Who knew evolutionary science had such an ardent defender in former (and infamous) Texas Republican gubernatorial candidate Clayton Williams?
According to a letter from Williams to Gov. Rick Perry unearthed by the Austin American-Statesman, Williams tried to intervene with the governor at the outset of the State Board of Education’s contentious science curriculum revision in 2008:
“If Texas enters into a debate on the teaching of fundamental religious beliefs in public schools, it will tarnish our strong academic reputation, set our ability to attract top science and engineering talent to Texas back decades and severely impact our reputation as a national and global leader in energy, space, medicine and other high tech fields… Governor, this is a very important issue for Texas. I urge you to quell this issue quietly, firmly and permanently.”
Of course, Perry decided to go a different direction. His handpicked chairman, Don “Somebody’s Gotta Stand Up to Experts” McLeroy, led the state board in an embarrassing, drawn out public fight over the legitimacy of evolution — just as Clayton feared.