Serial Misrepresentations and Inaccuracies
from a Texas Anti-Science Polemicist and Agitator
A Report by
Steven D. Schafersman, Ph.D.
Texas Citizens for Science
2009 February 10
The serial prevaricator who runs the Houston-area Texans for Better Science Education (TBSE)--which should be named Young Earth Creationist for Corrupt Science Education, since the entire organization is one man and his website--is at it again. Mark Ramsey, the notorious Young Earth Creationist (YEC), anti-science activist, and untruth-teller has posted on his website a photo of a group of intelligent and concerned people at the January State Board of Education hearing in Austin and a report about what happened. All five of us in the photo are doing our jobs to protect the accuracy and reliability of science education in Texas, a most worthwhile and necessary task in our state. The report is creatively titled "Report - SBOE Members Expel Weaknesses From Curriculum Standards." As is invariably the case with any TBSE article written by Mark Ramsey, the report contains numerous misrepresentations and inaccuracies, most of which I will expose here as a public service.
The purpose of Ramsey's rant is to scare readers so they will write thousands of repeated email messages to SBOE members and further aggravate them, making them want to vote in Ramsey's favor just to make him stop. Ramsey notes that they each got 6,500 email messages before the January meeting, but neglects to mention that 5,000 of these were identical, sent by automatically-generated email software perhaps set up by Ramsey himself (his site has a webform for automatically-generated email).
For a start, his subtitle is untrue: "'Strengths and Weaknesses' Removed from Texas Science Standards--Academic Freedom and Critical Thinking Suffer at State Board of Education - Darwinists Gloat." In reality, we are not Darwinists and we did not gloat, since we do not plan to celebrate until the standards are fully scientific and approved, neither of which is the case at the moment. Some science standards were damaged by Ramsey's friends on the SBOE and these have to be corrected in March. Also, academic freedom and critical thinking did not suffer, but prevailed for the most part.
More of Ramsey's misrepresentations and untruths follow. I can't term these false statements "lies" since I fully respect the possibility--indeed, probability--that Ramsey is willfully ignorant, deluded by fantasies, and factually-challenged, in which case the serial inaccuracies and falsehoods are not deliberate and therefore not lies. In fact, this is almost certainly the case, since I have exposed his numerous past untruths and misrepresentations in reports about TBSE and former TEA Science Director Chris Comer, and he keeps writing factually untrue things. He just can't stop himself, even though I suppose he sincerely believes the things that he writes are true.
The first sentence of his article contains two untruths: "Three Republican and five Democratic Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) members voted with Darwinists, atheists, ACLU members, and at least one bona fide signer of the infamous Humanist Manifesto III, in an attempt to promote indoctrination over critical thinking skills." The untruths: first, none of us he refers to is a "Darwinist." Genie Scott and I are evolutionary scientists and the others support accurate and reliable science education, but we are not "Darwinists." Second, I am a member of the ACLU and Genie Scott is a public signer of Humanist Manifesto III, but neither of us is in favor of promoting "indoctrination" over critical thinking skills. In fact, we favor just the opposite; for example, I have written several papers about how to promote critical thinking. I do claim, however, that Mark Ramsey advocates indoctrination over critical thinking skills, since he promotes YEC, which necessitates the abandonment of critical thinking skills and requires the indoctrination of humans while still children to instill such fantastic beliefs.
Ramsey claims that, "This was in spite of the recommendations of 3 of 6 designated experts to retain the "strengths and weaknesses" language for theories and 4 of 6 to retain the language for hypotheses." Actually, none of the three respected and mainstream scientists recommended retention of the unscientific language that Ramsey wants the science standards to include ("weaknesses" of evolution). The other three "experts" he alludes to are well-known Creationists appointed by the Creationist members of the SBOE, not a respectable method. Two were from out-of-state, when hundreds of qualified and respected scientists reside in Texas from whom these two could have been appointed instead. He claims that "over three-fourths of the public testimony, including that of numerous PhDs, supported retaining "strengths and weaknesses." Here Ramsey is spinning the facts. In November, 80% of the public testimony was in favor of removing the "weaknesses" language, and in January it was 50% due to manipulation of the speakers sequence by Chair Don McLeroy, who front-loaded the list with speakers favorable to Creationism and then stopping after only two dozen were able to speak. Overwhelmingly, the Ph.D. scientists who publicly testified asked that "weaknesses" be kept out. The only two Ph.D. scientists who asked that "weaknesses" be kept in were two of the three Creationist "experts" appointed by SBOE members. A couple of non-scientists with Ph.D.s also testified in favor of keeping "weaknesses."
Ramsey refers to me as an "area ACLU secretary," which I am not. I don't even know what that is. I am a member of the ACLU and am on the board of my small West Texas ACLU chapter, and I was on the board of the much larger Houston ACLU chapter for about six years in the 1980s. I am not and never have been a secretary. He also disparaged Genie Scott and Texas Freedom Network some more. But the worst insult is that Ramsey's photo of several of us only shows part of the back of my head! Even the full back of TFN President Kathy Miller's head is visible, and there is a good profile of Genie Scott, Executive Director of NCSE. I wouldn't have recognized me without Ramsey's photo caption. See this photo for a better picture of me.
But wait, there's more! Ramsey's report continues with details of the amendments offered by the Creationist SBOE members, some of which passed and some didn't. He laments that Cynthia Dunbar's two amendments, one restoring "strengths and weaknesses" to the science standards, did not pass. The second was scientifically-debilitating language that Ms. Dunbar took from a November statement of SMU Professor Ron Wetherington. Pat Hardy correctly pointed out that Dr. Wetherington no longer supported that language because he suspected that it would be misused by opponents of science, and indeed it was, so that was quite prescient of him.
Ramsey also calls Wetherington a "Darwinist," which he is not. Like the rest of us, Wetherington is a scientist who accepts the fact of biological evolution. There have been no legitimate scientist "Darwinists" since the nineteenth century. As I have explained in previous essays, the label "Darwinist" is applied by anti-evolutionists to evolutionary scientists to compare us to Marxists and Freudians, an attempt to demonize a well-accepted and scientifically uncontroversial natural process by associating it with controversial political and psychological hypotheses that also happen to invoke philosophical materialism.
Next, Ramsey mentions that Barbara Cargill
offered a series of amendments to the Earth and Space Science standards, a new course originally chartered to help students gain knowledge associated with the oil and gas and NASA related industries, important to Texas.
I discuss Ms. Cargill's thirteen amendments here, here, and here, the five that passed in detail and especially the most damaging one. Let me point out here that Ramsey's description of the new ESS course is inaccurate: it was not chartered to help students gain knowledge of the oil and gas industry or of NASA, but for teaching many important aspects of Earth and space science. Ramsey continues:
As written, the course reflects more cosmology than space exploration, and more dogmatic environmental and global warming issues than oil and gas issues. It is not clear how this course, as the Darwinists have structured it, will prepare students for either the job market or college. Mrs. Cargill, herself a former science teacher, offered thirteen amendments to address the dogmatic tone of the standard, and succeeded with five of those amendments, sometimes convincing Hardy.
There are several misrepresentations here. First, two members of the ESS panel work in the petroleum industry (I am one of these) and we wanted to be sure the new course required plenty of information about oil and gas and other forms of energy. Because student relevance was a primary theme, the other ESS panel members agreed, and the Texas ESS course standards cover oil and gas formation and exploration well. The new course does necessarily discuss climate change as an important issue, but there is nothing dogmatic about it. The authors made sure the coverage was balanced and scientific. Space exploration by robot vehicles is emphasized in the sections that deal with planetary astronomy; cosmology gets a single standard. None of the standards have a "dogmatic tone," and none of the ESS panel members are "Darwinists." Cargill's five successful amendments were unnecessary, and several severely damaged the standards in quite unscientific ways. I question--in light of the inaccurate and misleading description by Ramsey--whether he has even read the ESS standards.
Next, Ramsey claims that Terri Leo
offered several amendments to address the poor language chosen by the TEA panels for sections of the new high school biology standard. In the new standard, many items were addressed in the most simplistic of terms in Bloom's Taxonomy, such as "identify" and "recognize", typically used in lower grade level standards. To help foster critical thinking, member Leo changed that language to "analyze and evaluate", which is higher level learning according to Bloom's Taxonomy, a mainstay of educators. This language change was relatively uncontroversial and garnered support from heavy majorities of the board in nearly every case.
Inaccuracies here include the following: The language change was not "relatively uncontroversial," but occasioned some opposition, and rightly so. The majorities were not "heavy." Next, while "analyze" and "evaluate" are indeed higher verbs on the Bloom Taxonomy of Learning or Cognitive Domains than "identify," "recognize," and "describe," the ones used by the science writers, that doesn't mean they are more appropriate. In this case, they are not for three reasons. First, the typical high school student is not able to "analyze and evaluate" some of the concepts presented in the section that Ms. Leo amended, the evolution section. The topics listed include natural selection, various homologies, biogeography, differential reproduction, diversification, gene flow, mutation, and recombination. At the high school level, it would be most appropriate for students to first learn to "identify, recognize, and describe" these various natural processes and phenomena; they can "analyze and evaluate" these in graduate school. Second, some of the requirements are not capable of being evaluated, such as "recognize that natural selection produces change in populations, not individuals." This is a fact; there is nothing here to evaluate, but simply to be "recognized" and learned.
Third, the true reason the wording was changed by Terri Leo was to put a hook in the evolution standards for future mischief by Creationists when biology textbooks are next adopted, in 2011. Creationist opponents of science will demand that if biology textbooks don't properly "analyze and evaluate" the various evolution standards to their specifications--such as including their alleged but bogus critiques, weaknesses, and failings of evolution--the texts should be rejected. The pro-science SBOE members should have voted no on every one of these identical amendments, but they were fooled by Leo's incompetent and pseudopedagogical analysis. The pro-science State Board faction said that the standards as submitted by the science education experts should be adopted without change--why didn't they do this? The science teachers were very knowledgeable about Bloom's Taxonomy, they know what level is most appropriate for a specific topic, and they spent hours to days choosing the proper verbs. It took only seconds for some SBOE members in their mendacity and foolishness to undo this considerable effort. Does this sort of nonsense only happen in Texas?
Next, Ramsey celebrates Chair Don McLeroy, who added the amendment "analyze and evaluate the sufficiency or insufficiency of common ancestry to explain the sudden appearance, stasis and sequential nature of groups in the fossil record." Ramsey claims that McLeroy
brilliantly instructed the board for about ten minutes on the subject of the fossil record as understood today, using evidence and quotations from world-class evolutionary paleontologists...two features of the fossil record, sudden appearance and stasis of body styles, represent the vast majority of the data of the fossil record itself [and support] the punctuated equilibria theory of evolution. Punctuated equilibria theory is at odds with uniformitarian or slow gradual evolution as Darwin imagined it and was formulated to explain the very lack of transitional form fossil evidence.
As I showed in my report on McLeroy's amendment, there was nothing brilliant about this farcical episode. McLeroy quoted his scientific authorities out of context, claiming their words supported him when the precise opposite was the case. He plagiarized his quotes from a Creationist website while claiming he read the books himself and quote-mined the words of legitimate evolutionary scientists without understanding anything they wrote, since he misrepresented what these scientific authorities really said about both evolution and common ancestry (the latter does not explain the appearance of fossils in the fossil record or vice versa). He deliberately and mendaciously misled his listeners and fellow Board members who voted to pass his amendment, and it is obvious that Ramsey himself was misled, although in his case he willingly participated in the farce.
Sudden appearance and stasis of fossils are indeed common features of the fossil record, not just because of punctuated equilibria, but mainly for other reasons (poor fossil preservation, incompleteness of the sedimentary record, stabilizing selection, etc.). Punctuated equilibria is manifestly not at odds with uniformitarian evolution as Darwin imagined, but supports it. Evolution is slow and gradual at human time scales, but often appears punctuated at geologic time scales. Punctuated equilibria was not formulated to explain the "very lack of transitional fossil evidence," since transitional fossils are common. Instead, it was formulated to explain the dominance of stasis and sudden appearance in the fossil record and the infrequent examples of transitional fossils between species. Punctuated equilibria is nothing more than allopatric speciation observed at geologic time scales in local sedimentary deposits. It is so obvious that some paleontologists (such as George Gaylord Simpson) didn't think it was even a needed improvement to the standard model, most biologists thought it was unnecessary, and its proponents (Niles Eldredge and Steve Gould) later extended it in several ways that have met with disapproval by many evolutionary biologists.
As bad as all this is, this is not the worst thing in Ramsey's published report. This is:
The writing process of the new science standards had earlier been hijacked by Darwinists who clearly had an agenda of removing the strengths and weaknesses language. With the help of the Texas Education Agency, the review panels were packed with members unwilling to allow Darwinism to be criticized. One panel member, Kenn Heydrick, was an activist against the "strengths and weaknesses" language prior to being hired by the TEA as science director, where he allegedly continued his activism in spite of his new job responsibilities forbidding it.
Not one of the science standards panel members was a "Darwinist." Almost all were supporters of accurate and reliable science, including biological evolution when appropriate, as in Biology and Earth and Space Science. There was indeed an effort by several panel members, including me, to remove the unscientific "strengths and weaknesses" language, and that was done by all the science writing group members working together. With the 7-7 and 8-7 votes by the SBOE on January 22, so far we have succeeded. By far the worst thing in Ramsey's rant is his accusation that former ESS panel member Kenn Heydrick continued to oppose the "strengths and weaknesses" language after he was appointed Texas Education Agency Director of Science. Unlike Ramsey, I was present for every minute of every ESS panel meeting, and Kenn Heydrick did not once try to influence the ESS standards language. To the contrary, he carefully removed himself from the process, even declining to give specific wording advice when innocently asked. He did not try to remove the "strength and weaknesses" language in the other science discipline panel sessions, either, from the reports I received. During joint meetings when every science panel member was present, all of which I attended, he carefully spelled out panel member responsibilities and did not try to influence the process. What Mark Ramsey has written in his report is false and potentially libelous, and if Mr. Heydrick suffers any harm from this libel, which I doubt will happen, he should sue Ramsey for libel.
There is much more to this story, and I planned to write a report later about Mark Ramsey's attempt to destroy Kenn Heydrick's reputation, but since he has published his untrue remarks on his TBSE website, I will have to include more now. The report on his TBSE website is not Ramsey's first attempt to distort the efforts of the ESS panel scientists and science teachers and attack TEA staff members. He wrote an earlier mendacious and libelous letter to the TEA on 2008 December 3 of which I obtained a copy. Here it is:
December 3, 2008
Dear K-12 Science TEKS Revision Panel Members:
First, thanks for all of your work. I also have served on a panel, so I appreciate the time and efforts that go into writing a well thought out standard.
I am greatly concerned about the direction of events initially limited to the 9-12 Biology TEKS, but now extended to other science sections such as Chemistry, Astronomy, and even lower grade level science.
The current TEKS standards most of you started with have been in place for over ten years, with some language in the standards pre-dating the prior revision by at least another ten years. FYI, the current standards were put together in a bipartisan effort and supervised by a State Board controlled by Democrats. Importantly, they intentionally chose to challenge students to learn about "scientific strengths and weaknesses" of various hypotheses and theories, in part because no theory is immune to problems and in part to develop higher thinking skills by students. Additionally, this language limits the state to teaching science. This latter point is important when the threat of law suits by groups such as the ACLU is considered.
This language has proven to be satisfactory to nearly all sides, even in the hotly debated area of origins, and I personally know of zero criticisms of the strengths and weaknesses language in non-origins’ areas. In the ten years the language has been used for Texas' over 1000 independent school districts' guide, and in the additional ten years or more it was also used to guide textbook publishers, it has NEVER EVEN BEEN CHALLENGED in an ACLU-style lawsuit.
However, a small group of activists--whose main goal is to convince students, teachers, and the public that biologic evolution has no-weaknesses--has organized to threaten not just this time-proven standard (so successful that it has now been "exported" to numerous districts outside of Texas,) but appear willing to risk lawsuits from BOTH sides if the language is changed. [NB: One individual on one of your panels is a former secretary of a Texas chapter of the ACLU.] Specifically, committed Darwinists, representing a small fraction of Texas parents and taxpayers, appear to have hijacked the process you have worked so hard on to improve the Texas standards. I believe their Darwinist dogma has gotten in the way of their science, and their one-issue focus will, if not challenged by those of you on panels or the SBOE, be damaging long-term to Texas' children's education and thinking skills. They have been maneuvering for at least two years with a single focus in mind: to change the "scientific strengths and weaknesses" language to something that puts naturalistic evolution on a pedestal—never allowed to be questioned. Their influence has now, with the Draft 2 language, effectively stripped the strengths and weaknesses requirement out, in spite of the fact that this language has not been challenged in the past twenty years (outside of devoted Darwinists who erroneously claim there are no weaknesses to naturalistic Darwinian evolution,) and importantly, was RECOMMENDED for retention in the standards by at least THREE of the SIX expert panelists. (Were you told this?)
Accepting any thing in an unquestioning manner is the very antithesis of critical thinking and of the way scientists search for better answers for explaining our world.
These Darwinists have deceived many (perhaps including some of you,) in this process, apparently having little regard for the truth. Some of you may think the Draft 1 or Draft 2 language somehow improves on "strengths and weaknesses" and allows for questioning a naturalistic Darwinism, but I would beg to disagree. First, in my view ANY change will open the standards up for frivolous and costly ACLU-style lawsuits. Second, the proposed substitutes--such as "strengths and limitations"--are not as demanding or as specific to book publishers--effectively giving them a mile-wide loophole to ignore scientific challenges to Darwinism.
The Darwinists’ one-issue focus is a science-stopper, and has prevented some panels from really diving into the meat of their non-origin related science topics. For example, in the earth and space science standards, there is very little treatment of basic geology concepts, sequence stratigraphy, oil and gas exploration or production technologies, geo-synchronous satellites, or orbital mechanics. This is astounding given that having Texas' graduates well versed in basics of oil and gas exploration (Texas being the home of the worldwide oil and gas industry,) and knowledgeable regarding outer space issues (Texas being the home of NASA,) were large reasons this ESS course was approved in the first place a few years ago! Instead, there is language supporting...you guessed it...Evolution dogma! Some members of that particular panel even filed a "minority report" objecting to the treatment of the public and expert opinion that in their view was NOT sufficiently implemented in Draft 2. The minority report said, in part:
“We disagree with some aspects of the current draft of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills - Earth and Space Science (TEKS – ESS) document. We feel the thrust of ‘expert opinions’ was inadequately incorporated. Critical thinking is a key learning skill all students are expected to learn in both public schools and higher educational institutions. Elimination of all “strengths and weaknesses” phrases substantially weakens this important requirement. In most cases no equivalent wording was substituted, and where substituted, was vague and inadequate to guide textbook publishers.”
Should you be unsuccessful in countering the Darwinists on your panels, you may wish to consider something similar.[Formatted by TCS from Mark Ramsey's original PDF file; all grammatical and punctuation errors left uncorrected.]
Importantly, there are several reports that TEA staff, in particular the new science director, have tried to influence some panels' work. [I witnessed this first-hand with our panel as well.] If so, you should seek to undo whatever that "content" instruction was from the staffer(s). I've had several reports that the removal of the "strengths and weaknesses" language was actively encouraged by a TEA staffer, largely after press and other reports noted that the Darwinists had removed strengths and weaknesses from Biology but had left it in 9th-12th grade Chemistry, 9th-12th grade Astronomy and 5th grade science in Draft 1. This looked bad, so their answer was to degrade the other sciences as well in the name of “consistency” and “alignment”! This is totally inappropriate. The TEA is clearly not to get involved in policy decisions--those are left to the Legislature, the State Board of Education, and the Governor's office. The TEA is supposed to implement policy, but not to lobby for or against any policy.
I would encourage your retaining the time-tested and successful "scientific strengths and weaknesses" language as it is in the current TEKS for all subjects and grade levels.
I would welcome your dialogue (email@example.com).
Thank you for your consideration of the above and work on the panels.
Very truly yours,
[Engineering Panel Member]
Almost all members of the TEA science standards-writing panels were angry when they read this letter. Unlike me, these science teachers and science professors were not familiar with Creationist rhetoric and polemics. The letter appeared to them to be hate mail. I recognized the letter as being typical of Mark Ramsey's style: full of misstatements, untruths, and personal attacks. This is how he operates. I have neither the time nor desire to reply to his outrageous letter in detail, but let me mention a few things. First, Ramsey hilariously justifies the inclusion of "strengths and weaknesses" by claiming its presence limits the state to teaching science and thus acts as a defense to ACLU lawsuits. As usual, his logic is completely backwards. The inclusion of the "strengths and weaknesses" language opened the door to constant anti-evolutionist pressure and attacks from Creationist organizations such as the Discovery Institute and Ramsey's own TBSE, thus making Establishment Clause lawsuits more likely.
Second, he claims the "strengths and weaknesses" language has proven to be satisfactory to nearly all sides, when in fact the pro-science side--consisting of the state's science professors, science teachers, and scientists--strongly objected to the language in 2003 and its use to try to damage biology textbooks. Third, he points out that the language has never been challenged in an "ACLU-style" lawsuit and is therefore legal and acceptable. However, efforts to enforce the unscientific "weaknesses" language have only been attempted against evolution in biology textbooks, and they have always failed, so a lawsuit has been unnecessary. A lawsuit would have resulted if an actionable cause had presented itself, but this has never happened.
Ramsey claims there is a conspiracy among the TEA science panel members to remove the "strengths and weaknesses" language. There was no conspiracy. In fact, several science panel members--not familiar with the language's use by anti-science activists such as the Discovery Institute and TBSE--initially wanted to keep the language or change it to "strengths and limitations," but they ultimately were convinced by the arguments of scientists and science professors who testified in November 2008 to remove the language. The entire process was open and transparent. Next, he claims that the scientists' "one-issue focus" with removing the "weaknesses" language prevented the inclusion of important topics. He uses Earth and Space Science as an example, claiming that the course minimizes "basic geology concepts, sequence stratigraphy, oil and gas exploration...." About two-thirds of the ESS standards deals with basic geology, and a brief examination of these standards will dispel the misrepresentation about oil and gas:
(12)(B) describe the formation of fossil fuels, including petroleum and coal;
(12)(E) explore careers that involve the exploration, extraction, production, use, and disposal of Earth’s resources.
Ramsey mentions the scientifically incompetent "minority report" with approval that I criticized in an earlier report, so I will say nothing about it here. Finally, he attacks the TEA science staff, and Director of Science Kenn Heydrick in particular. He claims they "tried to influence some panels' work" and that "removal of the "strengths and weaknesses" language was actively encouraged by a TEA staffer..." These libels angered most of the members of the ESS panel (all except the two Young Earth Creationists planted by by Terri Leo and David Bradley). One of us, Michael Odell, a University of Texas at Tyler science education professor and co-author of the Texas Science College Readiness Standards, wrote a letter to the TEA administrators which we all signed to repudiate Mark Ramsey. A copy follows:
Response to Mark Ramsey
December 6, 2008
To whom it may concern,
This letter is being written in response to allegations made by a Mr. Mark Ramsey. These allegations were included in his Public Feedback to the science standards. On the final page of his feedback he makes two accusations concerning TEA staff and their interactions with committee members at the meetings. First of all it should be clear that Mr. Ramsey by his own admission was NOT present at the meetings where he alleges improper interference on the part of TEA staffers.
Mr. Ramsey’s first accusation that…
TEA staff, in particular the new science director, have tried to influence some panels’ work.
In my experience serving on the ESS committee, the TEA staffers have only responded to questions posed by the committee. The areas where they have provided guidance include format, information on process, and clarification of committee questions. There has never been any attempt to influence the work of the committee. In many instances the answer to committee questions provided by TEA staff was “that is a committee decision” and we were left to develop our own recommendations.
Mr. Ramsey goes on to indicate that he has…
had several reports that the removal of "strengths and weaknesses" language was actively encouraged by a TEA staffer, largely after press and other reports that the Darwinists had removed strengths and weaknesses from Biology but had left it in 9-12th grade Chemistry and 9-12th grade Astronomy, and 5th grade science in Draft 1. This looked bad, so their answer was to degrade other sciences as well in the name of "consistency" and "alignment”!
This is a mischaracterization of the events at the meeting. The group discussion and consensus was to remove the strengths and weaknesses language. TEA staff did not play a role in this decision.
Michael R. L. Odell, Ph.D. [Professor of Science Education, UT Tyler]
[Also signed by seven additional ESS panel members]
Professor Odell makes a particularly good point when he notes that Ramsey wasn't even present when the alleged infractions by Science Director Heydrick occurred. That is, Ramsey is indicting Heydrick on the basis of hearsay evidence. Both Michael Odell and I were present at all of these meetings, and I concur with him that there was no interference in the standards writing process by Heydrick or any other TEA staff member. They all correctly avoided influencing the work of the science teachers and professors, as was their professional obligation.
Why does Mark Ramsey make false accusations against other people and misrepresent the words, meaning, and description of events. Because he is a YEC troublemaker and polemicist who thinks he understands evolutionary biology better than real scientists but actually is quite ignorant about it. He is compelled to push his pseudoscientific beliefs because of his proselytizing Fundamentalist and Literalist religious motivation, and his willingness to bend and break the truth is all too typical of his ilk. By the way, Mark Ramsey was indeed a member of one of the TEKS-writing panels, but this was not a science panel. He was appointed to the work group for the new Engineering course by Terri Leo. Ramsey is a trained mechanical engineer, so this appointment was appropriate, but his meddling in the work of the science panels is not.
I described Ramsey's anti-scientific meddling in some detail because his was the second attempt by someone appointed by Terri Leo to attack the new Earth and Space Science course. The first, of course, was Roger Sigler, whom Leo appointed to the ESS working group and who, along with Tom Henderson (appointed by David Bradley), tried to sabotage the ESS panel's final standards-writing effort by writing two minority reports. I described the minority reports in great detail in another report and in a majority report signed by the ESS panel members. Fortunately, the minority reports have had little result.
Far worse than Ramsey, Sigler, and Henderson--who are merely minions of the true villains--is the willful attempt by elected SBOE members Terri Leo, David Bradley, and Barbara Cargill (and four others who vote with these three) to attack the ESS standards wherever they mention origins, such as fossil evolution, origin of life, origin of the universe, solar system, and Earth, and radiometric dating. These specific topics clearly indicate that their motivation is sectarian. They are all Young Earth Creationists and Biblical Literalists who want to subvert science standards (and ultimately science curricula and textbooks) for purely religious reasons. They were elected to ensure that Texas public education has high-quality curriculum standards, but instead they actively seek to undermine public education in Texas. What could be more shameful and reprehensible?
Texas Citizens for Science Last updated: 2009 February 12