Update: 6:15 p.m.-Professor Charles Garner, Baylor U-good thought by him-if you have some body of thought that cannot be questioned, that sounds like a religion. Yep-to some people, evolution is a religion.
Update: 5:30 p.m.-Ron Wetherington, SMU Professor-the theory of evolution does not have weaknesses, its just incomplete. O, I see, so let’s change the standard to teaching the strengths and “incompleteness” of evolutionary theory.
Wetherington says theory of evolution is incomplete.
Schafersman says its complete. Which is it?
Scientific theories do not have weaknesses, and high school students do not have the skills to critique theories; they need to learn them,” Schafersman said of the potential change to the curriculum. “The word ‘weaknesses’ has been removed because it’s very limited in that context. The scientific theory of evolution is complete.”
Update: 4 p.m. Some vote speculation in our opinion:
Lawarence Allen-not sure, but asked a few questions
Rick Agosto-not sure, but asked a few questions
Bob Craig-based on his questions, and feedback from one of his constituents, seems to be comfortable with eliminating strengths and weaknesses language. (People in the Lubbock area, please reach out to him, help him avoid such a bad vote, where he’ll be siding with Texas Freedom Network and helping to limit scientific progress).
Update-3:30 p.m.Scientist Stephen Meyer (from the Discovery Institute) just dropped a massive binder on the SBOE members with over 100 scholarly articles that have evidence that should support teaching the strengths and weaknesses of evolutionary theory. That’s heavy.
Update-3:00 p.m.–The morning session has concluded, we have completed our press conference. Very well covered. The Texas Freedom Network had their press conference right after ours in the lobby of the TEA building. I could not believe what they allowed their science expert from SMU, Ron Wetherington, to state. He proceeded to list one by one, a long list of weaknesses of evolution, then said, these are not real weaknesses simply because he says so and because the only people that talk about them are people that don’t like evolutionary theory. Either the earth is flat or it is not flat, makes no difference who’s saying it.
We testified just after 1 p.m. after a strange sequence of events unfolded while our press conference was concluding. I won’t bore you with the details, but result was we were specifically selected to testify. We testified, rebutted the “weak” arguments, particularly the claim that “there will be lawsuits.” I think this is the last of this argument, thank God.
Update: We are continuing to do interviews with the media as the hearing goes on, educating them in the process as this issue has some details that the opposition has distorted. Look for media interviews with Angela Weissgarber, the mother/parent. She has a strong message.
Update: Testimony of a ‘science” person. “If there are legitimate weaknesses to evolution, we will teach them in our universities and eventually they will trickle down to high school.” That sounds real promising, the truth will eventually trickle down to high schools, but for now we’ll just withhold the truth because we don’t take high school science seriously. Very sad.
Minnesota apprarently has our strengths and weaknesses language.
Update: Here come the “lawsuits” allegations. Professor Arturo De Lozanne from UT-Austin is saying there will be lawsuits if we keep the strengths and weaknesses. Yes, that’s right, once again a scientist telling us what’s “constitutional.” Newsflash-there have been “no” lawsuits under the current 20-year standard of teaching strengths and weaknesses. Trust me, if this policy was vulnerable to legal challenge, the ACLU would have brought there lawsuit long ago. The reality is this argument is baseless that’s why no such challenge has been brought, and it would be rejeccted by the court.
The SBOE hearing room is standing room only here in Austin, with close to 100 people signed up to testify. It’s fairly balanced “for” the strengths & weaknesses language” and “against.” Many groups are here as well on both sides of the issue, with numerous media outlets and one documentary film crew.
One of our partners, Angela Weissgarber, is testifying and she is doing well, even though she is getting some tough questions. Her children were banned from asking questions about evolution.
Pat Hardy-“This is a bad reflection on the state”
I woke up extra early for a live TV interview on this issue at 6:00 a.m. on CBS 42 in Austin. when the video is posted to their website, we’ll put a link here. We’re also getting great coverage in South Texas (McAllen) and Dallas, as well.
As far we can tell, the message is also getting across to the State Board of Education members as they have been flooded with thousands of calls and emails.
All 15 SBOE members are present.