Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ken Mercer Speaks

Ken Mercer, a conservative member of the Texas State Board of Education has written an editorial for the San Antonio Express News. He writes:
The conservative SBOE members support 99 percent of the Science TEKS proposed by the educators who have served on the science writing team. The only point of contention seems to revolve around the concepts of “microevolution” and “macroevolution.”

No one on the SBOE is challenging microevolution, those small changes we see every day that are already part of the genetic code. We brush our teeth, wash our hands, and put a Band-Aid on an open wound because we fully comprehend the verifiable evidence of microevolution.

It is macroevolution (i.e., the theory of large changes such as the hypothesized common primate ancestor becoming today’s chimps and humans) that is very weak and deserves critical questioning and thought.

The macroevolution lobby is on public record as stating that high school students are “unqualified to ask questions.” We conservative SBOE members do not concur because we believe that the opportunity to ask questions is fundamental to good science.


There is a bit of honesty and revelation here. The "strengths and weaknesses" language of the standards were supposedly applied to all scientific disciplines and yet, here we have a SBOE member suggesting exactly what most people already have figured out: it is aimed at evolution. Further, from behind the wall of an editorial, he makes unfounded claims that nobody can ask him to back up. How is the case for the common ancestry of humans and chimpanzees weak? Does he even know what the evidence for this is? He also writes:
Editorial boards have erroneously reported that scientists are near complete agreement about macroevolution. However, in actuality, over 700 fully credentialed scientists are on public record as saying they believe evolution warrants much discussion of both the strengths and weaknesses of this scientific theory.
What he doesn't say (and may not even know) is that there is one lone palaeontologist on that list who has published four papers in the last eighteen years. He paints the debate as one of the academic freedom to ask questions. That is a smokescreen. What is really at issue here is the right to teach ideas that have no scientific validity as if they did.

2 comments:

  1. We brush our teeth, wash our hands, and put a Band-Aid on an open wound because we fully comprehend the verifiable evidence of microevolution.

    Whaaa?!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think (think, mind you) that he is trying to get at the existence of bacteria that need to be gotten rid of by antiobiotics but the more I read it, the less sense it made.

    ReplyDelete