Cargill’s Appeal to Non-Authority

Cargill’s Appeal to Non-Authority October 8, 2013

As the Texas State Board of Education battles over the purchase of new science textbooks, trying as always to weaken the teaching of evolution and inject creationism, the board Chairperson Barbara Cargill is defending the appointment of non-experts based on their entirely irrelevant credentials:

“The dietician actually has a degree in food science technology, and they have to take all kinds of science courses, I know, at colleges. And then the person you’re referring to is the retired businessman specializing in finance was the gentleman with the doctorate from Princeton in chemical engineering, so he’s certainly qualified. I’m looking at this list, and I’d be happy to show it to anybody that wants to look. Our biology panels, and there were three panels, because we did have a lot of interest. And I want to know, where were the teachers when we put out the call all over the state? I know they were busy teaching, but a lot of the reviews were done this summer. So please, please, in the future, get the word out to your contacts because we needed more help, actually.”

Here’s the video:


The Texas Freedom Network responds:

The claim that a dietician with a degree in food science technology and a chemical engineer who built a career in the business world were qualified to review biology textbooks is absurd. They might be well-qualified in their own professional fields, but they are no more qualified to review biology textbooks than a biologist would be qualified to review a mathematics or engineering textbook. This year unqualified individuals served as biology reviewers simply because their anti-evolution beliefs are shared by like-minded ideologues (such as Cargill) serving on the State Board of Education.

But what about Cargill’s suggestion that science teachers failed to step up to the plate and offer their time to serve on the review teams? That’s simply not true. There were scores of them, all offering to serve as reviewers.

We obtained from the Texas Education Agency the list of individuals who applied or were nominated by State Board of Education members to serve as biology textbook reviewers. Of the 183 individuals on that list, we identified more than 140 who are classroom teachers, school science department chairs, curriculum and education specialists for science, an assistant principal, and assorted other educators. The vast majority of them have degrees and teaching experience specifically in biology.

The truth is that Cargill and her creationist colleagues deliberately passed over biologists and biology teachers in favor of people with irrelevant credentials who would support their creationist agenda.

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