McLeroy: We don’t need no evolution

Video and audio of the confirmation hearing on McLeroy’s renomination as Chairman of the Texas State Board of Education are now available and linked here.

Here I will just excerpt one point-counterpoint between McLeroy’s testimony and that of Professor Arturo De Lozanne. Throughout these hearings, McLeroy and other creationists have been flatly asserting that it is not true that evolutionary theory is necessary for an understanding of biology (as in Dobzhansky’s famous dictum that “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution”).

Here’s McLeroy’s testimony before the Senate committee, which is the same as his argument to the SBOE in March.:

(move cursor over link, or click link to play the audio here; right-click to download the audio file):
[[ McLeroy: Whether evolution is true or false makes no difference for biology. ]]

(McLeroy is referring to the 21st-Century Science Coalition’ s statement on “Scientists for a Responsible Curriculum in Texas Public Schools.”)

Regrettably, in my opinion, this argument was not effectively rebutted in the SBOE sessions. This time, however, when a Senate committee member said that they could read Professor De Lozanne’s prepared testimony on their own, and asked him to tell them the main points he wanted to make now, De Lozanne departed from his written statement to say that McLeroy has been giving misinformation to the Board, and he used as his example the claim by McLeroy that evolution makes no difference for biology, except for those who choose evolutionary (or “integrative”) biology as their specialty. Here’s the audio of De Lozanne’s rebuttal on that point:

[[ De Lozanne v. McLeroy’s assertion ]]

McLeroy says that he’s discovered that it’s not evolution, but genetics that is essential for biology. Biologists will wonder how McLeroy can think that genetics could make any sense except in the light of evolution. The Senators, appropriately, were wondering how, in deciding on the science curriculum for the state’s public schools, this dentist could assume that his own personal judgment should override what scientists themselves understand about such matters.

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