Friday, January 23, 2009

Steven Schafersman Liveblogging the Texas SBOE Meeting

Here is Steve Schafersman's blog of the meeting at the SBOE in Texas that wound up (by one vote) stripping the "strengths and weaknesses" verbiage from the standards. It is amusing. He is the standards writer who lambasted several members for their deception here. Here is an example:

Mercer [board member?] says he and his colleagues have received 6,500 emails in the last two days from citizens that want S&W retained. He considers the S&W a matter of academic freedom and freedom of speech. He again used the bogus and misleading examples of Piltdown Man, Haeckel's vertebrate embryo drawings, the peppered moths that were glued to tree trunks, and the half-bird, half-dinosaur that were all "evolutionary frauds." Mercer's complete and total ignorance of science is just spellbinding. Three of these were not frauds. We now have excellent legitimate fossils of feathered dinosaurs that are on the lineage to become birds; the peppered moths are in no way a fraud but are still today accepted as good scientific research; the most recent interpretation of Haeckel indicates that he was not engaging in a fraud but used the best data he had. The Piltdown Man "fraud" was just a joke gone bad; it was not widely accepted by scientists and its hoax was revealed by scientists.

In actuality, Piltdown probably was a fraud, perpetrated by Charles Dawson, who had perpetrated a series of frauds on the art and scientific community for some thirty years. That doesn't change the lack of scientific knowledge on the part of the board member. What scares me is that he is probably representative of how much the average person knows about science.

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