Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Leading the Blind

Lisa Falkenberg of the Houston Chronicle has a refreshingly blunt piece on the fiasco threatening to happen this week in the Texas State Board of Education.

Ever seen a cat-dog? Of course not! That just proves it's impossible for one species to evolve into another.

The human brain seems not to have changed since homo sapiens first appeared 150,000 years ago. That means evolution is false.

We don't have every bone, so the fossil record undercuts the theory of evolution.

A few scientists have fudged proof of evolution, so that calls into question all the other evidence.

These are the brilliant observations and insinuations of a particularly dangerous right-wing fringe group: the seven-member social conservative bloc of the State Board of Education.

No phony "balance" need apply.

Falkenberg also finds out a bit more about the quote mining Don McLeroy, the creationist Chairman of what may turn out to be the Board of Miseducation, did at the January meeting of the Board:

Board Chairman and ardent Darwin-denier Don McLeroy, R-Bryan, pushed through one of the amendments after reading aloud a long list of quotes attempting to cast doubt on evolution from reputable science publications and authoritative books by revered scientists. ...

But blogger and Kansas biology teacher, Jeremy Mohn, revealed McLeroy's bad clip job in his extensive blog posting, "Collapse of a Texas Quote Mine." Mohn also provided the context and authors' explanations lacking in McLeroy's quote list.

What Jeremy went on to discover was that McLeroy plagiarized much of his "research" from a creationist site entitled Genesis Park. (But, of course, we should all believe the protestations of McLeroy and his allies on the Board that they don't want to teach religion in public schools!) McLeroy's quote mines were in the same order; were virtually identical, right down to punctuation; had the same style of citation to the sources; and, for the pièce de résistance, McLeroy copied a page number error, which is, ironically, the same sort of "copying error" that allows us to trace common ancestry in the genes of extant life on Earth.

In short, McLeroy quote mined his quote mines. Falkenberg asked McLeroy about the quote mining:

McLeroy acknowledged to me that he had copied some of the research from the creationist site because he liked "the format," although he said he had indeed read one of the books. He added: "A lot of the quotes I did get on my own."

As Falkenberg says:

Yet another fine testament to the level of scholarship that goes on at the State Board of Education.


You mean someone actually perpetrated some journalism? In an actual newspaper? In Texas?

I think a pale horse just galloped past my third-floor window...

Her sarcasm is outstanding. The snark is Grade-A. I owe you for this one.
I especially liked "a particularly dangerous right-wing fringe group: the seven-member social conservative bloc of the State Board of Education."
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

. . . . .


How to Support Science Education