Most GOP Candidates for Texas Ed Board Support Teaching ‘Weaknesses’ of Evolution, Posting Ten Commandments in Public Schools

During the Texas State Board of Education‘s debate over science curriculum standards in 2008, supporters of sound science education succeeded in killing a provision that would have required students to learn creationism-inspired arguments about the “weaknesses” of evolution. But nine Republicans in state board races apparently will insist that new biology textbooks include those bogus “weaknesses” if they win election on November 6. Moreover, 11 GOP candidates for the state board support displaying the Ten Commandments in public schools.

The candidates made their positions clear in a voter guide questionnaire sponsored by several religious-right groups. The evolution question is particularly important because the state board is scheduled to adopt new biology textbooks in 2013. Those textbooks could be in Texas public schools for nearly a decade.

The following nine Republican candidates said they “strongly agree” with this statement: “Biology textbooks which do not teach both the scientific strengths and weaknesses of the theory of evolution should be rejected by the Board.”

District 1 Charlie Garza, El Paso (incumbent)
District 3 David Williams, San Antonio
District 5 Ken Mercer, San Antonio (incumbent)
District 6 Donna Bahorich, Houston
District 7 David Bradley, Beaumont Buna (incumbent)
District 8 Barbara Cargill, The Woodlands, (incumbent, SBOE chair)
District 10 Tom Maynard, Florence
District 12 Geraldine “Tincy” Miller, Dallas
District 15 Marty Rowley, Amarillo

Two GOP candidates “strongly disagreed”: Dorothy Olmos of Houston in District 4 and S.T. Russell of Dallas in District 13. GOP nominee Laurie Turner of Corpus Christi in District 2 answered “neutral.” The only Democrat who responded to the survey, Steven Schafersman of Midland in District 15, said he “strongly disagreed.” Three other Republicans — Thomas Ratliff of Mount Pleasant in District 9, Pat Hardy of Fort Worth in District 11 and Sue Melton of Waco in District 14 — did not respond to the survey.

These 11 Republican candidates for the state board said they “strongly agree” or “agree” with the following statement: “I support displaying the Ten Commandments in public school buildings.”

District 1 Charlie Garza, El Paso (incumbent)
District 2 Laurie Turner, Corpus Christi
District 3 David Williams, San Antonio
District 4 Dorothy Olmos, Houston
District 5 Ken Mercer, San Antonio (incumbent)
District 6 Donna Bahorich, Houston
District 7 David Bradley, Beaumont Buna (incumbent)
District 8 Barbara Cargill, The Woodlands, (incumbent, SBOE chair)
District 10 Tom Maynard, Florence
District 12 Geraldine “Tincy” Miller, Dallas
District 15 Marty Rowley, Amarillo

Russell and Schafersman “strongly disagreed.” Ratliff, Hardy and Melton did not respond to the survey.

The survey was sponsored by three Texas-based religious-right groups and the American Family Association (AFA), a Mississippi-based organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified as a hate group. Texas Gov. Rick Perry asked the AFA to organize his prayer extravaganza in Houston in August 2011, an event that occurred just a week before the governor declared his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination. The Texas groups involved in the voter guide project are Texas Eagle Forum, Heritage Alliance and Liberty Institute/Texas Values. Click here to read the voter guide.

All 15 State Board of Education seats are on the November 6 ballot. You can find a listing of all state board general election candidates and a link to the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund’s SBOE Voter Guide here.

This article was posted in these categories: 2012 Texas SBOE elections, church and state, evolution, Ten Commandments, TFNEF. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments with the RSS feed for this post.Trackbacks are closed, but you can Post a Comment.


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9 Comments

  1. Will F
    Posted November 2, 2012 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Dear Dan,
    I propose we utilize the term ‘cargo cultists’ when referring to the creationists at SBOE. Below is an absolutely fanatstic post by reply from someone at my favorite
    creationism blogger. read it through nd you will agree. Creationists are cargo cultists and are really fun to observe . Listen to an absolute pro here in how to treat a creationist trying to effect public policy.
    No squealing , just pure absolute devastating mockery on a gigantic scale.
    If you need to see the original gibberish, go to the Dishonesty Institute web site and reference Casey Luskin’s latest article. pricelss creationist babble and obfuscation.
    I quote the respondent to news of the Discovery institute’s latest in dishonesty and fraud.
    “Jeepers, I am alone here in genuinely valuing Mr. —— and his delightful articles—of which this present instance is, in fact, an especial gem? Gee whiz, folks, ———‘s latest is an absolute treasure, one to savour rather than ridicule.

    Let’s have a closer look at the insights my all-time favourite insert (creationist) is generously offering here. We learn from this piece that Intelligent Design is not, as so many have simplistically declared, a dishonest attempt to smuggle ‘religion’ into the classroom (if it were, why would so many mainstream religious denominations distance themselves from it?). It really is nothing to do with ‘religion’ at all. The author usefully shows us here that ID is in fact a colourful Cargo Cult. You know: remote Pacific islanders who clear “runways” in the jungle, complete with “landing lights” fashioned out of coconut shells, a “radar dish” woven out of vines, and a “radio” constructed from empty boxes of corn flakes–just like a real airport!. Never mind that the Kellogg radio is mute, for there are (fortunately) a few self-elected priests who can use the device to transmit and receive messages telepathically—and incidentally are thus able to direct their less exalted fellow islanders in the necessary rituals and payments to ensure that a cargo plane filled with wonders will come – someday. Any day now. Just you wait…

    It was Richard Feynman who proposed the term ‘cargo cult science’ back in the 1970’s as an analogy for the less-than-vigorous practises of some of the ‘soft sciences’, but we have to look to the wonderful Casey to experience, not an analogue to a Cargo Cult, but the real deal!. “Look!” proclaims Luskin, “We have all the same trappings of real science! We have research ‘fellows’, and edit our own ‘peer-reviewed’ journal, and a list of some people with letters after their names: all hail our science of Oogityboogityology!”

    But now comes the best bit: unlike isolated Micronesians on a remote island, the Discoveroids have cleared their jungle runway in the middle of a technologically-advanced world superpower! It is as if the Pacific islanders set up their coconut shell landing lights and cardboard ATC tower alongside the perimeter fence of Sea-Tac International or Boeing Field! What stunning power of self-delusion it would take to man the cereal-box radio year after year, desperately listening for messages therein amongst the incessant roar of the jumbo jets landing next door. But that, ladies and gentlemen, is precisely the superhuman delusional fortitude so remarkably displayed by the singular Mr. Luskin.

    So c’mon, guys and gals, lighten up! Watching Luskin, Klinghoffer et. al. playing at ‘science’ is every bit as cute and charming as watching 5-year-olds playing at ”Mommys and Daddys.” Or “Doctors.” It’s … well,… precious!

    Casey, I salute you! How dull our world would be without the example of your stupendously convoluted triumph of flat-out barking-mad delusion over simple reality!

    As for Tincy Miller. Anyone who has ever leaned towards the GOP’s creationism platform is bad news. Vote ‘er out if you can. She’s a cargo cultist.

  2. Posted October 31, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    The so-called “weaknesses” of evolution are bogus and are a Creationist tactic, so teaching them is illegal because teaching Creationism in public schools is illegal. Posting the Ten Commandments in a public institution is illegal. Both violate the Establishment Clause of the Constitution that requires separation of religion and government. So the Republicans listed above are stating their agreement to violate the law. Nothing better proves their depravity and contempt for the law. This shows the influence of the Tea Party that now dominates the Republican Party in Texas.

    In 2003 and 2009, Tincy Miller usually voted along with the Democrats and a few other Republicans (Bob Craig, etc.) to support accurate and professional science standards and textbooks. So she has publicly changed her mind under Tea Party pressure and now supports distorting science instruction. This could either be a ploy to be re-elected or a sincere change of heart. If she is re-elected, and she probably will be, we will know which in 2013. She may only want one more term on the SBOE, so she may support adoption of good science texts in 2013. Let’s encourage her to do the right thing.

  3. Ron Wetherington
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Tincy Miller’s cave-in might be a ploy: during the science debate she was severely and brutally castigated by fellow board members on the far right and by other radical republicans, and she was visibly shaken by this. In her debate with Lois Parrot, she allegedly asserted her preference that creationism be taught along side evolution–an obvious violation of the law! BUT if she is sincere, we have a tough job on our hands!

  4. Will F
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Does this mean the GOP will be bringing a talking snake fossil to board meetings to support their creationism ideas?

    • Hartmut
      Posted November 2, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      Not a joking matter actually. When a fossil of a snake ancestor with still functional hindlegs was found, it was cited by Biblical literalists as a proof of Genesis. You see, the snakes of paradise obviously had legs or the Lord’s punishment condemning them to henceforth crawl on their stomachs would not make sense. The fossil must be a sample of such a snake before the eviction from Eden.

  5. Posted October 30, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Then perhaps we should go into their churches and teach ‘weaknesses’ in their religion

  6. Posted October 30, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    When I covered public education reform and the state board (88-94) Tincy Miller usually was a voice of reason and sided with some moderate Democrats on the big stuff. She often could be counted on to have the best interest of Texas education, not party loyalty, at heart. Sad to see her fall in line on this type of stuff.

    • Rubin Sunset
      Posted October 31, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      Great idea, Patricia. There’s so much evidence that could be presented — it would be overwhelming. Perhaps we could start them out w/ youtube videos — Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, “Hitch,” et al. Naw — they’d never let that happen. The churches have way too much money & real estate involved. Would not want to allow reason to chip away @ the foundation of institutions they’ve been building for several K years….

  7. Posted October 30, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    I refused to vote for any of the candidates for Texas State Board of Ed. I do not want creationism in the Science curriculum. Do we want to be the laughing stock of the scientific world?

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