McLeroy, His Second Cousin and Evolution

At his Senate confirmation hearing on April 22, Texas State Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy once again rejected the expertise of hundreds of scientists, including Nobel laureates, who called on the board not to dumb down the public school science curriculum on evolution last month. Chairman McLeroy insisted, however, that he has a second cousin (a graduate student, no less) who told him understanding evolution really isn’t that important. (You’ll hear McLeroy’s discussion of his cousin at about the 1:50 mark. McLeroy’s questioner, Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, wasn’t buying this nonsense, of course.)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h110I7tPL84]

IMPORTANT: Do not assume that McLeroy’s confirmation in the Senate is dead. Political fortunes can shift from day to day, and that’s particularly true in the legislative process. We expect horse-trading on a variety of issues will intensify in this final month of the 2009 legislative session.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Find the name of your state senator here. (Scroll to the bottom of that page to type in your address.)
  • Contact your state senator and tell him or her you want a State Board of Education chairman who will put the education of schoolchildren ahead of his own personal and political agendas.
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12 thoughts on “McLeroy, His Second Cousin and Evolution

  1. I find it incredible that not only does McElroy rely on anecdotal evidence, he never truly responds to any of the questions. Let us hope Perry knows how to think, evaluate, and choose his next candidate to the board. Please, no more dentists.

  2. And do what TFN says because it is clear to me that there are enough crazies in Texas (no offense to you sane folks) that the risk of “fruitcake migration” (either in ideas or physically) to Oregon, Florida, Maine, Tennessee, or Michigan is too high to risk complacency

  3. It looks in the vid that Mcleroy is sweating bullets in the interrogation!!!

  4. Obviously McLeroy’s second cousin doesn’t work in the big oil companies where they use real-live paleontologists to evaluate the core samples for age to see if they have drilled to the desired level. Flood geologists are not in demand in that industry because their nonsense is a sure money loser. The paleontologists evaluate the fossils in the core samples, and with their knowledge of the evolutionary life of these fossils they can determine the age of the rock from which they came. So, in this industry, money talks and BS walks.

  5. Right you are Rocket Mike. My first geology professor was an invertebrate paleontologist who worked the first half of his life for the old Sinclair Oil Company and the last half of his life teaching and researching at a small university. If I recall correctly, fossilized foraminifera are especially useful in identifying the locations of potential oil fields. He was also a Sunday school teacher who so no conflict between science and religion.

  6. The forams’ ages have been well defined and are used for the marine layers. Pollen is the main age marker for the terrestrial sequences. If McLeroy and his ilk had their way, the oil companies would just be shooting in the dark and just hoping to find oil on blind luck. However, science, using evolution, gives them a way to know to which layer they have drilled, whether they need to drill farther, or if they have gone past the predicted oil bearing zone. At thousands of dollars per foot, this is valuable information.

  7. It’s worse than that. McLeroy and his ilk believe that oil is a continuously renewable resource produced by some strange deep earth chemistry. Thomas Gold proposed that oil was the result of methane being “converted” deep in the earth. Gold ignored much that is know about the components of “oil” which is a very messy substance, chemically, and none of his speculations have been verified.

    Oil companies find oil by understanding the geology, changes in geology, plate tectonics, climate, composition of ancient marine life and many other factors. Shooting in the dark, drilling through granite, etc are things oil companies don’t do.

    Creationists have never produced a single drop of oil. Not one. Not even half of one.

    In fact, creationists have never produced anything except, perhaps, bile.

  8. TFN said,
    –Chairman McLeroy insisted, however, that he has a second cousin (a graduate student, no less) who told him understanding evolution really isn’t that important. —

    Well, that’s true. It is certainly not something that everyone needs to know. It is something that biologists should know because (1) evolutionary concepts are used in cladistic taxonomy and (2) scientific papers in biology often contain evolutionary terms. Evolution is certainly not “central to biology” or “the foundation of biology” as has been frequently falsely clamed. In fact, in a recent national survey, when science teachers were asked whether an excellent biology course could exist without mentioning Darwin or evolutionary theory at all, 13% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that such a course could exist, and even I don’t agree with that — see
    http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2008/08/state-of-evolution-education-in-usa-and.html

    Anyway, McLeroy’s views about evolution should not have been a consideration in his confirmation hearing. His views about evolution have nothing to do with his ability to function effectively as SBOE chairman. This was an inquisition, not a normal hearing.

    jdg Says:
    –It looks in the vid that Mcleroy is sweating bullets in the interrogation–

    Wouldn’t you be “sweating bullets” too if you were being browbeaten the way he was?

    Rocket Mike Says (May 2, 2009 at 12:49 pm) —
    –The paleontologists evaluate the fossils in the core samples, and with their knowledge of the evolutionary life of these fossils they can determine the age of the rock from which they came.–

    That has nothing to do with the claim that evolution has been driven solely by natural genetic variation and natural selection. Even Intelligent Design guru Michael Behe believes in an old earth and common descent.

    Doc Bill Says:
    –Oil companies find oil by understanding the geology, changes in geology, plate tectonics, climate, composition of ancient marine life and many other factors. —

    Scientists and petroleum engineers cannot always predict where oil will be found — exploratory drilling often comes up dry.

  9. Larry Farmhand says
    -Evolution is certainly not “central to biology” or “the foundation of biology” as has been frequently falsely clamed.-
    Evolution is the central part to biology and its foundation, how do you think we got here??? By an non existant god???

    -13% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that such a course could exist, and even I don’t agree with that-
    We have 1 in our science department who doesn’t teach evolution, but don’t worry, Larry, we’re getting ready to “Expel” him.

    Teachers that are going to teach any science should be composite and take evolutionary biology in college. Or else they shouldn’t teach at all.

  10. jdg Says (May 3, 2009 at 2:46 am) —
    –Evolution is the central part to biology and its foundation, how do you think we got here??? —

    There is a helluva lot more to biology than just how we allegedly got here.

  11. La Fafa just can’t help himself with his canards and strawmen. I wonder where he got the following, “That has nothing to do with the claim that evolution has been driven solely by natural genetic variation and natural selection.” I wonder if he can give a citation from Origins or the modern synthesis that attributes evolution “solely” to any given natural mechanism?

  12. Larry Farmhand says
    -There is a helluva lot more to biology than just how we allegedly got here.-

    But without knowing how we actually got here, biology is just a history course.

    “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution!!!”

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