Collapse of a Texas Quote Mine

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.)