Texas State Board of Education Candidates Debate

Our last post on this topic was Texas State School Board Choices: Nov 2010. There are two main races in which we’re interested.

The first is in District 5, where the creationist-theocrat incumbent, Ken “Cat-Dog” Mercer (he dismisses evolution by asking: “Have you ever seen a dog-cat, or a cat-rat?”), is being challenged by the highly qualified Rebecca Bell-Metereau. For more on this race, see Beauty & the Beast.

The other interesting school board race is in District 10, for the seat now held by retiring creationist-theocrat Cynthia Dunbar. Her chosen replacement was defeated in a Republican primary election by Marsha Farney, who now faces Democrat Judy Jennings in the upcoming election. We were delighted that Farney had triumphed over Dunbar’s designated successor, but we weren’t entirely sure about Farney’s position on evolution. See Marsha Farney or Judy Jennings?

The people of Texas were just treated to some kind of debate involving both of those races. We found only two news stories that covered the event. Maybe the debates were chaotic, or maybe they were boring. Also, it’s possible that the reporter assigned to the story had other things on his mind.

Whatever the problem was, we’ve been able to glean a bit of information. Both stories have the byline of Gary Scharrer, so what we find in each newspaper appears to be a matter of how they edited his work. We’ll give you some excerpts from each newspaper’s story, with bold added by us.

First, in the San Antonio Express-News, we read Candidates grilled about sex, dinosaurs. They say:

The Texas Business and Education Coalition sponsored the first and, perhaps, only debate for candidates in the contested races in District 5 (San Antonio to Austin) and District 10 (Houston area to Austin) for seats on the SBOE, whose recent curriculum-setting votes on science and social studies garnered negative national attention.

Definitely a worthy event. We’ll ignore the candidates’ discussion of history and sex education, and focus only on science — specifically evolution. Let’s read on:

The social conservatives already lost one of their leaders, Don McLeroy, R-Bryan, in a GOP primary election this year. McLeroy calls himself a “young Earth creationist,” who believes dinosaurs co-existed with humans.

Yes, the creationist dentist will soon be spending full time on his primary calling — drilling teeth that were inexplicably less than intelligently designed. But that’s old news. We continue:

“No, I don’t believe that dinosaurs and humans walked the Earth at the same time. That’s outrageous,” Jennings said during the debate.

Farney, also rejecting any possibility of dinosaurs and humans simultaneously sharing the planet, said parents should be responsible for teaching faith and values.

Aha! Farney seems okay after all — at least she’s not a young-earther. We would have liked some additional questions, but we’ll have to settle for what we’re given. It appears that either Jennings or Farney would be a satisfactory board member for District 10. Here’s more:

Mercer and Bell-Metereau didn’t get the dinosaur-human question.

That’s disappointing, but understandable. We already know that Mercer is a total ignoramus about science. Rebecca is the only rational choice for District 5. That’s all we could get out of the San Antonio Express-News.

Now we turn to the Houston Chronicle, in which we read SBOE candidates address old themes: Debate ranges from dinosaurs to sex education. They expand a bit on Jenning’s remarks and merely repeat those of Farney:

“No, I don’t believe that dinosaurs and humans walked the earth at the same time. That’s outrageous,” Jennings said during the debate. “This is what our state board of education has become — an object of ridicule. If you want to teach creationism, you can teach it in church; you can teach it in a philosophy class. You can teach it in a world religion class, but it has no place in science,” she said.

Farney, also rejecting any possibility of dinosaurs and humans sharing the planet, said parents should be responsible for teaching faith and values.

The Houston Chronicle doesn’t give us anything of interest about “Cat-Dog” Mercer and Rebecca Bell-Metereau, but it wasn’t necessary. Ol’ Cat-Dog should be retired, so he can go back to doing whatever it is that he does when he’s not trying to force his stone-age science into the classroom. Texas needs Rebecca.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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3 responses to “Texas State Board of Education Candidates Debate

  1. Curnudgeon: “Aha! Farney seems okay after all — at least she’s not a young-earther.”

    “Classic” OECs (e.g. Hugh Ross) and IDers would not likely phrase it the way she did. And they would not miss that opportunity to put in a word for the phony “critical analysis” of evolution (but not for a real critical analysis of YEC of course).

  2. MarshaPhoney

    Farney did not just say no, she gave a wink and nod to the strengths and weakness. She said it should be up to individual school districts to decided if creationism is taught along side of evolution. So Farney is not as “okay” as you might think.

  3. MarshaPhoney is right. Farney said in the debate that “if a school district wants to [teach creationism], they can”. See: http://www.texasobserver.org/hotonthetrail/see-they-can-debate-candidates-for-the-sboe-duke-it-out

    Children who have the misfortune to be born in a school district where a voting majority believe in a young earth, or a heliocentric universe, should not suffer from a medieval education. Time to stop pretending Farney is a reasonable moderate, she’s a creationist-hugging nut job. Endorse Judy Jennings or continue to see the creationists control the Texas State Board of Education