Look who's determining science standards in Texas

Wes Elsberry has a good summary post with links on the hearings that the Texas State Board of Education held yesterday on the crypto-creationist “strengths and weaknesses of evolution” language in some drafts of the new standards. The overwhelming public testimony was in favor of teaching the best science available, i.e. evolution as a well-confirmed, central theory of modern biology, without the presence of crank creationist propaganda. But many members of the board are fundamentalist creationists and just can’t bear the thought that Texas science classes should teach standard science. Instead they repeatedly launched into traditional, hackneyed, long-refuted, ignorant creationist/ID talking points. A short list from Wes (I can confirm that I heard all of these while listening to the live audio):

Piltdown man (Ken Mercer)

Haeckel’s embryos (Ken Mercer)

Macroevolution not observed (Ken Mercer)

Argument from authority (Terri Leo)

Evolution is only a theory (various)

“Academic freedom” (Ken Mercer)

Evolution is not a fact (witness)

Eminent scientists are rejecting evolution (Cynthia Dunbar) [this was largely waving around the Discovery Institute “Dissent from Darwin” list…no discussion of the statement’s incredible vagueness, the dubious expertise/scientific status/noncreationist status of many on the list, or of how many Steves were on it – Nick]

When does a theory become a law? (Don McLeroy)

Evolution critics are censored (Ken Mercer)

Polystrate fossils/Lompoc whale (Gail Lowe)

…so those are the folks determining science education in the second biggest population state in the country. What century is it again?