The McMinn County School Board in Athens, Tennessee has ten members. Six are up for re-election and only one faces a challenger.
Mike Cochran currently represents the 3rd district while his opponent Kathy Dougherty (a former board member) is fighting for his seat.
The Daily Post-Athenian recently asked both candidates a series of questions, and the one about what they would do to improve school safety deserves a close look because Cochran’s answers are bananas.
Dougherty’s answers make sense. They involve security cameras, locked doors (so strangers can’t enter the school), more teacher training, limiting access to buildings, etc. It’s all about taking precautions and staying vigilant.
Cochran begins with a standard conservative response about how guns aren’t really the problem here (yes they are) and that teachers should be armed (no they shouldn’t be).
And then he got into the teaching of evolution…
Here’s that word salad printed verbatim:
As far as the overall, the school shooting, as I’ve said, in my opinion, it is a subset of another problem, and that’s morality. Morality should start at home. It’s not always taught at home, but it should start at home. There’s nothing as a school that we can really do to change what is taught at home; however, that doesn’t really relieve us of responsibility. Really, you could argue that some of the things we teach are partially wrong with some of the things we see going on in society, and what I’m referring to is the Theory of Evolution. To me, that is one of the biggest morality killers of all time. You can’t teach a student that life is a random accident, that they just come from animals, and that the driving force behind evolution is that the strong survive and the weak die. Then, when a few of them blow up and hurt or kill others, we are wringing our hands and asking why are we behaving like animals. They’re behaving exactly the way we told them that they are. You can’t tell a kid he’s an animal for twelve years and expect that not to seep into somebody’s subconscious. When you begin to say that life is a random chance, there’s not a necessity for God, what that tells you is that you don’t need God. If all you are is an animal, then there’s no absolute right or wrong. Animals kill each other all the time. For the majority of students that are taught at home, and even some that aren’t taught at home, for some students, that begins to resonate in their mind. They get into a particular state of mind, and go, “Well, I’m not happy with my life. I’m going to go and take as many lives as I can.” So I think this Theory of Evolution is one of the driving forces behind this kind of mindset. I don’t mean, and I don’t want anybody getting me wrong, that we shouldn’t teach the Theory of Evolution. However, I am against teaching it as a fact. It’s called a theory for a reason. If we are going to teach kids the evidence that supports evolution, we should also show them the scientific evidence that debunks it. We’ve been studying DNA and the complexity of life — there’s all kinds of scientific evidence that shows you that this theory is not everything it’s cracked up to be. You actually have atheist scientists now looking for a new way to describe the emergence of life on this Earth; even though they don’t believe in God, they know enough about science and the complexity of life to say this doesn’t fit. There’s plenty of scientific evidence to show the array. So, it’s so paranoid about having God in schools, that it’s let us teach atheism by default. Without God, atheism kind of slips in. I know, I have friends that are atheists, and they’re good, moral people, but you cannot reason morality. Morality has to be anchored to something eternal. There’s no way to get morality through just reason alone. Again, that’s not just religious people, religious philosophers talking; there are plenty of atheists who will tell you the same thing.
So, in regards to the origin of life, we have two basic main views now in our nation. Both have scientific evidence to support them, and both are choices of faith. One is evolution. The other is creation. Currently, we only teach one side of that coin, so maybe it’s time we start flipping that coin and teaching the other side. At least give it equal time in our schools. I’m not saying force religion on a kid, but I am saying be honest with them. Say, “Hey, this is where evolution falls short, and there are no answers for it.” This is the other idea that there is a God, and if there is a God, then there’s right and wrong, and you’re going to be held accountable. Let them figure out for themselves, but that is what the church is for, that’s what the home is for, and I’m not saying hide anything from them. I’m saying be truthful with them.
What. The. Hell.
If Cochran thinks the teaching of evolution makes students immoral, he has no idea what evolution is — or how teaching works. And while we’re at it, animals do not “kill each other all the time.” And atheism is not the default “religion” of the school system.
This man has no business being on a school board. Maybe this sort of bullshit flies in Athens, TN, but the students are worse off because of it.
Election day is August 2. May Dougherty prevail and may the vote not even be close.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)