Texas Creationism Hearings: 20 Nov 2008

THE GAME’S AFOOT! We’re planning daily news roundups regarding the insanity in Texas, wherein the Texas Board of Education, chaired by creationist dentist Don McLeroy, is conducting hearings about keeping or eliminating the creationism-friendly “strengths and weaknesses” language in the state’s science education standards.

Your Curmudgeon has found the following stories this morning. In each of these excerpts, the bold was added by us:

In the Fort Worth Star-Telegram we read Evolution proponents descend on State Board of Education:

With few exceptions, the speakers — scientists, teachers, clergy and grassroots activists — took the side of evolution, saying they feared that the proposed changes will open the door to the teaching of creationism or intelligent design.

Board Chairman Don McLeroy said the lopsided turnout was part of an orchestrated campaign and flatly dismissed the notion that the board is intent on sabotaging the teaching of evolution in public schools, which would defy the U.S. Supreme Court.

“This is all being ginned up by the evolution side,” McLeroy, of College Station, said in an interview during a break. “I’m a creationist, but I’m not going to put creationism in the schools.”

In all of our blogging about this issue, in all states, we’ve never yet seen a creationist activist who had any honesty whatsoever about disclosing his motivations.

In the Corpus Christi Caller-Times we read an editorial: State Board of Education should heed the advice of the state’s science professors:

It makes as much sense to argue against the theory of evolution as it does to argue that the earth is flat. Based on science, and not on religious faith, it is beyond any reasonable doubt that evolution happened, does happen, and will continue to happen. That is true today and will be true tomorrow, and it will still be true whether Texas schools teach it in the classroom or not. And yet, we can never seem to get past this old controversy that should have been put to rest decades ago.

In the Dallas Morning News we read State education panel hears evolution debate:

Andrew Ellington, a biochemistry professor at the University of Texas at Austin, was one of those warning that the state could become a “laughingstock” in the science community if it insists on watering down the treatment of evolution in science classes.

“At a time when Gov. [Rick] Perry has shepherded a landmark plan for cancer research and treatment, we cannot afford for the retrograde elements of the state board to foster teaching the equivalent of astrology to our students,” Dr. Ellington said.

We’re always sensitive about hurting the feelings of anti-science folks, so we sincerely hope that those remarks weren’t taken personally by — ahem! — a certain creationist dentist on the board.

And finally, in the Austin American-Statesman, we read Proposal to require teaching ‘strengths and limitations’ of theories met with mixed reaction:

As the State Board of Education weighed proposed changes to how science is taught in Texas public school classrooms during a meeting Wednesday, rhetoric and linguistic nuances dominated the discussion rather than talk of test tubes and, well, science.

Aha! Someone in the press has noticed how the game is played. Continuing:

A committee of science teachers and curriculum experts had recommended that teachers not be required to teach ideas “based upon purported forces outside of nature” and the “strengths and weaknesses” of all scientific theories.

[…]

Publishers use the state’s curriculum standards to create new science textbooks, which could be in Texas classrooms as early as 2012.

Textbook publishing is a big part of why Texas is so much more important than, say, Louisiana. The creationists are going all-out this time. Stay logged to this blog!

Copyright © 2008. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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