I Guess Facts Are Just a Matter of Opinion…

The things I learn at Juanita Jean’s (the World’s Most Dangerous Beauty Salon)! Juanita Jean writes from Texas, a state that is definitely in a league of its own (for which I am incredibly grateful…), so no matter how crazy any given story seems, you just know it’s true.

I am pleased to report, however, that even the most ridiculous agencies in the Great State of Texas evidently have their limits. As Juanita writes,

The Truth in Texas Textbooks Coalition (formerly known as the Let’s All Drool Consortium) has submitted 469 pages identifying more than 1,500 “factual errors, omission of facts, half-truths and agenda biases” in proposed materials. The material was submitted a month after public comments ended on proposed changes to Texas textbooks.

Among its objections: A passage on coal mining should say it has “minimal effect on the environment”; a chapter on Spanish colonization of Latin America should point out the “continuous discrimination and oppression practiced by the native American peoples on each other”; and a statement that Shariah law requires religious tolerance of non-Muslims should be removed.

You will be gratified to learn that the Texas Board of Education–long an embarrassment–did not look kindly on these proposed changes. Not because they are ridiculous, but because they weren’t offered in a timely manner.

When you are creating an alternate reality in Texas, you really do need to do so in accordance with the official timetable.


  1. I have given some thought to concepts that are completely unrelated in reality but similar sounding in name. Science and pseudoscience. In fact, many Americans have no idea what either is.

    Science is a means of inquiry not unlike the means of inquiry used to determine criminal guilt and innocence. Both follow a well described and enforced process, are based on the preponderance of evidence, use peer review for quality control, and their purpose is to determine reality, certainly not invent anything.

    Pseudoscience on the other hand is a marketing discipline. It is used to interest people in buying goods and ideas. It’s gone in scope from hucksters selling snake oil from the back of wagons by browbeating those suffering from human frailtys to entire industries today , like for instance much of the nutrician industry. And of course, religion.

    In many minds, but not mine, science and religion compete for adherents. That’s based on the idea that not knowing things (like the origins of the universe) is seen by some as a necessary condition for faith. Every time something becomes known there is one less thing requiring faith. So in this view science chips away at the need for faith.

    I think of science and faith as complementary and can’t envision a day when we know enough science to completely obviate the need for faith. That’s not saying that finding reality won’t shape faith, and more drastically reshape religion, but knowledge reshapes everything human. It’s called progress.

    So religions today are marketed using the tool of pseudoscience because even to closed minds science is undeniable. Just consider how often how many of us bet our lives that science knows reality.

    Texas is to pseudoscience what Detroit was to autos. Religion is such a big business there that marketing it with pseudoscience is a business in itself.

    The faithful conflate religion and education when, in fact, they are dissimilar. Educations is, of course, implanting knowledge of reality in order to prepare individuals to live compatibly with it. Religion is about implanting a brand, a culture, a viewpoint competing with many others for flock.

    The unknown is not known. Therefore we can assign meaning to it freely because the reality there is not known, whereas science reveals the single truths of reality one at a time.

    Perhaps Texas is some defect in the fabric of spacetime but more likely an aberration in local culture. Reading about it reminds me of the fascination reading about exotic primitive cultures in National Geographic decades ago. Why do those people think and dress and dance and eat like that?

    It’s all very fascinating and otherworldly but we need to keep straight that reality is what it is, and that has to be the basis for responsible actions with future consequences, while faith is a deeply personal decision necessary to face unknowns and that perhaps is necessary but certainly it is insufficient to avoid collisions with reality.

    What happens in Texas should stay in Texas.

  2. It’s way to late for “Forget the Alamo” and let “Generalissimo Santa Anna”
    have Tejas (Texas) back. Isn’t it?

    Yes religion’s (note plural) have become big business.

    On a trip to Italy in 2011, I was amazed to discover how many Muslim Religious
    TV Evangelical shows were being broadcasted on the 5000+ channels I was surfing
    through one lazy afternoon. They, like their American counterparts, just up and ask
    for money on the TV etc.

  3. The texas bored of education is another demonstration of what happens when education is politicized.

  4. Pete did nail it, didn’t he?

    Note: religions in Red George’s sentence does not require an apostrophe to make the word plural. The sentence should read: Yes, religions have become big business. And he is surely right about that!

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