WE BEGIN by reminding you that the Texas Board of Education (BOE), which is dominated by creationists, is currently deciding whether it should keep the anti-science, anti-evolution, creationism-friendly “strengths and weaknesses” language in the state’s current standards for science education. They’ve already had one hearing on this, and they have a second hearing scheduled for Jan 21.
Your Curmudgeon suspects they’ve paid no attention to anything the science experts told them at the last hearing, and the next hearing will be similarly farcical.
We’ve previously predicted that the witness list will be loaded up with people reciting talking-points from the blog of the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids). Armed with a carefully scripted record claiming that there’s a scientific “controversy” over evolution, the BOE will take a final vote on the new science education standards in March. Then, under the leadership of BOE Chairman Don McLeroy, a creationist dentist, the board will complete their pre-ordained mission and rule that the “weaknesses” of evolution must be taught.
These hearings are worthless. They’re a farce. The outcome is as predictable as that of a Bolshevik show trial.
Why are they doing this? We explained what we think is going on here: Intelligent Design: It’s Not About Science. Most of the BOE are probably clueless, unaware that they are filling the role of useful idiots.
To demonstrate how our not-so-difficult prediction is coming true, and this utterly sordid affair is being played out according to plan, we present to you, dear reader, some excerpts from Texas Board of Education Schedules Special Expert Hearing on Strengths and Weaknesses of Evolution, which appears at the website of something called PR Newswire.
It’s a press release, so we assume we can excerpt freely. At the end, they credit the source — it’s the Discovery Institute. The bold font was added by us:
The Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) has scheduled a hearing of scientific experts, including three scientists who are recommending that students should learn about scientific evidence that challenges Darwin’s theory of evolution.
Surprised? So are we. We’re shocked. Shocked! Let’s read on:
On Wednesday, January 21st, six experts selected by the SBOE to review a proposed update of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for science will give testimony to the board. Three of the scientists will recommend that the board retain long-standing language in the TEKS calling on students to examine the “strengths and weaknesses” of scientific theories in order to strengthen students’ critical thinking skills. The other experts are on record supporting repeal of the language.
Isn’t that sweet? Over 99% of scientists in the relevant fields accept the theory of evolution, and don’t think there’s any scientific controversy about it, yet the BOE has stacked the deck with a 50-50 witness list. We continue:
“We’re very pleased that in this Darwin bicentennial year Texas has invited scientists on both sides of the evolution debate to testify about the scientific status of Darwin’s theory,” said Dr. John West, associate director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture.
Ah yes, John West — one of the chief Keepers of the Discoveroids’ Wedge Strategy, and the guru of the cdesign proponentsists. Moving along:
According to one of the experts, Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, examining the strengths and weaknesses of scientific theories is a core part of the scientific process, and abandoning such critical analysis merely to satisfy ideological demands of Darwinists harms students by giving them a false view of scientific inquiry.
Meyer, you may recall, disgraced himself when he bypassed the usual peer-review procedures with an ID article in the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. You can read about that here: BSW repudiates Meyer. Another excerpt:
Meyer will be joined in recommending the preservation of the “strengths and weaknesses” language in the TEKS by Baylor University chemistry professor Dr. Charles Garner and University of Wisconsin-Superior biology professor Ralph W. Seelke, whose laboratory research investigates the ability of natural selection to produce new functions in bacteria.
So there you are. We know how this story ends. It’s the courtroom sequel that will be interesting.