McLeroy: Still Arguing, Still Wrong

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Don McLeroy, recently ousted as Texas State Board of Education chairman, is once again defending new science curriculum standards that dumb down instruction on evolution in public schools. Writing in a Bryan-College Station Eagle op-ed, McLeroy says “only science belongs in science class.” But he then launches once again into a series of creationist attacks on evolution that have been repeatedly and forcefully rejected by mainstream scientists.

McLeroy’s op-ed highlights,  as Texas Freedom Network noted in March, the roadmap creationists will use to attack evolution when new science textbooks come up for adoption in two years.

First, McLeroy suggests that students will be able to separate real science from “dogma” — by which he means support for the science of evolution. Then he essentially repeats two key arguments he made during the debate over the standards.

First:

The new standards require greater scientific scrutiny of evolution and the hypothesis that all life is descended from a common ancestor by unguided natural processes (i.e., no designer).

Students will study evidence for common ancestry in the fossil record.

Specifically, they will “analyze and evaluate scientific explanations concerning any data of sudden appearance, stasis and sequential nature of groups in the fossil record.”

The sequential pattern of fossils can be considered evidence for evolution, but the other patterns — sudden appearance and stasis (staying the same) — can be used to question evolution.

This pseudo-science reflects the creationist belief that God created life as we see it today in a Divine, spectacular moment in time less than 6,000 years ago.

Second:

Texas students also will get to examine “how” evolutionary processes “created” the amazing complex assemblies that are found in the cell. They now are expected to “analyze and evaluate scientific explanations concerning the complexity of the cell.”

This is straight-up “intelligent design”/creationist mumbo-jumbo about “irreducible complexity” that makes real scientists roll their eyes. Yet the board’s creationist faction will demand that students learn about it in their science classrooms.

McLeroy also employs his usual quote-mining, using quotes from the late Stephen Jay Gould and former National Academy of Sciences president Bruce Alberts completely out of context.

Read McLeroy’s piece here. You will see once again why the Houston Chronicle are other supporters of giving Texas kids a sound science education are very pleased the Senate didn’t confirm his nomination as state board chairman.

18 Responses to “McLeroy: Still Arguing, Still Wrong”

  1. Charles Says:

    Well. No matter how much one might be turned off by McLeroy’s continuing support for creation science in our public schools, significant payback is looming on the horizon. If the Obama healthcare plan is passed later this summer, which seems likely at this point, 51 million Americans who have no health insurance and probably have never had any health insurance will, as the mountain people say, “Finally be able to get my teeth fixed.” This means that Don will come in to work every morning to gaze all day at sickening oral disaster areas that smell like an Indonesian seafood market. Justice.

  2. Ben Says:

    He is a dishonest scumbag.

  3. jdg Says:

    Off topic. I’m being called a liberal activist on FMF. Saenz is clueless,

  4. PHarvey Says:

    I can’t tell if McLeroy is deluded or a pathological liar. Either way, he’s wrong. Any educated reasonable person can read what he writes and see that he is a fool.

    I think he is probably mentally ill with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder rooted in religious obsessionism. But so are all the windnuts onthe SBOE.

  5. cathy Says:

    McLeroy is sincere in his stupidity. Hold on to your hats–if Dunbar becomes the next chairperson of the board, you are going to see an unbelievable display of arrogance and venom. People need to remember that she has published a book that likens public education to child sacrifice and we are still waiting for president Obama to launch his terrorist attack she predicted on the eve of his election. Would someone in Fort Bend County please run against her?

  6. TFN Reader Says:

    Can TFN explain how his quote mining is out of context so I can understand how to tell others about what McLie-y has been doing?

  7. Geek Goddess Says:

    I responded to his piece, as I just couldn’t let it pass.

    Apparently using a lot of “words” in quotations is “code” for telling people “how” the evolutionists “create” their “myths”.

  8. TFN Says:

    Click here for a good analysis of McLeroy’s habit of quote-mining in his attempts to undermine instruction on evolution.

  9. Yossarian Says:

    Let’s encourage McLeroy to get on with his research, testing and publishing endeavors–as a citizen at large, not as a “public servant.” Or is he terrified of peer review? As he states in his Op-Ed, this issue for him is not ideological. If this is true, who is stopping him from organizing all these hypothesis into a coherent body of work and submitting it for review?

    I guess attempting to pawn off self-absorbed phony science on youngsters is an easier route. At least is has been in Texas up to now; thanks to the Republicans and the deal made at the crossroads with religious extremists some time ago. If McLeroy decides to pursue his pioneering work–as an adult scholar, not as a politico or Sunday school teacher–he could return to testify at SBOE hearings in the future with his assembled materials.

    Let Dunbar ascend. It will test the mettle of the Republican party.

  10. Biology Teacher Says:

    I just have to say I’ve seen the light. I am 100% totally in support of Don McLeroy’s op ed piece.

    (Right up to the end of the first sentence.)

    “Only science belongs in science class; there is no place for any ideology, religious or otherwise, in our science classrooms. ”

    After that …… not so much.

  11. Yossarian Says:

    Apologies, meant to write hypotheses. Precision in these matters is important, yes?

  12. Cytocop Says:

    Quote mining and taking text out of context is a very old tactic among evangelicals. They’ve been using it since the gospels were written. For example, their most cherished quote from the “Old Testament” – their “nuclear bomb” as it were – is the 53rd chapter of Isaiah.

    Christian missionaries contend that references to the servant in the singular form in Isaiah 53 demonstrates that this chapter is speaking of a single individual rather than the entire nation of Israel. This argument, however, ignores the entire context and surrounding poetic motif of Isaiah 53. For example, in Isaiah 43:10, the prophet clearly identifies the “servant” (singular) as God’s “witnesses” (plural). Moreover, all Christians concede that the chapters that sandwich Isaiah 53 (52 and 54) consistently speak of the Jewish people as a single individual. When considering that Isaiah 53 actually begins in the latter part of the 52nd chapter (52:13), this missionary argument becomes increasingly strained. Furthermore, the prophet alternately refers to the servant in Isaiah 53 in both the singular and plural. In Isaiah 54, the Jewish people are portrayed as a despised and afflicted barren woman. In 53, the Jewish people are portrayed as a despised and afflicted man.

    Students of the Bible who pore over Isaiah’s first three Servant Songs have little trouble understanding the narrative in the prophet’s fourth Servant Song, Isaiah 53. Isaiah 53 describes events of the messianic age unfolding, and the astonished nations of the world will together conclude that the Jewish people have finally been vindicated.

    Yet, Christian missionaries who read Isaiah 53 alone and ignore the contextual signficance of the fourth Servant Song, stubbornly insist that Isaiah 53 refers to a single individual: their savior Jesus.

    Another example is Isaiah 7:14: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
    Christian missionaries take this verse as a proof-text, pointing to the arrival of Jesus of Nazareth.
    First of all, the Christians deliberately mistranslated the word “almah” as “virgin.” “Almah” does not mean “virgin”; it means “young woman.” The Hebrew for “virgin” is “betulah.”
    Secondly, again, the text is taken out of context. If one would read the entire 7th chapter of Isaiah, one would know this verse can’t possibly be referring to Mary & Jesus. Isaiah is telling King Ahaz of Judah not to fear because God will not allow the invading armies to conquer Jerusalem. There will be a sign: a young woman will have a son whose name shall be Immanuel (meaning “God is with us.”) The boy will be the assurance to Ahaz that the enemies will be defeated. Since Mary & Jesus aren’t coming for another 700 years, how could this verse possibly be referring to them? It makes no sense. Yet Christians stubbornly insist that it does and expect everyone to accept their misinterpretation.

    This is typical of the Christian evangelical habit of taking scripture out of context. So, if they’re so willing and eager to take scripture out of context, why not take science quotes out of context? Especially if it will suit their purposes.

    They had a good teacher in formulating this habit: St. Paul. Paul contradicted Jesus in important religious matters and made himself greater than his master. Paul admitted using trickery and deception to gain his ends:
    I Corinthians 9:20: “And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law.”
    In other words, do whatever you have to do to get support. The ends justify the means.

    Thus, Mr. McLeroy and all those of his ilk show their true colors.

  13. jdg Says:

    It really doesn’t matter what McLeroy is saying now. He got his anti-science into the TEKS.

  14. Gordon Says:

    I hope others have noticed that in the column “a gift has been given in honor of…” there is one Dr. Don McLeroy” which I took great delight in reading.

  15. Charles Says:

    He’ll be sorry—and so will the people of Texas—when the Federal courts get it. Get ready to belly up to the bar, and be sure and bring your wallet. The cost will be about $1.2 million. Just think of all the legitimate educational materials that could be bought for that amount.

  16. Rocket Mike Says:

    Many of us are familiar with McLeroy’s duplicity, but some might not realize that when he is saying only science should be presented in the classroom he means his creation science along with a degraded version of the science that rational people expect. The job for Texans that respect Real Science, the US Constitution, and the public school students of Texas is to make sure the Biblical literalist zealots on the SBOE are reduced in number after this next election. That way, the wishy-washy members of the rational majority will not feel intimidated enough to compromise on good education with the BLZ’s that are in the minority. The TEKS, as currently written, support good science unless there are compromises with the anti-science mob.

  17. Doc Bill Says:

    Sorry, Charlie, but McLeroy won’t be sorry at all even if a school district incurs a $10 million suit. He’ll be free and clear just like all the defendants in the Dover case, and the Discovery Inst. which instigated the whole mess in Dover.

    They have no responsibility and no accountability. They can advise you that jaywalking is OK but it’s you who will get and pay the ticket.

    Nope, you can lead a creationist to knowledge but you can’t make ’em think.

  18. Charles Says:

    Charlie the Tuna agrees with Bill.

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