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A Dubious Win in Texas

DNS StrandThe Texas Board of Education managed to squeak a vote through that shot down the addition of anti-evolution language into their education standards which would have specified the standard nonsense about evaluating the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution. However, in a series of equally nonsensical ammendments, the anti-science creationists and IDers added all kinds of detrimental (and somewhat incoherent) language to try to bolster their untenable position.

Don McLeroy didn’t win his big desired change (the “strengths and weaknesses” language), but he was probably reveling in the little jabs that were inflicted by all the amendments. McLeroy displayed a gross misunderstanding of both science and evolution in the now infamous Youtube video. In the ars technica article linked above, John Timmer says…

[In the Youtube video] McLeroy urges the board to join a crusade against the scientific community. “Somebody has to stand up to these experts,” he said, while expressing incredulity about their opposition, stating, “I don’t know why they’re doing it.” Elsewhere, he argued that evolution isn’t science, saying, “it’s an ideology” and “evolution goes back to someone who came up with a philosophical speculation.”

I’m almost speechless… but not quite. How do people like this gain a position that has influence over the education of our children? On one hand, he admits that he’s not an expert, yet he then continues to essentially say that the experts are wrong and that he knows better. I’m not sure where he gets his definition of “expert” but it’s seemingly not from anywhere in this reality.

Timmer also comments:

So, instead of “strengths and weaknesses,” the new standards call for students to “analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations” based in part on “examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific experiments.” Not only is the grammar fractured, but scientific experiments are usually notable for not supporting “all sides” of an argument.

As might be expected, the age of the universe came in for some questioning. A standard that mentioned the universe was roughly 14 billion years old was amended to require students to evaluate “current theories of the evolution of the universe including estimates for the age of the universe.” Elsewhere, students are instructed to consider how the data “reveal differing theories about the structure, scale, composition, origin, and history of the universe.” Apparently, the board was unaware that our estimates of the age of the universe have narrowed considerably in the last few decades.

The creationists seem to be attacking science on all fronts now, but we seem to be missing the evolution-specific attacks that are so common from them.

Oh, wait… here they are.

Students are expected to consider the “sudden appearance” of lineages in the fossil record, which the creationist literature argues is an indication that these lineages were instantaneously created.

[…]

[The Board] added a new standard, directing students to “analyze and evaluate the sufficiency or insufficiency of natural selection to explain the complexity of the cell.”

[…]

Teachers now have to ensure that students can “analyze and evaluate the evidence regarding formation of simple organic molecules and their organization into long complex molecules having information such as the DNA molecule for self-replicating life.”

Wow. So much for science in Texas. Fortunately, high school science teachers tend to ignore this type of language and teach evolution the best they can in the tiny amount of time granted for the topic… sometimes as little as three days, from what I’ve read (can’t find the link anymore. Sorry).

Even so, the addition of language of this nature does nothing to enhance science education… or education in general. Creationists spend so much effort coming up with twisted, devious ways to push their mythical ideas into the agendas of otherwise rational education standards that one would have to begin to question their premise.

If their ideas were so scientific and plausible, why have to be so obscure about their intentions? Furthermore, where is the evidence to support their ideas? Where is the grounded thinking and scientific explanation for even a single one of their postulates?

Nowhere.

They’ve got nothing to go on. I’ve said it before. The only thing they have to work with is an infantile attempt to attack the scientifically supported theory of evolution. They prey upon the uneducated with blatantly false propaganda, knowing that anyone who doesn’t understand real science or the actual theory of evolution might, perhaps, think that their position is tenable. Then they’ll get the “Why not teach both sides?” reactions from people and their battle is halfway done.

The solution is education. Real education… based on real facts and real evidence and real logical thinking. The more our educational system descends into this anti-intellecual, anti-science, irrational way of thinking, the more this country will fall behind in this world, not only intellectually, but influentially. Texas seems to be leading the way into the pit.

Way to go, McLeroy.

One Comment

  1. Beast FCD says:

    Sigh…….when will the morons ever learn……..

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