Governor Rick "Good Hair" Perry has just appointed Creationist Ron McLeroy (R-Bryan) to head the Texas State Board of Education. Upon hearing the news, I promptly joined the Texas Freedom Network, an advocacy group helping to promote good science education and the separation of church and state. President Kathy Miller pointed out some interesting nuggets from Mr. McLeroy's past:
• He voted in 2001 to reject the only advanced placement environmental science textbook proposed for Texas high schools even though panels of experts – including one panel from Texas A&M – found the textbook was free of errors. In fact, Baylor University used the same textbook.
• In 2003 Mr. McLeroy led efforts by creationism or “intelligent design” proponents to water down discussion of evolution in proposed new biology textbooks. He was one of only four board members who voted against biology textbooks that year that included a full scientific account of evolutionary theory.
• In 2004, Mr. McLeroy voted to approve "abstinence-only" health textbooks that failed to include any information about responsible pregnancy and STD prevention, despite state curriculum standards requiring that students learn such information.
Look, you're entitled to your own opinions, but you're not entitled to your own facts. And evolution is a fact. Putting someone in charge of the State Board of Education who doesn't know this is like putting someone in charge of the Navy who doesn't believe steel can float.