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.