TX Mulls Bills On Fake History Bible Classes & Fake Reproductive Medicine

A bill being considered today by the House Public Education Committee of the Texas State Legislature would mandate that all high schools in Texas offer elective Bible Classes using a controversial course curriculum from the National Council On Bible Curriculum In Public Schools (NCBCPS) which, says the group, is used in over 1,000 high schools in 36 states and which also has been  accused of being partisan, religiously sectarian, academically shoddy, and historically incorrect.

In a recent, notorious incident that casts a peculiar light on the legislation being considered by the Texas legislature, House Bill 1287 was introduced by Texas State Rep. Warren Chisum, who gained a national profile in February 2007 for distributing a memo, also circulated in several other US State legislatures, that alleged the Theory of Evolution to be a religion based in Jewish Kabbalism and referenced a website rebutting Copernicus and claiming the Earth does not rotate and is orbited every 24 hours by the Sun, the Solar System and the entire known universe. That latter view, known as "Geocentrism", is also held by some leaders on the American Christian right who advocate the imposition of Christian theocratic government.

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Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

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