You’re probably aware that Texas is going through one if its periodic spasms about science education. Our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) wrote about it a month ago — see Shenanigans in Texas. They said:
A panel of educators and scientists is currently working on streamlining the science standards for biology, and a staff member from the Texas department of education was scheduled to deliver a routine report on the panel’s progress at the board’s meeting. But a member of the panel — Raymond Bohlin, associated with Probe Ministries and the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture — appeared at the meeting, criticizing the majority of the panel for a preliminary vote to remove certain standards.
The standards that the panel voted to remove were aimed at undermining the treatment of evolution. They were inserted, without input from scientists or educators, by members of the state board during the last revision of the standards in 2009. The objectionable standards called for students to analyze “all sides of scientific evidence” and to evaluate “sudden appearance, stasis” in the fossil record, “the complexity of the cell,” and “the DNA molecule for self-replicating life.”
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? We wrote about the 2009 standards revision at the time — see Texas Science Chainsaw Massacre: It’s Over, and then Discovery Institute: Their Victory in Texas. Yeah, the Discoveroids were delighted.
Now, as NCSE reported, the Texas science standards are under review again. It’s the usual bureaucratic series of hearings so we haven’t been writing about it, but today we’ll step in. Look what we found in the Star-Telegram of Fort Worth, Texas — their headline is Stop the crusade to teach Darwinism as dogma, and they have a comments section.
The headline screams creationism, but the best part is the author — it’s Jonathan Witt, described as being “a senior fellow of Discovery Institute-Dallas.” You know this is going to be fun. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
Texas’ State Board of Education has initiated an effort to streamline our state standards for science education. Some members of the committee charged with the revision — along with various lobbyists — are using this process as a pretext to strip from the science standards any evidence against evolution. That would be bad for Texas, bad for science and bad for our kids.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Stripping out the parts that the Discoveroids like would be bad! Then he says:
Our current science standards, the best in the nation [Hee hee!], were adopted overwhelmingly by the State Board of Education, and they call for students to analyze and evaluate the actual evidence for and against Darwin’s theory rather than to ingest it as unquestioned dogma. That’s too even-handed for some.
Yeah, leaving out the creationist nonsense wouldn’t be even-handed. After that he tells us:
In a letter to the state board, pro-Darwin Kathy Miller of the misnamed Texas Freedom Network insists that the revision committee just wants to get rid of the “junk science.”
She wrote a great letter; it drives the creationists crazy. You can read it here. The rant against Kathy Miller isn’t over yet. The Discoveroid adds:
In reality, the evidence she wants to airbrush away comes from leading scientists, much of it in peer-reviewed science journals. But Miller doesn’t want Darwinism criticized, so she calls the evidence junk.
Then, inspired by the word “junk,” he tosses in a rant about junk DNA, which Discoveroids hate because it insults their intelligent designer. After that he dances the micro-macro mambo (which we debunk in Common Creationist Claims Confuted). This is a bit of it:
Keep in mind, the sources that the revision committee members wish to exclude aren’t questioning the idea of microevolution, change within species as when bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics. That kind of evolution is uncontroversial. And they’re not questioning the idea of change over time in the history of life. They’re questioning the much more sweeping claim that all the diversity of life evolved by a blind process of natural selection working on random genetic mutations.
Good, huh? It’s just what we’d expect from a Discoveroid. He continues with more examples of what he thinks is evidence against evolution, and finally finishes up with this:
Offering students only an airbrushed view of evolution isn’t good science, and it doesn’t help our students develop the questioning and curious minds that drive progress in science.
That’s how the battle in Texas is going. We’ll look in on it from time to time, but Texas is probably hopeless, so we’re not expecting any actual progress. But we’ve been wrong before.
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