Monday, June 18, 2018

#2030: Connie Morris

Connie Morris is a former member of the Kansas Board of Education and a vocal supporter of the anti-science horde back during the Kansas evolution brouhaha in 2005. (She didn’t like immigrants either.)

So in 2005, prompted by the Kansas Intelligent Design Network and the Discovery Institute, the Board of Education sought to revise the high school science standards to present evolution as a controversial (or false – evolution is “an unproven, often disproventheory, said Education Board member Kathy Martin, obviously a bit unsure about some central distinctions) theory, in line with the Discovery Institute’s Teach the Controversy campaign, and present intelligent design creationism as a viable scientific alternative (it isn’t). After real scientists boycotted the kangaroo court hearings, Morris concluded that “evolutionists are in a panic mode”, evidently confusing a laughably biased school board hearing with careful, scientific hypothesis testing and evidence gathering. (She also called evolution “a nice bedtime story; science doesn’t back it up”. It is worth pointing out the Morris is lying about thinking that evolution is a nice bedtime story, too). Morris, of course, concluded that Intelligent Design Creationism was superior to evolution: “I’m not a scientist, so how did I decide between the two models? Intuition and my own analysis tell me the comprehensive model [i.e. Intelligent Design] wins. Most of its additions to the standard model simply reflect common sense.” One wonders why she thinks anyone would need any science education at all. She probably doesn’t. Indeed, she really doesn't think schools should teach biology at all: “If this subject is so explosive, why teach it to children? Shouldn’t we leave that to parents?” asked Morris.

Morris got some national attention when she sent a taxpayer-funded newsletter (commentary here) to constituents explaining that “[i]t is our goal to write the standards [of education] in such a way that clearly gives educators the right AND responsibility to present the criticism of Darwinism alongside the age-old fairy tale of evolution;” of course, teachers have to present that information in a neutral and unbiased manner, of course: they just need to ensure that students learn, in biology class, that evolution is an “age-old fairy tale” defended with “anti-God contempt and arrogance.” Morris, who subscribes to a literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis, also called evolution “biologically, genetically, mathematically, chemically, metaphysically and etc. wildly and utterly impossible.” Morris, of course, has no background in or understanding of evolution, nor of any of the other fields (including “etc.”) she invoked. It was, by the way, not the only occasion on which Morris made questionable use of taxpayer money.

Morris lost her seat on the Board in 2006 in a primary election, along with a number of fellow lunatics. As expected, Morris blamed “liberal media” for her loss – it’s hard to admit to oneself that one is completely unqualified and batshit insane – noting that “liberal opportunists” (“rude people who have no ethics and morals”) do not mind “slandering people and harming their families and their reputation and their business and their communities and their state ... It’s a shame, and I feel bad for them when they face God on Judgment Day” (i.e. God will punish you and send you to Hell for voting against my political convictions). She also feared that the new Board would “let government schools teach children that we are no more than chaotic, random mutants”, which does not reflect a very accurate understanding of evolution, insofar as natural selection is the opposite of a random process. Anyways, they did. But even though the anti-science measures were rescinded in 2007, it was not the last time deluded Kansans tried to get science out of education.

Morris’s background, including her 2002 autobiography From the Darknessand her tendency to refer to anyone she disagrees with who has a non-Anglo name “illegal alien”, is discussed in some detail here.

Diagnosis: Deranged lunatic, notable not only for her utter disregard and failure to understand basic science, but – like so many fundies – for her complete dishonesty, broken moral compass and lack of minimal decency.

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