids back there with him!”.


  18. g says:

    Yes, they did. In _1973_.


  19. Neal says:

    Indeed, there is a left-wing conspiracy to replace all discussion of US presidents in schoolbooks with the complete biographies of American pop icons. It may only be a single (unnamed) textbook today, but tomorrow, it could be two! Furthermore, if a single textbook can spend too much time talking about Marilyn Monroe, it is clear that teaching creationism is the only answer fit to bring us back to the good old American way. Fortunately, we have plenty of dedicated souls looking to jump on any mistake, no matter how far afield from their agenda, to set things right (those clever dogs!).


  20. Evolutionists should strive to get their stories straight:

    “To be fair, the Gablers did find and point out numerous factual errors in various textbooks, and sometimes those errors persisted despite efforts to get them corrected. They also pointed out real oddities, like a history text that spent more time on Marilyn Monroe than George Washington. You don’t need to be part of the Christian Right to suspect that there’s something very wrong about that.”


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