The Sciences

Texas creationists: the story that keeps on giving

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitNov 30, 2007 5:51 AM


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One thing most creationist promoters really abhor is publicity. Not all of them hate it, of course; the Discovery Institute craves it like an addict, but the irony is that when they get it, their lies, machinations, and political sleaziness get exposed. Other creationist organizations want to avoid publicity for that very reason. So the Texans involved with forcing Chris Comer out of her job are probably taking blood pressure medicine at this point. Not only has their utter contempt for reality and decency been exposed, but the exposure is gaining momentum. The group Texas Citizens for Science (go team!) has posted a very public evisceration of the Texas Education Agency. This essay really pounds home just how evil these people are:

The real reason she was forced to resign is because the top TEA administrators and some SBOE members wanted her out of the picture before the state science standards--the science TEKS--were reviewed, revised, and rewritten next year. Plans are underway by some SBOE members and TEA administrators to diminish the requirement to teach about evolutionary biology in the Biology TEKS and to require instead that biology instructors "Teach the Controversy" about the "weaknesses" of evolution, that is, teach the Creationist-inspired and -created bogus controversy about evolution that doesn't exist within legitimate science. There are no scientific weaknesses with biological evolution as the natural process is understood by scientists. At the level at which it is taught in high school, evolutionary biology has no weaknesses, gaps, or problems. Therefore, it is duplicitous to pretend such "weaknesses" and "controversy" exist.

This is not an opinion being expressed here. It's a fact. The Texas State Board of Education is trying to change the way they review and edit the science standards in the state; the basic ideas students get taught in class. Get this: they want to have a single person (called without any conscious irony on their part a facilitator) who will have the final say on how the standards get written. Sure, there will be a panel of experts and all that, but if the panel says evolution needs to be a standard, and the facilitator disagrees, then evolution won't be a standard. It's that simple. And what are the odds the facilitator will be someone who can be trusted on these point? I'd say a big fat zero. This violates the very nature of education on nearly all levels. Without any expert input whatsoever, a single person (chosen by a Board of Education with decidedly creationist leanings) gets to decide not only what is science and what isn't, but also decide this for all the public school students in the state. How doomed can one state be? The answer is none. None more doomed. Unless people rise up and do something about this. If you are an educator, scientist, parent, or student in the state of Texas, and you're as angry as I am, contact the Texas Citizens for Science and do something. Make your voice heard!

Tip o' the ten gallon hat to PZ.

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