Creationists with a Political Thesaurus

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When listening to the claims of creationists on the Texas State Board of Education, a political thesaurus would be helpful. The board’s far-right bloc has asked the people of Texas to have a little faith. Its members are not, they claim, interested in having public school science classes teach students about creationism, “intelligent design” or any other religious concepts. At a November 19 hearing on proposed public school science curriculum standards, Chairman Don McLeroy, R-Bryan, proclaimed that he didn’t know of any board members who want science classes to do so. McLeroy and fellow creationists on the board say they’re interested only in exposing students to “scientific weaknesses of the theory of evolution.”

 

But that’s not what they’ve said in voter guides from the Free Market Foundation (the Texas affiliate of the far-right pressure group Focus on the Family) and, in some cases, when they were running for office.

 

Let’s work backward in time, shall we? Click on the thumbnail image below to see a 2008 Free Market Foundation Voter Guide for the State Board of Education:

fmf-2008-voter-guide3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 So far so good. The far-right bloc’s members who were up for re-election were all on message – Terri Leo, R-Spring; David Bradley, R-Beaumont; Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands; and Gail Lowe, R-Lampasas, all said they “Strongly Favor” forcing publishers to include “strengths and weaknesses of the theory of evolution” in biology textbooks. “Intelligent design”/creationism isn’t even mentioned.

 

But if you go back to a 2006 Free Market Foundation Voter Guide, you will find that candidates were asked whether they support teaching “intelligent design” alongside evolution in public schools:

fmf-2006-voter-guide5

 

Maybe news of the Kitzmiller v. Dover ruling in 2005 had not yet reached some board members, so three key current members of the far-right bloc — Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio; McLeroy; and Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond — all said they “Strongly Favor” the teaching of “intelligent design” as a “viable” theory in public school science classrooms. That same year, Dunbar told the Austin American-Statesman that she supported teaching “intelligent design” in public schools. The concept, she said, is “at least as viable, if not more so, than evolution.” (“Five from GOP gun for 2 state education seats,” Austin American-Statesman, Feb. 20, 2006. A link apparently is no longer available, but Burnt Orange Report noted the same story at the time here.) In the same American-Statesman pre-primary election article, Mercer said he also supported teaching “intelligent design” alongside evolution in public schools: “We should let kids hear both sides of the story.”

 

If we keep following the trail, however, we go back to those heady days of creationism in 2002 – when politicians didn’t have to soft-peddle their rejection of science and support for a 6,000-year-old Earth with code words like “weaknesses” or “intelligent design.” A 2002 Free Market Foundation Voter Guide prefaced a question about “intelligent design” with the label “Creationism”:

fmf-2002-voter-guide1

 

Surprise! (Or not.) Leo, Bradley, McLeroy and Lowe all indicated that they “Strongly Favor” teaching creationism in public schools — not “weaknesses of evolution,” but creationism, the real deal.

 

So what happened? Did these board members change their minds about teaching creationism sometime between the 2002 and 2008 elections? Of course not. This is a time-lapsed visual history of the political evolution of modern creationism.

 

Bottom line: An “intelligent design” supporter today is a creationist with a thesaurus. And a backer of “weaknesses of evolution” is an “intelligent design” supporter who has read the Kitzmiller v. Dover decision. Same motives. Same end game. Same politicians who “Strongly Favor.”

 

It’s hard, then, to take the McLeroy bloc seriously when its members raise their hands and pledge that they just want to make sure students get all the facts about evolution. Who do they think they’re fooling? The reality is that they are trying to dumb down our schoolchildren’s science curriculum in an effort to promote their own personal and ideological agendas. Don’t let them get away with it.

 

And by the way, TFN sends a big “thank you” to the Free Market Foundation for documenting the positions of these creationist chameleons so thoroughly over the years. Anyone want to guess what the group’s 2010 Voter Guide is going to say? Early money is on:

 

ACADEMIC FREEDOM: Support the right of teachers to express their personal views on scientific theories on the origins of life.

 

Any guesses which state board members will “Strongly Favor” that?

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33 Responses to “Creationists with a Political Thesaurus”

  1. Larry Fafarman Says:

    The original post said,
    – A 2002 Free Market Foundation Voter Guide prefaced a question about “intelligent design” with the label “Creationism”:

    Surprise! (Or not.) Leo, Bradley, McLeroy and Lowe all indicated they “Strongly Favor” teaching creationism in public schools — not “weaknesses of evolution,” but creationism, the real deal.–

    Here is what was shown in the 2002 Voter Guide:

    –CREATIONISM: Present scientific evidence supporting intelligent design, and not just evolution, and treat both theories as viable ones on the origin of life.–

    How do you know that the term “CREATIONISM” was included in the questionnaire that was sent to the candidates? How do you know that “CREATIONISM” was not just a title that was added afterwards to the question when the responses were published in the voter guide? You don’t know.

    Also, you are singling out Leo, Bradley, McLeroy, and Lowe for condemnation — of the 21 candidates listed in the 2002 voter guide, 12 responded “Strongly Favor” to the “creationism” question. Only one candidate was opposed (strongly opposed). Two candidates did not respond to the questionnaire and two answered “U” — undecided? — to the creationism question.

    The original post said,
    – . . . a backer of “weaknesses of evolution” is an “intelligent design” supporter who has read the Kitzmiller v. Dover decision. –

    The “weaknesses” language in the Texas science standards has nothing to do with the Kitzmiller v. Dover decision of 2005 — the “strengths and weaknesses” language was added to the Texas textbook proclamations in the 1980′s and was added to the Texas science standards around 1997.

    Your above misleading article is now being cited on the Panda’s Thumb blog:

    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2008/12/creationist-evo.html

  2. S. Lowry Says:

    I suppose its true that TFN doesn’t know if the Free Market Foundation included the word “creationism” in their question to candidates. Perhaps FMF is willfully misrepresenting the views of McLeroy, Leo and the others and the question had lingo on intelligent design instead. In 2002? Unlikely. Or do you suppose it was a mistake? A typ0? Did FMF actually want Dr. Don’s viewpoint on “cretinism” instead? THAT’S why he “strongly favors” it. And how is TFN to blame for this?

  3. Steven Schafersman Says:

    Congratulations on your fine bit of investigative journalism. When Don McLeroy said that he didn’t know of any State Board member who wanted to teach Creationism or Intelligent Design Creationism in Texas public schools, I knew that was untrue. Several newspaper articles had quoted them to that effect. McLeroy himself had advocated that (did he just forgot he did?) before his “friends at the Discovery Institute” got him to start using the correct slogans to frame their marketing campaign (“we only want to teach evolution’s weaknesses”). You did the next step to document that his claim was false. Really excellent.

  4. Larry Fafarman Says:

    S. Lowry Says: (December 2, 2008 at 12:24 pm) —
    –I suppose its true that TFN doesn’t know if the Free Market Foundation included the word “creationism” in their question to candidates. –

    You only “suppose” it’s true? TFN has not denied it.

    –”Perhaps FMF is willfully misrepresenting the views of McLeroy, Leo and the others and the question had lingo on intelligent design instead.”–

    “Perhaps . . . the question had lingo on intelligent design instead”? There is no “perhaps” about it — the question did have “lingo on intelligent design instead” — the term “intelligent design” was in the body of the question and the word “creationism” was not. The word “creationism” was just the title or topic of the question. Here again is the question as it was reported in the 2002 Voter Guide:

    –CREATIONISM: Present scientific evidence supporting intelligent design, and not just evolution, and treat both theories as viable ones on the origin of life.–

    It is hard to debate someone who can’t even get his facts straight.

    And let’s just suppose that the question’s title or topic “creationism” was included in the questionnaire that was given to the candidates — the word “creationism” was just the title or topic of the question, it was not in the body of the question itself. The title or topic of the question might just as well have been “evolution.” There is no reason to assume that the candidates believed that the word “creationism” was part of the question.

    –Did FMF actually want Dr. Don’s viewpoint on “cretinism” instead?–

    Dr. Don is not responsible for the ways in which FMF presented the question to the candidates or published the candidates’ answers in the Voter Guides.

    –And how is TFN to blame for this?–

    TFN is to blame for possible misinterpretations of the candidates’ responses in the Voter Guides.

    I am interested in what the board of education members are saying now, not in what they said in a Voter Guide published 6 long years ago, and I am particularly not interested in possible misinterpretations of what they said in that Voter Guide.

  5. S. Lowry Says:

    The facts seem clear. The nice little pics have a highlighted SF next to Don McLeroy’s name. Above that SF on the 2002 Guide it says “creationism.” I left college 25 years ago, but I think that means he favors the teaching of creationism — strongly. If having the dreaded C word is misleading, inaccurate or confusing to the reader, the good dentist certainly had the right not to respond. Or do you suppose he supports ID but despises biblical creationism? If confusion exists (or did in 2002) someone should have brought it to the attention of the Free Market Foundation. Every candidate but two managed to complete the questionnaire — I think they understood.

  6. nunyer Says:

    ya don’t suppose Holocaust-denier Fafarman has any evidence showing that McLeroy and his creationist cronies ever protested in 2002 about being characterized as creationism supporters?

    Surely, if they resented that labeling in 2002, Fafarman could come up with some record of it . . . as it stands, they knew damned good and well in 2002 what the FMF voters guide stated about their views on teaching creationism. And we’ve seen no evidence that the candidates disagreed with that description.

  7. jdg Says:

    Larry F.

    Once again you have no idea what you are talking about. You say you been doing this for 2 1/2 years. But you still don’t have a clue or you have a creationist agenda.

  8. Larry Fafarman Says:

    S. Lowry said (December 2, 2008 at 8:32 pm) —
    –If having the dreaded C word is misleading, inaccurate or confusing to the reader, the good dentist certainly had the right not to respond. Or do you suppose he supports ID but despises biblical creationism?–

    Let’s go over the possibilities again:

    Maybe the question title “creationism” was not included in the questionnaire that was given to the candidates. If the question title “creationism” was included, maybe candidates thought that it was not part of the question. If they thought “creationism” was or could be part of the question, they could not respond separately to the word if they wanted to — they just answered the question as best they could.

    –If confusion exists (or did in 2002) someone should have brought it to the attention of the Free Market Foundation. –

    There have been complaints about confusion in the wording of questions in the recent survey of Texas college biologists, but those complaints have not done any good.

    nunyer Says: (December 2, 2008 at 10:44 pm) —
    –ya don’t suppose Holocaust-denier Fafarman has any evidence showing that McLeroy and his creationist cronies ever protested in 2002 about being characterized as creationism supporters? –

    ya don’t suppose that making an ad hominem attack is a sure sign that you don’t have any good arguments?

    –Surely, if they resented that labeling in 2002, Fafarman could come up with some record of it . .–

    Surely, if the question title “creationism” was in the questionnaire given to the candidates, or if the candidates understood the word to be part of the question, or if they expressly stated in 2002 that they did not resent that labeling, nunyer could come up with some record of it.

    – . as it stands, they knew damned good and well in 2002 what the FMF voters guide stated about their views on teaching creationism. –

    Wishful thinking is not an argument.

    – And we’ve seen no evidence that the candidates disagreed with that description. –

    And we’ve seen no good evidence that they agreed with that description.

    jdg said (December 2, 2008 at 11:44 pm) —
    –Larry F.

    Once again you have no idea what you are talking about. You say you been doing this for 2 1/2 years. But you still don’t have a clue or you have a creationist agenda. –

    You Darwinists have names for such arguments — you call them “arguments from disbelief” or “arguments from ignorance.”

    As for Don McLeroy, the most important thing is what he is saying now about his beliefs and policies. He says that he is a young-earth creationist but that he doesn’t think that YEC should be taught in the public schools (there is really practically nothing to teach about “poof”-type creationism, anyway). However, he is in favor of teaching the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution.

  9. airtightnoodle Says:

    Larry,

    Regardless of how the question was phrased to the candidates, they managed to respond and are now on the record as supporting creationism/intelligent design in 2002. This is contradictory to what Mcleroy recently said–that he knew of no board member that ever supported such a thing (although he himself in the past has done so). If they were in an uproar about being categorized in such a manner at the time, it should be easy to find documentation of this. Likewise, if asked about this 2002 voter guide now, it would certainly behoove them to clarify their position, both then and now.

  10. Tony Whitson Says:

    You can get the audio of McLeroy’s Nov 19 assertion:

    I don’t think you’ll find a single Board member that has ever advocated — in fact I don’t know of a single Board member that has ever advocated — teaching creationism, teaching intelligent design, or teaching supernatural explanations in the science classroom.

    at http://curricublog.org/2008/12/02/mcleroy-vs-truth/

    … as well as his exchange with Wendee Holtcamp over use of the word “lying.”

  11. eric Says:

    Larry,
    One – the word “creationism” doesn’t just appear in the top text, it appears as a column heading in 2002. So to claim McLeroy did not know the question was about favoring creationism you have to claim that either FMF is maliciously changing the forms after the fact or that Don McLeroy filled out a matrix with no column headers (which would make him very stupid, strongly favoring a blank position!).

    Two – let’s say for the sake of argument that the title (as you call it) never showed up on the original cards. Don McLeroy is still lying. His recorded claim of November 19, this year, is that he ‘knows of no board member that has ever advocated the teaching of intelligent design’. The term Intelligent Design appears in the text of the 2002 and 2006 cards, not just the title. So even without the title, Don is lying. He himself “Strongly Favored” Intelligent Design.

    Three – just to drive the point home, the words ‘Intelligent Design’ are used for the column heading in the 2006 survey. So again you have to claim that the column headings were missing or FMF altered them to support your claim.

    Lastly, before you insist that alteration is possible, let me point out that Don voluntarily participated in the same survey, done by the same company, in 2008. It is hard to see why he would ever cooperate with a company that had a six-year track record of maliciously misrepresenting his opinion to the voters. Such a claim by you – when Don himself is making no such complaint – borders on the ridiculous.

  12. eric Says:

    P.S. in addition to the link above, the audio can be accessed from TEA directly at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/sboe/audio_archived.html

    The relevant audio is titled “Committee of the Full Board Part D (11/19),” under the first heading, and Don’s claim that no board member has ever advocated creationism or intelligent design begins at 1:45:17.

  13. S. Lowry Says:

    I have $1000 that says Mr. Fararman justifies this apparent contradiction by stating that “advocating for” and “strongly favoring” are two separate and distinct things… anyone?

  14. island Says:

    Georges Lemaître had an “agenda” when he discovered the Big Bang, because he thought that it was proof of the literal interpretation of Genesis.

    So the agenda doesn’t matter to science, (it’s really about the integrity of interpretations of the evidence), while creationism and ID are strictly prohibited by the separation laws, so it doesn’t matter what the agenda is, since they will be in violation of the high court and/or the court ruling in Dover if they try to teach creationism or ID in school.

    The Discovery Institute and ID could be effectively wiped off the map if they tried to push either ID or creationism in school, unless they are certain that they can win a Supreme Court ruling. They would be stupid beyond belief to try that after Dover, so the odds are that they want to put certain aspects of Darwin’s Theory in the spotlight.

    NOBODY that isn’t ONLY interested in fighting an ideologically motivated culture war is going to try to stop them from hanging themselves once and for all, forever and ever, ahMan. Nobody in their right mind would try to stop them from hanging themselves if they were only interested in the integrity of science.

    These lies, embellishments, and convenient distortions of *both* sides make it politics as usual, since the creationists agenda does not matter to science or the kids, because creationism and ID CANNOT be LEGALLY taught, no matter what creationists might *want* to do, so the claim that “teaching the controversy” should be shot down on the basis that it will “invite costly lawsuits” something that is assumed in the face of any evidence, since nobody is pushing creationist’s materials like they did in Dover.

    “Teaching the controversy” involves assumptions and interpretations of some of the less-well defined mechanisms of evolutionary theory that creationists claim are being dishonestly biased by politics in science, and there is some historical precedence for this, so their method is possibly justified if science benefits because this non-scientific tendency

    I don’t know much about the philosopher, Thomas Nagel, and don’t necessarily share his general position, but I do agree that this makes for a very accurate and true statement:

    http://philosophy.fas.nyu.edu/docs/IO/1172/papa_132.pdf
    “The political urge to defend science education against the threats of religious orthodoxy, understandable though it is, has resulted in a counterorthodoxy, supported by bad arguments, and a tendency to overstate the legitimate scientific claims of evolutionary theory….”

    This equally absurd over-reactionary tendency or “anticentrist dogma”, has plagued science since Copernicus removed us from the the center of the Universe. Personally, I see this as being much more destructive to plausible science than anything that the DI and the IDists have done to date, because it comes from the side that is supposed to be on the side of science.

    And I commonly demolish the bogus pretense that politics isn’t a factor:
    http://dorigo.wordpress.com/2008/06/23/guest-post-rick-ryals-the-anthropic-principle/

  15. Tony Whitson Says:

    eric Says:

    P.S. in addition to the link above, the audio can be accessed from TEA directly at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/sboe/audio_archived.html

    That page links to the original audio sources, which is about seven hours of streaming audio broken into two large files.

    The curricublog post on “McLeroy vs. Truth” has playable/downloadable clips of just those bits mentioned in the comment above (the quoted line, & the exchange with Holtcamp) if anyone wants just those short bits.

    The whole 7 hours is available at http://curricublog.org/2008/11/26/texas-sboe-evolution-2008nov19/ broken into seven reduced-size playable/downloadable files, lined up with the five part blog posts here on this TFN blog.

    It’s been reported that the audio technicians at TEA would like to post downloadable files, but they haven’t figured out how they’re going to do that yet.

  16. Larry Fafarman Says:

    eric said (December 3, 2008 at 2:46 pm) —

    –Larry,
    One – the word “creationism” doesn’t just appear in the top text, it appears as a column heading in 2002. So to claim McLeroy did not know the question was about favoring creationism you have to claim that either FMF is maliciously changing the forms after the fact . . .–

    I wouldn’t put that past the FMF. It’s a fundy outfit. If the Voter Guide had been published by the TFN, the title “Evolution” might have been “maliciously” added after the fact.

    –. . . . or that Don McLeroy filled out a matrix with no column headers (which would make him very stupid, strongly favoring a blank position!).–

    It would not have been a “blank” position if the questionnaire had no column headers or question titles — the position was in the question itself: “Present scientific evidence supporting intelligent design, and not just evolution, and treat both theories as viable ones on the origin of life.” And even if the question title “creationism” had been in the questionnaire given to the candidates and the candidates believed that this title was part or could be part of the question — and we have no right to assume that they believed that — there was nothing they could do about it so far as responding to the questionnaire was concerned; they could only give stock answers to the questions. Also, of the 21 candidates in the 2002 Voter Guide, the responses to the “creationism” question were as follows: “Strongly favor,” 12; “Favor, ” 4; “Strongly oppose,” only 1; “U” (I presume this means no answer), 2; and no response at all to questionnaire, 2. So if anything, the “Strongly oppose” position was the extremist position.

    –Two – let’s say for the sake of argument that the title (as you call it) never showed up on the original cards. Don McLeroy is still lying. His recorded claim of November 19, this year, is that he ‘knows of no board member that has ever advocated the teaching of intelligent design’. The term Intelligent Design appears in the text of the 2002 and 2006 cards, not just the title. So even without the title, Don is lying. He himself “Strongly Favored” Intelligent Design.–

    OK, if you don’t like calling it a “title,” how about “topic” or “subject”? Whatever. In any case, the word “creationism” was not in the body of the question.

    Maybe McLeroy’s memory was bad, or maybe he deliberately lied. So what? You Darwinists lie when you claim that the Discovery Institute is responsible for the “strengths and weaknesses” (or “strengths and limitations”) language and that the language is an evasion of the Dover decision against “intelligent design” — the language was put in the state science regulations about 20 years ago, long before the DI and the Dover decision existed. You lie when you claim that ID is part of creationism — ID is based on scientific facts and reasoning, not on religious sources. You lie when you claim that all scientific and pseudoscientific criticisms of evolution theory are part of ID. So the pot is calling the kettle black.

    Also, please note that in the 2006 Voter Guide, Don McLeroy’s name and “response” of “Strongly Favor” under the “Intelligent Design” question have asterisks with the note, “Response shown indicates party platform answers, as candidate chose not to answer the questionnaire.”

    Also, the “strengths and weaknesses” language was in the first drafts of the chemistry and astronomy standards and the “strengths and limitations” language is in the second drafts of the biology, chemistry, and physics standards. So the “weaknesses” and “limitations” terms are not just fundy things unless there are a lot of fundies on the standards-drafting committees.

    — Three – just to drive the point home, the words ‘Intelligent Design’ are used for the column heading in the 2006 survey. So again you have to claim that the column headings were missing or FMF altered them to support your claim. –

    Wrong. I don’t have to make that claim in regard to the 2006 survey, because the 2006 survey is completely separate from the 2002 survey. Furthermore, I can’t make that claim for the 2006 survey because “intelligent design” is in the body of the 2006 survey question as well as being in the title.

    –Lastly, before you insist that alteration is possible, let me point out that Don voluntarily participated in the same survey, done by the same company, in 2008. It is hard to see why he would ever cooperate with a company that had a six-year track record of maliciously misrepresenting his opinion to the voters.–

    Mainstream politicians don’t normally completely refuse to cooperate with organizations that support them unless those organizations are super bad, like, say, Aryan Nations. And as I noted, McLeroy did not voluntarily participate in the 2006 FMF survey — he declined to respond to it, according to the 2006 FMF Voter Guide.

    –Such a claim by you — when Don himself is making no such complaint — borders on the ridiculous.–

    So far, what has there been for Don to complain about? Isn’t this allegation of a conflict between Don’s present statements and these 2002 and 2006 Voter Guides being raised here for the first time?

    Also, so far as McLeroy’s evasiveness concerning the term “intelligent design” is concerned: It was not a dirty word in 2002 — Judge Jones made it a dirty word in his Kitzmiller v. Dover decision of 2005. So McLeroy’s evasiveness concerning ID is probably political, and Judge Jones at least shares the blame for McLeroy’s evasiveness. Actually, IMO most people in 2002 were not familiar with the term “Intelligent Design” — IMO it was the Dover decision that popularized the term.

    airtightnoodle said (December 3, 2008 at 11:59 am) —

    –Regardless of how the question was phrased to the candidates, they managed to respond and are now on the record as supporting creationism/intelligent design in 2002. –

    Wrong, as I explained above.

    –This is contradictory to what Mcleroy recently said – that he knew of no board member that ever supported such a thing (although he himself in the past has done so). If they were in an uproar about being categorized in such a manner at the time, it should be easy to find documentation of this.–

    If it is so easy to find documentation of such an “uproar” in 2002, then why don’t you do it? And if you can’t find documentation of such an “uproar” in 2002, then how do you expect me to find documentation that there was no such “uproar” in 2002?

  17. trog69 Says:

    “If it is so easy to find documentation of such an “uproar” in 2002, then why don’t you do it? And if you can’t find documentation of such an “uproar” in 2002, then how do you expect me to find documentation that there was no such “uproar” in 2002?”

    ‘IF’ they were in an uproar about being categorized in such a manner at the time, it should be easy to find documentation of this.– I take it you missed this sentence before typing. I sure wish I could have shown you this sooner…

  18. airtightnoodle Says:

    airtightnoodle said (December 3, 2008 at 11:59 am) —

    –Regardless of how the question was phrased to the candidates, they managed to respond and are now on the record as supporting creationism/intelligent design in 2002. –

    Wrong, as I explained above.

    No, Larry, not wrong. The voter guide from 2002 puts them on the record as supporting creationism, whether it was phrased to them in such a manner or not. You entirely missed the point of what I wrote earlier.

    –This is contradictory to what Mcleroy recently said – that he knew of no board member that ever supported such a thing (although he himself in the past has done so). If they were in an uproar about being categorized in such a manner at the time, it should be easy to find documentation of this.–

    If it is so easy to find documentation of such an “uproar” in 2002, then why don’t you do it? And if you can’t find documentation of such an “uproar” in 2002, then how do you expect me to find documentation that there was no such “uproar” in 2002?

    I notice you completely ignored the fact that McLeroy and other board members have supported creationism and/or intelligent design. And, you come here making statements about the voter guide possibly being falsified, etc, yet provide no evidence for it. When others point this out to you, you expect them to go about doing the work. How scientific of you.

    And if you can’t find documentation of such an “uproar” in 2002, then how do you expect me to find documentation that there was no such “uproar” in 2002?

    If there is no documentation of such an uproar, then I guess we can conclude that these candidates had no problem being classified in such a manner, and thus your argument is null and void anyway.

  19. Larry Fafarman Says:

    trog69 said (December 7, 2008 at 12:30 am) —

    –‘IF’ they were in an uproar about being categorized in such a manner at the time, it should be easy to find documentation of this.– I take it you missed this sentence before typing. –

    OK, but you need to support that statement by finding documentation showing that they were not in an uproar about being categorized in such a manner at the time — otherwise they might have been in such an uproar and the reason that we don’t know about it is that it is difficult or impossible to find documentation of such an uproar.

    Anyway, whether they were in an uproar or not in an uproar proves nothing. As I said, the word “creationism” was not in the body of the question and might not have been in the questionnaire given to the candidates, so there was no reason to assume that the Free Market Foundation’s 2002 Voter Guide “categorized” some (actually most) of the candidates as “creationists.” Also, the FMF’s 2002 Voter Guide might not have been sufficiently important to cause an uproar.

  20. Larry Fafarman Says:

    airtightnoodle said (December 7, 2008 at 11:56 am ) –
    – The voter guide from 2002 puts them on the record as supporting creationism, whether it was phrased to them in such a manner or not. –

    ???? People are not responsible for how they answer questions that are not properly phrased, particularly when there is no opportunity to qualify or clarify the answer, as was the case here (the candidates could only answer “favor,” “strongly favor,” “opposed,” etc.).

    — you come here making statements about the voter guide possibly being falsified, etc, yet provide no evidence for it. –

    And you folks have provided no evidence that the voter guide was not “falsified.” The difference is that you folks are using the 2002 Voter Guide as the basis for an accusation and I am not.

    –If there is no documentation of such an uproar, then I guess we can conclude that these candidates had no problem being classified in such a manner . . .–

    You folks have not even provided any documentation showing that this alleged “creationist” classification that allegedly resulted from the FMF’s 2002 Voter Guide was even an issue in the 2002 election. Also, as I pointed out, the 21 candidates listed in the guide responded to the alleged “creationism” question as follows: “strongly favor,” 12; “favor,” 4; “strongly opposed,” only 1; no answer to question, 2; no response to questionnaire, 2. So only one candidate went on record as being opposed to the statement.

  21. Texas SBOE–no one wants to teach creationism/intelligent design « Blog of the Airtightnoodle Says:

    [...] recommend reading the following two blog posts from Tony Whitson and the Texas Freedom Network for more [...]

  22. airtightnoodle Says:

    Ok, everyone. So I went ahead and emailed the Free Market Foundation to inquire how they phrased such questions to candidates. I also emailed Don McLeroy to see if he could clear up any confusion. I have put this information on my own blog at http://www.airtightnoodle.wordpress.com

    The gist of it is…what you see on the voter’s guide is how they do in fact phrase the questions to the candidates. Don McLeroy says that when he didn’t know of any board members who ever supported teaching creationism/intelligent design, he had forgotten about those voter guides.

  23. Controversy over at TFN and a brief conversation with Don McLeroy « Blog of the Airtightnoodle Says:

    [...] of certain board members regarding their views on teaching evolution.  Anyone following the conversation at the Texas Freedom Network over the Texas board of education’s views on teaching creationism and intelligent design has [...]

  24. Larry Fafarman Says:

    airtightnoodle said (December 8, 2008 at 9:11 pm) —
    –Ok, everyone. So I went ahead and emailed the Free Market Foundation to inquire how they phrased such questions to candidates. I also emailed Don McLeroy to see if he could clear up any confusion. I have put this information on my own blog at http://www.airtightnoodle.wordpress.com

    The gist of it is…what you see on the voter’s guide is how they do in fact phrase the questions to the candidates.–

    There are still a lot of unanswered questions:

    It appeared that you asked only about the 2008 Voter Guide and not about the 2002 and 2006 Voter Guides — you said, “I browsed through your voter’s guide for 2008 before the election this year and had a question about how the voter’s guide is created.” Also, you did not specifically ask if the question titles (what you call “summaries”) — e.g., “creationism” — were included in the questionnaires that were given to the candidates. And as I pointed out, even if the title “creationism” was included in the 2002 questionnaire given to the candidates, the candidates might have thought that the word was not part of the question, and if they did think that it was part of the question, there was nothing they could do about it because they could only give stock answers to the question. In his response to you, Don McLeroy himself said, “Voter guides leave little wiggle room sometimes; they will put you in a box and you have to choose which box in which best represents your views.”

    Also, you said on your blog,

    –Plus, as one can tell by viewing old voter’s guides from the Free Market Foundation, candidates do have the opportunity to expand on their views or to decline answering certain questions. They can also explain why they are declining to answer certain questions. –

    What? How do the old voter guides give those opportunities to the candidates?

    Also, there are other questions:

    Was the “creationist” label that the 2002 Voter Guide supposedly attached to some (actually most) of the candidates a significant issue in the 2002 election? Did these candidates make an “uproar” objecting to this supposed label?

    Also, as I pointed out, the 21 candidates listed in the 2002 Voter Guide gave the following responses to the “creationism” statement: “Strongly favor,” 12; “Favor, ” 4; “Strongly opposed,” only 1; “U” (I presume this means no answer), 2; and no response at all to questionnaire, 2. So only one candidate went on record as opposing the statement.

    Also, I think that back in 2002 a lot of people did not know what the term “Intelligent Design” means (some people still don’t know or pretend not to know). And it was the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover decision that made ID a dirty word.

    IMO those who say that they favor the teaching of “weaknesses” of evolution but oppose the teaching of ID are being disingenuous — ID is regarded as one of the major “weaknesses” of evolution. However, IMO those who say that (1) ID is just part of creationism and/or that (2) all scientific or pseudoscientific criticisms of evolution belong to ID are also being disingenuous.

  25. airtightnoodle Says:

    Larry,

    If you want to respond to my blog post, please do so at my own blog.

    Other than that, I find it interesting that I at least attempted to get some answers…the same can’t be said of you, thus far.

  26. Larry Fafarman Says:

    airtightnoodle said (December 10, 2008 at 7:14 pm) –
    –Larry,
    If you want to respond to my blog post, please do so at my own blog. –

    I thought it was unnecessary to respond on your blog because you link to this post and comment thread.

    – I find it interesting that I at least attempted to get some answers…the same can’t be said of you, thus far.–

    I did not attempt to get answers because I already knew all that I wanted to know.

    You are lucky that you got answers — often I don’t get responses from people.

  27. chris Says:

    Larry says this:

    “There are still a lot of unanswered questions:”

    and then this:

    “Also, there are other questions:”

    but then this:

    “I did not attempt to get answers because I already knew all that I wanted to know.”

    Is it any wonder that this?:

    “often I don’t get responses from people.”

  28. Larry Fafarman Says:

    Chris,

    There is no inconsistency there — there were unanswered questions but I had no burning desire to get answers to them. I just didn’t think that the questions were that important.

    –Is it any wonder that this?:
    “often I don’t get responses from people.”–

    That’s one of the big reasons why I often don’t bother to ask questions.

  29. Steven Schafersman Says:

    Ha! I see some of you are attempting to discourse rationally with Larry Fafarman. That is impossible. He is a notorious evolution blog troll and Creationist. Just like extraterrestrial alien parasites depicted in early Star Trek episodes, LF derives sustenance from irrationally arguing with individuals who support science. See my blog about him at http://tinyurl.com/5mna7r. He is banned from almost all blogs that deal with evolution in the U.S. The best thing to do is ignore him, as I had to regretfully learn, or ban him if possible because he is so disruptive. He continues to write about me in a very pejorative manner on his Creationist blog.

  30. Larry Fafarman Says:

    Steven Schafersman’s intolerant, abusive comment attacking me speaks for itself.

    I have formally complained to the Texas Education Agency asking that Schafersman not be allowed to serve again on a TEA committee unless he agrees to stop his arbitrary censorship of visitors’ comments on the Houston Chronicle’s Evo.Sphere blog. Evo.Sphere is not a personal or independent blog — Houston Chronicle staffer Eric Berger set it up, advertised it, invited Schafersman to blog on it, made the decision to moderate comments, and has checked the blog for comments awaiting approval.

  31. TFN Says:

    FYI: We won’t be approving further comments about the dispute between Schafersman and Fafarman. The points have been made. Thanks to both for reading this blog.

  32. Willic Says:

    It is nice to see that Larry Fafarman has decided that arbitrary censorship is bad. Will he stop that practice on his own blogs?

  33. Larry Fafarman Says:

    –It is nice to see that Larry Fafarman has decided that arbitrary censorship is bad. Will he stop that practice on his own blogs? –

    I censor, but not arbitrarily. I censor stuff like gossip about my private affairs, lies about objective facts, and comments that do not address the issues at all but contain nothing but scoffing. And I never ban any commenter — I consider all comments on a case-by-case basis.

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