WE RECEIVED A TIP from Airtightnoodle to check out the website of Don McLeroy, a dentist in Central Texas who is the chairman of the Texas State Board of Education. The Board is ground zero for the debate over teaching the “Strengths and Weaknesses” of evolution, which is currently raging in Texas, and about which we’ve been reporting.
Because McLeroy is in the middle of the swirling mess in Texas, we thought Curmudgeon fans might enjoy taking a look at his website: A Little Clear Thinking About Texas Public Schools.
“Clear thinking” indeed. Somehow it hasn’t occurred to McLeroy that if the Intelligent Designer were even moderately competent at his work, there would be no need for the occupation of dentistry. And what about the undeniable fact that 90% of all species that ever lived are now extinct? Is the Designer an incompetent boob?
But let’s confine ourselves to McLeroy’s website. The site has a picture of McLeroy, and his resume, which informs us:
He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University and a Doctor of Dental Science degree from The University of Texas Dental Branch in Houston.
That is an unusual educational history. We also learn this endearing fact:
McLeroy is a fourth-grade Sunday school teacher at Grace Bible Church in College Station…
McLeroy’s website also has a link to this: Thoughts on Naturalism and Intelligent Design The Sunday School Lecture. It appears to be the work of McLeroy himself, so it’s worth a look in order to understand the mind of this dentist who is actively promoting a policy that would undermine science education in Texas. A couple of excerpts will be sufficient (with bold added for emphasis):
What is our main target? …
Is it Darwinian evolution? Darwinian evolution is not biblical either; it is not supported by evidence. Yes, that must be the target but Darwinian evolution is not the main target we need to focus on. In intelligent design there is a bigger target.
What is this bigger target? In the words of Phillip Johnson it is “metaphysical naturalism” or “materialism” or just plain old “naturalism”; it is the idea that nature is all there is. Modern science today is totally based on naturalism. In all of intelligent design’s arguments against both Darwinian evolution, and the chemical origin of life, it is their naturalistic base that is the ultimate target. The important aspect of Darwinian evolution is its naturalistic claim that all life is a result of purposeless, unintelligent, material causes.
In other words — although McLeroy might not publicly agree — the man is a flat-out creationtist. Further, he hopelessly confuses philosophical naturalism, which some people accept, and procedural naturalism, the working method of science. The distinction is essential, and by failing to be aware of it, McLeroy is hopelessly misled.
Science is necessarily limited to working only with observable (or detectable) phenomena because we can’t observe, test, experiment with, or make predictions based on spiritual phenomena. A scientist may believe that his laboratory is swirling with ghosts, demons, angels, and other spiritual entities, but they have no place in his scientific endeavors, because they are forever beyond the limited reach of his instruments. Procedural naturalism is an inevitable aspect of the trade-craft of science; but it is not necessarily part of a scientist’s overall philosophy of life.
One more excerpt, and this one really says it all:
And why is intelligent design considered a “big tent”? It is because anyone opposed to naturalism is welcomed into the movement. All of us, progressive creationists, recent creationists, old earthers, and young earthers are welcomed in this tent. Intelligent design here at Grace Bible Church is a smaller tent than the intelligent design movement itself. We are all biblical literalists and believe the Bible to be inerrant. It is good to remember that the intelligent design movement is a bigger tent. There is no reason to attack one another over our disagreements, though we should rigorously examine our Bible, and see how our views fit the Scriptures and how coherent a creation story they tell. Remember, naturalism is the main target.
Your Curmudgeon has no quarrel with McLeroy’s faith. But the problem is that he’s determined to insert it into the science classes in Texas. Whatever this dentist believes, it’s definitely not science. It’s fine for his family, his church, and his dental practice — however that might work — but unless the Constitution is amended to empower government to institute theocracy, this dentist’s religious opinions have no place in the science curriculum of state-run schools.