It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Monday, May 4, 2009

Tonight: Why Earth Science is Under Attack in Texas

Paul Murray is an oil man and a self-avowedly conservative voter. His slide above reads "There is an anti-science coalition in our country. They are in denial or misrepresenting their views." Paul is active in the resistance to the injection of religion into the school science curriculum. (photo credit: me and my iPhone)

Caught in the Crossfire: Why Earth Science is Under Attack in Texas
by Paul E. Murray

7 PM Monday May 4

Building 130: The Bureau of Economic Geology
10100 Burnet Road
Austin, Texas 78758

The Texas State Board of Education is completing its decadal revision to the science standards for K-12 schools in Texas. This year features the addition of standards for the proposed capstone course in Earth and Space Science (ESS) for a 4th year high school science credit. The headlines around the world regarding the Texas science standards have focused on the debate over the teaching of evolution in biology class, but the same forces on the State Board who wish to weaken biology have now turned their sites on the ESS curriculum as well. It is a tale of subterfuge, deceit and political maneuvering that has implications not just for Texas students, but for the textbooks and science standards across the entire nation. This talk is intended to be a primer on the issues, a cautionary tale, and a call to action for geoscientists in Texas .

Paul E. Murray, Vice President, Texas Citizens for Science

Update: I thought Paul had the audience wrapped around his finger, but he tells me there was some kicking back after the event. Anyway, he's an excellent and convincing speaker, and he and some audience members painetd a grim picture of resurgent superstition being exported not only to other parts of America but to other countries as well, so don't y'all feel so smug about Texas, thanks. Two of his main points that stick with me:

- The group of people who understand science is not substantially different from the group of people who do science for a living.

- If you comb through the data to select evidence to support your point of view, no matter what you think about science, what you are doing is not science by definition.


bigcitylib said...

Short version: Is Barton involved in this?

Dan Satterfield said...

have you seen this:

Bill Maher on Swine flu and evolution

King of the Road said...

I watched the Maher youtube clip. I'm no evolutionary biologist, but the ones I've read would be unlikely to say "the virus evolved to survive" thus implying purpose in lieu of merely process.

This is not something for which I'd criticize most, but his entire tirade centered on the scientific illiteracy of his targets, and thus I won't cut Maher that slack.

I'd use this as a platform off of which to spring into a dissertation on my disdain for Bill Maher, but that would likely be considered contentious.

Michael Tobis said...

As far as I am concerned have at him.

Jon Stewart is another story, though...

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