Live Blogging the Texas Science Debate IV

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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 pass the amended standards on for consideration at the final board meeting tomorrow.

3:35 – We will be wrapping up this live-blogging now. We’ll be back for the final vote tomorrow.

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16 Responses to “Live Blogging the Texas Science Debate IV”

  1. Joe Lapp Says:

    Why are any of the pro-science members voting for statements about science that they haven’t cleared with their experts?!!

    Watching this whole thing play out, I’m convinced that we’re still all monkeys.

  2. ndt Says:

    Joe Lapp Says:

    March 26, 2009 at 3:07 pm
    Why are any of the pro-science members voting for statements about science that they haven’t cleared with their experts?!!

    I was wondering the same thing. I think they are really naive. That’s not a good trait in an elected official.

  3. ScienceMinded Says:

    Maybe they finally realized how unreliable their experts are! Come on, Steve Schaefersman, Eugenie Scott, … . Get some real experts. Couldn’t you tell from yesterdays testimony? It didn’t appear the expert opinions of the pro-evolutionists carried much weight, or value amongst the left wingers on the SBOE.

  4. Tom Says:

    Cargill’s amendments were all designed to cast doubt on anything that required an ancient universe, accuracy of dating methods, introducing some concept of cellular complexity in biogenesis concepts, and require some ridiculous concept of “humility”. I’m not sure I understand the place of “humility” in dating a rock or understanding what Doppler shift is.

  5. ndt Says:

    We also can’t discount human nature. McLeroy and his cronies can be really intimidating and their behavior is like bullying. Some of the other members may be voting for what they see as “compromise” amendments in an effort to get them to back down. People-pleasing, like naivete, is not a good trait in an elected official, but it seems to be all too common.

  6. Adam Solomon Says:

    As an astrophysics major, that amendment is absolutely infuriating. We’re actually going to lie to children. What other estimates? What other theories? How many serious astrophysicists actually support any estimate of the universe’s age than 13.7 Gyr – what *evidence* is there?

  7. James F Says:

    The amendments questioning common descent and natural selection are unconstitutional: they have no secular justification and are clearly based on creationist arguments, and thus they fail the Lemon test and the endorsement test. Ironically, what they have passed is far easier to overturn by legal challenge – by passing anti-science standards, the creationists have made the situation worse not only for Texas eduction, but for their own aims.

    Seventeen million peer-reviewed scientific papers and not one refutes the overwhelming evidence for common descent and natural selection. These amendments are a disgrace.

  8. Charles Says:

    Tom:

    “Humility” means that God could not have possibly created rocks 15 billion years ago when every human should have the “humility” to know that God could only create rocks just 5000 years ago. As a pastor friend of mine says, “The principal problem with Christian fundamentalists is that their God is not big enough.” We United Methodists think that God is REALLY BIG to have done all of this vast and time-deep universe. The Christian fundamentalists think he is not a “creator” who does things in HIS OWN good time but rather a cheap carnival sideshow magician who is somehow required to do everything THEIR WAY. Put another way, the are really saying, “A God who won’t poof it for me is no God for me.”

  9. realist Says:

    That is what creationists do, they block real learning. Seriously this is nothing more than trying to indoctrinate children at young ages. No wonder our children are failing. These people are playing politics instead of caring about real education.

  10. Ed Darrell Says:

    Common descent? They approved an amendment that says we must teach children that we are not sure who their fathers are?

    Remember that guy who yelled “I’m not descended from a monkey?” By these standards, that’s not clear.

    It’s certain that there are some SOBs working overtime on this issue for the creationists on the board.

  11. Iason Ouabache Says:

    I would like to know exactly what other scientific “estimates of the age of the universe” there currently are other than 4.5 billion years old. What are they planning on teach kids?

  12. Reginal Says:

    On the people-pleasing aspect, people-pleasing has no place in science as is. The entire idea of having any tom, dick, or mcleroy being able to determine what is and isn’t science when they have no scientific background is the most mind-boggling backward-looking aspect of American education I know of. There should be a panel of professors from the top Universities in each state, and it should be part of a requirement they have to fulfill in order to reach tenure.

  13. jdg Says:

    One thing is making up these nonexistent science. Another is enforcing it. Good luck enforcing it.

  14. Charles Says:

    This is because of Texas’s screwed up system that allows ignorant people to elect equally or worse ignorant people to government jobs that decide what K-12 students learn and how. I live in another state where we do not do that. The people of Texas need to call their legislators and get this changed—or be like Kansas for the rest of your lives and be fightng this kind of crap all year—every year.

  15. Steve Adams Says:

    “I would like to know exactly what other scientific “estimates of the age of the universe” there currently are other than 4.5 billion years old. What are they planning on teach kids?”

    Age of the universe? Try 13.7 billion years, the earth is 4.567 billion years old.

  16. Open Letter To The Texas Board Of Education | The Intersection | Discover Magazine Says:

    […] colleague Phil reports that one Ms. Barbara Cargill proposed an amendment to the Texas science standards so that teachers must tell students there are different estimates on […]

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