We bid farewell to the conmen and pathological liars at the Discovery [sic] Institute, who, like history itself, began in tragedy, but have now ended in farce.
Their August 19, 2003 press release informs us that "two dozen professors from seven Texas universities have signed an open letter to the State Board of Education...urging it to ensure that biology textbooks present both the scientific strengths and weaknesses of biological and chemical evolution."
Who are these two dozen professors? Although by my conservative estimate there are some 300+ biology professors at the seven universities represented--and close to 1,000 at all universities in Texas--only one (yes, one) signed the letter--an emeritus professor of biology at a liberal arts college, Southwestern University. Not to be cruel, but Vicente D. Villa, the emeritus professor in question, is not, it turns out, a significant figure in the field of biology.
So there you have it: biology textbooks are doing such a bad job presenting evolutionary biology that 1 mediocre biologist out of 1,000 biologists in Texas has called on the State Board of Education to remedy the situation. And thanks to the Discovery [sic] Institute, we now know it. Thanks!!!
What of the other 22 signatories? Let's see now:
We have three Baylor professors (two non-scientists, both of whom are regular poster boys for creationism, plus a retired professor of engineering).
Three professors of kinesiology (that's "exercise science" for the unitiated).
Two professors of engineering.
Two professors of philosophy.
One political theorist.
One journalism professor (yes, journalism).
A professor of marketing (yes, marekting).
A professor of housing research (yes, housing research).
A professor of mathematics at the University of Texas at El Paso.
Assistant professors of forestry, agricultural education, and family medicine.
And three individuals who don't even hold tenure-stream positions (though one is a Cadet Training Officer at Texas A&M).
Yes, indeed, this is an impressive outcry from the scientific community in Texas. And, thanks to the Discovery [sic] Institute, we now have clear proof that there is no significant scientific dissent to the way evolution is presented in biology textbooks in Texas.
Now to be fair, there is one real scientist, of some accomplishment, who signed the letter: James Tour, the Chao Professor of Chemistry at Rice University. I humbly suggest that of the two hypotheses about why he signed the letter--well-grounded scientific doubts about the theory of evolution vs. strong and sincere religious faith that has corrupted his scientific judgment--one is rather more plausible than the other. For those uncertain, Professor Tour offers some help.
Bruce Chapman, the President and apparently liar-in-chief at the now ridiculous Discovery [sic] Institute, says the letter refutes the claim of Darwinists that "there is no academic debate over Darwin's theory, and that the only objections are religious." But Darwinists never denied that there are academics who dispute evolution--after all, academics include professors of journalism, marketing, housing research, and kinesiology. What Darwinists have claimed, obviously correctly, is that there is no significant dispute among those qualified to judge, i.e., biologists, about Darwin's theory of evolution. And the Discovery [sic] Institute's latest effort, happily, confirms the truth of that proposition ten times over. The Discovery [sic] Institute, R.I.P.