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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  • eric

    the gentleman with the doctorate from Princeton in chemical engineering, so he’s certainly qualified

    Chemical Engineering is a tough field. But AFAIK, it does not require one to take even one class of biology. In fact, the way most undergraduate institutions work, I’d expect someone going in to CE to be *less* likely to take biology than a social science or humanities major, because they don’t need the biology to meet any university requirements for subject breadth.

  • busterggi

    Since Cargill believes the dietician and chemical engineer are experts in all things biological perhaps next time she or one of her family members needs surgery to survive she can have those two experts perform it.

  • So please, please, in the future, get the word out to your contacts because we needed more help, actually.

    Isn’t it THEIR job to “get the word out” about what needs to be done and what sort of people they need to do it?

  • Mr Ed

    I took a couple of religion course to fulfill my humanities requirement, should they be tithing me as a minister?

  • timberwoof

    Mr. Ed, anyone who has read most of the Bible and holds all of the correct ideology can be a minister in their religion. Thus their belief that anyone who has slept with a science textbook on the nightstand and holds all of the correct ideology can be a reviewer of biology textbooks.

  • colnago80

    Well, I have a PhD in physics and would be totally unqualified to review a biology textbook.

  • tfkreference

    Except in my case, I’m sure, because the science book in my nightstand is by Dawkins.

  • waldteufel

    Barbara is from my area in Texas. All that need be said is that she’s a moron of the first water.

  • oranje

    This is what happens when people who think all science is the same get to make decisions about these disciplines. You know, that astronomer over there, that’s sciency. He should chime in on organic chemistry, right?

  • imthegenieicandoanything

    Well, wha’dja expect? If they weren’t disgusting scumbags willing to and wanting to lie openly and grandly, they couldn’t even BE creationists. Or Texas “conservatives” either, for that matter.

    They’re exploring just how low a human being can sink, while lying most deeply to themselves or one another. I believe they think this is some sort or game, or service to humanity, but it isn’t and I’d like them to stop doing it right now.

  • iknklast

    Mr. Ed, my brother never had a single religion class, and he’s ordained as a minister. Of course, he is a fundamentalist of the first order, so that might be a bit different from your religion classes…it’s all in what one considers qualified.

  • Doc Bill

    As her creationist predecessors, Cargill will be able to sit as Chair of the board and lie, lie, lie with impunity. She doesn’t report to anyone, she isn’t accountable to anyone. Sure, she can get “unconfirmed” or non-confirmed or not confirmed as Chair when the Texas legislature gets around to it and she can be voted out of office eventually. But, she has no standards to adhere to. She can’t be called on the carpet. She can’t be fired.

    Cargill’s role model, Don McLeroy ran the board like a church for years and nobody could do anything about it.

    It’s a terrible way to run a state but it appears that nobody cares to change the system.

    So, Cargill can say the reviewers are fine, wonderful, insightful, and geniuses and the rest of you can simply shut the F up! It’s her party and you can cry if you want to.

  • dingojack

    Doc Bill – Perhaps you should contact the Texas legislature and put yourself forward as an expert. After all, you’ve got ‘Doc’ in your handle – that’ll more than qualify you!



  • dogmeat

    Doc Bill,

    A member of the board can be impeached, but that is about as likely as the board voting to confirm or not confirm a member.