Liveblogging Texas: McLeroy

Ecto crash cost me a liveblog. Leo offered BS amendments which don't do much ultimate harm, but do hurt treatment of evolution. Each part of biology 7 gets "analyze and evaluate" at the beginning of the standard. This makes some sections ungrammatical or irrelevant.

McLeroy passed an amendment requiring students to know the definition of evolution in section b(2) and understands it has limitations. This is mostly harmless, but silly and confusing.

Insert new standard in evolution section.

"7B: Describe the sufficiency or insufficiency of common descent to explain the sudden appearance, stasis and sequential nature of the fossil record." It's bogus.

He explains that the sequential pattern of life in the fossil record is the best evidence of evolution.

Two other major things in the fossil record to explain. Sudden appearance of forms. Science Daily article about "living dinosaur" with fast molecular evolution.

Cites What Evolution Is by Ernst Mayr. NAS report on creationism. Gibberishy nonsense, quotemine about continuous fossil series being rare. Living fossils. Bats. Cf. Casey Luskin's quotemine.

Quotemines Gould, Prothero. "I'm gonna quotemine from him. … That's what I'm doing right now."

Quotemines Johns Hopkins magazine, 1982. "Stasis a fact of the fossil record."

"I think this would be good for our students." Punc. eq. leads to healthy debate.

This is crappy crap. He's introducing creationist nonsense. Strengths and weaknesses couldn't be passed, so he tries to get it through the back door.

Craig: Shouldn't that be "analyze and evaluate" to match other stds? Sure.

Miller: How is this different from 7A? McLeroy: Just adds "sudden appearance" and so forth.

Hardy: This would be a nice college class, but it is too much for TEKS.

Passes 9-6.

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Behe says, "Bottom Line: Common descent is true." (I have Behe's paragraph posted (not quotemined) now at
http://curricublog.wordpress.com/2009/01/23/behe-says-common-descent-is…

The point for today is NOT that dentists and insurance salesmen must accept common descent because Behe says itâs true. For today, the point is that they must concede that this is stuff that they donât know enough about to override the consensus among scientists by interposing their own current opinions as the standard for Texas science education.

Sudden appearance? Easy. Mutation first makes a new ecological niche accessible. If the niche is deep, once the accessibility barrier falls, there's lots of room to spread into it. Optimizing for the new niche "quickly" (speaking in geology timescale) follows due to competition in variations within niche occupants. For a large enough niche, sub-specializations may arise via parapatric and sympatric modes, giving sudden diversification, too.

The math to show this requires calculus, but not a terrible lot.