Dunbar: Mistruths and the War on Science

It’s been interesting how easily evolution deniers rely on and even promote falsehoods to bolster their attacks on teaching sound science. While live-blogging the Texas State Board of Education public hearing on proposed public school science curriculum standards last week, we noted a good example of this. In case you missed it, we thought we’d make it a separate post.

Our friends at the National Center for Science Education decided to do a little research into a particularly egregious falsehood spouted by state board member Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, at the first hearing on the proposed standards in November. You remember Dunbar. She’s the board member who believes that President Obama sympathizes with terrorists out to destroy America and that public education is a “tool of perversion,” “tyrannical” and “unconstitutional.” Yeah, her. Hard to forget, yes?

Anyway, back in November Dunbar argued that a prominent biologist and Nobel laureate had recently written an article suggesting that he was an evolution skeptic. Well, that would certainly be big news. So the good folks over at NCSE decided to investigate. What they discovered suggests that Dunbar either had no clue what she was talking about or had deliberately tried to mislead the audience and fellow board members at the hearing in November.

We’ll let NCSE’s Josh Rosenau tell the whole story. It’s a good read with a perfect example of how distortions and mistruths have been drafted into the war on science. Check it out here.

We’ll ask again: what in the world is Cynthia Dunbar doing on the State Board of Education?

7 thoughts on “Dunbar: Mistruths and the War on Science

  1. On behalf of hard working parents who are too busy raising their kids and working hard to pay school taxes to follow local politics, thank you very much to TFN for pursuing this issue. I only noticed the issue in the New York Times last week. This been eye opening, and I have joined TFN and signed your petition. The live blogging was excellent! As a father who cares about his kids education with one in school, I looked up my representative and sent an email expressing my views before the vote. Surprise. My rep is Cynthia Dunbar. In the days following the vote, I conducted more research on her. It made my stomach turn that this person claims to represent me regarding what our schools teach. She is the antithesis of my beliefs regarding church and schools. I am a registered Republican and have let her know how people like her make the Republican Party appear to be the lunatic fringe, and how in the next primary, I will be voting for science and logic in our schools rather than superstition and magic. If she wins the primary, I will be voting for the Democratic rep who can at least get this issue right.

  2. One more thing that I noticed while I researched Cynthia. Doesn’t anybody else find it odd that she claims to be a Conservative and supports smaller government when her husband works for the County (whom I’d bet brings home most of the bacon in the family since she seems to be phantom lawyer)?

  3. Bob said (January 27, 2009 at 10:12 am ) —
    –One more thing that I noticed while I researched Cynthia . . . . . . her husband works for the County (whom I’d bet brings home most of the bacon in the family since she seems to be phantom lawyer)–

    Her bio says, “Cynthia Noland Dunbar currently teaches anatomy & physiology to high school juniors and seniors.”

    It is obvious that you did not “research” Cynthia very well. Please look before you leap.

  4. Okay. My goal was to point out the hypocrisy of writing a book as a stanch conservative preaching smaller government a large portion of her family income comes from a form of government. I’m well aware that she teaches anatomy & phsiology. This doesn’t change where most of the family income comes from. In fact, it strengthens the point, since both she and her husband work for some form of government. Her bio also makes a bunch of claims regarding legal work which may not hold water. But we are getting way off of the key issues.

  5. I certainly agree that we are getting far away from key issues. Those key issues being certain members of the SBOE like Cynthia Dunbar. The question is how someone professed to be hostile to public education and obviously scientifically illiterate gets on the SBOE in the first place (the fact that she distorted the opinion of a leading scientist should come as no surprise to anyone if you followed the Dover trial where the Cynthia Dunbar counterparts who were defendants in that case lied in a courtroom – the judge made that point in his decision). The answer is obvious. SBOE elections are down ticket and no one — including parents with kids in the public schools and taxpayers who support them which taking the two groups together is about 95% of the population — except the lunatic right wing and religious fringes in the state of Texas has been paying attention. Thus, people like Dunbar and her clique have managed to come dangerously close to high jacking the SBOE for partisan political and religious aims. They are not serving on the SBOE for the public good — as a matter of fact they detest a large part of the public who do not profess their religious beliefs or belong to the Republican Party. The fact that they feed at the public expense by working for the county or local school board while defaming public institutions is important but not essential to the argument. Because people like some of those who have posted previously weren’t paying attention and fighting these people at the ballot box we are now spending hours of time and money and other valuable resources fighting for a sound science education for kids who attend public schools. Cynthia Dunbar and her opinions and actions should come as a surprise to no one. She posts widely and often – she believes everything she says and wants everyone to know. In my opinion, it is not the SBOE as structured which is at fault — it is who serves on the Board and though we can legislate to limit the impact of the current SBOE that again is reacting. We should really be trying to defeat these people at the polls. I don’t want to go into the problems with the media. The fact that it was NCSE and TFN which uncovered the fabrication uttered by Dunbar in a public meeting is the job of the media including the Houston Chronicle, Dallas Morning News and other outlets in this state.

  6. Remember that in the GOP primary Huckabee was running, & no doubt drew his fans to the polls in numbers larger than they would have showed if he had already dropped out. Chuck Norris not only supports teaching creation, he supports using the Bible as a textbook in public schools.

    On Dunbar & Arber, I think that there is more to be gleaned from Dunbar’s exchange with Eugenie Scott over Arber than just how Dunbar had misrepresented him. See