Monday, January 28, 2013

10 Lessons From Creationist School Books

On its website, PBS has a story, "10 Interesting Lessons from Creationist-Inspired School Books," inspired by The Revisionaries, a documentary film about conservatives on the Texas State Board of Education and their drive to introduce creationism into the school curriculum. The documentary airs this week at various times on KERA 13. According to PBS, "Don McLeroy, a dentist, Sunday school teacher, and avowed young-earth creationist, leads the Religious Right charge." McLeroy was defeated in 2010 in his bid for re-election to the SBOE, but that hasn't kept him from continuing to lead the charge for creationism.

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know what I think of Don McLeroy. I think he's still enough of a threat to good public education in Texas to warrant keeping an eye on him. After the jump, what's McLeroy up to now?

PBS's "10 Interesting Lessons from Creationist-Inspired School Books" is worth reading just for itself, but my blog post is inspired by one of the reader comments added to the PBS article, a comment by none other than Don McLeroy himself. That long comment is worth reading in its entirety as well, but here is a representative excerpt.
evolution’s spell could be broken by some simple youth textbooks -- new biology books in Texas that expose evolution's inability to explain the complexity of the cell. The texts were written to new standards that were adopted in March 2009. Science, immediately grasping their significance, reported "New science standards for Texas schools strike a major blow to the teaching of evolution."
Source: Don McLeroy.
Evolution's place in science is not the result of any "spell." It's the result of the theory's ability to answer question after question posed in the century and a half since Darwin first articulated the theory of evolution by natural selection. Evolution won't be "broken" by people like McLeroy asking new questions. There will always be new questions. Evolution will be broken if and when people like McLeroy can offer a scientific theory of their own that provides a better explanation of observations. Creationism doesn't rise to the challenge.

Science is an ongoing process. Every answer begets new questions. Don McLeroy asserts that the mere existence of questions poses a major blow to evolution, instead of acknowledging that science will always be working to answer questions.

Fortunately for Texas school children, Don McLeroy is no longer on the Texas SBOE and no longer in that powerful position to corrupt science in Texas public schools. Still, he bears watching.

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