An alert reader sent me this video from the recent Texas school-board hearings on state science standards (read about the outcome here). The pro-evolution guy testifying is Dr. James Westgate from the Texas Academy of Science, explaining how the fossil record documents evolution. But the interlocutor uses WEIT as evidence that evolution isn’t true!
The madness begins at about 3:00. The unseen interlocutor (identified as “Miss Cargill”, apparently Barbara Cargill of the Texas Board of Education) brings up a point from my book (incorrectly pronouncing my name “Coin-ee”) that the vast majority of species that ever lived are not known to us as fossils. (She cites page 23 of WEIT, but that figure is on p. 22. There is some confusion in the video about whether the figure is the proportion of all species that have become extinct, or the proportion of all species that we know as fossils.) This, of course, reflects the rarity of conditions for fossilization, preservation, and of finding a fossil once it is formed. But for some reason Cargill thinks that this invalidates using the fossil record as evidence for evolution. Westgate soldiers on gamely, and he’s good, but it’s clear the deck is stacked against him! She says, “I’m just kind of questioning,” but what she’s doing is trying to hide her ignorance while dumping on evolution.
After seeing who’s in charge of their education, I feel even sorrier for the schoolchildren of Texas, one of my favorite states.
Kudos to the National Center for Science Education for putting up these videos, and for their tenacious defense of evolution in Texas. The NCSE has a website for the Texas videos and many others bearing on the evolution/creation debate.
Fig. 1. We have the fossils: WE WIN!