Young-Earth Creationist Barney Maddox is an Unqualified Candidate
for the Texas State Board of Education
by Steven Schafersman, Ph.D.
Texas Citizens for Science
2008 February 29
Updated: 2008 March 5
Read the news articles here
The Challenge to Science Education in Texas
A major challenge to science education in Texas will be decided on March 4. A Young-Earth Creationist, Dr. Barney Maddox, a Cleburne, Texas, urologist who refuses to give interviews to the press, is opposing Ms. Pat Hardy, the incumbent, in the District 11 Republican primary for the State Board of Education (SBOE). There is no Democratic opponent in the November election, so the primary will decide the winner, who will take office in January, 2009. District 11 covers Fort Worth and some surrounding counties.
The election is important, because Barney Maddox will give the Radical Religious Right Republicans (termed the 4Rs by the author) on the State Board of Education an 8-7 majority if he wins. They will then vote to insert their alleged but bogus "weaknesses" of evolution and other controversial topics into Texas school science curriculum standards to corrupt the standards and mislead and intimidate students and teachers. Texas and national Creationists, such as those at the Discovery Institute in Seattle, Washington, have been trying to do this for many years, so far without success.
A similar battle is going on in District 2, on the Texas Gulf Coast, with the challenge of Creationist Lupe Gonzalez to incumbent Mary Helen Berlanga in the Democratic primary. Lupe Gonzalez was almost surely recruited to run against Ms. Berlanga by the Republican Religious Right. Indeed, all his positions on education mimic the Republican Religious Right, not Democratic positions. Here, Ms. Berlanga will almost certainly win in both March and November, because she has demonstrated her competence and good sense in dealing with state educational issues for three decades and she has widespread support among members of her party, and her opponent is obviously a Republican, so the race is not so crucial. The Fort Worth race is crucial, however, because the Texas Republican Party is under the control of the Radical Religious Right, and they have repeatedly purged conservative, mainstream Republicans from public offices during primary campaigns. This strategy has served them well for SBOE races during the past four years, although it is not limited to the SBOE. For example, mainstream, conservative Texas House Representatives have been targeted in the primary in past years. This tactic has been used by the mainstream opposition, too; for example, the 4R Representative Kent Grusendorf was targeted by mainstream Republicans to help end the Texas House's opposition to improving school financing and teachers' pay.
Pat Hardy is a conservative Republican and observant Christian (a Southern Baptist), who believes that God is responsible for the Creation of the universe, but does not want to push religion in the State's public schools, especially science classes. But that is intolerable to the Religious Right Radicals, who are authoritarian Fundamentalists, believe in Biblical Inerrancy, and want to use the power of their public offices to force their sectarian religious views on everyone, especially including the state's population of public school students, a captive audience ripe for proselytization. Often they succeed, as for example with the state's mandatory abstinence-only sex and health education curriculum in 2004, which has led to the highest teenage pregnancy and illegitimate birth rates, and among the highest rates of STD and HIV-AIDS, in the nation. So far, they have not directly succeeded with the topic of evolution in textbooks and science standards, although they have succeeded indirectly, since they have made the controversy so intimidating that many biology teachers throughout Texas are afraid to teach evolution, even though the curriculum standards require it.
Both Pat Hardy and Mary Helen Berlanga have supported accurate and reliable science standards in the past and will no doubt continue to do so in the future. They have resisted past attempts to insert Young-Earth Creationist and Intelligent Design (ID) Creationist materials into biology textbooks, as well as refused to accept the phony "weaknesses" of evolution that Creationists tried to get into textbooks in 2003 and now want to get into the science standards. In 2003, the SBOE voted 11-4 to adopt the excellent biology textbooks that contained evolution without censorship. Today, it is illegal to insert Creationist material into science textbooks or curricula, since several Federal courts--including the Supreme Court--have ruled that Creationism, including ID Creationism, is religious, not scientific, so doing so violates the First Amendment of the Constitution. But the Creationists have another plan.
"Weaknesses" of Evolution
Due to the influence of Creationists on the SBOE in the past, Texas science standards currently state that students are expected to review scientific explanations "as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information." The word "weaknesses" was added to science standards by the SBOE in 1986 to placate Creationists, and it's still there, although it makes no scientific sense and is not used by any scientist or science program in the United States. In 2003 and in previous years, Texas and national Creationists have used the word to try to insert either Creationist explanations or alleged but false "weaknesses" of evolution. However, they always failed, because scientists testified that there is no "scientific evidence and information" for such "weaknesses." The majority of SBOE members have always voted to follow the scientists about the lack of scientific evidence for so-called "weaknesses," such as the 11-4 vote in 2003, and to this day biology textbooks used in Texas have been uncensored and uncorrupted.
Right now, the SBOE is split 8-7 with the Religious Right Creationists and Fundamentalists in the minority. The election of Barney Maddox will reverse that vote, giving the Republican Radicals the majority. By the way, I term the Creationist Republicans on the SBOE "radicals" because they promote radical changes in public education. They all support state vouchers for private and religious schools; they support home schooling rather than public education (some home-school their children or send them to private Christian schools, so they have no stake in public education); all want to damage and degrade science education because it promotes a type of critical thinking that emphasizes empirical evidence, logic, and skepticism, three ways of knowing that are anathema to them; they have voted to reject science and math textbooks by illegal procedures; and several want to gain more specific power over the $20 billion Permanent School Fund to invest in ways that will benefit their friends and cronies. The seven individuals term themselves Conservatives, but they are not Conservatives in any sense of the word, such as valuing traditional values and institutions, such as public schools, science, and the rule of law.
A Creationist organization, Texans for Better Science Education, administered by Young-Earth Creationist Mark Ramsey of the Greater Houston Creationist Association, formed in 2003 to subject the Texas biology textbook adoption that year to a Creationist effort to force the books to discuss their alleged "weaknesses" of evolution. The organization remains active as a website devoted to supporting the Creationists on the SBOE. Within the last several weeks, a table appeared on their homepage endorsing Barney Maddox and Lupe Gonzalez. Of Pat Hardy, the site declared this:
Incumbent Pat Hardy (SBOE 11) is accused of being a "RINO" by GOP conservatives. Denies charge by saying she has an elephant pin. [TBSE note: Mrs. Hardy was not charged as being a RINO for not having a pin, but rather for her consistent votes against conservative values.] Her opponent, Dr. Barney Maddox, has many conservatives supporting his challenge to her poor voting record.
A RINO, for the uninformed, is a "Republican In Name Only," a derisive term given to Republicans who do not toe the extreme Radical Religious Right party line. These individuals are often targeted and primaried, that is, an extreme 4R is picked to run against him or her in the Republican primary. This is what happened to Pat Hardy (and Mary Helen Berlanga in the Democratic primary).
Republican Ideological Conformity
How did the SBOE Conservative Republican-Moderate Democrat majority go from 11 to 8, and the Radical Religious Right Republican minority go from 4 to 7, in only a few years? In 2004, a Christian and Conservative Republican and excellent SBOE member, Linda Bauer, was forced off the SBOE by Barbara Cargill, a Religious Right candidate. Cargill first came to my attention as a nomination by Linda Bauer to the 2003 Texas biology textbook review panel. I discovered later that Terri Leo, a well-known Religious Right Radical who is on the SBOE, asked Bauer to nominate Cargill. Cargill later wrote a "minority report" that blasted the decision by the biology panel to accept the sound and reliable biology textbooks with accurate evolution content--she wanted them compromised with Creationist so-called "weaknesses." Cargill thanked Bauer for the nomination by running against her in the 2004 Republican primary and defeating Bauer using money donated by Religious Right paymasters such as James Leininger and David Bradley (another SBOE 4R member). The same thing then happened in 2006: a Christian and Conservative Republican, Dan Montgomery, was targeted, opposed, and defeated by Radical Religious Right Ken Mercer in the SBOE District 5 primary. That same year the identical thing happened in SBOE District 10: Radical Religious Right candidate Cynthia Dunbar won easily when incumbent Cynthia Thornton retired. However, Dunbar would have challenged Thornton even if she had not retired, and would have won. Dunbar is not really interested in public education in Texas; she is using the office, as many Republicans have done before her, to run for a higher elective office (U.S. Representative) this year. All three of these campaigns by 4R candidates were legal, but not wise. I strongly believe that all three Republican incumbents were deliberately targeted by 4R leaders to throw out the conservatives in the primary election. Needless to say, because of gerrymandering and Texas demographics, no Democrat would win those positions in the November general election.
All three of the former SBOE members had voted to adopt the high-quality biology textbooks, so these conservative Republicans were targeted, challenged in the Republican primary by anti-science extremists, and defeated because they would not toe the Creationist party line. By voting to adopt the biology books, these former SBOE members sacrificed their positions on the Board to protect science education in Texas, and for that they deserve our gratitude. Rather than protect them, their own Republican Party sacrificed them on the altar of ideological religious extremism and narrow-minded political correctness. The three were victims of an aggressive and vengeful attack by their own political party, equal to anything the Communist Party would have done to purge those members deemed insufficiently zealous. Now--in 2008--it is Pat Hardy's turn.
Because the office of member of the SBOE is down-ballot position, most voters have no idea who is running for election and know nothing about the office or the candidates' positions on subjects that affect the education of our children. Often, voting blocs of members of Fundamentalist churches carry the day for their preferred candidate. It is common for Democrats to not run in districts that are gerrymandered to favor Republicans and vice-versa. Most typically, the November candidate finds himself or herself opposed by a Libertarian, as will be the case this year. The best and most competent SBOE Texas has had in the last 50 years was the Board appointed by Governor Mark White in the late 1980s after the educational reforms orchestrated by Ross Perot. Perot was able to force out the autocratic and reactionary Chairman of the SBOE then, and convince the Legislature to make the Board a body appointed by the Governor. Unfortunately, in their "wisdom," Texans later voted to return to the elected Board with predictable results.
Barney Maddox and His Contempt for Science and Democracy
Let us now examine the person that the Radical Religious Right Commissars of the Texas Republican Party chose to challenge Christian and conservative Republican Pat Hardy in the March 4 primary, Barney Maddox. Maddox refuses to speak to the press or be interviewed by anyone, since his campaign is a typical Fundamentalist Christian stealth campaign in which he expects secretly-lobbied members of Fundamentalist Protestant churches will elect him under the radar. His refusal to be interviewed shows contempt for democracy, since he is not allowing voters to learn his educational policies. He doesn't want to be interviewed or quoted by reporters because to allow this would reveal his ignorance of and contempt for science. But such reticence will not hinder TCS from discovering the truth.
Despite having a medical degree and thus having received some training in biology, Barney Maddox today rejects modern biology in the most dogmatic and contemptible fashion. He is a Young-Earth Creationist, the most credulous and vulgar of all forms of Creationism. He believes the Earth is 6,000-10,000 years old, that Adam and Eve were real people, that the Earth was recently covered by a global flood (Noah's Flood) that created all surficial geological features, and that all species are the result of recent and special creations by God. Even worse, he believes and claims that there is scientific evidence for these beliefs: Creation Science or Scientific Creationism, pseudosciences which have been ruled to be ineluctably religious by numerous Federal courts, including the Supreme Court.
Despite giving no interviews, Barney Maddox's views cannot be hidden from researchers. In 1997, then Religious Right SBOE member Richard Watson nominated Maddox to the biology textbook review panel. Maddox reviewed the various biology texts and found that they "violated state law" by not discussing scientific weaknesses of evolution. His reviews were published by Educational Research Analysts (ERA), the textbook-review organization founded and run at that time by Biblical Fundamentalists Mel and Norma Gabler, who constantly pushed a dogmatic Young-Earth Creationist viewpoint in their reviews of science texts. In fact, the biology books in question then and in 2003 did discuss several nineteenth-century historical weaknesses of evolutionary explanations in science (such as evolution of environmentally-acquired characteristics and evolution by blending inheritance), weaknesses that have since been corrected by scientists. Also, the law requires that evolutionary weaknesses be discussed using "scientific evidence and information," and the "weaknesses" that Maddox described and wanted covered were phony pseudoscientific criticisms that had long been exposed and discredited by scientists as Creationist fantasies.
The use of the "weaknesses" of evolution tactic is still being promoted today by aggressive Creationists of the SBOE, ERA, and Discovery Institute: all of the so-called "weaknesses" they allege, such as here, here, and here, are bogus and have been refuted by evolutionary scientists. They plan to again use this tactic in 2008 during the Texas science standards revision, just as they tried to use it in 2003 for the biology textbook adoption. Of course, this time they hope to have a majority on the SBOE.
Barney Maddox wrote an article for the Institute for Creation Research (see below), and is described by them as the "author of the biological sciences course material for the Creationist Worldview distance education program offered by ICR."
The Free Market Foundation
The Free Market Foundation has done Texas voters a great service by revealing Barney Maddox's extremist views about public education (PDF, p. 8). Maddox "strongly favors" the following (I will put the reality translation in [brackets]):
Biology textbooks which do not teach both the scientific strengths and weaknesses of the theory of evolution must be rejected by the Board. [Maddox supports rejecting scientifically accurate biology textbooks and using his power as a public official to force publishers to corrupt their biology textbooks.]
School choice vouchers in inner-cities, which allow parents of children in failing schools to choose a public or private school for their children. [Maddox supports vouchers for religious schools, which would destroy the public school system.]
Require at least 70% of taxpayer education spending to be used in the classroom. [Maddox supports taking funds from music, drama, and sports extra-curricular activities and creating strife between instructional and support staff in public schools.]
Support the current law which says the Board may reject a textbook if it believes the book is unsuitable. [There is no such current law, so Maddox supports breaking the actual law by rejecting textbooks on the basis of his own whim without specifying a statutory reason.]
Display the Ten Commandments in public school buildings. [Maddox again supports breaking the law (the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution) by illegally posting sectarian religious documents in secular public schools.]
Barney Maddox also "strongly opposes" the following:
Add a law protecting students from sexual orientation discrimination. [Maddox wants homosexual students to continue to experience discrimination due to societal bigotry.]
Replace abstinence-ONLY education for students with more comprehensive sex education. [Maddox supports keeping Texas students ignorant about the reality of sexual activity so Texas female teenagers will continue to experience among the highest rates of unmarried pregnancy, illegitimate births, abortions, and sexually-transmitted diseases in the nation and the world.]
In short, Barney Maddox supports all the most extreme political positions of the Radical Religious Right. These policies are astoundingly counterproductive, mean-spirited, bigoted, occasionally illegal, and frankly unethical. Of course, Barney Maddox would dispute my characterization of his viewpoints, but I stand by it.
The Free Market Foundation website also reveals (PDF) that Barney Maddox associates himself with the following organizations: American Center for Law and Justice, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Concerned Women for America, Crisis Pregnancy Center, Eagle Forum, Free Congress Foundation, National Right to Life, Texas Public Policy Foundation, and Texas Right to Life. These organizations are on any list of extreme religious right-wing organizations in Texas and the nation.
Darwin and the Idea of Progress
In 2006, Barney Maddox couldn't let an article by history and government instructor Richard Elam titled "Darwin and the Idea of Progress," about the role of evolution in the decline of Christianity in Europe go unchallenged without writing a mean-spirited reply that claimed that evolution is un-scientific. He aggressively criticized the college instructor by writing that the author "passes along the popular myths that Darwin's theory of evolution is science, and that modern science conflicts with the Bible. Actually Darwinism sharply conflicts with science." In a subsequent reply, the author declined to refute Maddox, but I will be happy to do so.
Maddox's letter is the epitome of aggressive, ignorant, and dogmatic Creationist belief. If evolution (or "Darwinism," as Creationists insist on terming it) sharply conflicts with science, why is evolution factually taught in science classes in every legitimate college and university in the world, and in every high school in the U.S. that takes its educational mission seriously? Maddox is obviously very mistaken that "Darwinism sharply conflicts with science." Actually, science has accepted "Darwinism," that is, biological evolution, for about 140 years. The occurrence of evolution has not been controversial within science since about 1870. There have been and still are scientific disagreements about the roles of several mechanisms and processes of evolution, but no disagreement that the process itself has been operating in nature and that humans are part of that process.
Maddox makes an inaccurate distinction that Creationists often make between microevolution and macroevolution to try to convince readers that evolution is false. He says, "Darwin knew he had no evidence for macroevolution so he hitched his observations of microevolution to his fairy tale of macroevolution, giving his theory false credibility." This is complete nonsense. Darwin did not use the terms or concepts of micro- and macroevolution, since these terms did not exist in his lifetime. The terms describe different levels of evolution, not different mechanisms or possibilities. The terms are used by scientists for convenience in describing levels; there is no distinction in nature between micro- and macroevolution, for the different levels grade into each other seamlessly. Creationists constantly use this false argument to confuse readers who do not understand biological evolution.
Maddox writes, "Macroevolution is the atheistís origin myth, a fairy tale that life arose from non-life naturally and that the first cell evolved into all the various life forms today." This is a very ignorant and insulting statement. First, science has nothing to do with atheism or theism; in fact, many evolutionary scientists are theists. Second, scientists discovered and described macroevolution, not atheists. Third, the naturalistic origin of life and common descent are both well-accepted scientific explanations and have been for over a century. Calling these a "fairy tale" or "atheist's origin myth" is just childish and bitter anti-intellectualism.
Maddox writes, "Speculations about origins is religion, not science, since no human observed origins." This is complete crap. Events in the past, including origins, are definitely in the realm of science. The study of the origin of everything natural is part of science. This includes life, species, humans, stars, galaxies, and the universe. Thousands of scientists study the origins of these things today, using the standard methods of science. Maddox only reveals his dogmatic ignorance of science by this statement, hardly complimentary for a medical doctor. If Maddox understood how ridiculous he sounds, he would be ashamed he ever wrote such nonsense.
There is much more anti-scientific nonsense in his letter, but Maddox's reason for writing it may be his greatest affront. The history instructor merely tried to explain Europe's crisis of faith by referring to the "twilight of Christianity" and the idea of progress exemplified by the rise of science, such as Darwin's theory of evolution, that "removed God almost completely from the creative process." There was no reason for Maddox to bite the head off the author just because he disliked reading a reasonable interpretation of recent history, and there was certainly no reason to use every mistaken, illogical, and nonsensical Creationist argument he knew to do it. The history instructor did not have the scientific training to respond to Maddox's diatribe, but I do. This episode gives us some insight into Maddox's character. I strongly believe that someone this thin-skinned, ignorant, and dogmatic would not be a good member of the State Board of Education.
Barney Maddox and the Institute for Creation Research
Perhaps the most revealing article about Barney Maddox is an article he wrote for the Institute for Creation Research titled, "Mutations: The Raw Material for Evolution?" The article purports to show that only mutation--not natural selection, genetic drift, or any other evolutionary processes--is the raw material for evolution and, since mutations are random, they could not result in the highly complex organic world we see today. Maddox's argument is false and betrays either (1) a colossal ignorance of biological evolution, which would be difficult to achieve since evolution is explained so well in hundreds of books and thousands of articles on the Web and science journals, or (2) a profound mendacity on Maddox's part which seeks to mislead his readers and fool them into believing his argument has merit. In my opinion it is the latter.
There are so many scientific errors in Maddox's essay that it would be difficult to attribute his mistakes to mere ignorance. One of his main errors is that almost all his arguments come from Dr. John Sanford, a retired Cornell University professor of horticultural sciences who specialized in plant genetics. In 2005, Sanford published a book titled Genetic Entropy & the Mystery of the Genome, which has been ignored by the scientific community because it is totally at odds with modern scientific genetics. Sanford's book, however--since it challenges modern evolution--has been endorsed by many Creationists. In fact, the final chapter cites Scripture to make his points! Sanford himself is a Young-Earth Creationist who completely rejects modern biological evolution and genetics as an explanation for biological diversity. I love it when Creationists cite other Creationist authors as scientific justification for their arguments--it makes refuting them so much easier.
Maddox's--that is, Sanford's--first argument is that "natural selection only explains survival of the fittest; it fails to explain arrival of the fittest." First, this is a mistaken characterization of natural selection, which increases the frequency of favorable genotypes by differential reproduction in species populations, not "survival of the fittest," which is a crude metaphor (Herbert Spencer came up with this phrase, which Darwin unfortunately used much to his later regret). Second, different genotypes have different fitness which natural selection acts upon, so the fittest don't have to "arrive"--they are already present in the population. Maddox quotes several mainstream biology textbooks, such as Campbell's Biology, out of context to make his points. The first quote is particularly egregious, since Campbell states that, "New alleles originate only by mutation." True, but Maddox puts the word "genes" after the word "alleles" in brackets to make it seem that Campbell is stating that "New genes originate only by mutation," which is untrue and betrays an ignorance of basic genetics.
Maddox concludes from this that, since an organism's DNA depends on random sexual recombination and random mutation (mostly true), and since "evolution rejects purposeful design" (very true), "genetic change could only be random, or accidental" (very, very false). This is the key error of Maddox's argument: he conflates--out of either willful ignorance or equally deliberate mendacity--two very different things: the genes within organisms and genes within populations. Species evolve, not individuals. Each individual living organism's genotype or genome is static, but the genome of a species population is constantly changing from generation to generation due to random mating, random mutation, genetic variation, and very non-random natural selection (as well as by a host of other random and non-random natural mechanisms--genetic drift, gene flow, gene selection, group selection, sexual selection, ontogenetic regulation, etc.--that are more or less important depending on immediate conditions such as population size, the degree of environmental change, developmental flexibility, etc.). Maddox's category confusion is a classic Creationist illogical argument: the false conclusion does not follow from the true premises, but it takes a knowledgeable scientist to see and explain the mistake. As with other Creationists, Maddox hopes his readers will not be able to see through his specious arguments due to lack of necessary scientific understanding.
If genetic change were truly 100% random, as Maddox argues, evolution would indeed not occur in the form we have discovered on Earth. With only mutation as a source of genetic change, it is likely that the first simplest organisms would not have evolved very much at all, certainly not to the amazing degree of complexity and diversity we observe in nature today. However, genetic change in living organisms is a combination of both random and non-random, determinative processes--the most important of the latter being natural selection--so the occurrence of complex, diverse life can be explained in a rigorous and convincing manner by evolutionary scientists.
Having convinced himself that "genetic change could only be random," Maddox claims that the "underlying genetic mechanism of evolution is random mutation, and specifically mutation that is beneficial to life." As explained above, both of these statements are false. The rest of Maddox's essay is devoted to repeating the mistaken, fringe-scientific arguments of John Sanford. Sanford believes that most mutations are not neutral, but "near-neutral." But this is not true. The overwhelming majority of mutations are neutral and have no effect since natural mechanisms repair most DNA before mutations become permanent and living tissue has ways to eliminate permanently mutated somatic cells that are not working properly. In large populations, natural selection operating on non-neutral mutations leads to genetic change, i.e., evolution, by eliminating deleterious mutations and increasing the frequency of beneficial mutations. However, genetic drift in small populations can cause neutral mutations to accumulate since natural selection is not operating on them, also leading to genetic change and evolution.
Uniquely among geneticists, Sanford claims that "near-neutral" mutations are also not acted upon by natural selection, but this is again an idea geneticists would not accept, since natural selection has the power to act upon any non-neutral mutation. Sanford believes that, since natural selection acts on the phenotype and "near-neutral" mutations do not affect the phenotype, natural selection would not affect the genotype. The problem with this is Sanford's belief that near-neutral mutations do not affect the phenotype. This is only his speculation; he has no evidence to support this claim. Furthermore, many experiments have shown that natural selection is very powerful and can affect even very small heritable traits. Sanford believes that "near-neutral" mutations are deleterious when they accumulate and natural selection does not eliminate them, but this is false again, since natural selection does usually eliminate deleterious mutations from a population's genome--although that doesn't help any individual that has such a mutation--but neutral ones do indeed persist and accumulate; the human genome is a good example: about 95% of our genome does not consist of genes that are expressed. As I said, Sanford's fringe claims are idiosyncratic and ignored by the scientific community, but have been adopted by Creationists. John Sanford is himself a Creationist.
Maddox continues: Sanford claims that "near-neutral" mutations are accumulating so rapidly that they "will ultimately destroy entire species," because the mutated genes will be passed on and accumulate to the detriment of every organism. This Sanford terms "genetic entropy" and claims it will eventually lead to the extinction of every species. But wait...there's more! Maddox claims, again apparently following Sanford, that "Research is demonstrating that the 'near-neutral' mutations are accumulating far too rapidly for organisms to have avoided extinction if they indeed have existed over the millions of years claimed by evolutionary biologists." Such "research" is certainly news to me. In fact, this claim is a Creationist argument for a young Earth that is thousands of years old, not 4.6 billion years old as scientists believe. Sanford and Maddox ignore all the enormous evidence for an ancient Earth (radiometric dating, superposition of rocks created by ancient sedimentation, igneous processes, and mountain building tectonic activity, the appearance and extinction of ancient fossils, etc.) and use instead this absurd and grossly false argument that relies on bogus and pseudoscientific deleterious mutation accumulation and species senescence. Unbelievable.
Maddox's final conclusion is predictable: "Genetic science demonstrates that the absolutely essential ingredient for the origin of life is an infinite Intelligence. Of all the origin stories, only one contains this essential ingredient--Genesis 1." This is not science, of course, but religion, and the tendentious and specious reasoning in his essay that brings Maddox to his grossly false conclusions reflect badly on him for writing it and the Institute for Creation Research for publishing it. Maddox's essay is composed of a thin tissue of deliberate mistakes, illogical arguments, misrepresentations, and quotes out of context. Rather than supporting his supposed claim to be capable of being a good State Board of Education members, his writings demonstrate that Maddox is unable--despite his early scientific training--to reason in a scientific, logical, and ethical manner. Barney Maddox should be ashamed of his effort, and voters should be ashamed to vote for him to occupy a position on a state board that wields so much power to do damage to the Texas education system. For Barney Maddox, if elected, will surely use his power to damage science standards in the state as well do mischief to public education in other areas.
Note Added, 2008 March 5: TCS is delighted to report that both Pat Hardy and Mary Helen Berlanga won their primaries, so the pro-science 8-7 majority on the SBOE continues for now. The 4R faction on the SBOE will now have to cajole, intimidate, or bribe one of the other SBOE members to pick up their 8th vote. They have already succeeded in doing this by illegally rejecting a mathematics textbook in 2007 November, and they tried to do this in 2008 February with the realignment of the English Language Arts standards, but did not completely succeed. The story continues.
Also, Cynthia Dunbar was not chosen as her party's candidate for U.S. Representative from U.S. Congressional District 22 in Texas, so she will remain a member of the SBOE.
Texas Citizens for Science Last updated: 2008 March 5