Friday, April 17, 2009

Lauri Lebo on Texas

Lauri Lebo, the reporter who worked for the York Daily Record when the Dover School Board trial occurred in 2005 has written up her thoughts on the Texas School Board decisions about the science standards. Along the way, she shows us a picture of "the elusive dog-cat:

Before you laugh, remember that my minister remarked that he was skeptical about evolution because he had never seen a "dog give birth to a cat." My minister is a very intelligent man, simply uneducated in some areas. The problem is that these ideas come from people who do, in fact, know better but propagate the ideas anyway. She writes:
After ignoring a petition from fifty-four scientific and educational societies urging the board to reject language that misrepresents or undermines the teaching of evolution, the board adopted a new standard that directs students to “analyze and evaluate the sufficiency of scientific explanations concerning any data of sudden appearance, stasis and the sequential nature of groups in the fossil records.”

It also passed another amendment that says students will “analyze and evaluate the scientific explanations concerning the complexity of the cell.”

Dan Quinn, a spokesman for the Texas Freedom Network, said “They’ve opened the door to junk science.”

He said the “complexity of the cell” is undoubtedly an invitation to include language in the textbooks about intelligent design—the idea that life is too complex to have evolved and therefore demands a divine guiding hand. And the phrase “sudden appearance” and “stasis” are codes for the Genesis account of creation in which living creatures didn’t evolve, but appeared fully formed in the Garden of Eden.

The amazing thing is that anybody that actually works in the fossil record or is a field biologist knows that these ideas are malarkey. Texas School Board head Don McLeroy has already admitted he has no interest in learning about these areas of science. He doesn't trust the experts. How do you get through that mindset? Especially when science is not the issue:
Teaching students to critically examine the evidence is a laudable goal. But that’s not what this is about. If it were, McLeroy’s fellow board member Ken Mercer would never display such an astonishing ignorance of even a most rudimentary knowledge of evolutionary theory with the argument, “Have you ever seen a dog-cat, or a cat-rat?”
The problem that I have with Don McLeroy, Ken Mercer, Cynthia Dunbar and Barbara Cargill (who STILL hasn't written me back) is not that they are uneducated about evolution. It is that they choose not to educate themselves about it because, deep down inside, they have this misguided notion that it is antithetical to belief in God. For someone who is a member of a state school board, tasked with approving the educational curriculum for the state, such a position is unconscionable.

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