Don McLeroy: The Troll Departs

As the whole world knows, the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) has been dominated by Don McLeroy, the creationist dentist. He had been appointed by the creationist Governor of Texas to be the board’s chairman, but then he suffered the disgrace of seeing that appointment rejected by the Texas Senate. McLeroy was then defeated in this year’s Republican primary by Thomas Ratliff, the son of former Texas Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff.

McLeroy will soon be spending full time attending to his primary calling — drilling teeth that were inexplicably less than intelligently designed. But not yet. At the Texas Tribune website we read SBOE Meeting Is Controversial Member’s Last Stand. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

[T]hough today marks the beginning of Don McLeroy’s final board meeting before his GOP primary opponent, Thomas Ratliff, replaces him, the 12-year board veteran says this is anything but the end of his involvement.

How wonderful! We’ll still have McLeroy to kick around. Let’s read on:

“I mean, golly, I love this stuff. You haven’t seen the last of Don McLeroy,” he says, noting that while he’ll watch to see what happens during this legislative session’s redistricting process, he’ll likely run for his old spot on the board in two years.

Your Curmudgeon has finally figured out the essence of Don McLeroy. He’s a troll. We are all familiar with the phenomenon of internet trolls. They are the peculiarly warped souls who enter a forum or a blog or some other place where their comments can be posted, and who change the subject to themselves, their feelings, their gripes, their … whatever. The original discussion is hijacked from the moment of the troll’s appearance until he is ultimately banned. Trolls are parasites who feed off the energy and attention they divert from everyone else. That’s what McLeroy has been doing ever since he got on the SBOE.

We continue with the Texas Tribune article:

At its height, media coverage of McLeroy — a self-proclaimed “religious fanatic” — included an appearance on Arab TV news network Al Jazeera, a Washington Monthly profile and a New York Times Magazine story. [Links omitted, but they're in the original article.]

See? It was a troll’s fantasy come true. Here’s more:

Does he have any regrets? “Oh, gosh, no,” he says. “To put it in phenomenal God language, I’m thinking that maybe God’s got something else for me to do.”

Why not devote himself to drilling teeth? Not fulfilling enough for a troll? Moving along:

But this week’s gathering offers little room for outgoing members to leave their mark. On the agenda? Developing recommendations for the 82nd legislative session; adopting textbooks for English, language arts, spelling, fine arts and speech; and reviewing bids for supplementary science textbook material.

Did they say “supplementary science textbook material”? There may be one last opportunity for a bit of trolling before McLeroy leaves the stage. Another excerpt:

In a phone interview on Tuesday, McLeroy said that, for him, the meeting will lack the excitement of past sessions. Of the board’s future work developing math standards, he said, “It’s pretty blah compared to evolution. It’s pretty blah compared to American exceptionalism and things like that.”

Yeah, it’s “pretty blah.” But we suspect he’ll find something to attract attention to himself. Trolls always do. On with the article:

After hanging up, McLeroy sent an e-mail saying he had thought more about what he wanted to say about his time in the limelight. He wrote that to understand the events of the past two years, “you need to know that for our opponents, nothing makes sense except in the light of evolution.”

Yes, and it’s also true that nothing makes sense in the light of creationism. Here’s the article’s end:

“The great story coming out of Texas is that their spell has been broken,” he added. “We have ended the dogmatic teaching of evolution, and we have restored the founders’ idea of a Creator.”

He’s trolling to the very end. We’re gonna miss that guy.

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

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9 responses to “Don McLeroy: The Troll Departs

  1. Math is “blah,” eh? Wait until the board finds out about arabic numerals.

  2. Of the board’s future work developing math standards, he said, “It’s pretty blah compared to evolution. It’s pretty blah compared to American exceptionalism and things like that.”

    Yeah, work is boring, why not act as a godbot instead of doing your job?

    “We have ended the dogmatic teaching of evolution, and we have restored the founders’ idea of a Creator.”

    Yay, nothing like moving back to pre-scientific understandings. Gee, shall we move back to the founders’ ideas of physics and of the aetiology of diseases as well?

    That’s what education is for, you know. The prevention of learning newer and better ideas. At least it is for creobots.

  3. Perhaps, since developing math standards and adopting textbooks is so “blah”, the board can devote some of their free time to undoing the prior board’s more egregious actions.

    That would make McLeroy, golly gosh really want to run again in two years, if he can be redistricted into a favorable district with no republican primary opponents.

  4. SC said:

    We’re gonna miss that guy.

    Speak for yourself.

  5. How did he end the “dogmatic” teaching of evolution? Evolution is still being taught and ID/creationism isn’t.

    Oh, that’s right. IDiots are lying liars wrapped up in the lies they tell.

  6. “You’ll be a dentist
    You have a talent for causing things pain
    Son, be a dentist
    People will pay you to be inhumane
    Your temperament’s wrong for the priesthood
    And teaching would suit you still less
    Son, be a dentist
    You’ll be a success”

    Seems appropriate.

  7. McLeroy: “…for our opponents, nothing makes sense except in the light of evolution.”

    Don, give it up. At least some of us seriously doubt that you believe that YEC nonsense, or you never would have let that “big tent” comment slip. But we’ll grant the possibility that you sincerely believe that the “masses” need to deny evolution and believe the trendy version of Genesis in order to behave properly. If that’s the case, though, you might want to apologize to God for that obnoxious quote mine of Dobzansky. Last I heard there still is a Commandment that forbids bearing false witness.

  8. We have ended the dogmatic teaching of evolution, and we have restored the founders’ idea of a Creator.”

    Sounds like we’ve hatched on a way to make everyone happy. Educators continue to teach evolution. Creationists get public air time in which they claim victory. Its win-win. Or at least win-save face. :) We can call it the “Santorum Compromise” after the congressional decision to let him write whatever the hell he wanted in the committee report, but not put anything in law.

  9. McLeroy’s use of the word “opponents” in his quote mine of Dobzhansky is especially interesting given his earlier quote about having to “stand up to experts.” McLeroy is undoubtedly aware that 99+% of PhD biologists – those with the most to gain by replacing evolution with a better explanation – disagree with both his supposed alternate “theory” and his strategy to mislead students. He is also undoubtedly aware that at least half of them are religious, politically conservative or both, and that nearly all of the rest are honest and moral people who just happen to disagree with his religion and politics. Yet he knowingly plays the bait-and-switch game of political extremists, which is to define “opponents” interchangeably as “extremists on the other side” and “anyone who does not completely agree with me.” Sure, there are some people who use evolution to “rationalize” their atheism and/or “worldview,” but they can be dealt with individually – and ought to be dealt with if only because they help anti-science extremists give science a bad name. Extremists like McLeroy, and David Klinghoffer, who has made a career pretending that “Darwinism” is responsible for every evil in the world, however, want to throw the baby out with the bath water.