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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Behold: Bill Dembski's wet dream!

Those who follow the news in obscure places may be aware of the controversy that has erupted over the new band shirts worn by the Smith-Cotton High School marching band of Sedalia, Missouri. You might ask how band shirts could ever be controversial, given that high school marching bands are- almost by their very nature- uncontroversial. The answer, as it turns out, has less to do with the shirts and more to do with parents and some rather painful misconceptions:

The shirts, which were designed to promote the band’s fall program, are light gray and feature an image of a monkey progressing through stages and eventually emerging as a man. Each figure holds a brass instrument. Several instruments decorate the background and the words “Smith-Cotton High School Tiger Pride Marching Band” and “Brass Evolutions 2009” are emblazoned above and below the image.

Assistant Band Director Brian Kloppenburg said the shirts were designed by him, Band Director Jordan Summers and Main Street Logo. Kloppenburg said the shirts were intended to portray how brass instruments have evolved in music from the 1960s to modern day. Summers said they chose the evolution of man because it was “recognizable.” The playlist of songs the band is slated to perform revolve around the theme “Brass Evolutions.”


If you hadn't already figured it out, the shirts became controversial because they included reference to the theory of evolution generally, and human evolution in particular. Never mind that it was only a metaphor in line with other pop humor- the shirts referenced evolution and evolution is, it would seem, unacceptable. If you're curious, the shirts aren't particularly offensive, though in my opinion they are a smidge cluttered:



Indeed, quite racy. Where things get weird with this story, however, is predictably the point where parents and school administrators get involved. For example, we have this:

Band parent Sherry Melby, who is a teacher in the district, stands behind Pollitt’s decision. Melby said she associated the image on the T-shirt with Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

“I was disappointed with the image on the shirt.” Melby said. “I don’t think evolution should be associated with our school.”


That last line strikes me as unintentionally hilarious: both because she apparently doesn't want kids taught good science, and because it seems to suggest that she doesn't think the school should change. Less funny and more frustrating, however, is the reason why the band will no longer be allowed to wear the shirts:

While the shirts don’t directly violate the district’s dress code, Assistant Superintendent Brad Pollitt said complaints by parents made him take action.

“I made the decision to have the band members turn the shirts in after several concerned parents brought the shirts to my attention,” Pollitt said.

Pollitt said the district is required by law to remain neutral where religion is concerned.

“If the shirts had said ‘Brass Resurrections’ and had a picture of Jesus on the cross, we would have done the same thing,” he said. [emphasis added]


The problem, of course, is that the theory of evolution is not a religious view. It's a scientific theory corroborated by a substantial amount of evidence. All of the rhetoric in the world can't change the fact that evolution is accepted and developed by people of many faiths and isn't based on religious conviction, but on research and data.

The thing that's really annoying about this, is it really is Wild Bill's dream come true. Intelligent design got its ass kicked in Kitzmiller v. Dover because it was a religious doctrine. So, hey, if you can't get your nonsensical drivel into the schools by claiming it's science, maybe you should try to get science out of the schools by claiming it's religion.

And the most horrifying part is how many people apparently cannot tell the difference.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Stephen Twigg said...

You know, the really annoying thing about these people is that they claim to want to 'teach the controversy' but the fact they want this removed demonstrates that this is not the fact, they want evolution removed and their bronze age religion inserted!

How can we fight this religious lunacy when the American educational system is letting us down so badly?

Thursday, September 03, 2009 12:04:00 AM  

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