Ed Board Candidate Decries ‘Evolution Agenda’

With the Texas State Board of Education set to adopt science textbooks for public schools in 2013, this year’s state board elections are especially important. On Tuesday one state board candidate, Republican Marty Rowley of Amarillo, made it pretty clear that he would be part of the board’s anti-science faction if elected.

Check out the post on his campaign blog titled “The Evolution Agenda in Schools.” Rowley argues that new science curriculum standards adopted by the state board in 2009 got low marks in a recent review from the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute because the board had “the audacity to allow Texas schoolchildren to look at evolution as a theory instead of an indisputable fact”:

“(W)hile I don’t dispute that evolution should be taught to Texas schoolchildren, which our science curriculum apparently adequately does, I believe it is a theory, and nothing more than a theory. And if we want to turn out thinking, analytical Texas graduates, they should be allowed to view evolution in the light of the strengths and weaknesses it possesses. I say, let’s teach scientific theories, including evolution, let them stand on their own merit, and let our students make their own well-reasoned decisions as to what they believe to be the truth.”

Mainstream science long ago debunked creationists’ arguments about phony “weaknesses” of evolution. Even the State Board of Education in 2009 rejected a curriculum requirement that students study so-called “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution. Still, creationists seeded the new science standards with other measures they hope will undermine teaching about evolution.

This year’s state board elections are critical to the future of public education in Texas. All 15 seats, including the one Rowley seeks in West Texas, are up for grabs. Learn about the board districts, candidates and issues on TFN’s SBOE election watch page here.

14 thoughts on “Ed Board Candidate Decries ‘Evolution Agenda’

  1. Nice to see that he is getting spanked on his blog. Won’t budge him, I’m sure, but at least other people can read and understand Rowley’s dishonesty and ignorance.

  2. I also left a polite but firm response on Marty’s site. Calling him dishonest and disingenuous is polite, isn’t it? At least I didn’t use the adjectives I was thinking!

    I see no need to walk on eggshells around creationists. Call them out when they say “only a theory.”

    If you’re reading this, Marty, old bean, listen carefully: you are entitled to your own opinions but you are not entitled to your own facts. And when you swap one for the other we’re going to call you out.

  3. Thanks for publicizing Marty Rowley’s blog column, Dan. I wrote a reply to Marty and readers can find it at his blog link provided above. I tried to be as cordial as I could but, like Doc Bill, was also firm!

  4. Marty is still displaying his ignorance on his blog, saying things such as:

    “I saw equally intellectual challenges with the theory of evolution, such as the original proposition that something came from nothing.”


    “I would like for students to be presented with the theory of evolution and the theory of intelligent design.”

    I think he is too ignorant on these topics to even understand what is wrong with those statements.

    Painful to watch people like that act as if they are informed when they plainly aren’t.

  5. Wow. An individual named Tracy wrote Marty Rowley a long, critical email message and asked that Marty post it as a comment after his column, which Marty charitably did, placed right after my comment. Tracy concludes: “I am opposed to your candidacy for the Texas SBOE and will be fighting to see that you are not elected.” Marty responds politely and says that he believes that “Genesis is not a compilation of fictional parables, but rather a God-inspired account of what really happened when our Creator set about creating this magnificent world in which we live. Whether that approach can be reconciled with prevailing scientific theory is something I must wrestle with in the context of creating my own personal set of beliefs.”

    Next, former Reverend Rowley comments, “More relevant to our discussion, however, is that I want Texas schoolchildren to have the same opportunity that you and I have had to study and draw conclusions. While the current state of the law may not allow for that approach, and as an SBOE member I would respect that, in an ideal setting, I would like for students to be presented with the theory of evolution and the theory of intelligent design. I would hope they could examine the evidence for both and come to their own conclusions, just as you and I have done.”

    I’m afraid this comment reveals the poor critical thinking skills that Marty possesses or his capacity to deceive himself and others. It is simply not true that Texas law does not allow Texas school children to study both sides of the origins question. They can study creationism, including intelligent design creationism, in their church and Sunday school and study evolution in public school biology class. Texas law affords them the opportunity to do both and then “come to their own conclusions.” No doubt Marty would oppose a state mandate that evolution be taught alongside creationism in church Sunday schools (as would I, of course). But what he clearly wants is intelligent design creationism be taught in public school biology classes alongside evolution, which is both illegal and a perversion of science education. His autocratic, anti-scientific thinking and desire and apparent willingness to use a position as a State Board of Education member to advocate this makes him unsuitable to be a member of the SBOE. He is obviously no different than Don McLeroy, Cynthia Dunbar, Barbara Cargill, Terri Leo, Gail Lowe, David Bradley, and Ken Mercer in this regard. But this is what I always suspected.

  6. Fortunately, there is an incredibly qualified alternative to Mr. Rowley. Anette Carlisle has many years experience in education matters, and scientific training as well.

  7. I get so tired of creationists calling “ad hominem” on any criticism, especially when the criticism is “ignorance.” Sort of ironic, don’t you think?

  8. I’m having a nice discussion with a clueless creationist (I know, shouldn’t repeat myself) named Shormann who claims to have evidence for a 6,000 year old earth but, surprise surprise, can’t seem to produce it. He produces lots of excuses, whining and diversions but no evidence.

    Is this how we want to teach science: lies and excuses? He doesn’t have any evidence and we both know that and his excuses are simply pathetic.

    it’s not even interesting creationism, either. Just Creationism 101. Intro course.

    1. Doc Bill,
      David Shormann is an anti-evolution zealot who helped torpedo (almost) the science instructional materials submitted for adoption last year by one of the major publishers. The State Board of Education’s creationists who got Shormann appointed to a review team used his objections to hold up the adoption of those materials. A last-minute deal solved the problem. TFN supported that deal because it really didn’t change much of significance in the materials. Truth is, the science adoption last year was a big defeat for the creationist side.