‘Analyzing and Evaluating’ Don McLeroy

Have you wondered how Texas State Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy persuaded fellow board members last month to add an amendment weakening proposed science standards dealing with evolution? Well, here’s an interesting Web page put together by an enterprising fellow: “Collapse of a Texas Quote Mine.” The site looks at the many quotes from reputable sources that Dr. McLeroy used to justify calling into question common descent, a core concept of evolutionary theory. The site lists each of the quotes culled by McLeroy (or whoever provided his talking points) and explains how they were distorted and taken out of context in the cause of promoting pseudoscientific nonsense.

Here’s an example. The Web site notes that Dr. McLeroy cherry-picked this quote from Ernst Mayr’s What Evolution Is (2001):

…the various steps in the history of the change from ape to man … is entirely based on inferences and any part of it may be refuted at any time.

Sounds like skepticism about a key part of human evolution over time, yes? Well, Mayr certainly didn’t mean it to be. This is the quote in context from his book:

Yet, as far as the general trend in human evolution is concerned, the fossil record is of considerable assistance. By making use of the interpretations of numerous authors, but relying particularly on Stanley (1996) and Wrangham (2001), I am developing a sequence of historical narratives that reconstruct the various steps in the history of the change from ape to man. The resulting picture is entirely based on inferences and any part of it may be refuted at any time. But developing a cohesive story is far more instructive than merely compiling a list of unconnected facts. The most important certainty that has emerged from recent studies is that Homo sapiens is the end product of two major ecological shifts (habitat preference) of our hominid ancestors.

Of course, quote mining is intellectually dishonest, but it’s hardly a new tactic. Evolution deniers have been using it for long time now. So it’s good to see someone document the nonsense. Check it out here.

19 thoughts on “‘Analyzing and Evaluating’ Don McLeroy

  1. Chairman Dr Don might be called intellectually dishonest, but you have to have an intellect first. Unfortunately for his daughter, who takes science in primary public education, whether its because of a failure of teaching (socialization) or inheritance, she gets short changed either way by her own father. See, evolution works. Ask Donna Garner.

  2. The dentist sitting on the board knows as much about Science and Evolution as a rabbit knows about ping-pong. Amen. -Wendell Franklin Wentz

  3. Don McLeroy’s amendment to the state science standards says,

    Analyze and evaluate the sufficiency or insufficiency of common ancestry to explain the sudden appearance, stasis and sequential nature of groups in the fossil record.

    The website “Collapse of a Texas Quote Mine” does not show how the above statement can be derived from any of McLeroy’s “quote mines.”

    As I said, state science standards have become a joke. IMO the best thing to do is forget about state standards and textbook selections. Local Texas school districts can choose state-unapproved textbooks if the districts pay the full cost, which isn’t much.

  4. All of McLeroy’s “insufficiencies” come from lies, mined quotes, or other unreliable or deceptive sources.

  5. Cheryl Shepherd-Adams said,
    –So Larry, do you support McLeroy’s quotemining or not? —

    I said nothing about that — all I said was that it appears that his amendment cannot be derived from the “quote mines.”

  6. Cheryl Shepherd-Adams said,

    –Larry, do you support McLeroy’s quotemining or not?–

    IMO many of the quotes are not quote mines. But it was all pointless because none of the quotes supports McLeroy’s amendment. And the quotes are no substitute for public comments.

  7. Cheryl Shepherd-Adams said,
    — It’s obvious to us all that you don’t object to McLeroy’s quotemines, which were used by him to persuade his fellow board members to pass his amendment. —

    That is an outrageous mischaracterization of what I said.

  8. Here are some things Larry has said on his blog:

    “…scientific evolution theory is sufficient to explain the diversity of life…”

    “…IMO the Dover school board made a mistake…”

    “…the Nazis used primitive IBM Hollerith-card machines to identify all the Jews of Europe…”

  9. Ben said,

    “Larry, the funniest thing about you is that . . . . you are some sort of brilliant logical thinker.”

    “Larry, . . you have evidence for a weakness in the theory of evolution, please contact your nearest university and let them know. You’ll be famous.”

    “You get banned from blogs because you . . . understand the difference between fact and opinion, and you . . . distinguish between logic and faith. I see plenty of people who hold the same opinions as you do — and they . . . get banned from blogs.”

    “I have no problem appearing foolish”

    — from
    http://tfnblog.wordpress.com/2009/01/30/not-about-religion/#comments

    Anyone can quote mine, bozo.

  10. Larry said, “Anyone can quote mine, bozo.”

    That’s exactly the point I was hoping to make, Larry. Thanks for helping me make it.

    McLeroy and his pals are dishonest quoteminers.

  11. Has anyone ever seen Larry answer a direct question anywhere? He is now heavily censoring his totally moderated blogs including his one man “Association of Non-Censoring Bloggers”.

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