Live Blogging the Final Science Vote in Texas II

by TFN

11:10 – The board moves on to amendments at other grade levels.

11:14 – The amendment with “on all sides” applies to all science classes in third grade and up.

11:58 – Board members have moved off of evolution over the past hour, but we expect them to bring up amendments after an extended break.

12:32 – Members are now going to hear amendments attempting to strip out anti-science amendments adopted by the board yesterday and in January. Lawrence Allen offers an amendment striking chairman Don McLeroy’s measure challenging common descent in the biology standards.

12:36 – McLeroy is opposed. “If I knew I had to debate this again today, I would have brought all my evidence.” The fossil record, he says, doesn’t support common ancestry.

12:40 McLeroy: “People say I’m talking out of context when I speak about stasis.”

Well, yes, he is.

12:41: McLeroy: “I disagree with all these experts. Somebody has to stand up to these experts. I don’t know why they’re doing it.”

12:42: Stay tuned for our video clip on this strange lecture as soon as we have it ready.

12:42: McLeroy: The fossil record both supports and doesn’t support evolution. Let the students decide, he says.

12:43: Cynthia Dunbar: Striking McLeroy’s amendment will be OK because the new “compromise amendment” adopted earlier will allow these kinds of arguments. But then she says she opposes the motion to strike it. Very confusing.

12:45 – Barbara Cargill opposes Allen’s amendment striking the McLeroy measure. “Why is it that some things do stay the same over time?” She buys McLeroy’s “stasis” argument.

12:47 – Geraldine Miller: Supports Allen’s amendment. McLeroy’s amendment “basically doesn’t make any sense.”

12:49 – David Bradley opposes Allen’s amendment.  Knight supports it. Bob Craig supports it. Craig: McLeroy’s measure conflicts with the compromise adopted earlier. Agosto gave a confusing statement, so it’s hard to know but we think he supports Allen’s amendment. Mercer opposes Allen’s amendment. Berlanga: Supports Allen’s amendment. “When we need legal assistance, we go to an attorney…. When we know any assistance, we go to the experts in the field. I’m not a scientist.” She argues to listen to the science experts.

12:58 – Mercer: “The issue of  sudden appearance in the fossil record is important.”

12:59 – McLeroy: Mocks the argument that who is he, a dentist, to challenge scientists. He criticizes “the appeal to authority” as an argument against his position. “They are the experts, but science doesn’t operate on consensus.” But now he appeals to authority by quote-mining Stephen J. Gould.

1:03 – McLeroy: “Genetics is the foundation for modern biology, not evolution.” “Genetics goes back to a Christian monk who did precise data.” Huh?

1:06 – Allen’s amendment passes 8-7, striking McLeroy’s challenge to common descent in the standards. Very important victory.

1:08 – The board is taking a short break.

1:30 – Dunbar offers an amendment, calling for students to “analyze and evaluate the sufficiency of scientific explanations concerning any data on sudden appearance and stasis and the sequential groups in the fossil record.” Bob Craig wants to amend, striking “the sufficiency of.” Berlanga is bothered that the board is making recommendations on specific standards without allowing time for members to discuss the amendments with science experts. Very good question, of course.

1:43 – Terri Leo, acting as chair, says all this was debated yesterday, and the board doesn’t need anymore input from the science community. Of course, the board never asked science experts to advise the board about McLeroy’s measure in January or this week.

1:46 – Dunbar’s amendment, as amended by Craig, passes 13-2.

McLeroy is happy, which says it all. Creationists will now pressure publishers to challenge common ancestry in textbooks and base their challenges on McLeroy’s arguments.

1:49 – Allen moves to strip out McLeroy’s amendment, passed yesterday, challenging natural selection.

1:54 – This amendment passes 8-7.

1:59 – Craig offers an amendment: “Analyze and evaluate scientific explanations concerning the complexity of the cell.” This amendment passes 13-2.

2:03 – Allen moves to strike a Terri Leo amendment passed yesterday that stated: “Analyze and evaluate the evidence regarding formation of simple organic molecules and their organization into long complex molecules having information such as the DNA molecule for self-replicating life.” The motion fails 5-10.

4:19 – Apologies for the long gap since the last post. We’ve been working with reporters for the last two hours. In addition to the amendments on the biology standards, board members also considered a measure to remove suggestions from the Earth and Space Science standards that there are competing scientific theories (besides Big Bang) on the origins of the universe. That amendment failed. The board then moved to adopt the full science standards document on a 13-2 vote.

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