Scientists are "atheists." Parents who want to teach their children about evolution are "monsters." Pastors who support sound science are "morons." Is that the sort of message Chairman Don McLeroy and his cohorts on the State Board of Education have in mind for Texas science classrooms if they succeed in their campaign to shoehorn “weaknesses” of evolution back into the science curriculum standards? That's certainly the message of a new book McLeroy is now endorsing. Dr. McLeroy – noting his position as board chair – recently wrote a glowing recommendation of Sowing Atheism: The National Academy of Sciences’ Sinister Scheme to Teach Our Children They’re Descended from Reptiles by Robert Bowie Johnson, Jr. (The new book is self-published.) The chairman clearly likes what he reads: In critiquing the National Academy of Science’s (NAS) missionary evolution tract—Science, Evolution and Creationism, 2008, he identifies their theft of true science by their intentional neglect of other valid scientific possibilities. Then, using NAS’s own statements, he demonstrates that the great “process” of evolution—natural selection—is nothing more than a figure of speech. These chapters alone are worth the reading of this book. Curious to know what Johnson envisions - and McLeroy…… Read More

The Austin American-Statesman has a long profile of Texas State Board of Education chairman Don McLeroy today. The College Station dentist explains his opposition to evolution and his insistence that students learn there are "weaknesses" to this core scientific concept. On the other side of the debate are prominent scientists, such as David Hillis of the University of Texas at Austin and Kenneth Miller of Brown University. Dr. McLeroy and his supporters insist that their desire to challenge evolution in biology classrooms is not about promoting religion in public schools. Yet he makes clear in the Statesman piece that his religious beliefs are the source of his objections to evolution:…… Read More

In TFN News Clips (subscribe here) last week, we included a piece from the Christian Science Monitor about efforts by creationists to pass so-called “academic freedom” bills in various states. The bills provide legal support for teachers who challenge evolution with creationist arguments in their public school science classrooms. Texas has no such law (yet).

In any case, we failed to note a choice quote from Texas State Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy, R-College Station. The story explained that during the board’s debate on new science standards in January, McLeroy succeeded in passing a particular anti-evolution amendment to the draft document.

“That shocked a lot of people,” says the chairman, Don McLeroy, a self-identified “young earth creationist.” But Mr. McLeroy insists such efforts are well within the law. “It’s certainly not a religious standard…. People are probably opposed to [the new language] for ideological reasons.”

Well, it’s certainly true that people were shocked — shocked that a majority of state board members had somehow accepted the pseudoscientific babble the good dentist offered as arguments for the amendment. (For more on those arguments, see an earlier post here.) Interestingly, McLeroy had… Read More

Have you wondered how Texas State Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy persuaded fellow board members last month to add an amendment weakening proposed science standards dealing with evolution? Well, here’s an interesting Web page put together by an enterprising fellow: “Collapse of a Texas Quote Mine.” The site looks at the many quotes from reputable sources that Dr. McLeroy used to justify calling into question common descent, a core concept of evolutionary theory. The site lists each of the quotes culled by McLeroy (or whoever provided his talking points) and explains how they were distorted and taken out of context in the cause of promoting pseudoscientific nonsense.

Here’s an example. The Web site notes that Dr. McLeroy cherry-picked this quote from Ernst Mayr’s What Evolution Is (2001):

…the various steps in the history of the change from ape to man … is entirely based on inferences and any part of it may be refuted at any time.

Sounds like skepticism about a key part of human evolution over time, yes? Well, Mayr certainly didn’t mean it to be. This is the quote in context from his book:

Yet, as far as… Read More

Creationists on the Texas State Board of Education have repeatedly insisted that their attempts to dumb down the science curriculum on evolution have nothing to do with promoting their religious beliefs. But often their own words and actions betray them.

At the end of the Jan. 21 public hearing on the science standards, board members were given the opportunity to choose a handful of speakers to close out testimony. Among those chosen by the board’s creationist bloc was one David Muralt, whose affiliation he listed simply as “self.” Muralt put the lie to creationists’ claims that they aren’t trying to promote religion in science classrooms. We have transcribed his testimony (from the 4:26:44 mark on the Full Board Part A 1/21 archived audio file), which includes:

Why do we persist teaching students the religion of atheistic humanism, under the guise of scientific, factual evolution? Which is neither scientific nor factual, when you only present one point of view.

Teaching students that they evolved and are nothing more than animals degrades their quality of life, and robs them of meaning and purpose for life. The twisted reasoning of humanism in seeking to exalt man, reduces him to an animal… Read More