The process of revising the science standards in Texas has been a focus on major debate by many people. Since the chairmen of the education board is a creationist, we see many of the old arguments being displayed on such online publications like the American-Statesmen for example…
“McLeroy’s critics, who include many Texas scientists, accuse him of trying to undermine a multitude of scientific evidence that supports evolution and replace it with a discussion of the supernatural in public schools.”
This statement is false, firstly public schools are currently unable by law to mention God as the creator. Secondly, McLeroy’s discussion on some of the weaknesses in the fossil record concerning “gradualism” was about quoting well known defenders of evolution. In his presentation made available by podcast, McLeroy begins by pointing out in a book by Ernst Mayr which considers evolution as fact, says the earliest fossils we have to date around 3.5 billion years old, show no changes whatsoever. Another point McLeroy makes in the same book concerning the human brain where proponent of evolution Ernst Mayr says has not changed one bit over a course of about 150 million years.
The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, a book written by Stephen J. Gould in 2002 but was also republished in part back in 2007 was another author McLeroy used to show the weakness of “gradualism” in the fossil record.
Stephen J. Gould helped develop a theory called; “Punctuated equilibrium” in 1980 to explain why the fossil record was showing abrupt appearances while showing a lack of major change in animals. Only a rare number of fossils have been interpreted as transitional forms. Punctuated equilibrium suggests little change (not very noticeable if at all) in the animals during their lifespan but when evolution does occur it’s a rapid change branching out into different species.
On page 749 in Stephen J. Gould’s book, “The last resemblance of a species looks pretty much like the first one.” Basically the same concept Richard Dawkins advocates where nature looks designed, but it’s an illusion, here Gould suggests basically the same thing, even though it’s appearance in the fossil record is the same through the many generations, the species still underwent major evolutionary changes not just small within it’s own kind like what we observe all the time. In other words, what we see in the fossil record as “abrupt” or showing animals looking the same is another illusion because it’s not fitting with the theory of evolution.
Nothing in McLeroy’s presentation in front of the educational board in Texas has anything to do with discussing the supernatural as Laura Heinauer of the Statemen would like to have us believe. Being critical of “gradualism” is not advocating God. Although, one can conclude that way, and perhaps this is what the fear of many proponents of evolution have so they staunchly fight for no weaknesses in evolution, while attacking those who support teaching weaknesses along side so-called strengths in evolution and anything that may appear as a weakness, they claim is another “illusion” which will eventually disappear as explanations progress.