Creationist Ousted From Texas Board of Education

Social conservatives (and secessionists) scored a huge victory on Tuesday night when current Texas Governor Rick Perry flattened Senator Kay...

Social conservatives (and secessionists) scored a huge victory on Tuesday night when current Texas Governor Rick Perry flattened Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson in the Republican primary of the governor's race.

Down the ticket, however, the same bloc took a significant hit. Don McLeroy, the controversial member of the State Board of Education (SBOE), failed to defend his seat, losing to primary challenger, Thomas Ratliff.

As we've explained before, the Texas SBOE exerts significant influence on the rest of the country- in terms of things like textbook selection-because of the large number of students it serves. And having McLeroy on the board definitely made a lot of people nervous. The Houston Chronicle didn't mince words, describing him as a "Darwin-bashing, McCarthy-defending Bryan dentist and young-Earth creationist who served as proud ringleader of the social conservative voting bloc on the most influential school board in the country." The National Center for Science Education just awarded him its first ever Upchucky award for his efforts to undermine the teaching of evolution in schools.

Anyway, he's gone now. And the Chronicle spoke to the victor, Ratliff, about how the school board may change with him in McLeroy's chair. (No Democrat is vying for the seat.):

While his predecessor liked to reduce the debate over how to teach evolution into a war between God-fearing churchgoers and heathen atheists, Ratliff sees no reason why faith and science can't co-exist.


"I believe the Bible tells us who created the Earth and why," he states simply on his campaign Web site. "I believe science tells us when the Earth was created and how. Neither is designed to tell the other story, therefore we shouldn't ask them to try."


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