Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hope Springs Eternal for Texas: McLeroy Confirmation Fails!

Creationist dentist and anti-science fool Don McLeroy failed to be confirmed for yet another stint as Chairman of the Texas Board of Education. The vote was along party lines, with 19 Republicans voting for and 11 Democrats (yes, we still have some in Texas) voting against, making the total two short of the 21 required. Cited reasons for the down vote were:

Divisiveness and the dsyfunctionality of the board under his leadership, leading to it becoming "the laughingstock of the nation".

Businesspeople concerned by the board's hostility to science considering leaving Texas for better schools.

McLeroy's endorsement of a book that says parents who want their kids to learn about evolution are “monsters,” scientists are “atheists,” and clergy who see no conflict between science and faith are “morons”, as well as McLeroy's comment that “Scientific consensus means nothing.”

Lack of credibility of the board under Mr. McLeroy undermining education, endless culture wars that have plagued the board, and its general divisiveness.

McLeroy's supporters by contrast, demonstrated that they are as ignorant and antagonistic towards science as he is, claiming he has a "better scientific background than most" because of his BS in engineering and his position as a dentist, "a theory is just a theory", religion is foundational to education, rejecting him would amount to a religious test for office, and that "in God we trust" applies as well in science as anywhere.

Wow. It's a nice victory, but obviously we have a long way to go. Governor Perry's next nomination is likely to be just as big an idiot, and needs to be voted down just as fervently. Further, senators Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, and Dan Patrick, R-Houston, need to go as well for their 16th century views on the subject. Texas children deserve better.


megadeth said...

How about writing a post on John Holdren, Obama's "Science Czar?"

ScienceAvenger said...

Link me to something worth posting about that's recent. I don't much care what anyone thought 20 years ago, I care what they think now.
Practically anyone with real intellect will harbor bizarre beliefs at one time or another in their life. It comes with the territority.

Also make sure it's something he actually said or did, not what someone claims or edited that he said or did. I have zero interest in partisan political "gotcha" whose-the-bigger-hypocrite parse-every-syllable wanking, whether it's "57 states" or "Russia and Canada are in Alaska". Give me something with substance.

megadeth said...

What was believed 20 years ago, even if it was about forced sterilization, is indeed not so important. Does it matter whether Holdren did or did not repudiate those beliefs between then and his recent job interview?

ScienceAvenger said...

Perhaps, but you see, you've already committed a serious category error, since an opinion on public policy, such as whether there should be forced sterilization, is not the same creature as a dismissal of science, say a denial of evolution. These are the sorts of off-topic posts I usually delete, but I was feeling charitable.

We apply our values to our understanding of the world, so that understanding is far more critical than the values we place on it. And while I certainly do not favor forced sterilization, population control is a problem for humanity that is a "when", not an "if", and I'll not be too harsh with those who consider different options to the problem than I would. They are acting far more responsibly than those who ignore reality.

The notion that people have a right to inflict on society as many children as they wish will one day be seen as bizarre as we view the defenses of slavery made by otherwise upstanding citizens in the 19th century.