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,… Read More

A link to the audio of today’s State Board of Education meeting is here.

9:00 – Today the Texas State Board of Education finally decides what the next generation of Texas students will learn about evolution in their public school science classrooms. The morning preliminaries are ceremonial, but we expect debate on the science curriculum standards to begin within the hour. Stay tuned.

9:48 – The science debate is beginning.

9:50 – Cynthia Dunbar moves to amend the standards to ask students to study evidence “supportive and nonsupportive” of scientific theories. This is just another way of saying “strengths and weaknesses.”

10:05 – The board is on break as members discuss the amendment with each other.

10:08 – They’re back. Dunbar brings up the old nonsense that she’s protecting “academic freedom” and the state from being sued. She argues that if folks think “strengths and weaknesses” is “tainted,” then “supportive and nonsupportive evidence” should be fine. She misses the point. There is NO scientific evidence nonsupportive of evolution. Evolution is settled science for all but ideologues who oppose it for religious reasons.

10:14 – Bob Craig offers an amendment to the amendment, striking “supportive and nonsupportive”… Read More

OK, we’ve had a little time to digest all that went on today at the Texas State Board of Education. Without going through each of the many amendments that passed, here’s essentially what happened. This morning the board slammed the door on bringing creationism into classrooms through phony “weaknesses” arguments. But then board members turned around and threw open all the windows to pseudoscientific nonsense attacking core concepts like common descent and natural selection.

The amendments approved today are very problematic, regardless of the important victory over “strengths and weaknesses.” We anticipate that all 15 board members will be participating tomorrow, however, including a pro-science member who was absent today. So there is still time to reverse course.

Tomorrow, with the final vote, the board has a serious decision to make: is the science education of the next generation of Texas schoolchildren going to be based on fact-based, 21st-century science or on the personal beliefs of board members promoting phony arguments and pseudoscience?

You can still weigh in by sending e-mails to board members at sboeteks@tea.state.tx.us. Texas Education Agency staff will distribute e-mails to board members.… Read More

2:56 – Barbara Cargill now offers an amendment for Earth and Space Science designed to challenge the Big Bang theory. She wants teachers to tell students that there are different estimates of the age of the universe. (Like, maybe billions of years vs. 10,000?)

3:00 – Cargill says she has no intention to open the door to teaching creationist suggestions on the age of the universe. Uh huh. Right.

3:02 – Cargill slipped up a little while ago, saying “universal common design” instead of “universal common descent.” Oops. A revealing slip, yes?

3:05 – Cargill’s amendment passes 11-3.

3:09 – These and other Cargill amendments are designed to fudge science, making it more tentative on key points.

3:15 – Gail Lowe offers an amendment to the environmental systems course for high school. The current standard: “discuss the positive and negative influence of commonly held ethical beliefs on scientific practices such as methods used to increase food production or the existence of global warming.” Lowe wants to drop global warming. Mavis Knight suggests that students be asked to analyze and evaluate differing views on the existence of global warming. The revised amendment passes.

3:25 – The board has just voted to… Read More

1:43 – Sometimes the hypocrisy is really astounding. The anti-evolution Discovery Institute is harshly criticizing State Board of Education member Rick Agosto for asking that creationists remove their anti-evolution signs from the board room. Says the Disco:

Apparently Texas Board of Education member Rick Agosto isn’t just content to censor science by removing any criticisms of evolution from the science curriculum. The San Antonio Democrat even wants to prevent citizens from expressing their disagreement with that censorship. This morning Agosto demanded that some citizens quietly holding signs stating “Don’t Censor Science” at the Board meeting take down their signs. He even called on security personnel to forcibly remove the signs, but Board chair Don McElroy intervened to stop that abuse of power. 

We saw no effort to have security personnel remove anybody from the board room. Mr. Agosto was simply asking Chairman McLeroy to enforce the rule that McLeroy decreed after pro-science citizens brought signs with them to the November hearing.

Does the Discovery Institute think rules are only for people who support sound science?

1:47 – Terri Leo offers a bad amendment to the biology standards:

Analyze and evaluate the evidence regarding formation of simple organic molecules… Read More