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The Politics of Evolution in Texas

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Interesting brief article in the Dallas Morning News about Don McLeroy, head of the Texas State Board of Education:

Texas Senate rejects confirmation of conservative education board chief Don McLeroy

12:00 AM CDT on Friday, May 29, 2009

By TERRENCE STUTZ / The Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN – The Senate rejected Republican Don McLeroy’s nomination as chairman of the State Board of Education on Thursday after Democrats decried his lack of leadership and “endless culture wars” over evolution and other volatile topics.

Sen. Leticia Van de Putte said that the State Board of Education has become a ‘laughingstock of the nation’ under nearly two years of Don McLeroy’s leadership.

Along strict party lines, the Senate voted 19-11 for McLeroy, but a two-thirds majority was required. One Democrat abstained from the vote.


No way around it. This comes down to getting better lawyers to give back the people the right to vote up or down whether they have God or/and Genesis in their schools. Banning God/Genesis from classrooms is not going to stand in America. There is no actual problem to teach creationist options in schools. America has a long tradition of it and only small circles in litigation since the 1960's has been deciding these issues. You ban the truth without officially therefore its not true. if the state says God/Genesis is not true its broken the law it uses to ban creationism. Just need better lawyers. Robert Byers
A persons private religious views should not be a litmus test. Supreme Court, SBOE, dogcatcher - no difference. Megadittos to that, Nakashima-san :-) tribune7
Mr Tribune7, Thank you for stating one of the key American principles - innocent until proven guilty! A persons private religious views should not be a litmus test. Supreme Court, SBOE, dogcatcher - no difference. Look at their record in office - that is what counts. Nakashima
If McLeroy is a YEC creationist then I would tend to have him replaced because YEC science is generally based on ideology rather than empirical data. There is nothing really wrong with YEC if it is understood that one holds that view as a faith, rather than something that can be imposed as an objective fact on others. IOW, if a YEC candidate should say under oath that he believes in a 7000-year-old Earth that shouldn't be automatic grounds for disqualification. If this person should go on to say that explanations of radiometric dating and other dating methods should be removed from the curriculum, now that would be grounds for disqualification. tribune7
"YEC science is generally based on ideology rather than empirical data" Really? Any glaring examples you could show me? I usually read the articles at AIG. I wouldn't know what to look for as I am not a scientist. I find their methodology of looking at the evidence from taking God's Word and trying to figure out how the claims in the Bible could be true a very common sense approach to understanding both the Word and our surroundings. That is if you are like me and Believe in the literal interpretation of Genesis. And for that matter the whole Bible. Take the Flood for example and what we have found with the Mt.St.Helen's eruption. It would appear that the strata we are seeing today is a direct result of a global flood as recorded in the Bible rather than a slow, gradual build up of sediments. Fascinating stuff! IRQ Conflict
If McLeroy is a YEC creationist then I would tend to have him replaced because YEC science is generally based on ideology rather than empirical data. I personally would also have problems with an atheist as board head too since some of their science is based on ideology also. McLeroy wrote a reasoned article today that CannuckianYankee linked to in #3. Does anyone have an objections to what he wrote in this article or how his point of view would let creationist ideas get into the curriculum. If they did get into the curriculum then I would object too for a couple reasons. First because it is generally bad science and secondly, because it would just be used against ID when ID has nothing to do with creationism. jerry
This is another episode for EXPELLED II the sequal. idnet.com.au
Correction; they didn't specifically quote what I quoted, but linked to the article. CannuckianYankee
PaulBurnett, "The first step is to define science in a way that is satisfactory to both sides. Using new wording from the National Academy of Sciences, Texas' standards define science as 'the use of evidence to construct testable explanations and predictions of natural phenomenon as well as the knowledge generated through this process.' This definition replaces the academy's 1999 language that was very controversial; it stated that science was 'to provide plausible natural explanations for natural phenomena.' The change from 'natural explanations' to 'testable explanations' is very significant. The old definition was inferior in that it undermined both the philosophy of the naturalist and the supernaturalist. By circular reasoning, the naturalist was prevented from using science to prove that 'nature is all there is,' and the supernaturalist was prevented from offering supernatural hypotheses. With the new definition, both the naturalist and the supernaturalist are free to make 'testable' explanations. The debate can now shift from 'Is it science?' to 'Is it testable?' The above quote is a part of what Panda's Thumb finds objectionable. They state that McLeroy is "lying to Taxas students" - quoting him here in this article from The Statesman: http://www.statesman.com/opinion/content/editorial/stories/03/25/0325mcleroy_edit.html Funny, but I don't see how anything he says here could be seen as objectionable. He speaks for both naturalists and "supernaturalists" in suggesting that the definition of science ought to be more inclusive of both. "Testable" is better than "natural." Frankly, I don't trust Panda's Thumb's onesided reporting of this issue. CannuckianYankee
McLeroy, an avowed creationist, recently said “I disagree with all these experts! Somebody has to stand up to these experts!” This was in response to a letter from over 50 scientific societies urging the Texas Board of Education to promote the modern science education curriculum developed by its own committees of educational and scientific experts. See http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2009/03/scientists-to-t.html for a detailed discussion. PaulBurnett
I found this interesting as well: "Gov. Rick Perry, who nominated McLeroy, will now have to select another member of the board to serve as chairman. McLeroy maintains his seat on the board. Whoever is picked will not have to face Senate confirmation until the 2011 legislative session, unless there is a special session before then." Couldn't Governor Perry just re-nominate him for another two years without input from the Senate? He is, after all, the Governor. That would show them. OK, perhaps not. CannuckianYankee

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