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← In Texas, a Line in the Curriculum Revives Evolution Debate

In Texas, a Line in the Curriculum Revives Evolution Debate - Comments

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 1 by Tyler Durden

The chairman of the board, Dr. Don McLeroy, a dentist, pushed in 2003 for a more skeptical version of evolution to be presented in the state’s textbooks, but could not get a majority to vote with him. Dr. McLeroy has said he does not believe in Darwin’s theory and thinks that Earth’s appearance is a recent geologic event, thousands of years old, not 4.5 billion as scientists contend.
And the State Board of Education in Texas are listening to this ignoramus, why?

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 11:16:00 UTC | #310418

Stephen Welch's Avatar Comment 2 by Stephen Welch

"Stephen C. Meyer, an expert on the history of science and a director at the Discovery Institute"

Sounds like a contradiction in terms.

Good luck Texas, looks like you will need it - for the sake of the children.

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 11:19:00 UTC | #310421

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 3 by Tyler Durden

Mr. Meyer said, it is fighting for academic freedom and against what it sees as a fanatical loyalty to Darwin among biologists, akin to a secular religion.
No, loyalty (and a responsibility) to the evidence.

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 11:22:00 UTC | #310423

heafnerj's Avatar Comment 4 by heafnerj

... secular religion.


Interesting oxymoron. Since when is a dentist qualified to speak on matters of geology, biology, or any other ology? There is so much here that is symptomatic of inadequate and/or incompetent science classroom instruction, especially terminology. There's no hope of changing this unless all scientists and all science textbook authors agree on words like "theory" and "evidence."

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 11:41:00 UTC | #310445

DamnDirtyApe's Avatar Comment 5 by DamnDirtyApe

I've always hated dentists.

Now I have a new reason to.

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 12:03:00 UTC | #310465

popeye's Avatar Comment 6 by popeye

Yes, and gravity is still just a theory.....but I don't hear anyone trying to change how we view that!

If this were an idea that someone dreamed up 5 or 10 years ago, then I would be for teaching the "holes" in it. Anything that is new is bound to be revised, and even evolution is still being revised...but that doesn't mean it is wrong!

The concept is 100% correct, the exact details of how it happens are still up for debate and probably always will be.

Evolution is a fact and the evidence is overwhelming. If you are telling me that a theory has been around 150 years, and no one can disprove it, but you want to teach that it might be wrong.......that just doesn't make sense.

These people infuriate me!!!

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 12:07:00 UTC | #310469

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 7 by Tyler Durden

On the surface, the debate centers on a passage in the state’s curriculum that requires students to critique all scientific theories, exploring “the strengths and weaknesses” of each. Texas has stuck to that same standard for 20 years, having originally passed it to please religious conservatives.
What next: teaching heliocentrism versus geocentrism in order to have open debate? What about all those "Flat Earthers" out there, who speaks for them? "Teach The Controversy" I say.

“Textbooks today treat it as more than a theory, even though its evidence has been found to be stained with half-truths, deception and hoaxes,” said Paul Berry Lively, 42, a mechanical engineer from Houston who brought along his teenage son. “Darwinian evolution is not a proven fact.”
So says a mechanical engineer. I guess thermodynamics is "just a theory" and "not a proven fact".

Not to mention fluid dynamics specifically Newton's Second Law of Motion or even general relativity. Yep, all just theory, no facts whatsoever.

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 12:25:00 UTC | #310477

firstelder_d's Avatar Comment 8 by firstelder_d

considered legislation requiring classrooms to be open to “views about the scientific strengths and weaknesses of Darwinian theory,”


So they want to make it a history class to teach about when biologists were trying to determine if Darwins 'crazy theories' were valid.

evolution had trouble explaining the Cambrian Explosion


Well, damn, better throw it all out, because obviously Zeus did it. Didn't this problem pop up before? Gravity? Earth revolving around the sun? Idiots

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 12:36:00 UTC | #310482

Chris Roberts's Avatar Comment 9 by Chris Roberts

“Testifying before the board, he (Stephen Meyer) asserted, for instance, that evolution had trouble explaining the Cambrian Explosion, a period of rapid diversification that evidence suggests began about 550 million years ago and gave rise to most groups of complex organisms and animal forms.

My two eldest kids (12 and 15) can explain the Cambrian 'explosion' using evidence, so how a professional scientist can't is totally beyond me.
“Textbooks today treat it as more than a theory, even though its evidence has been found to be stained with half-truths, deception and hoaxes,” said Paul Berry Lively, 42, a mechanical engineer from Houston who brought along his teenage son. “Darwinian evolution is not a proven fact.”

On the off chance that you are reading this page Mr. Lively, if you can demonstrate ten indesputable hoaxes and deceptions in the theory of evolution by natural selection, without which the theory would collapse on its arse I will give yoy my car (still under manufacturer's waranty, worth at least £10k) and i'll let you sleep with my wife.

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 12:38:00 UTC | #310483

cerad's Avatar Comment 10 by cerad

On the off chance that you are reading this page Mr. Lively, if you can demonstrate ten indesputable hoaxes and deceptions in the theory of evolution by natural selection, without which the theory would collapse on its arse I will give yoy my car (still under manufacturer's waranty, worth at least £10k) and i'll let you sleep with my wife.

Is your wife still under warranty?

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 13:05:00 UTC | #310502

Sargeist's Avatar Comment 11 by Sargeist

...without which the theory would collapse on its arse I will give yoy my car (still under manufacturer's waranty, worth at least £10k) and i'll let you sleep with my wife.
Rather unfair on the poor car, don't you think?

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 13:08:00 UTC | #310503

Mayhemm's Avatar Comment 12 by Mayhemm

I still can't understand why an argument based on the idea that the 'con' side is scientifically weak, yet provides no support for the 'pro' side, is entertained at all!

Didn't any of the people making this decision ever ask Mr. Meyer and his lackeys to provide support for their side instead of just debunking evolution?

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 13:16:00 UTC | #310506

Ai Deng's Avatar Comment 13 by Ai Deng

Lying for Jesus!!!

A young earth creationist as a chairman of the board, what a complete insult to everything that is reason and rationality. This is absolutely disgusting...and that it can effect the rest of the country...some heads need to roll.

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 13:26:00 UTC | #310522

isaone's Avatar Comment 14 by isaone

Te reason State Board of Education in Texas is istening to this ignoramus is that he is the president of the STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION !

The real problem is the uneducated people in Texas who would elect such a moron.

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 13:28:00 UTC | #310527

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 15 by aquilacane

Are we talking about some kind of after school special, made for TV, remake of Inherit The Wind? Because this wind stinks. They tried remaking 12 Angry Men, twice! They both just sucked. Leave well enough alone.

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 13:30:00 UTC | #310530

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 16 by NewEnglandBob

I am glad I do not live in Texas. George "Dumbya" Bush and this kind of nonsense from the Board of MisEducation. Is there intelligent life there outside of Austin?

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 13:46:00 UTC | #310551

siflrock's Avatar Comment 17 by siflrock

More DI lies about the biblical creationism connection. Are we going to see "cstrengths and weaknessesists" in the Texas version of Kitzmiller?

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 14:33:00 UTC | #310613

Rob Janzen's Avatar Comment 18 by Rob Janzen

I found the lines at the end of the article interesting.

Business leaders, meanwhile, said Texas would have trouble attracting highly educated workers and their families if the state’s science programs were seen as a laughingstock among biologists.

“The political games we are playing right now are going to burn us all,” said Eric Hennenhoefer, who owns Obsidian Software.


That there is even a small minority who understand this gives me some re-assurance that endless stupidity can be opposed. It's just that we have to threaten something they care about as much, or more, than their religion - their wallet.

On the other hand, we could just see the US voluntarily re-segregate along religion/education lines...

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 14:41:00 UTC | #310620

Eshto's Avatar Comment 19 by Eshto

“Textbooks today treat it as more than a theory, even though its evidence has been found to be stained with half-truths, deception and hoaxes,” said Paul Berry Lively, 42, a mechanical engineer from Houston who brought along his teenage son. “Darwinian evolution is not a proven fact.”


Not to encourage a stereotype or anything, but more than a few times when I've gotten in on-line debates over heated social/scientific issues (namely evolution and homosexuality) with someone claiming to be a "scientist", it turned out they were engineers.

Any engineers here? Do you encounter this a lot in your field?

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 14:59:00 UTC | #310642

SASnSA's Avatar Comment 20 by SASnSA

NewEnglandBob
I am glad I do not live in Texas. George "Dumbya" Bush and this kind of nonsense from the Board of MisEducation. Is there intelligent life there outside of Austin?

Yes, but it's sparse. Kind of like an oasis in the desert.

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 15:26:00 UTC | #310683

Daniella's Avatar Comment 21 by Daniella

Dr. Don McLeroy, a dentist... does not believe in Darwin’s theory and thinks that Earth’s appearance is a recent geologic event, thousands of years old, not 4.5 billion as scientists contend.

even though its evidence has been found to be stained with half-truths, deception and hoaxes,” said Paul Berry Lively, 42, a mechanical engineer from Houston ... “Darwinian evolution is not a proven fact.”

Good to see that they finally have some experts to comment on this issue..people with facts and evidence to support their side.....wait a minute...

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 15:28:00 UTC | #310686

Quine's Avatar Comment 22 by Quine

So, if you want to do something about this, go to the National Center for Science Education and help them.

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 15:29:00 UTC | #310688

Xplodyncow's Avatar Comment 23 by Xplodyncow

Creationists must understand that "teach the controversy" works both ways. If they want to inject religion into science, then I guess they wouldn't mind a little science injected into their religion. No religious creed is shared by everyone across the globe, so it can be argued that each system of belief is "controversial." Therefore, if students must learn about the tripe that is intelligent design, then they should also be forced to hear arguments for, say, belief that Jesus Christ is our savior and arguments against this belief. Teach the controversy!

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 16:02:00 UTC | #310720

theonlybap's Avatar Comment 24 by theonlybap

This year, however, a panel of teachers assigned to revise the curriculum proposed dropping those words, urging students instead to “analyze and evaluate scientific explanations using empirical evidence.”


I think that's fine, as long as the teachers well understand the methods of science and empiricism. Even IF they could disprove the theory of natural selection, how would they explain evolution using empirical evidence?

Oh, but that's the problem, isn't it? The fundies don't know the difference between evolution and the mechanisms of evolution.

My step-father seems particularly confused. He accepts "adaptation", but he denies evolution. I know another guy that dismisses human evolution (probably means "speciation"), but when I ask him if he accepts "other" animal speciation, he just shrugs and says "I don't know, I haven't studied it."

Frustrating.

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 16:03:00 UTC | #310722

Driver's Avatar Comment 25 by Driver

Is there intelligent life there outside of Austin'


I live in West Texas, and I still can't answer that question with much confidence. Even in my postgraduate anatomy/physiology course, the professor would say that characteristics "evolved or were created, depending on your personal views." I could tell that he was a proponent of evolution, but he felt that to be safe, he had to throw that disclaimer out there every time. Sad.

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 16:31:00 UTC | #310745

Beachbum's Avatar Comment 26 by Beachbum

23. Comment #325935 by Quine _ Thanks for the link.

Also testifying were people, including a representative of the Discovery Institute, who supported the "strengths and weaknesses" language, often betraying the connection between the language and creationism.

This from the NCSE

I hope the Board is honest with their decision, because even at that there are seven of fifteen members who are Cretonist.

edit for link

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 16:58:00 UTC | #310764

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 27 by Border Collie

... allowing students to hear about dissenting opinions ... Wow, OK, they can hear dissenting opinions at CHURCH! I live in Texas ... in a state of ignorance.

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 17:29:00 UTC | #310780

Beachbum's Avatar Comment 28 by Beachbum

My anger stems from the fact that there is no "controversy" just misunderstanding and misrepresentation. For almost a 150 years, every pompous pious pundit, while this side of dead, has hit Darwin's dangerous idea with everything they could pick up. The Evolutionary Theory is the most tested, debated, scrutinized, folded, spindled, and mutilated theory in human history. Not only has it survived, but improved, and the contributions to many other disciplines including the direct contribution of related disciplines such that the "Modern Synthesis", "Sociobiology", and many other concepts have dramatically changed the understanding of the health of the very people who wish to condemn it.

All this to protect a condition mentally equivalent to thumb sucking.

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 17:39:00 UTC | #310786

Peribolos's Avatar Comment 29 by Peribolos

The amount of effort that goes into trying to undermine a well evidenced and uncontroversial theory astounds me, just think of all the hours that could have been spent actually discussing genuine problems with kid's education rather than this drivel. Perhaps the USA should redesignate one of its southern states as 'ChristianLand' and allow it to secede, taking all these loonies with it.

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 18:12:00 UTC | #310796

nickalito's Avatar Comment 30 by nickalito

If this gets passed, I think it would be worth every scientist (teacher & professional) who can evaluate the evidence, leaving Texas in protest. I have a feeling that the State would soon see the error of their ways, when they see what a laughing stock Texas would be in the business and science world.

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 18:46:00 UTC | #310822