Don McLeroy and the First Bone

Just when you think you’ve seen it all…

“Take bones,” he says, offering a brief description of the collagen and amino acids in bones as an example of biological complexity. “Intuitively people have a tough time thinking nothing guided this. Are we supposed to believe that all of a sudden, say on April 1, five million years ago, the first bone appeared? The question is, how did evolution do this, and the evolutionists have been painted into a corner. They don’t even have a clue. How did that first piece of bone get there?”

That’s Don McLeroy, a member of the Texas State Board of Education and a young Earth creationist who believes Earth is less than 10,000 years old. McLeroy is quoted in a new Times of London article about how the state board is revising curriuculum standards for nearly 5 million public school students in this state — and, because Texas is so influential in the national textbook market, essentially for millions of other kids around the country.

Of course, evolutionary scientists don’t suggest that the first bone appeared “all of a sudden” millions of years ago. That’s not how evolution works. But that’s how McLeroy and other creationists on the state board want to distort the issue in public school science classrooms. And all the while, they claim to be the ones who really support science. As McLeroy puts it:

“I love science.” When it comes to criticising Darwin, he says, “there is just a huge ideological resistance that I fail to understand”.

He took the words right out of our mouth.

Had enough of politicians who promote ideological agendas in our public school classrooms? Join the Just Educate campaign to reform the State Board of Education.

16 thoughts on “Don McLeroy and the First Bone

  1. In fact, Neil Shubin’s “Your Inner Fish” has a pretty fantastic accounting of the origins of our bones.

  2. I strongly suggest that the SBOE take a listen to bababrinkman’s “Rap Guide to Evolution.” Audiovisual excerpts can be found at and a related NYTimes column by Olivia Judson can be found at

    If I were teaching biology at any grade level I would use this to help kids understand evolution using a musical genre that would mesmerize them…and make them think deeply about evolutionary concepts. Of course, Most of the SBOE members would probably see/hear it as trash. There are lyrics and music on I especially like the “DNA” song and “Performance, Feedback, Revision,” concerning natural selection.

    Perhaps someone might bring the “Rap Guide to Evolution” to Austin, and invite the SBOE….Brinkman could do some wild improvisation and have everyone (except SBOE, maybe) rolling in the aisles.

  3. He’s got it backwards. It’s the creationists that think things appeared “all of a sudden,” fully formed.

  4. Clearly, McLeroy doesn’t care about science or knowledge. I used to hold myself back in calling the man stupid but the alternative is totally dishonest. Since he had to pass some kind of test to be a dentist, only one alternative remains.

    Until today I never showed any interest in “bone evolution.” I assumed that bone evolved but I never studied it. However, after about an hour on Google I collected enough references and discussions on bone evolution to have quite an appreciation for how much work is documented on the subject.

    McLeroy says “They don’t even have a clue” which is a lie pure and simple. A two-minute search shows otherwise. There are books on the subject; hundreds of papers. McLeroy, you are a disgrace to education in particular and Texas in general.

  5. Fascinating that this information about McLeroy’s ignorance should appear the same week that scientists have found a genetic connection between modern humans and Neanderthal man. He may go ballistic. Although how he could show more of that than he already has, I don’t know.

  6. It’s kind of interesting that we can see evolution working before our very eyes. As the “natural selection” process of MAKING SENSE and HAVING A SHRED OF CREDIBLE EVIDENCE unfolds, the creationist sphere is getting smaller and smaller, like a pond full of a particular species of minnow in an increasingly hot and dry world.

  7. You are right David.

    The factual truth about evolution has painted the Christian fundamentalists into a corner, and the soppy wet brush is moving ever closer towards their feet. They believe that they are being cornered by a cabal of atheists, agnostics, humanists, and apostate Christians. I have another thought on that issue. I think it might be God himself that is painting them into the corner.

    As the old evangelist used to say on a fiery Sunday, “you are going to have to make a choice this morning.” When that brush is 0.25 inches away from their feet, the Christian fundamentalists and their seemingly more hopeless Christian Neo-Fundamentalist brethren are going to have to make a choice. With the historicity and scientific content of Genesis 1 and other parables like Noah and the Ark in flames and ashes, a basic choice is set before them. The choice God is setting up as He paints them into that corner is a simple one and can be expressed as a simple inquiry: “From this moment forward, who do you plan to worship—Jesus or the Bible.”

    Most Christian fundamentalists are “Bible idolaters.” They worship the black cover, the gold lettering, paper pulp, ink, and words instead of the Holy Trinity who gave them. It is very much possible that the Lord is finally getting sick and tired of the neglect He is feeling, the embarrassment caused by their unique combination of ignorance and political action, and seeing people driven away from the gospel daily because of it.

    Will they heed the call? I hope so, but I doubt it. As the old saying goes, “there is none so blind as he who REFUSES to see.” In my own estimation, the Christian fundamentalists long ago crossed that line of demarcation between a simple lack of understanding and a hard-hearted refusal to see.

    Moreover, their own brand of Christian religion has within it a fatal stumbling block of human pride that was put there (by Satan in my estimation) to prevent them from making the right choice for Jesus. As I have told you in the past, Christian fundamentalism says. “If you ever discover that the Bible is not historically or scientifically correct in even the tiniest regard, you MUST (absolutely no choice in the matter) conclude that God has lied to you; therefore, you MUST (absolutely no choice in the matter) reject God forever because of it.” It does not admit of even the slightest possibility that these frail, flawed, and ignorant human beings called Christian fundamentalists might have simply misread and misunderstood the words in the Bible. It takes a lot of sinful human pride and arrogance to stake out a position like that and use it as an excuse to reject God. Yet, this is what they have done.

    As they stand in that corner with the paint brush of God’s historic and scientific truth edging ever closer to their toes, I hope they will find a way to realize their capacity for human error, quit worshipping the Bible as an idol, move towards the worship of Jesus himself in spirit and truth, and abandon the human pride and ignorance that repels people from the gospel rather than drawing them towards it.

    Somewhere in the middle of that awakening, I hope the Christian fundamentalists will discover that there is more to loving your fellow man that just “sharing the gospel with him.” Over the years, some Christian fundamentalists have actually told me that this is their definition of “Christian love.” Beyond this simple act, they have no further responsibility of love or even friendliness towards their fellow human beings. It is an attitude that says, “You can come to lunch with me today if I can read John 3:16 to you, but you should not expect that I will ever be your friend—and certainly not if you refuse to become like me.” That does not sound like love to me, and it certainly does not sound anything like Jesus.

  8. It’s the old explanation of “God Of The Gaps,” i.e. wherever there’s a gap in the theory of evolution, there you find God. As those gaps get filled in, God gets smaller and smaller until he/she will completely disappear. So it is the fundies who are shutting God out, not science.

    To quote Alanis Morrisette: “Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?”

  9. Rocket, not only should you stick with Little Lord McLeroy, it should be Little Lord McLeroy™.

  10. Little Lord McLeroy™, a product manufactured by Texas Fruitcakes, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Texas SBOE, LLC.