Interview with Creationist Don McLeroy (chairman of Texas BOE)

View the entire interview here.

In McLeroy’s own words, here are the responsibilites of the state board of education of Texas:

  • Choosing TEKS (the essential knowledge and skills that students must learn in each subject matter)
  • Adopting textbooks (to ensure they are covering the TEKS)
  • Set passing standards for state tests (currently the TAKS but soon to be end-of-course exams)

Paraphrased by the interview: “We’re in the process of revising the standards. They will be taking on the science standards soon.”

Look out, people. We know what that means. Science is under a major threat in Texas. There are many who want to change the science standards to reflect “academic freedom” and “teaching the controversy”, etc, but really what it aims to do is undermine evolutionary theory in any possible way.

This is NOT just a Texan problem!!! As stated in an earlier article I linked to, what happens to the Texas science standards has the ability to affect many other states. The BOE (board of education) sets the standards; if they decide to include anti-evolution (not that they would call it that, of course) standards, that means they will also decide to adopt textbooks that include information to “teach the controversy”, so to speak. Since Texas buys so many textbooks, often whatever Texas adopts, the rest of the nation adopts.

McLeroy goes on to talk about what he thinks are weaknesses of evolutionary theory. His arguments are pretty standard creationist/ID material. For example, he states the following:

Gaps in the fossil record (at the same time, he also says that the fossil record is the strongest evidence, in his opinion, for evolution).

I humbly suggest to McLeory that he do a little research into the fossil record. There are many documented and researched cases of several “transitional” fossils–between species and genera; between families, orders, and classes; and between kingdoms and phyla.

Not enough time…life is so complex that a large amount of time is required to produce the changes we see through random chance and mutation.

First of all, mutation is only one mechanism of evolution. Secondly, how much time does McLeroy think it takes for certain things to evolve, and how does he come to this conclusion? Four and half billion years is a pretty long time, in my opinion.

Information…where does new information (to create an eye, for example) come from?

This seems to be a common argument against evolution–that mutations are harmful, they cannot add information, they only take away, etc. Most people using this argument also never really define what they mean by “information”. In any case, this is simply false. Mutations can add information to a genome, and mutations can be beneficial.

Despite McLeroy’s weak arguments against evolution that have been addressed time and time again by many others in many places, he DID say he does not wish to change the science standards. He stated in the interview that he would vote to keep them as they are.

Let’s hope he means that.

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