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Evolution and Texas in the Washington Monthly

Don McLeroyDon McLeroy

The antics of the Texas state board of education are the topic of a story in the January/February 2010 issue of the Washington Monthly — and evolution, unsurprisingly, is exhibit A. "Evolution is hooey," the former chair of the board, avowed creationist Don McLeroy, told the Washington Monthly's Mariah Blake, who in the course of her article "Revisionaries" devotes a fair amount of space to a description of the recent tussle over the place of evolution in the place of Texas's science education standards.

As NCSE previously reported, although creationists on the board were unsuccessful in adding controversial "strengths and weaknesses" language to the standards, they proposed a flurry of synonyms — such as "sufficiency or insufficiency" and "supportive and not supportive" — and eventually prevailed with a requirement that students examine "all sides of scientific evidence." Additionally, the board voted to add or amend various standards in a way that encourages the presentation of creationist claims about the complexity of the cell, the completeness of the fossil record, and the age of the universe.

McLeroy was candid about the purpose of the amendments. "Whoo-eey!" he told Blake. "We won the Grand Slam, and the Super Bowl, and the World Cup! Our science standards are light years ahead of any other state when it comes to challenging evolution!" The distinguished biologist David Hillis was not so enthusiastic. "Clearly, some board members just wanted something they could point to so they could reject science books that don't give a nod to creationism ... If they are able to use those standards to reject science textbooks, they have won and science has lost."