07 June 2008

The New York Times gets it

TrollAn editorial in the New York Times, following up on their recent story, shows that the "strengths and weaknesses" rhetoric on teaching evolution isn't fooling people who are paying even a little attention. They home in on the same statement I criticized recently.
The system accommodates what Dr. McLeroy calls
two systems of science, creationist and "naturalist."

The trouble is, a creationist system of science is not science at all. It is faith. All science is "naturalist" to the extent that it tries to understand the laws of nature and the character of the universe on their own terms, without reference to a divine creator.
I keep wondering when those in charge of the Texas Education Agency will realize that individuals like Don McLeroy, the chair and not-quiet-about-being-a-Young-Earth-Creationist are giving the state black eye after black eye.
If the creationist view prevails in Texas, students interested in learning how science really works and what scientists really understand about life will first have to overcome the handicap of their own education.

4 comments:

UnderAgeThinker said...

I had a different view of the New York Times article and if you are interested you can read it here http://jwkraft.com/?p=40
Do you mean that this guy should not be on the school board because of his religious beliefs? Doesn't that violate the church and state separation? Also how would Texas students be at a disadvantage by learning more about evolution (i.e. the strengths and weaknesses) than other students?

J. W. Kraft jwkraft.com

Zen said...

"Do you mean that this guy should not be on the school board because of his religious beliefs?"

Fair question. I see no problem with someone in the TEA having particular beliefs. The worry is to what degree those beliefs affect job performance and public policy.

That McLeroy and others on the TEA have been vocal about their personal views on evolution is... bothersome. It's a little like an actor in a movie announcing, "This movie's horrible, but the paycheque was great" during a press conference for that movie. It's bad form. It's unprofessional. It generates negative publicity. It undermines the whole enterprise needlessly.

"Also how would Texas students be at a disadvantage by learning more about evolution (i.e. the strengths and weaknesses) than other students?"

Proponents of the "strengths and weaknesses" approach rarely give clear examples of what "weaknesses" they are talking about. When they do, those "weaknesses" are usually not viewed as problems by practicing biologists.

That the people proposing "strengths and weaknesses" almost always have a particular religious view, and are really never practicing scientists, is telling. It strongly suggests ulterior motives, and raises concerns about whether you have "honest brokers" for information.

O. said...

Believe me, the TEA knows that McLeroy is giving Texas a black eye. They can't do anything about it. They didn't appoint him; Perry did. They didn't elect the other creationists on the State Board of Education. They're pretty much forced to work with them whether they want to or not.

Zen said...

I suppose what surprises me is not whether the Texas Education Agency says anything about McLeroy's way of working, but that nobody else in the legislature seems to have taken notice. You would think someone could score political points on this.