Friday, February 20, 2009
McLeroy in a Nutshell
There is an interesting article on Don McLeroy, the creationist chairman of the Texas State Board of Education in The Texas Observer that, among other things, reveals that he was lured by the promise of sex into fundamentalist Christianity and creationism ... okay, it was that his future wife wouldn't date him unless he was a Christian and then took him to creationist seminars until he was convinced.
Another quirk of his personality is the black and white thinking that he considers to be "consistency."
He has little respect for scientists like Ken Miller, an orthodox Catholic and popular writer on evolutionary biology who argues that there's no controversy between evolution and religion. They, McLeroy believes, are inconsistent, and he values consistency above all else.But that makes this claim rather hollow:
"I would never say that Miller's not a real Christian," he says. "I don't think you have to be one to be the other. But I don't think he's very consistent.
"That's why I like Dawkins so much. He at least takes evolution to where it has to lead—atheism."
McLeroy insists he doesn't have any desire to have creationism taught in classrooms. "It's a religious philosophy," he says. "It doesn't belong in schools. Same with intelligent design. Evolution is the scientific consensus, so we'll teach that."That doesn't sound very consistent to me ... but this does:
But McLeroy believes that at some point, perhaps in 10 years, perhaps in 50, a new scientific revolution will reveal that "the creationists' crazy ideas" are actually right—just as quantum mechanics and relativity overturned the tidy world of classical physics. McLeroy professes a willingness to keep teaching the scientific consensus until the day comes when it jibes with his beliefs.
McLeroy agrees that the debate is, at root, a religious issue. "I know we're the minority, both religiously and scientifically," he says. "But I have faith that we'll prevail."Confident ignorance certainly is a consistent feature of creationists.
How can he be so confident, given his lack of training in science, theology, or education?
For the first time in our interview, McLeroy sounds taken aback.
"That's a good question," he says.
He's quiet for a long time.
"Because the truth is on our side," he finally says. "We may not be trained, but I have faith that we're right."
Mr. McLeroy, given that you said "Evolution is the scientific consensus, so we'll teach that." and you've also said "He (Dawkins) at least takes evolution to where it has to lead—atheism.", can you explain to us why you want to lead the children of Texas into atheism?
It does have the advantage of making you sound like a pirate.