Friday, July 27, 2007

Creationist assigned to head SBOE; audio from 2003 textbook hearings

As Phil noted at badastronomy, clueless creationist Don McLeroy was just appointed by Rick Perry to head the Texas State Board of Education. My favorite quote from the linked article: "Given all the time in the world, I don’t think I could make a spider out of a rock. However, most of the books we are considering adopting, claim that Nothing made a spider out of a rock." Oy. It's bad enough that he's a creationist, but does it have to be such a dumb creationist?

Those of us who attended the SBOE hearings in 2003 are very familiar with McLeroy's antics. If you haven't read about that before, you can read the full report on my blog.

Martin Wagner emailed me to ask if I still have the material I collected from the hearings: pictures, audio, and speech transcripts. Since they are no longer available on the ACA site, I have gone ahead and uploaded everything to my web site. Linked below are the sound clips record from my video camera. I will upload other material later.

Atheist Community of Austin members

  • John Koonz
    Texas educator, speaking about creationist dishonesty and misquotes.

  • Michelle Gadush
    Michelle asks: How come most of the board's questions go to creationists? Characteristically, the board doesn't ask her any questions.

  • Russell Glasser
    Relating the cold fusion scandal to current creationist attempts to skip peer review. Includes some fun cross examination by Terri Leo.

  • Don Baker
    Universal evolution and evolutionary algorithms should also be taught in schools.

  • Steve Elliott
    A cautionary recap of what happened to the school board in Kansas. Unfortunately, the camera ran out of batteries during Steve's testimony, so I missed about a minute while trying to get to a plug.

  • Martin Wagner
    Introducing the concept of "The Wedge Strategy."

Texas Freedom Network

  • Amanda Walker
    The importance of solid science education.

  • Samantha Smoot
    Head of TFN, Samantha deviates from her written material to do a recap of how the esteemed representatives of the Discovery Institute have behaved themselves throughout the evening. Just a wee bit shocking.

Other pro-science speakers

  • Dr. Sahotra Sarkar
    Philosophy of Science professor from UT. Dr. Sarkar debated an Intelligent Design guy the year before the hearings; you can see my full report on this page.

  • Dr. Steven Weinberg
    Physics Nobel Laureate. They let him go on for all of thirteen minutes about the topic "How do we know anything in science?" This one is a must hear.

  • Dr. Eugenie C. Scott
    Head of the National Center for Science Education.

  • Dr. Alan Gishlick
    Another NCSE guy. Excellent speech, one of the best of the wrap-up bunch.

  • Dr. Robert Pennock
    Philosophy of Science professor from Michigan; author of Tower of Babel and Intelligent Design and its Critics.

Creationists from the Discovery Institute

  • William Dembski
    The math geek of the DI, he does his typical "life is too complicated to evolve" song and dance. He also uses the standard line from the evening about introducing "strengths and weaknesses" into evolution education. (The click-whir you hear in the background is me taking shots with my still camera in the other hand. Sorry about that.)

  • John West
    I didn't record his entire speech, but I turned on the camera when I realized that he was getting a nice tongue lashing from one of the board members. This is a two minute clip of John doing the creationist two-step as he tries not to answer the direct question, "Do you want schools to teach Intelligent Design?" Terri Leo steps in to try and rescue him, but she winds up making an even bigger mess.

  • Michael Behe
    Author of Darwin's Black Box. Fairly predictable speech from Behe: talks about the flagellum, makes a long argument from incredulity about how impossible it is for tiny things to evolve, and gripes about how scientists are unfair to supernaturalists.

  • Bruce Chapman
    Discovery Institute president.

  • Jonathan Wells
    As one of the avowed creationist board members said at the end of Wells' speech, "Your name has been brought up tonight more than Charles Darwin's, so obviously you must be having an impact." Well, of course. (See report)


  1. Russell, there's a bad link in your post. The link to your testimony actually points to Michelle Gadush's.


  2. I had trouble getting Martin's link to load as well. But I actually wanted to write to say thanks for posting all of those. I nearly skipped trying to load them because I'm on dialup--but they worked fine, and played without any delays. AND were super interesting to hear.


  3. Thank you, I look forward to viewing these clips. By the way, have you seen any of the Beyond Belief 2006 lecture / debate clips on google video? Lots of very good stuff from many different people. Highly recommended.

  4. Thought I would pass this on:

    Now one of the most asked question. To answer your "Starlight takes hundreds of thousands to millions of years to reach us" question it will take take a minute but can be answered. First lets ponder that this not a good argument for an Omniscient, Omnipresence almighty God. He can do what he wants he is God he can make all things happen but lets try to answer it to understand it. We have discovered things that can possibly answer how it happened. It is a complicated topic because it involves velocity and speed and things of that nature. Dr. Jason Lisle answered this question recently in an article

    There are several examples of different possibilities such as Gravitational Time-Dilation model based on Albert Einstein's theory of relativity where time travels slower on earth then things at the speed of light and alternate synchronization convention where on earth here
    we have time zones (because of earths rotation) where you can leave 4 o' clock in Kentucky you arrive at in Colorado at 4 o' clock. It it the same in space where if you leave at 4 o'clock on a star you arrive at earth at 4 o' clock.

    One to ponder for the big bang and evolutionist: Population 3 stars should be all over the universe but you guessed it there are none to be found just like no transitional fossils found. Here is a good web site if you believe in evolution

  5. The link didn't work for evolution the site I was trying to send you was here:

  6. That's okay. It's just Ray Comfort rubbish anyway, a fact-free haven for the blissfully ignorant. Been there done that, chum. Comfort knows about as much about evolution as a gerbil knows about tensor calculus, and his design arguments are hysterical (a banana! a Coke can!). Our own Matt D. runs the Iron Chariots wiki, where Comfort's silliness gets smacked down.

    Also, here's the video from Rational Responders, of their recent demolition of Comfort and Cameron on a TV debate. Hilarious stuff.

  7. Talk about getting their hat handed to them. The rational response squad looked like real angry bitter people and lost the debate for sure.

    At that Matt website he claimed "Have you ever told the truth in your life? Yes? Then you're a truth-teller."

    This is hilarious. What a fallacy, if you lie once and tell the truth a million times it still makes you a liar. Try it with anything else also. Have you not murdered anyone? Then your not a murderer but if you have then you are a murderer. If you commit adultery once that makes you an adulterer and ask your wife of you are a non-adulterer because you avoided it a million times. Your wife still considers you one because you did it once.

    You system of logic is so flawed and your boasting about how you think it is right. It is laughable but truly sad but expected.

  8. The rational response squad looked like real angry bitter people and lost the debate for sure.

    Well, if you judge the results on emotional standards rather than who was actually telling the truth. Which is already a subject we've determined you know nothing about. And anyway, if the RR seemed angry, it was, I think, understandable frustration at having to deal with Comfort and Cameron's nonstop barrage of rank stupidity.

    This is hilarious. What a fallacy, if you lie once and tell the truth a million times it still makes you a liar.

    Wow, man. You just don't know how to think.

    If you tell the truth once and lie a million times, then it still makes you a truth-teller, right? You probably missed (or if you didn't, I guess you didn't understand it) the point about how a single act does not determine a person's entire character. What Matt was exposing was the shallowness and simple-mindedness of Comfort's arguments. So I can understand why they appeal to you. They do not convince anyone with any degree of intellectual sophistication.

    You system of logic is so flawed and your boasting about how you think it is right. It is laughable but truly sad but expected.

    Coming from a person who's already demonstrated they possess no honesty or integrity of any kind, this statement does not wound us as much as you surely hoped it would. Better luck next time.

  9. "Population 3 stars should be all over the universe but you guessed it there are none to be found just like no transitional fossils found."

    That pretty much disqualifies you from claiming to know anything at all about science. The creationist tactic is like that deployed by the Nazis: repeat a lie often enough until it becomes "truth". "There are no transitional fossils" is something that has been known to be false for decades, yet creationists continue to repeat it as though it were a scientific fact.

    Here you go, some transitional forms.


PLEASE NOTE: The Atheist Experience has moved to a new location, and this blog is now closed to comments. To participate in future discussions, please visit

This blog encourages believers who disagree with us to comment. However, anonymous comments are disallowed to weed out cowardly flamers who hide behind anonymity. Commenters will only be banned when they've demonstrated they're nothing more than trolls whose behavior is intentionally offensive to the blog's readership.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.