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Planet Earth

Who Gets On the Shelf?

The LoomBy Carl ZimmerMarch 22, 2005 12:05 AM


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Panda's Thumb has an update on the ongoing drama over teaching creationism in public schools taking place in York, Pennsylvania. Last year a group of residents donated 58 copies of a creationst book called Of Pandas and People to the local school. The board of education reviewed them and gave them the green light. The books are now available in the school library.

Now someone has donated 23 science books, many of which deal with evolutionary biology, to see how the board deals with them. So far, the board has said it will review them as to their "educational appropriateness," and has left it at that.

It's an honor for my book Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea to be on a list that includes work by luminaries such as Stephen Hawking and Ernst Mayr. But if the donor wants to make his point--that evolution is well-established science--even more clearly, I'd suggest adding a few extra items: some of the leading college textbooks in biology, botany, microbiology, genetics, zoology, and developmental biology. Open any of them up and you're likely to find evolution acting as the backbone for all of the knowledge they have to offer. Would the board balk at them? If they did, you'd have to wonder whether they actually want their students to succeed in college.

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