Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Good News and Bad News in Texas

The Texas Board of Education passed the new science standards on Friday. The good news is that an amendment to add back in the “strengths and weaknesses” requirement failed. The bad news is that a more specific amendment with the same effect passed and was added to the standards, where it will now be used to shoehorn creationist propaganda into science classrooms. The Texas Freedom Network was liveblogging the meeting and has the details on the amendment:

1:30 – Dunbar offers an amendment, calling for students to “analyze and evaluate the sufficiency of scientific explanations concerning any data on sudden appearance and stasis and the sequential groups in the fossil record.” Bob Craig wants to amend, striking “the sufficiency of.” Berlanga is bothered that the board is making recommendations on specific standards without allowing time for members to discuss the amendments with science experts. Very good question, of course.

1:43 – Terri Leo, acting as chair, says all this was debated yesterday, and the board doesn’t need anymore input from the science community. Of course, the board never asked science experts to advise the board about McLeroy’s measure in January or this week.

1:46 – Dunbar’s amendment, as amended by Craig, passes 13-2.

McLeroy is happy, which says it all. Creationists will now pressure publishers to challenge common ancestry in textbooks and base their challenges on McLeroy’s arguments.

This will now be used to get the same creationist nonsense that McLeroy has already been spewing into science classrooms. Creationist teachers all over Texas, I guarantee you, will be adding supplemental material to their biology classes that come straight from the usual suspects full of ignorant blather about stasis and how it negates common descent.

Competent teachers, of course, will know that this is bunk. Competent teachers will know what any educated person knows, that common descent is the only rational explanation for the sequential nature of the fossil record.

And it gets worse:

1:59 – Craig offers an amendment: “Analyze and evaluate scientific explanations concerning the complexity of the cell.” This amendment passes 13-2.

That will now be used to introduce irreducible complexity into science classrooms.

2:03 – Allen moves to strike a Terri Leo amendment passed yesterday that stated: “Analyze and evaluate the evidence regarding formation of simple organic molecules and their organization into long complex molecules having information such as the DNA molecule for self-replicating life.” The motion fails 5-10.

And that will be used to introduce bogus creationist probability statistics about the origin of life. It’s all about getting creationist arguments in without having any label on them to make clear what they are.

And my favorite bit of stupidity from the whole thing:

12:41: McLeroy: “I disagree with all these experts. Somebody has to stand up to these experts. I don’t know why they’re doing it.”

That ranks up there with Ray Mummert saying, “We’ve been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of the culture.”