The assault on science and science education continued throughout 2011. Today’s review of quotes from the past year shows that evolution and climate change were major targets in the right’s war on science, especially in Texas. Read other quotes from the far right in 2011 here.

“The controversy over science standards was actually the result of an attempted hijacking of science for ideological purposes by evolutionists. Their agenda was much more about worldviews than biology. The standards reflect real science and challenge students to study some of evolution’s most glaring weaknesses in explaining the fossil record and the complexity of the cell.”

– Don McLeroy, former Texas State Board of Education member, writing in an op-ed column about the board’s record over the past several years. Austin American-Statesman, January 1, 2011

“If your theory’s right, all these species would get together and form a new species, then where is the cat-dog or the rat-cat, whatever it be. They don’t come together. Cats go with cats, and dogs go with dogs.”

– Ken Mercer, member of the Texas State Board of Education, in another installment of his argument that evolution is bad science because there are no… Read More

How in the world did we miss this? Seems that in August, Texas State Board of Education member Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio, had some interesting things to say about science and social studies curriculum standards on a Tea Party radio program. Speaking on the San Antonio Tea Party's Boiling Point radio show, Mercer offered much of the usual commentary we've come to expect from the state board's far-right members. But some of what he said was more revealing than he probably intended. For example, Mercer claims during the radio interview that one of his particularly goofy arguments against evolutionary science in 2009 was just a joke. But as he continues, it sounds like he really does believe that the absence of "dog-cats" and "cat-rats" makes the case against evolution: “If your theory’s right, all these species would get together and form a new species, then where is the cat-dog or the rat-cat, whatever it be. They don’t come together. Cats go with cats, and dogs go with dogs.” [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTDaZCyzxi8&w=450&h=30]…… Read More

What’s wrong with this picture?

According to the Dallas Observer, this PowerPoint slide was found on the central curriculum website (accessible only by teachers) for the Dallas Independent School District, the 12th-largest public school system in the country.

The slide was apparently part of a presentation titled “The Cell Theory.” The Observer notes most of the presentation was based on sound science. Until, of course, you got to the kicker in this slide.

The slide has since been yanked — after the Observer reporter started asking questions.

How did such blatantly unconstitutional creationism wind up  in the curricular materials for one of the country’s biggest school districts? We don’t know. Honest mistake or not, it goes to show that keeping creationist materials out of public school classrooms requires constant vigilance. Kudos to the Dallas Observer.… Read More

Gov. Perry, we’d like to bring an exciting money-making opportunity to your attention.

Have you ever met Ken Mercer? You might have. Mercer is the District 5 representative on the State Board of Education and, proudly, a member of that body’s far-right bloc.

Last month when the SBOE debated adoption of instructional materials in science, Mercer made a very generous offer:

You show me one (science curriculum standard) where there’s God or Jesus, intelligent design, creationism. Show me that, and I’ll give you $500.

The National Center for Science Education has video of Mercer’s offer:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0i3tAjp6jeQ&w=400&h=255]

Now fast forward a few weeks, where you stated unequivocally:

In Texas, we teach both creationism and evolution in our public schools — because I figure you’re smart enough to figure out which one is right.

Video here:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dj7spLBfMHY&w=400&h=255]

You and Mr. Mercer should talk about that $500 check. He doesn’t strike us as a welcher, so we’re sure he’ll hand that $500 right over.

A word of caution, though. A bunch of us fact-checked your creationism comment, and despite your assertion, we couldn’t find anything in the standards calling for creationism… Read More

Is the Texas Education Agency (TEA) climbing out on the limb with Gov. Rick Perry? The agency's statement regarding Gov. Perry's  claim that creationism is taught side-by-side with evolution in science classes is a little ambiguous. And more than a little alarming. Read More