The Sciences

Texas is only 6000 years old!

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitMay 6, 2009 11:55 AM

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During the Texas State Board of Education hearings on science standards for Texas schoolchildren, BoE member and staunch creationist Barbara Cargill decided that the age of the Universe was up for vote. Oddly enough, I had some issue with that. You may vote on issues all you want, and you can even vote on morality if you'd like, but scientific reality is not a matter of opinion and cares not for the majority vote. The National Center for Science Education has video of the moment where it becomes clear that Ms. Cargill, not happy enough to destroy biology for students, proposes an amendment to creationize astronomy as well: Listening to her gives me the heebie-jeebies. About the astronomy standards, she says "...there are different estimates [of the age of the Universe]... they will be taught about 12 - 14 billion years ago, but this leaves it open a little bit to discuss how many billions." It is absolutely clear from what she is saying that she is deliberately trying to weaken the teaching of the old age of the Universe. Another member queries her specifically, asking if this will open up astronomy to the teaching of literal Biblical creationism. Cargill then completely dodges the question, saying she is simply taking the language of the recommendations. But that language is clearly saying the Universe is old, and there is a small amount of uncertainty (actually, only about 120 million years) in the age estimate of the Universe. What she did, to put it simply, is a crock. It is perfectly transparent what she wanted: to wedge open the door to allow the teaching of young-Earth creationism in the classroom, using the standard "strengths and weaknesses" creationist propaganda tactic. Need I say it? Her amendment passed, 11 to 3. I honestly feel bad for any child entering the Texas public school system over the next ten years, and I sincerely hope that the Legislature of the Lone Star State is able to take away the ridiculous amount of power the BoE has. They are flaunting their violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United State of America (not to mention bending or breaking that pesky "false witness" Commandment), and their influence reaches well beyond their own state borders.

Tip o' the ten gallon hat to BABLoggee Javier Pazos for alerting me to the video.

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