Discovery Institute and Texas Biology Texts

Everyone remembers the 2009 Texas Science Chainsaw Massacre — a maniacal, theocratic freak-fest conducted by ideologues on the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) then led by Don McLeroy, the creationist dentist. Their “hearings” on the state’s science standards were an elaborately staged show trial, with testimony from a panel of six “experts” that included three creationists.

Among those experts was Stephen C. Meyer, a key figure in the Sternberg peer review controversy. More importantly, Meyer is vice president of the Discovery Institute which runs the infamous Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).

Things went so well in Texas that the Discoveroids were delighted with the outcome (see Discovery Institute: Their Victory in Texas). But what are they going to do with their victory?

We get a hint of the struggle that still lies ahead in a new article at the Discoveroids’ blog. It’s by Casey Luskin, everyone’s favorite creationist: Ken Miller’s Inaccurate and Biased Evolution Curriculum Intentionally Disregards Texas Science Standards. Casey says, with bold font added by us:

Last month, we issued a report [link omitted] which analyzed instructional materials from ten publishers that were proposed for use in Texas.

The Discoveroids issued a report? BWAHAHAHAHAHA!! Who’s gonna read it besides fools, frauds, freaks, and a woeful collection of retardates, idiots, and lunatics? Let’s read on:

The Pearson / Prentice Hall materials deserve some special attention not just because they call themselves “the nation’s leading education publisher,” but also because they are based upon Ken Miller’s biology textbook. Indeed, there is an interesting backstory here which should be told.

The Discoveroids don’t like Kenneth R. Miller. Not only is he a co-author of a widely-used textbook on biology, but — gasp! — he was an expert witness for the sane side in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.

What’s the “interesting backstory” Casey thinks should be told? It’s about the Discoveroids’ successful struggle to muck up the Texas science education standards. Casey reminds us that their work isn’t finished yet:

[The Texas SBOE] is currently considering adopting supplemental materials for biology instruction, materials which are supposed to fulfill those [new science standards].

What’s the problem? Casey explains:

As was the case with nearly all of the other proposed instructional materials, the Pearson / Prentice Hall materials do not encourage critique or meaningful evaluation and analysis of evolutionary claims … . [This] is not surprising, given that Pearson / Prentice Hall’s flagship high school biology textbook author Kenneth Miller publicly admitted that he did not plan to fulfill the intent of the [new Texas science standards].

This is an outrage! Even though Texas has perverted its science education standards, Miller is ignoring them and so is Miller’s publisher. Casey continues:

We have now received confirmation from Pearson / Prentice hall that the materials they submitted in Texas were in fact based upon Ken Miller’s curriculum. Given Miller’s stated goal to skirt “the intent” behind the [new science education standards], it comes as little surprise that the Pearson / Prentice Hall materials fail to adequately fulfill [those standards].

Casey then goes on at great length to give his critique of Miller’s textbook. We’re skipping all of it, but you can read Casey’s article if such things interest you.

That’s where we’re going to leave it for now, dear reader. But be aware that the Texas SBOE has a meeting scheduled for July 20, 21, and 22, 2011 , and the agenda includes the adoption of instructional materials.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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7 responses to “Discovery Institute and Texas Biology Texts

  1. The report, which link you wisely omitted, looks to be a Cliffs Notes version of Wells’s Icons of Evolution. It’s the same old same old, Haeckel drawings, vestigial organs, peppered moths. The Disc Center certainly doesn’t evolve much.

    They even say they don’t want ID taught there, just enough of their anti evolutionary nonsense that it would probably be a waste of time to teach evolution in the first place.

    Too bad for Texas science.

  2. I thought that critiques of evolution were going to be permitted, but now DI says that critiques are REQUIRED and that any insufficiently critical textbook does not adhere to the standards? Why that’s not what they said would happen at all. Clutching my pearls, I must hie myself to my fainting couch, for I believe I have the vapors.

  3. Reading their rebuttal of Miller’s textbook is painful.

    Per the discoveroids, if we have not completed the science of evolution and answered every possible question with a detailed explanation, including photos and eye-witness accounts at the molecular level from the beginning, and have preserved and carefully catalogued the fossils of every single organism to have ever lived, then evolution cannot be proven and must be false.

    This from an organization that is yet to advance a single piece of evidence supporting their hypothetical “intelligent design” process.

  4. yet to advance a single piece of evidence supporting their hypothetical “intelligent design” process

    Yet to describe a single part of a process other than descent with modification. Not even giving an example of something which might not be due to “intelligent design”.

    Evidence, shmevidence!

  5. Here’s what happened in Dover, Pa., and it was beautiful.

    The School Board mandated introducing “intelligent design” creationism into the high school biology curriculum and bought a bunch of creationist textbooks, Of Pandas and People, for reference.

    The biology teachers balked and cited their oath of professional ethics as a reason they were not going to teach creationism. Yea, teachers!

    So, the school administration took it upon themselves to read the “intelligent design” creationism script in biology script, and the rest is history, aka, Kitzmiller.

    The same could happen in Texas. Regardless of what the knuckleheads on the SBOE decide the teachers could balk or ignore. The result would be a glorious cluster fiasco and cost local taxpayers millions.

    Scott free and not accountable in any way would be the SBOE, Gov. Good Hair Perry and our friends at the theocratic creationist stink tank, the Disco Tute.

  6. The result would be a glorious cluster fiasco and cost local taxpayers millions

    Some people have to learn the hard way, I guess. The good citizens of Texas elected these folks – and as ye sow so shall ye reap, as the good book says. (BTW, “Cluster fiasco” has a nice euphemistic ring to it. It sounds much nicer than the term I would have used with the same initials.)

    What I don’t understand is, the same cretin-ationists who demand “critical thinking” (wink, wink: code for “undermining and invalidating”) in biology and geology class have never applied one iota of same to bible studies. We’re supposed to believe suddenly they’re sticklers for detail? Where’s the scientific evidence for the Tree of Knowledge and the Tower of Babel? They’d do well to apply the same degree of analytical soul-searching to their own dogmatic beliefs.

    BTW, the older post on Texas SBOE standards indicates what they originally planned was a multi-pronged assault. What news on House Bill 2800 and H.B. 4224?

  7. TomS: “Yet to describe a single part of a process other than descent with modification.”

    The Discoveroid approach to common descent says more about their scam than anything else. As you know, the only major Discoveroid to take a clear position on it (Michael Behe) has (1) repeatedly conceded it, and (2) has never explicitly denied that “RM + NS” is sufficient to cause the speciations that separate modern humans from their closest living relatives (chimps). Yet no other Discoveroid challenged him, despite vague apparent denials of common descent. While they pander to Biblical YECs and OECs (& the occasional panspermist) it should be quite clear that no Discoveroid has any confidence that the evidence supports any of the popular, mutually conteadictory fairy tales that they nevertheless encourage their fans to believe.