When the eyes of Texas finally fell upon the BOE's antics, when scientists thronged to testify against the standards, when BOE chairman Don McLeroy declared his anti-expert stance, when a White House official called it "a step backward" – opposition began to stir among state lawmakers.Along the way, Don McLeroy's agenda becomes crystal clear:
Unhappiness was more than statewide. Texas is hugely influential in textbook publishing, not just because it buys books for 4.5 million kids. It's one of 20-odd "adoption states", which compile lists of approved books. Publishers want their books on these lists, so they heed state standards. Texas spends $500m a year on approved textbooks.
McLeroy gloats over the idea of textbooks using the Texas standards to discuss the fossil record or the complexity of the cell. "I'm curious to see how they'll cover these subjects. I think the science behind those things is pretty weak." He runs through some creationist favourites – the Cambrian explosion, the flagellum. "They haven't come up with an explanation of the eye. They haven't. They haven't!"
"So you want to see them fail to come up with scientific explanations for these things?" I ask. "Absolutely! That's what I think will happen. The kids can sit there and judge for themselves." Children are intuitively skeptical about evolution, he says.
Texas Must do something about Don McLeroy.