Texas Evolution Battle Heating Up

THE RECENTLY drafted Texas state science standards remove language that says students should understand the “strengths and weaknesses” of scientific theories such as the theory of evolution. The Texas state Board of Education, dominated by creationist dentist Don McLeroy, is expected to discuss the draft in November, and we’ve read that a final vote on the proposed document could occur in March. But things are already heating up.

In the Houston Chronicle we read Scientists unite for science curriculum. Here are some excerpts, with bold added for emphasis:

Scientists from Texas universities on Tuesday denounced what they called supernatural and religious teaching in public school science classrooms and voiced opposition to attempts to water down evolution instruction.

The newly formed 21st Century Science Coalition said so far it has 800 members who have signed up online.

“Texas public schools should be preparing our kids to succeed in the 21st century, not promoting political and ideological agendas that are hostile to a sound science education,” said David Hillis, a professor of integrative biology at the University of Texas at Austin.

It would appear that the rational citizens of Texas aren’t going to let Don McLeroy have his way, at least not without a fight. More from the article:

The science coalition supports that language change [of the new draft standards] because it says talking of “weaknesses” of evolution allows for religion-based concepts like creationism and intelligent design to enter the instruction …

But they say they fear State Board of Education members, led by chairman and creationist Don McLeroy, will switch the language back before the final vote.

Here’s more. This is interesting:

Even at Baylor University in Waco, the world’s largest Baptist university, professors don’t teach creationism because it’s not based on science, said Richard Duhrkopf, an associate professor of biology.

That makes sense. However, this is what McLeroy, the creationist dentist who heads the Board of Education, says:

McLeroy denies he is trying to force religion and the supernatural into Texas schools.

“I’m getting sick and tired or people saying we’re interjecting religion,” he said. “We’re certainly not interjecting religion. Not at all.”

We’ve reported about several of these educational disputes with creationists, and we’ve never yet seen one creationist who would honestly admit that he wants to slip Noah’s Ark into science class. But they’re all trying to do it. One more excerpt:

“Texas students need to understand what science is and what its limitation are,” McLeroy said Tuesday, repeating part of an opinion piece he wrote in August. “I look at evolution as still a hypothesis with weaknesses.”

What a guy!

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