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Evolution Vs. Science, The Deathmatch: Part 2

We're semi-liveblogging the Scopes Monkey Trial of the 21st Century -- today's meeting of the State Board of Education, which is discussing science standards. Here's the first report and here's the second:

Board member Ken Mercer of San Antonio, who has a really hard time following the "board members may not comment, only ask questions" rule, is obsessed with the difference between micro and macroevolution. He has pretty much asked every person who's testified whether they understand the difference.

Mercer is completely cool with microevolution, which he defines as small changes within a species over time.

"These 15 board members are good evidence of microevolution within one species," he said with a guffaw before Chair Don McLeroy had to remind him to ask questions, not make comments.

But what about macroevolution, the idea that one species can eventually evolve into another?

Dr. Royal Smith, a tall, white-haired soap-boxer, says there is "absolutely no foundation to support macroevolution."

Mercer asked him if he was talking about the possibility humans evolved form apes, noting that chimps and humans share 95 percent of their genes.

Then Smith got all cutesy.

"I don't think that would get you child support payment in Texas," he said.

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Cue the giggles. Only the third time there's been a collective laugh in here, or any sort of collective expression of emotion, if you can believe it. Come on people, start getting really mad or really funny or that screaming baby in front of me is just going to go home!

When McLeroy is thanking the board and the public for being so calm and collected at a debate on evolution, you know something is not right!

Oh, wait! Everyone just laughed because someone ended her testimony at the precise moment of the three-minute warning bell. I'm serious. And disappointed. 

-- Karie Meltzer

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