Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Small in the Saddle

More than 800 scientists from Texas universities have formed the 21st Century Science Coalition to fight either the teaching of creationism in public schools or the watering down of evolutionary instruction.

"Texas public schools should be preparing our kids to succeed in the 21st century, not promoting political and ideological agendas that are hostile to a sound science education," said David Hillis, a professor of integrative biology at the University of Texas at Austin.
State Board of Education chairman and creationist Don McLeroy denies he is trying to force religion and the supernatural into Texas schools:

"I'm getting sick and tired or people saying we're interjecting religion," he said. "We're certainly not interjecting religion. Not at all."
I suppose having one's disingenuous strategy constantly exposed can get annoying.

McLeroy says he supports restoring the "strengths and weaknesses" language and said working groups left some form of that language in the proposed standards for chemistry and astronomy. He also said he supports the "testable explanations" approach advocated by the National Academy of Sciences.

"Texas students need to understand what science is and what its limitation are ...
But then he goes and spoils the intended effect:

"I look at evolution as still a hypothesis with weaknesses."
Only a person with a religious or ideological agenda would think that a dentist with no appreciable biological training would be in a better position than experts in the field to pronounce evolution to be merely a "hypothesis" ... and with weaknesses to boot.

It's a principle of some kinds of negotiation never to admit your selfish motives. So I learned in my 30s that we should say, "I'm concerned that your group won't have the resources it needs here" when we meant "we don't want you here." I always hope for honesty, so I found it rather disillusioning.
So McLeroy should be saying "I'm concerned that scientists and tech industries won't have the resources they need in Texas"?

But wait a minute ... if he succeeds, that will be true!

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