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The Creationist in Charge of Texas Education

Science • Views: 1,587

Young earth creationist Don McLeroy, recently reappointed as chairman of the Texas State Board of Education by Republican Governor Rick Perry, is profiled by the Austin-American Statesman: Education board leader set to challenge evolution.

COLLEGE STATION — Some go to church to find answers. Bryan dentist Don McLeroy, chairman of the State Board of Education and point man in the fight over Texas’ science curriculum, goes to teach.

“Oh, this is cool,” he says, launching into a Sunday school lesson that ranges from the importance of sharing the gospel to the existence of God. “Everything that had a beginning we can say had a cause,” he tells his class of fourth-graders at Grace Bible Church. “And now science definitely says that the universe had a beginning. Therefore, the universe had to have a cause. And that cause is God.” …

University of Texas professor David Hillis helped form a group called the 21st Century Science Coalition to combat the effort to include the weaknesses of evolution in the public school curriculum. “If Chairman McLeroy is successful in adding his amendments, it will be a huge embarrassment to Texas, a setback for science education and a terrible precedent for the state boards overriding academic experts in order to further their personal religious or political agendas. The victims will be the schoolchildren of Texas, who represent the future of our state.”

More than 600 Texas science faculty members have signed a petition supporting the group’s effort.

McLeroy — an avid reader of philosophers and theologians, including Christian theologian Norman Geisler and Dutch reformist Abraham Kuyper — said that in his Sunday school lessons, he seeks to give his students the tools they need to form their own arguments. In Texas public school classrooms, McLeroy says, he doesn’t want religion taught. He just wants to let science be science. “If you want to tell (students) there are not weaknesses to evolution and it’s as sure as the Earth going around the sun, it’s not,” he said. “You’ve got to be honest. You ask why I’m so passionate about this? I don’t want America to lose its scientific soul. I feel I am the defender of science.”

Oh brother.

At a recent board meeting, McLeroy read into the record a long list of blatantly distorted, altered, false, and out of context quotes to support his anti-evolution agenda: Collapse of a Texas Quote Mine.

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 Frank says:

Interviewer:
The notion of a "guitar solo" has preconceptions based on it; people automatically refute it because it's supposed to be self-indulgent or "for musicians." It's almost like things become iconographic and somehow lose their value for outsiders.

Zappa:
Well, whose fault is that? That's what writers do. Musicians don't do that. The average person doesn't sit around thinking about the "iconographic problems of a guitar solo." -- Interview for Musician magazine, by Matt Resnicoff, November 1991. Reprinted in July 1995 Issue.