Maryland School Board Splits the Baby

This is a follow-up to School Board Madness in Maryland, in which we learned about some creationist goof-ball-ism in Wicomico County, Maryland. The macabre title of our post will be explained in due course.

As you recall, Ron Willey, the president of the Wicomico County School Board, objected to the adoption of a textbook titled “Ways of the World: A Brief Global History with Sources.” He didn’t like a Page 3 sentence regarding Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, which reads: “Ever since Charles Darwin, most scholars have come to view human beginnings in the context of biological change on the planet.” We also reported that the school board was scheduled to vote yesterday on whether to accept the textbook for Advanced Placement World History for 11th or 12th grades.

We know you’ve been wondering what happened. Well, wonder no more. In one of the Gannett newspapers hosted at delmarvanow.com, possibly the Daily Times of Salisbury, Maryland, we read Book with evolution reference approved by Wicomico school board.

The headline is a bit misleading, because there are a few interesting details in the story. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

A high school world history textbook in which education officials questioned the accuracy of a statement about the theory of evolution on a page in the first chapter has nonetheless won unanimous approval by members of the Wicomico County Board of Education.

Unanimous? Even the creationist president of the Board? Why did he cave in to the forces of evil? We’re told:

School board President Ron Willey, saying despite his doubts that a Page 3 statement regarding Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is free of error, conceded that the textbook is one of the more comprehensive and thematically proper textbooks reviewed for students enrolled in Advanced Placement world history.

What made him change his mind? Let’s read on:

“The issue is not not evolution, but theory versus fact,” he also said.

Never mind the mumbo-jumbo. Why did Willey approve the book? The story continues:

The school board president also noted that discussions in “Ways of the World” would start at Page 20, skipping Chapter 1 and the Page 3 text that reads: “Ever since Charles Darwin, most scholars have come to view human beginnings in the context of biological change on the planet.”

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The book is approved, but Chapter 1 doesn’t exist! Here’s more:

In all, the course will examine topics in history between 8000 BCE to the present, as a requirement of the College Board and other education associations that guide academic curriculum.

[…]

When asked why the school system was skipping the first chapter and Page 3, Superintendent John Fredericksen said it is not uncommon to select certain pages. “Ways of the World” is 1,256 pages, he noted, “and world history is not universe history.”

So the book is okay, but only those parts that don’t offend the young-Earth creationist wackos on the school board. Nice compromise! And now you understand that our title is a reference to the Judgment of Solomon.

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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7 responses to “Maryland School Board Splits the Baby

  1. 8000 BCE

    No, I’m not going to point out that that the world wasn’t created until 4000 years later.

    The important thing is the Christian-ignoring era name BCE.

  2. Realist1948

    Wiley objected to the statement “Ever since Charles Darwin, most scholars have come to view human beginnings in the context of biological change on the planet.” What an odd thing to object to. Whether one agrees with “most scholars” or not is irrelevant. The sentence is simply a statement of fact.

    I might object to the assertion by Gallup that “[f]orty-six percent of Americans believe in the creationist view that God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years.”

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/155003/hold-creationist-view-human-origins.aspx

    But my objection would be similarly pointless … Gallup has simply reported a statistic backed by polling data. And while I object to 46 percent of my fellow Americans holding absurd beliefs, I certainly don’t object to Gallup telling me that this is so.

  3. There is no requirement for faith or belief in education. All that is required is to learn,retain some information,then pass some rudimentary tests on the subject matter. The successful scientists who are established and accredited,did not get there by studying faith and the bible. It is perfectly fine to believe in anything you want. It is not fine to remove the tools being used that have been tested and been proven to be as accurate as possible. Evidence proven wrong is part of the process,that makes it work. Science does not sit on any theory as an absolute fact and quit working. Faith does,and that is why it has no place in school.

  4. TomS: “No, I’m not going to point out that that the world wasn’t created until 4000 years later.”

    C’mon, you of all know that even hard YEC activists admit that 6K is not to be taken literally, and usually admit at least 10K. Which is neatly included in the 8K “BCE” thing.

    What I want to know, and by now have no hope that anyone will dare ask, is whether Willey would approve of the anti-evolution book “Darwin’s Black Box” even though it clearly admits that Earth and it’s life go back billions of years and that humans share common ancestors with broccoli, sharks, and (gasp!) monkeys!

  5. @Realist1948

    I hate that idiotic poll more every day. And like the whole YEC scam I’m increasingly convinced that it is mostly fellow “Darwinists” that keep it on life support.

    When asked point blank if the Earth is <10K old, that % drops to only 22%. And keep in mind that most people who answer either way don't give 5 minutes thought. Including whether the # they memorized by rote is supported by any evidence or "overrules" it. My own poll is far from scientific, but most of the unrepentant YECs I talk to admit that scripture "overrules" any independent evidence. Which undermines the whole pretense of "scientific" Furthermore, many who think that "man was created in his present form" are thinking souls, not cells, and would easily admit evolution if their misconceptions were calmly corrected.

    All of that is not good news. The operative % is not 11, 22, or 46. It’s ~75. That’s how many fall for some anti-evolution sound bites, even if it’s “I guess something like evolution is true, but it’s fair to teach both sides.”

  6. @FrankJ –
    I tend to suspect that the reason that the poll shows such support for YEC is the alternatives available. I can imagine a person, on the spur of the moment, choosing “God created humans etc.” as the best alternative, even if they didn’t feel comfortable with the “… 10,000 years” part.

  7. Realist1948

    One of the more encouraging parts of the Gallup poll is found in the second half of the article cited above: ‘Americans with postgraduate education are most likely of all the educational groups to say humans evolved without God’s guidance, and least likely to say God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years. The creationist viewpoint “wins” among Americans with less than a postgraduate education.’

    Education continues to be the best antidote to the mind-poison of religion.