Tuesday, March 24, 2009


McLeroy Gives Away the Farm

You really have to see this to believe it.

Don McLeroy is in The Austin American-Statesman making some amazing admissions (as well as deploying some unamazing quote mines). It will take more time to deconstruct than I have tonight because it is such a muddle of disingenuousness and/or stupidity that it rivals the lunatic book he endorsed. But some things leap out immediately:

McLeroy admits that he sees the dispute, not as a matter of good science or good education, but, rather, as a "culture war over evolution" he's waging against "academia's far-left, along with the secular elite opinion-makers." Damn! I love being among the elite.

McLeroy proposes a definition of science as "the use of evidence to construct testable explanations and predictions of natural phenomenon as well as the knowledge generated through this process" that he claims comes from the National Academy of Sciences booklet Science, Evolution, and Creationism (which is nowhere to be found there, as far as I can see). And, despite claiming that his proposed standards are not religious, he actually goes on to state that under his definition "both the naturalist and the supernaturalist are free to make 'testable' [i.e. scientific] explanations."

The bottom line is: he's claiming that "supernaturalist explanations" are somehow not religious explanations and that they should have equal places in public school science classrooms.

Nobody can say McLeroy lack chutzpah ... but maybe he should lay off the nitrous oxide.


Update: McLeroy's definition is in the NAS booklet (late night confusion caused me to search the wrong document) but, as Jeremy Mohn has already pointed out, the NAS made it clear that "testable explanations" and "natural explanations" are synonymous as far as its definition is concerned:

Natural causes are, in principle, reproducible and therefore can be checked independently by others. If explanations are based on purported forces that are outside of nature, scientists have no way of either confirming or disproving those explanations. Any scientific explanation has to be testable - there must be possible observational consequences that could support the idea but also ones that could refute it. Unless a proposed explanation is framed in a way that some observational evidence could potentially count against it, that explanation cannot be subjected to scientific testing.
In other words, McLeroy is quote mining again.


Naw. I'd rather he laid on the nitrous. To excess. [growl]
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