Sunday, March 29, 2009

Don McLeroy, Creationist Dentist

This has already been posted on Panda's Thumb and elsewhere but it deserves to be seen by everyone. It's Don McLeroy, the creationist dentist who is chair of the Texas Board of Education. He has somehow gotten the idea that he knows more about evolution than the experts.

That makes him very dangerous.


  1. According to Wikipedia, he got his dental training at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center which has quite a good scientific reputation. I'm betting his professors are wondering where they went wrong.

  2. Asking a dentist about evolutionary theory is like asking your hairstylist to fill a cavity. Asshat.

  3. Yes, we really need to stand up to experts. They are nards. Right, Don?

  4. I will point out that this seems to be a more nuanced version of the God-of-the-gaps argument that Dawkins has discussed. McLeroy points to places where the fossil record is incomplete and says "aha!' but he completely ignores all sorts of intermediate fossils. I guess that it is true what they say, every new transitional fossil just creates two new gaps. Anyway it seems like he is attacking constant-rate-ism so he hasn't exactly caught up to the cutting edge of evolutionary science. He also can't have read Gould that closely or he never would have spewed that crap about simpler -> more complex.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. I agree with Mcleroy that this is by no means quantum mechanics.
    It is within the grasp of any person, that the scientific way of explaining the origin of species does not include a godly "poof" cloud of smoke, but reproduction from a previous organism of a different species.
    The observations in the fossil record he points out indicate that the time spent by species in stasis is much longer than the time intervals in which speciation occurs. This is particularly consistent with the fact we can observe speciation under way in our short human lifespan, which of course in a geological timescale of millions of years is "sudden".

    Mr McLeroy, you are not really listening to what those nice scientists are saying. The reason you can't figure why these scientists support evolution? Its YOU who has the problem.Be honest with yourself about your religious motivations.

  7. "That makes him very dangerous."

    While "the idea that he knows more about evolution than the experts" hardly helps (to be polite), I'd have thought the thing that really makes him dangerous is that his personal opinion is able to carry too much weight. This suggests to me that in addition to his personal flaws the system has faults.

    It is one of the reasons I am still puzzled by why he is/was allowed to make up more and more amendments seemingly on the spur of the moment and seemingly based on his own personal views.

    I can't make suggestions without knowing the system in detail, but a few obvious things come to mind:

    - the content of these guidelines should be largely determined by what those working at the next level of education need.

    - proposals cannot reflect the wishes of individual boards members: the board members much represent their communities and their proposals be those of their communities.

    - the communities that they represent must be genuine stakeholders in education; if not, they should have no place on the board.

    And so on. All common-sense, intuitive stuff, etc.

    Just to add to this, it would seem to me that a national guidelines issued by a nation-wide university collective or body representing them would be a good idea, regardless of what the states do. It'd give something to compare proposals with. It'd alert people which states are aligned with the wishes of the higher education sector (and hence the success of their kids), etc. It may pave a way for this body to formally be present on these boards. Etc, etc.

  8. I will point out that this seems to be a more nuanced version of the God-of-the-gaps argument that Dawkins has discussed.

    Yeah sure is. He thinks the experts are the ones with the gaps. He thinks they don't know what he's talking about! Even Charles freakin Darwin knew what he's talking about.

  9. I doubt that he has read Gould, period. Looked at pictures in Time magazine? yes, read Gould? No. Time magazine is perhaps second only to the bible as an authoritative source.

  10. Well, little knowledge is a dangerous thing. The guy learned few things without grasping fundamentals. Little wonder he is so confused.

  11. It never ceases to amaze me that the crowd that is so opposed to the unproveable popular dogma of the church of the past, is the unquestioning champion of the unproveable dogma of evolution at present. Do any of you even read anything from the opposing viewpoint? You call yourself skeptics, but your skepticism seems limited only to religion. When it comes to all things creating themselves ex nihilo you are blind followers. As a dentist, I have a BS in Microbiology, a minor in Philosophy, and doctoral level training in biochemistry, embryology, etc. Does that leave me unqualified to question evolution? Read Gould himself on the pre-Cambrian explosion and punctuated equilibrium!