Missouri’s Turn for Anti-Science Ridicule

August 31, 2009 | By | 3 Replies More

A minor brouhaha erupted over a t-shirt in Sedalia Missouri. But this isn’t about an uppity student. The band director designed an official band t-shirt to illustrate the evolution of brass music. What image did he choose to evoke the idea?


Yep, a common ascent-of-man icon from the early 20th century.

After some parents saw the shirt proudly worn at the Missouri State Fiar parade, they complained. From the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch:

“I was disappointed with the image on the shirt,” said Sherry Melby, a band parent who teaches in the district. “I don’t think evolution should be associated with our school.”

What sort of science program do you think she had? What sort do you think she would vote for?

The school quickly recalled the t-shirts, eating the cost of their production, and will be designing new shirts that don’t offend by presenting an image that obliquely refers to actual science.

Naturally, Pharyngula jumped on it.

And in the Sedalia Democrat, they quote the assistant band director about pulling the shirts,

“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.

Apparently there is a strong belief that science is a religion that should not even be tangentially promoted over any other belief.

And people wonder why I sometimes write that I live in the state of Misery.


Category: American Culture, Censorship, Communication, Current Events, Education, Evolution, ignorance, Religion, Science

About the Author ()

A convoluted mind behind a curly face. A regular traveler, a science buff, and first generation American. Graying of hair, yet still verdant of mind. Lives in South St. Louis City. See his personal website for (too much) more.

Comments (3)

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  1. Actually, it always surprises me when these sorts actually "get it." I used to have a t-shirt of my design with a stylized American flag beneath the words "The Pilgrims Came To America To Escape the Moral Majority." The only response I ever got from a fundie was a befuddled "I didn't know the Moral Majority went back that far."

    Then, too, back in younger days, when my hair was down to between my shoulder blades, I went to the opening of "The Last Temptation of Christ" wearing all white, hair down, neatly-trimmed beard, and not one of the sign-carrying protestors even gave me a second look. Perhaps I should have worn a halo…

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    Dan: I agree that many people think of biology (but not the other sciences so much) as an unanchored belief system. I can just imagine the thought process in the 15% of people of Missouri (I'm guessing) who would be offended by the shirts: If we can't have Jesus on our shirt, then they shouldn't be able to have atheistic science.

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