Wednesday, April 1, 2015

#1332: David Awbrey

Back in 2005 David Awbrey was appointed the Kansas State Department of Education Director of Communications, and as such he was at least partially responsible for the following stages in Kansas’s long-lasting creationist kerfuffles (the Kansas Board of Education chair was Steve Abrams, a noted creationist as well, by the way). As a staunch science denialist Awbrey tried his best to insert creationist talking points into the curricula of Kansas public schools. In fact, Awbrey did claim to be a theistic evolutionist, but whatever the case may be his antiscience attitude was never in doubt. “Scientists and science educators bring to the classroom their ‘religion’ which holds that humans are meaningless cosmic accidents as opposed to being God’s creation,” complained Awbrey, and for evidence? “Anyone see the origin, anyone see the Big Bang, anyone see the dinosaurs? These are all metaphysical speculations by people who look at the same evidence and disagree with what they see.” He also claimed that the scientists refused to engage in democratic processes – after all, Awbrey stated, only “[a] 26% minority in one of the polls (the Pew Foundation, I believe) believe the darwinist version,” and scientists apparently don’t acknowledge that.

Of course, Awbrey was hired for his rightwing political connections rather than his expertise (by Kansas Education Commissioner Bob Corkins, who didn’t have any qualifications other than rightwing antiscience attitudes either), and after a couple of embarrassing episodes like the ones mentioned he thankfully resigned. He is, in other words, probably rather harmless at present, but not for lack of trying.

He later wrote a book, Finding Hope in the Age of Melancholy, where he apparently laments the progress of science at the expense of religion.

Diagnosis: A minor fish, probably neutralized and mostly forgotten by now. Still worth a mention, methinks. 

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