03 March 2010

Thank you for your service, Don McLeroy

Several sites today are reporting that Don McLeroy (pictured right) appears to have been defeated by Thomas Ratliff (left) in the primary for the Texas State Board of Education (SBoE). I have blogged extensively about how the SBoE have made a series of questionable decisions about K-12 science standards (at best), and how McLeroy has frequently misrepresented science in general and evolutionary biology in particular.

How much does this change the composition of the SBoE, which has had a strong religious right, conservative block of represenatives just a hair’s breadth from a majority (7 out of 15 members)? While McLeroy is out, George Clayton in in. Clayton has been quoted thus:

Clayton said evolution is and should remain in science classrooms, but he thinks the alternative theories supported by the religious right – intelligent design and creationism – can “find a real nice home” in humanities, philosophy or world history classes.

“It’s seems to me you can’t be taught the one [evolution] without the other [creationism],” Clayton said. “It’s an impossibility to talk about evolution without mentioning creationism.”

Right. Of course. You can't have physics without metaphysics. Can't teach marine biology without mentioning mermaids.

Honestly? I don’t think Clayton is being completely out in left field on that. These are important philosophical issues, and they have played a role in the biology historically. Darwin was highly influenced by Paley, and many eighteenth and nineteenth century geologists sought to support Noah’s flood scientifically. That they failed does not mean those efforts should never be talked about. The problem is putting them into their context: they are failed hypotheses that do not play a role in contemporary science.

The title of this post, by the way, is not intended as sarcasm. Needless to say, I disagree with a large amount of Mr. McLeroy’s actions and goals, but I do admire that he was willing to serve in public office. That is not an easy thing.

2 comments:

Bjørn Østman said...

The title of this post, by the way, is not intended as sarcasm. Needless to say, I disagree with a large amount of Mr. McLeroy’s actions and goals, but I do admire that he was willing to serve in public office. That is not an easy thing.

I really do not feel like thanking politicians (paid or unpaid) who "serve" in order to push through their religious agenda.

Dr. O said...

If it's true, I'm shocked and elated!!! Now hopefully us Texans can try taking our state back! ;)