McLeroy, Dunbar: Protecting science against political interference

SBOE Chairman Don McLeroy

SBOE Chairman Don McLeroy

Perhaps one of the more unexpected developments to come out of the seven hours of public testimony before the Texas State Board of Education November 19, 2008 is the emergence of SBOE Chair Don McLeroy and Board member Cynthia Dunbar as the unrelenting champions of science — defending science against domination by political majorities(!)

After Garrett Mize, a junior majoring in government at UT-Austin, pleaded for Texas science teachers to be free to teach science again, without having to worry about the “political football” that teaching evolution has been turned into, McLeroy insisted that it is not the “conservative or creationist” Board members who have politicized the matter. Here’s the audio: Click here to play or download 4 min. mp3 (483 KB)

Cynthia Dunbar

Cynthia Dunbar

About 15 minutes earlier (in questioning, or responding to, Anita Gordon [somebody please let me know if I got her name wrong]), Cynthia Dunbar had insisted that

Science is not something that’s determined by majority vote. It’s actua … There is a scientific method.

Dunbar returned to this theme in her colloquy with Garrett Mize.

Click here for 1.25 minute mp3 (143 KB)

Dunbar insisted that the scientific method “trumps” even a 99.9% majority.

What majority was she talking about? She was responding to Mize’s testimony about the Texas college and university Biology teachers who responded to a survey sponsored by the Texas Freedom Network (TFN). Mize handled the questioning well, although one wonders why such issues were not explored in questioning of the stellar array of scientists who had appeared before the Board, rather than an undergraduate majoring in government — no matter how well he handled it.

One wonders, that is, only until one realizes that it is those scientists that Dunbar thinks science, and the authority of the scientific method, need to be defended against.

Here’s what Robert Crowther at DI has to say about the survey:

I’m not saying that there are a majority of scientists who doubt Darwin in Texas. But the minority is a silent one for sure, thanks to left-wing advocacy groups like Texas Freedom Network.

And why are they “silent”? During the SBOE hearings, anti-evolution speakers and Board members kept telling themselves that we’re just not hearing from all those scientists who do not believe in evolution, but are intimidated from speaking out by the dogmatic reign of anti-intellectual terror purportedly exposed in Ben Stein’s movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] first of these mp3 files (which you can play here or download) features discussion of Cynthia Dunbar’s proposed amendment to restore the “Strengths & Weaknesses” language (you [...]

  2. [...] to a theme that some of the creationists including Dunbar and McLeroy, are riding, which I have pointed to in an earlier post here. Dunbar is positing a distinction — even an opposition — between the consensus among [...]

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