Recall that we told you about anti-science sentiment in Texas over selection of science textbooks. Here is an update.
As Texas gears up to select biology textbooks for use by high school students over the next decade, the panel responsible for reviewing submissions from publishers has stirred controversy because a number of its members do not accept evolution and climate change as scientific truth.
In the state whose governor, Rick Perry, boasted as a candidate for president that his schools taught both creationism and evolution, the State Board of Education, which includes members who hold creationist views, helped nominate several members of the textbook review panel. Others were named by parents and educators. Prospective candidates could also nominate themselves. The state’s education commissioner, Michael L. Williams, a Perry appointee and a conservative Republican, made the final appointments to the 28-member panel. Six of them are known to reject evolution.
Some Texans worry that ideologically driven review panel members and state school board members are slowly eroding science education in the state.
The panelists review the 14 books submitted for consideration, make comments and the publishers are then allowed to revise the book accordingly. How ridiculous is this? Well, it wouldn’t be if the reviewers either had credentials in biology. But they consist of people who have a religious agenda to push. While there is no open talk of creationism, it is easy to see them targeting certain aspects of science by appealing to the idea of “critical thinking” and fair assessment of alternative explanations. This is such a red flag that is pathetically obvious what they are doing. Only misinformed people would call evolution a questionable theory that has alternatives. It just does not.
But there seems to be some good news on this front. Texas is not the powerhouse it once was to dictate adoption of textbooks across the nation. And, parents are starting to speak up about the degradation of science education in the state. It’s simply unfair to roll ideas back because you find them distasteful. Science doesn’t care what conservative parents think about nature.
Also, case law is pretty clear that Creationism and Intelligent Design, so called alternative ideas to evolution, are not only NOT scientific, but they are religious in nature and thus violate federal law to be taught in schools.