Blasting open the Texas creationist’s quote mine

Earlier here (in Quote-mining with a dental drill) I posted Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) chairman  Don McLeroy’s handout with the quote-mining  he used at the Board’s meeting January 22 to trick some of the open-minded SBOE members into voting for his anti-Common Descent amendment to the Texas science standards, by misrepresenting writings by scientists in order to fool his colleagues with a false portrayal of the state of the science.

Jeremy Mohn has gone to work restoring the context from which McLeroy mined the quotes he used in this thoroughly dishonest effort. His work is wonderfully presented at .

Thanks, Jeremy!

P.S. Several bloggers have expressed astonishment that in the middle of his quote-mining rampage, McLeroy actually said about one of the sources, “I’m quote-mining him right now.” Some have wondered how/why he would openly say that. I have a theory (no, actually it’s just a speculation, so maybe it has “weaknesses”). He might be a genuine believer who is not totally confident that his God is actually OK with the “Lying for Jesus” excuse. Knowing that he would be lying if he presented his quotemine as if it represented truth, he might think that by explicitly saying during the presentation that it’s not true, but saying it in language that his colleagues would not understand, he can achieve his results without literally having told a lie, thus saving his soul from damnation to hell.

But then, I really don’t know how such literalists think.

For references to Saint Augustine on how Genesis should (and should not) be “literally” interpreted, click here.

It includes citation info for the chapter title in which Augustine famously declared that

On interpreting the mind of the sacred writer. Christians should not talk nonsense to unbelievers.



  1. Posted February 1, 2009 at 2:36 am | Permalink

    The website is finished now, Tony. Thanks for waiting.

  2. Sirius
    Posted February 7, 2009 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    How interesting.

    You decry quote-mining and then you heartily endorse quote-mining Augustine [via Young who did not bother to critique Augustine’s comments in context but rather in light of the evolution debate which obviously never crossed Augustine’s mind] when it suits your purpose. I guess it’s only quote-mining if it supports the other guy’s position, huh?

    Ironically, Young did quote something from Augustine that might apply to the debate, though not in your favor:

    “But someone may ask: ‘Is not Scripture opposed to those who hold that heaven is spherical, when it says, who stretches out heaven like a skin?’ Let it be opposed indeed if their statement is false…. But if they are able to establish their doctrine with proofs that cannot be denied, we must show that this statement of Scripture about the skin is not opposed to the truth of their conclusions. (p. 59)”

    Unfortunately, evolution stands upon “proofs” which are all-too-easily refuted, so the Christian who would follow Augustine must still oppose it. After a century and a half of giving it the benefit of the doubt…

    I think it’s time we buried his book and all the impediments to real science it has created.

    –Sirius Knott

  3. Posted February 7, 2009 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    I respond to “Sirius Knott’s” comment in a separate post.

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Somebody who calls themselves “Sirius Knott” has left a comment on my post about the “Collapse of a Texas ‘Quote Mine’” website, in which they say You decry quote-mining and then you heartily endorse quote-mining Augustine [via […]

  2. […] 2009: Here’s the current form of an amendment that Texas State Board of Ed Chairman McLeroy (with an egregious quote-mining rampage) got added to the current draft of the Texas science standards, as approved at First Reading Jan. […]

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