Collapse of a Texas Quote Mine

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Jeremy Mohn, a biology teacher here in Kansas, and a strong advocate of good science education, has put together a website, Collapse of a Texas “Quote Mine”, about some egregious quote mining that took place recently at the Texas state BOE meeting about the Texas science standards.

Jeremy’s site begins:

On January 22nd, 2009, the Texas State Board of Education met to consider a draft of their new science standards. At that meeting, the Board’s Chairman, Dr. Donald McLeroy, proposed a new student expectation for the Biology standards regarding evolution.

The standard concerned the fossil evidence of evolution and would require students to:

Analyze and evaluate the sufficiency or insufficiency of common ancestry to explain the sudden appearance, stasis and sequential nature of groups in the fossil record.

In support of this proposal, Dr. McLeroy read a long list of quotes into the public record. These quotes were from various scientific books and articles that Dr. McLeroy claimed to have read in preparation for his remarks.

Based on his comments, Dr. McLeroy clearly believed that this list of quotes presented a compelling case for the existence of a scientific controversy concerning evolution. Apparently, a majority of his fellow Board members agreed, and the new student expectation was added to the current draft of the Biology standards, pending a final vote in March.

But, as Jeremy’s thorough research shows, all of McLeroy’s quotes are inaccurate and misleading quote mines. Visit Collapse of a Texas “Quote Mine” and read for yourself. Jeremy has done an excellent job of dissecting the dishonesty behind McLeroy’s presentation, and this information deserves to be widely circulated in the hopes that Texas BOE members will change their minds and rescind their ill-considered statement about common ancestry.

(And you might add Jeremy and Cheryl Shepherd-Adams’ blog, Stand Up for Real Science to your reading list.)

49 Comments

I am totally impressed by Jeremy Mohn’s effort. Not only has he done a great job of locating and correctly contextualizing the quotations dishonestly presented by the Texas creationist school board chairman, buy his presentation is a great piece of web design.

Thanks!

I particularly like this bit, that falls IMMEDIATELY after a quote mine of Don Prothero’s Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters.…

“Through all this intense debate within evolutionary biology, the creationists are constantly on the lookout for some tidbit they could quote of out context to say just the opposite of the author’s meaning. Sure enough, many of the quotations about punctuated equilibria are misconstrued to indicate that Gould and Eldredge claim there are no transitional forms or that the fossil record doesn’t show evidence of evolution! Typically these “quote-miners” pull a single short section out of a longer quotation that gives exactly the opposite impression of what the author really said. Such a practice suggests that the creationists either can’t read and don’t understand the entire quote or are intentionally trying to deceive their own readers by claiming that Gould and others have said just the opposite of what they actually meant (which means they are dishonest and deceitful)!”

Talk about nerve! Hypocrites

Job well done Jeremy!!!

Excellent work. But why doesn’t/can’t someone make a point that he’s lying? Can’t the newspapers pick up on this? Embarass the SOB.

Wonderful stuff; and it catches McLeroy dead in his tracks.

The Texas State Board of Education should be reading this stuff also.

It’s particularly amusing to see Donald Prothero being quote mined, when the whole point of his book is to refute creationism and provide evidence for evolution.

DavidK said:

Excellent work. But why doesn’t/can’t someone make a point that he’s lying? Can’t the newspapers pick up on this? Embarass the SOB.

That wouldn’t be objective, you see. Taking a stand for truth is bias. Ignorance is strength.

I think the greatest insight of the site was the discovery, described here

http://www.anevolvingcreation.net/c[…]collapse.htm

that chairman McLeroy didn’t even mine these quotes himself, but plagiarized them from the creationist website “Genesis Park”. He’s both dumb and lazy, not to mention gullible. I wouldn’t go to him for dental work.

I’m not convinced all are quote mines. For example, McLeroy says:

“ … but stasis is data … Say it ten times before breakfast every day for a week, and the argument will surely seep in by osmosis: ‘stasis is data; stasis is data’ … “ (p. 759.)

the full quote is:

“But how can imperfection possibly explain away stasis (the equilibrium of punctuated equilibrium)? Abrupt appearance may record an absence of information, but stasis is data. Eldredge and I became so frustrated by the failure of many colleagues to grasp this evident point - though a quarter century of subsequent debate has finally propelled our claim to general acceptance (while much else about punctuated equilibrium remains controversial) - that we urged the incorporation of this little phrase as a mantra or motto. Say it ten times before breakfast every day for a week, and the argument will surely seep in by osmosis: “stasis is data; stasis is data …”

Why is this a quote mine?

It’s a quote mine in the sense that buttressed in a large list of other dubiously arrayed statements makes it looks like something it’s not. It lacks the proper bounding to clarify Gould’s point which is that Evolutionary theory needs to encompass not only the explanation for why things change, but also explain why species persist in the fossil record of millions of years before going extinct.

I agree that I would not call all of them quote mines. What interested me was that he seems to have a fixation on stasis, which presumably he feels is a killer argument against evolution.

The website is very nicely done, although it might benefit from a brief description why the original text means or implies something completely different than the “miner” wants to suggest. To a lay reader that is not always as obvious as it is for those that have long dealt with quote mines.

Ho Hum.

Yet another Liar for Jesus. So many fundamentalist seem to think that prevarication is OK as long as it is in the service of their god. Even though that god clearly says not to do it.

There is absolutely nothing about the observation of “stasis” that is problematic for the modern theory of evolution. Gould did not reject evolution because of this observation and neither did anyone else. If this guy wants to imply that “stasis” is somehow a problem, then he needs to spell out exactly why it is a problem and present an alternative interpretation of the data that is more compelling. I don’t see that being done, hence it is just quote mining of a most egregious nature.

Oh well, at least this one should be easy enough to fix. All you have to do is remove the “or insufficienty” part and the statement makes sense. Leaving it in simply implies an insufficiency where none exists and invites contrived insufficiencies to be foisted on unsupecting students. Now why would anyone want to do such a thing?

Here they propose a theory that McLeroy plagiarized from a particular creationist website by comparing the sequences of the quotes, style of citations, and more importantly an error in citation serves as a marker to help them track the ancestor document to that creationist web site!

Another “Cdesign proponentists” moment here. Wow! Hats off to those who put in that hard work.

Dan said:

I think the greatest insight of the site was the discovery, described here

http://www.anevolvingcreation.net/c[…]collapse.htm

that chairman McLeroy didn’t even mine these quotes himself, but plagiarized them from the creationist website “Genesis Park”. He’s both dumb and lazy, not to mention gullible. I wouldn’t go to him for dental work.

Interesting. I was working up the smallest tidbit of respect for McLeroy based on his claim to have actually read Gould’s The Structure of Evolutionary Theory.

Damn, I am so impressed by the author and the smart people who frequent this site. I chose physics because to me it seems a lot easier than biology. Thus I really appreciate reading so many interesting accounts of science investigation. Thank you!

wamba said:

I was working up the smallest tidbit of respect for McLeroy based on his claim to have actually read Gould’s The Structure of Evolutionary Theory.

I wouldn’t even try to read it myself. It’s the kind of monster book one keeps around the house to deck burglars with. For the professional or dead-serious amateur.

Cheers – MrG / http://gvgpd.proboards.com

Charles Wade said:

Damn, I am so impressed by the author and the smart people who frequent this site. I chose physics because to me it seems a lot easier than biology. Thus I really appreciate reading so many interesting accounts of science investigation. Thank you!

That’s why I chose physics too.

Thanks to everyone who visited the site and to those who posted comments here. It’s nice to know that my work is appreciated. I certainly hope this kind of analysis helps the pro-science people in Texas.

I’d like to point out that I didn’t say that all of the quotes were quote mines, although many of them clearly were. However, as JGB noted above, they were all part of a list that, when taken as a whole, implied something that was in opposition to the original intent of the authors.

And I have good news!

Thanks to the Library Media Specialist at the school where I teach, I finally tracked down the second-to-last quote on the “Examine the Quotes” page. It turns out that there was another citation error on Dr. McLeroy’s handout. Not surprisingly, the exact same error shows up on several Creationist websites.

Honestly, I’m starting to feel kind of bad for Don McLeroy. The guy just can’t catch a break, apparently.

Jeremy, you’re too kind. McLeroy has forfeited any right to “breaks.”

And you’ve done a great job. Texas owes you! :)

As a resident of Texas, a parent of kids who attend public schools and an anthropologist, I’d like to say thanks to Jeremy for exposing the quote mining for what it is. As a stakeholder in the unbelievable antics in Austin re our textbooks, let’s just say I have multiple stakes. While ashamed that such a discussion could even occur in Austin, I’m also proud that grassroots organizations such as Texas Freedom Network and the real scientists who teach in regional schools and universities could mobilize to expose these idiots. What a vicious circle. The more pathetic our public school science teaching is, the more likely the general public is to be disadvantaged when it comes to evaluating the arguments regarding evolution in general or science curriculum content in particular. My goal is to disseminate these carefully documented examples of deceit and hypocrisy because as a transplanted Texan I’ve come to respect the fundamental integrity of the “average” Texan, whomever that might be, to be suspicious of things that just stink. The Ten Commandments might be more familiar to many more than the intricacies of theoretical arguments about evolution, but the bottom line is that “thou shalt not bear false witness” really means something to many people here. Deliberate quote mining is lying, and the people of Texas are smart enough to see that quote mining to sell bogus insurance, services, drugs, etc is no different from quote mining to sell bogus ideas. Laziness, which is evident here in the reliance of key members of our textbook committee on favored but inaccurate sources, is also not popular. Fortunately for them, summary hangings ARE out of favor here.

Nice work Mr Mohn…these bunnies should be exposed for the hypocrites they are…

Is there any chance that the board can view this analysis…? Can they take this into account in any way? There must be a rebuttal procedure in committee surely?

There really should be a mechanism whereby this blatant attempt to con can be brought to their collective attention?

Can professional bodies…teachers…State legislators…government…not do anything to expose the shabby evidence this muppet has presented to a council charged with standards in science? The papers or the local News channel maybe…? It would be invaluable evidence to sink this nonsense once and for all…at least in Texas.

Jeremy Mohn Wrote:

Not surprisingly, the exact same error shows up on several Creationist websites.

A plagiarized error?

To Charles Wade and Dan:

FWIW I chose chemistry because I found it easier than physics (too much math) and biology (too much jargon).

Jeremy Mohn said: Honestly, I’m starting to feel kind of bad for Don McLeroy. The guy just can’t catch a break, apparently.

Great job Jeremy. Like RBH though, I don’t really consider “darn, got caught plaigerizing again!” as “can’t catch a break.” McLeroy has it in his own power to catch a break - all he has to do is stop misquoting people and accurately reference his sources.

Jeremy Mohn said: Honestly, I’m starting to feel kind of bad for Don McLeroy. The guy just can’t catch a break, apparently.

Getting elected to the Board of Education ten years ago, then being appointed Chairman of said board, and being very successful at pushing it to bad decisions isn’t “break” enough?

Wheels said:

Jeremy Mohn said: Honestly, I’m starting to feel kind of bad for Don McLeroy. The guy just can’t catch a break, apparently.

Getting elected to the Board of Education ten years ago, then being appointed Chairman of said board, and being very successful at pushing it to bad decisions isn’t “break” enough?

Touché.

Jeremy Mohn said: Honestly, I’m starting to feel kind of bad for Don McLeroy. The guy just can’t catch a break, apparently.

I just figured that Jeremy made this statement with a big ol’ grin on his face.

Cheryl Shepherd-Adams said:

Jeremy Mohn said: Honestly, I’m starting to feel kind of bad for Don McLeroy. The guy just can’t catch a break, apparently.

I just figured that Jeremy made this statement with a big ol’ grin on his face.

Umm…no comment.

Frank J said:

To Charles Wade and Dan:

FWIW I chose chemistry because I found it easier than physics (too much math) and biology (too much jargon).

Physics is way easier than chemistry. We consider helium to be a very difficult problem, and throw up our hands at carbon. The chemists think helium is simple!

eric said:

Jeremy Mohn said: Honestly, I’m starting to feel kind of bad for Don McLeroy. The guy just can’t catch a break, apparently.

Great job Jeremy. Like RBH though, I don’t really consider “darn, got caught plaigerizing again!” as “can’t catch a break.” McLeroy has it in his own power to catch a break - all he has to do is stop misquoting people and accurately reference his sources.

Good point. If McLeroy had been a student at my institution, the second plagiarism offense would have resulted in expulsion. Not suspension, expulsion.

And if he had been a tenured faculty member, the board of trustees would probably have fired him at the first offense. (I can’t say for sure … the situation has never come up.)

It’s time that we hold our Board of Education members to at least the same standards that we hold the students and faculty that they oversee.

Dan said:

eric said:

Jeremy Mohn said: Honestly, I’m starting to feel kind of bad for Don McLeroy. The guy just can’t catch a break, apparently.

Great job Jeremy. Like RBH though, I don’t really consider “darn, got caught plaigerizing again!” as “can’t catch a break.” McLeroy has it in his own power to catch a break - all he has to do is stop misquoting people and accurately reference his sources.

Good point. If McLeroy had been a student at my institution, the second plagiarism offense would have resulted in expulsion. Not suspension, expulsion.

And if he had been a tenured faculty member, the board of trustees would probably have fired him at the first offense. (I can’t say for sure … the situation has never come up.)

It’s time that we hold our Board of Education members to at least the same standards that we hold the students and faculty that they oversee.

In nearly every other area of misrepresentation and scamming, there are laws that would put them in jail when they get caught. You can’t do insurance scams, house repair scams, Ponzi scams, sell damaged goods as new, advertise falsely, or misrepresent in a whole host of activities that bilk people of time and money.

Yet ID/Creationist scammers can run up the costs of education, pass the costs of their slimy activities onto the taxpayers, deny others access to the best we have in scientific knowledge, and continue to do all this without penalty or fear of prison sentences.

Freedom of religion is one thing, but using it to scam others is something this society needs to get better at preventing. It has gone on so long that many churches no longer are able to discriminate scripture-quoting scammers from sincere leaders.

I just knew that “Sudden Appearance” was going to have its heyday. Take this as a signal from the Discovery Institute that they will be pushing this bogus concept of Sudden Appearance as an apparent fact that evolution needs to explain.

Immediately after the Dover trial, I had thought that this concept, lifted from the latest version of Pandas at the time, would be next. Many also suggested “Strengths and Weaknesses” as well, which has already shown itself in full force. But now we can see from this particular use of language how straight from the DI these attempts at changing policy are.

Dan said: Physics is way easier than chemistry. We consider helium to be a very difficult problem, and throw up our hands at carbon. The chemists think helium is simple!

That is because most chemists treat nuclei the same way you physicists treat cows. :) Nuclear and radiochemists excepted.

Mike Elzinga said: In nearly every other area of misrepresentation and scamming, there are laws that would put them in jail when they get caught…Yet ID/Creationist scammers can run up the costs of education, pass the costs of their slimy activities onto the taxpayers, deny others access to the best we have in scientific knowledge, and continue to do all this without penalty or fear of prison sentences.

Freedom of religion is one thing, but using it to scam others is something this society needs to get better at preventing.

That is a very interesting idea - going after IDers with regulations designed to prevent false advertising. Done right, it should still allow free and open debate to continue. After all, such a strategy doesn’t prevent someone from claiming the earth is 10,000 years old, it just prevents them from falsly claiming that paper X supports their opinion. Just as a drug seller can’t claim the FDA approved their drug if they didn’t.

And on your last point - I totally agree. A lot of these fringe groups appear to be very clannish or tribal, valuing solidarity or loyalty above truthfulness. Maybe that’s a good rule of thumb to recognize when you’re dealing with an extremist or fanatic - regardless of the belief in question, if the movement requires that other members of the group be supported even when they’re blatantly and admittedly wrong, you’ve got yourself a cult.

Chemistry should be simpler than the other two, since it’s elementary.

Dan Wrote:

Physics is way easier than chemistry. We consider helium to be a very difficult problem, and throw up our hands at carbon. The chemists think helium is simple!

But only simple at a “chemistry level” explanation. Those of us who recall quantum mechanics even vaguely know how complex it gets at the “physics level”. And as you know, even things that are horrendously complex at the “chemistry level” can be relatively at the “biology level.” Because explanations in evolution are slowly proceeding from the “biology level” to the “chemistry level”, people like Behe are able to dazzle nonscientists with arguments of incredulity. Sadly I think that they are personally well aware that we just don’t know that this or that “can’t happen,” no matter how many bogus improbability and “irreducible complexity” arguments they throw out. But their agenda to win the culture war - the wrong way, according to many on their side of the “war” - precludes them from admitting it.

Inoculated Mind Wrote:

I just knew that “Sudden Appearance” was going to have its heyday. Take this as a signal from the Discovery Institute that they will be pushing this bogus concept of Sudden Appearance as an apparent fact that evolution needs to explain.

If the DI does take that route, it must be out of desperation, because they their whole pretense of being “not creationism” depends on saying as little as possible about their alternative, and concentratin g on “weaknesses” of “Darwinism.”

IMO the hardest job we face is not convincing a Judge (even a conservative Christian like Judge Jones) that the designer-free “replacement scam” is just as religious as YEC. Rather it’s convincing the public that the onus is on the DI, not “Darwinists,” to state their explanation and test it before teaching it. The first questions I would ask for “Sudden Appearance” would be “Which lineages appeared suddenly? When did they appear? Did they appear in-vivo or in-vitro? There’s no way that the DI will do anything but weasel their way out of answering those essential questions.

If the DI’s main audience is conservative (actually I think they are more authoritarian than true conservative) they ought to appreciate that the “new kid on the block” has to prove himself. Unfortunately the DI has perfected what YECs have started - convincing people that established science has to answer every question, no matter how absurd, while the “underdogs” get a free pass. Can’t get more “liberal” than that.

From 1982’s McLean v. Arkansas

(a) “Creation-science” means the scientific evidences for creation and inferences from those scientific evidences. Creation-science includes the scientific evidences and related inferences that indicate: (1) Sudden creation of the universe, energy, and life from nothing; (2) The insufficiency of mutation and natural selection in bringing about development of all living kinds from a single organism; (3) Changes only within fixed limits of originally created kinds of plants and animals; (4) Separate ancestry for man and apes; (5) Explanation of the earth’s geology by catastrophism, including the occurrence of a worldwide flood; and (6) A relatively recent inception of the earth and living kinds.

Is the “sudden appearance” language just derivation of #2?

Cheryl Shepherd-Adams said:

From 1982’s McLean v. Arkansas

(a) “Creation-science” means the scientific evidences for creation and inferences from those scientific evidences. Creation-science includes the scientific evidences and related inferences that indicate: (1) Sudden creation of the universe, energy, and life from nothing; (2) The insufficiency of mutation and natural selection in bringing about development of all living kinds from a single organism; (3) Changes only within fixed limits of originally created kinds of plants and animals; (4) Separate ancestry for man and apes; (5) Explanation of the earth’s geology by catastrophism, including the occurrence of a worldwide flood; and (6) A relatively recent inception of the earth and living kinds.

Is the “sudden appearance” language just derivation of #2?

Not as much as it relates to this:

“ We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”

http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org/

The “scientists” that signed this propaganda piece should be ashamed and embarrassed.

Ron Okimoto Wrote:

The “scientists” that signed this propaganda piece should be ashamed and embarrassed.

As you know, some are. At least one had his name removed after discovering that the ambiguous language was used to misrepresent evolution, not encourage healthy skepticism.

Just considering how many signatories are DI fellows themselves (isn’t that a conflict of interest?) a good bet is that the DI deliberately sought out close associates and like-minded (political extremist) people to sign it. As you know, most of the signatories are not biologists, and from this survey, very few of those biologists reject common descent.

Outside of this thread I haven’t heard about the DI peddling “sudden appearance,” but I was surprised that “Explore Evolution” discusses Christan Schwabe, who proposed a “naturalistic” alternative to common descent. It’s a risky move considering how it undermines the false dichotomy that IDers and their YEC and OEC forebearers have carefully crafted.

I’m told that “Explore Evolution” has enough ties to “Pandas” (& “cdesign proponentsists”) that the DI won’t have an easy time with it in court. Either way I think that we need to hold their feet to the fire to take a position on common descent, and to explain why they are not testing their own alternatives, or even debating among themselves their apparent differences regarding such fundamental issues as which lineages share common ancestors and when major events occurred in biological history.

Frank J said:

Ron Okimoto Wrote:

The “scientists” that signed this propaganda piece should be ashamed and embarrassed.

As you know, some are. At least one had his name removed after discovering that the ambiguous language was used to misrepresent evolution, not encourage healthy skepticism.

Just considering how many signatories are DI fellows themselves (isn’t that a conflict of interest?) a good bet is that the DI deliberately sought out close associates and like-minded (political extremist) people to sign it. As you know, most of the signatories are not biologists, and from this survey, very few of those biologists reject common descent.

Outside of this thread I haven’t heard about the DI peddling “sudden appearance,” but I was surprised that “Explore Evolution” discusses Christan Schwabe, who proposed a “naturalistic” alternative to common descent. It’s a risky move considering how it undermines the false dichotomy that IDers and their YEC and OEC forebearers have carefully crafted.

I’m told that “Explore Evolution” has enough ties to “Pandas” (& “cdesign proponentsists”) that the DI won’t have an easy time with it in court. Either way I think that we need to hold their feet to the fire to take a position on common descent, and to explain why they are not testing their own alternatives, or even debating among themselves their apparent differences regarding such fundamental issues as which lineages share common ancestors and when major events occurred in biological history.

The list keeps getting modified. Not just names added, but they seem to edit out the most bogus. Your link was to the first list that had a bunch of nonscientists on it. They got rid of most of that deadwood in later versions and seem to have done something similar recently. I recall that they used to claim over 700 names on the list, but the current list claims only over 600. If this bogus controversy was a real going concern wouldn’t even the most clueless expect the list to get longer? Where are the people on the list that actually understand biological evolution enough to understand how bogus the statement that they are signing is. Anyone could sign such a statement if they wanted to. Not because there is a problem with biological evolution, but because the statement is false as it relates to evolution and no one should be teaching it or even believe that the signed statement is valid. Who would leave out important aspects of the theory like genetic drift, or genetic recombination? Shouldn’t the statement say what they really want it to say in an unambiguous way?

One thing that the Explore Evolution is linked to is the intelligent design creationist scam. It should not escape the notice of anyone that looks into this issue that the guys that claim that they have something worth teaching do not bother to put up their alternative as being worth teaching. These are the ID perps and what is the new scam? All they currently think is worth teaching is the bogus obfuscation scam that something is wrong with the alternative that they don’t like. As you indicate they have no interest in discussion of their alternative and how it stacks up against the other creationist alternatives out there let alone the scientific alternative.

Anyone that claims something different can put up their reasoning and what they think is going on.

Ron Okimoto Wrote:

Who would leave out important aspects of the theory like genetic drift, or genetic recombination? Shouldn’t the statement say what they really want it to say in an unambiguous way?

You know the answer to both questions, but for readers who don’t: The “who” are those who want to mislead those who have no clue as to what the real scientific controversies are. And the statement says exactly what they want it to say, as evidenced by the way it is touted by clueless rubes and budding scam artists. Any less ambiguous and it would either concede too much to mainstream evolution or show too much of its ties to creationism.

I do recall that the YouTube survey used a very early list. I’m not sure if it’s because it was started early or if the interviewer figured that the later signatories might not be as cooperative.

The mere fact these toads are moved to lie…plagiarize and spin devious stories should give the game away…

They are desperate and becoming increasingly so…now they set up puppets to do their dirty work like State Sen. Stephen Wise of Jacksonville… Someone that probably has next to nothing in scientific education…but has an eye on re election…you scratch my back I will scratch yours is the name of that game…and the IDiots do it to perfection!

They are manipulating…because they cannot get away with spouting bullshite on a street corner themselves…they have to use ‘pillars of society’ to do it for them…and those pillars need favors…there is no other reason!

According to this story ,http://www.star-telegram.com/448/st[…]1189915.html , Mcleroy has been reappointed Chair until 2011, pending Senate confirmation.

Texans call your Senators, please!

Strangebrew said:

The mere fact these toads are moved to lie…plagiarize and spin devious stories should give the game away…

They are desperate and becoming increasingly so…now they set up puppets to do their dirty work like State Sen. Stephen Wise of Jacksonville… Someone that probably has next to nothing in scientific education…but has an eye on re election…you scratch my back I will scratch yours is the name of that game…and the IDiots do it to perfection!

They are manipulating…because they cannot get away with spouting bullshite on a street corner themselves…they have to use ‘pillars of society’ to do it for them…and those pillars need favors…there is no other reason!

Wise is the type of rube that they do not need on their side at this time. The only people willing to push the teach ID creationist scam are the ignorant, incompetent and or dishonest. The competent and dishonest ones are pushing the switch scam. The ignorant and incompetent are still falling for the bogus teach ID scam and require the bait and switch to be run in on them. It is my guess that the switch scam is already being run in on this boob.

Even the ID perps are probably rolling their eyes in disgust that anyone could be so clueless and incompetent and so unbelievably ignorant of the fact that the creationist ID scam artists have been running the bait and switch on any creationist rube stupid enough to have fallen for the teach ID scam for over half a decade. The ID perps began running the bait and switch years before they lost in court in Dover. To have the ignorant and incompetent keep popping up and claiming to want to teach the science of intelligent design, just makes the switch scam (being run by the same scam artists that ran the teach ID scam) more difficult to perpetrate without looking like real losers. This boob is screwed. If he takes the switch scam, introduces a new bill, and if the bogus switch scam bill ever got passed, he will have to explain why he took the switch from the same guys that he knows lied to him about the teach ID creationist scam.

This is something that the ID perps at the Discovery Institute do not want to happen. They need a pristine group of rubes willing to lie about what they want to do in order for their switch scam to have the best chance of passing scrutiny. They are stuck with the Texas fiasco where McLeroy is a past ID advocate and then switch scam sucker. There isn’t much chance of McLeroy surviving any court testimony relating to his religious intent. It is just the material that they are stuck with, and a pretty poor grade in anyones book.

Catching up on PT I stumbled on this and a possible left over quote mine dissection. For the record:

New Zealand’s “living dinousaur” – the Tuatara – is surprisingly the fastest evolving animal. It is unchanged in 200 million years Science Daily, March 23, 2008 [Stasis] [McLeroy.]

New Zealand’s ‘Living Dinosaur’ – The Tuatara – Is Surprisingly The Fastest Evolving Animal [Headline] … In a study of New Zealand’s “living dinosaur” the tuatara, evolutionary biologist, and ancient DNA expert, Professor David Lambert and his team from the Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution recovered DNA sequences from the bones of ancient tuatara, which are up to 8000 years old. They found that, although tuatara have remained largely physically unchanged over very long periods of evolution, they are evolving - at a DNA level - faster than any other animal yet examined. … “Of course we would have expected that the tuatara, which does everything slowly – they grow slowly, reproduce slowly and have a very slow metabolism – would have evolved slowly. In fact, at the DNA level, they evolve extremely quickly, which supports a hypothesis proposed by the evolutionary biologist Allan Wilson, who suggested that the rate of molecular evolution was uncoupled from the rate of morphological evolution.” … The tuatara, Sphendon punctatus, is found only in New Zealand and is the only surviving member of a distinct reptilian order Sphehodontia that lived alongside early dinosaurs and separated from other reptiles 200 million years ago in the Upper Triassic period. [ScienceDaily (Mar. 23, 2008).]

That’s a mighty sloppy quoting, besides the mining contrary to the message: discarding most of the text and essentially all of the evolutionary observations, using the journal’s chosen headlines with the author’s own text, inserting misleading hyphenation errors, and all!

So does the Tuatara have a high mutation rate per generation, a more than average number of neutral sites that can change without adverse effect, or is it adapting to rapidly changing molecular level threats (e.g., parasites, toxic food sources)?

(How many of those hypotheses would an ID advocate have proposed?)

Henry

Henry J said:

So does the Tuatara have a high mutation rate per generation, a more than average number of neutral sites that can change without adverse effect, or is it adapting to rapidly changing molecular level threats (e.g., parasites, toxic food sources)?

(How many of those hypotheses would an ID advocate have proposed?)

Henry

A population survey of existing individuals could support the notion that they evolve rapidly. If the sequence variation is no different than other such populations, something could be screwy. The 8000 year old specimens may be of an extinct subspecies, or there was some bottle neck and only one branch of the population survived. If the current population is inbred I’d go with subspecies or bottleneck. If they were evolving faster you would expect greater genetic diversity than expected for their effective population size.

Torbjörn Larsson, OM said:

Catching up on PT I stumbled on this and a possible left over quote mine dissection. For the record:

New Zealand’s “living dinousaur” – the Tuatara – is surprisingly the fastest evolving animal. It is unchanged in 200 million years Science Daily, March 23, 2008 [Stasis] [McLeroy.]

New Zealand’s ‘Living Dinosaur’ – The Tuatara – Is Surprisingly The Fastest Evolving Animal [Headline] … In a study of New Zealand’s “living dinosaur” the tuatara, evolutionary biologist, and ancient DNA expert, Professor David Lambert and his team from the Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution recovered DNA sequences from the bones of ancient tuatara, which are up to 8000 years old. They found that, although tuatara have remained largely physically unchanged over very long periods of evolution, they are evolving - at a DNA level - faster than any other animal yet examined. … “Of course we would have expected that the tuatara, which does everything slowly – they grow slowly, reproduce slowly and have a very slow metabolism – would have evolved slowly. In fact, at the DNA level, they evolve extremely quickly, which supports a hypothesis proposed by the evolutionary biologist Allan Wilson, who suggested that the rate of molecular evolution was uncoupled from the rate of morphological evolution.” … The tuatara, Sphendon punctatus, is found only in New Zealand and is the only surviving member of a distinct reptilian order Sphehodontia that lived alongside early dinosaurs and separated from other reptiles 200 million years ago in the Upper Triassic period. [ScienceDaily (Mar. 23, 2008).]

That’s a mighty sloppy quoting, besides the mining contrary to the message: discarding most of the text and essentially all of the evolutionary observations, using the journal’s chosen headlines with the author’s own text, inserting misleading hyphenation errors, and all!

Thanks Torbjörn! I can’t believe I missed that. I guess I overlooked it because McLeroy didn’t put it in quotation marks.

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This page contains a single entry by Jack Krebs published on February 3, 2009 9:36 PM.

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