Live Blogging from the SBOE Science Hearings, Part II

4:45 p.m. – A testifier waives the Discovery Institute’s list of 700 evolution deniers before the board as evidence of dissent in the mainstream scientific consensus surrounding evolution. Check out the clever response to this list by the National Center for Science Education – Project Steve. (Project Steve mocks the Disco Institute list by promoting its own list of scientists supporting evolution. Project Steve restricts its signatories to scientists whose first name is Steve. They have 900 Steves on this list to date.) Oh, yeah, and the board might want to peruse the 1,300 TEXAS scientists who have signed the “Scientists for a Responsible Science Curriculum” statement by the 21st Century Science Coalition.

5:00 p.m. – State board member Ken Mercer (R-San Antonio) lets the cat out of the bag. Mercer says that while “microevolution” is beyond dispute, his own careful review of the evidence led him to conclude that “macroevolution” did not occur. Mercer believes students need to learn about the so-called “weaknesses” that discredit macroevolution. Finally some honesty – these board members are really only interested in convincing students that evolution didn’t happen.
5:05 p.m. – Steven Schafersman of Texas Citizens for Science ends a spirited defense of evolution and sound science education. In fact, Schafersman has to school some board members about the difference between a scientific hypotheses and a theories. It’s a basic but necessary point. Evolution deniers on the board promote the absurd argument that evolution is “only a theory,” as if it’s simply a guess or a hunch.
5:12 p.m. – TFN President Kathy Miller calls on the state board to accept established, mainstream science and to reject arguments about phony “weaknesses” of evolution. The board should avoid politicizing the issue and ensure that students get a 21st-century science education. Kathy also notes the TFN Education Fund’s recent survey of Texas biology professors that showed overwhelming opposition to the suggestion that so-called “weaknesses” of evolution are based on science.

2 thoughts on “Live Blogging from the SBOE Science Hearings, Part II

  1. Ironically, the statement on the DI list doesn’t state that the signers deny evolution, even though the DI knows full well that it will be presented that way, as this hearing demonstrates for the umpteenth time. What they can’t produce is data that refutes evolution or spells out “weaknesses” in peer-reviewed scientific research papers, because it doesn’t exist. The deniers have nothing but warmed-over creation pseudoscience rooted in fundamentalist religious dogma.

  2. I think your statement mischaracterizes the survey: “showed overwhelming opposition to the suggestion that so-called “weaknesses” of evolution are based on science.”

    The question the scientists responded to was not about weaknesses in general, or the strength and weaknesses language that is at issue in the Texas standards. If you read the question carefully, it is only about the strengths and weaknesses purported by proponents of creationism and intelligent design. Several of the news reports have also gotten this wrong.