One More Success for Real Science

(Sorry Deb, I’m picking on Texas again!)  Back a couple of months ago, the Texas State Board of Education met to determine the contents of the next generation of science textbooks.  The importance of this being that whatever they decide basically sets the standard for a majority of the country; therefore, we all have a vested interest in exactly what goes on in these meetings.

(photo from Eric Gay, AP)

As expected, the board was stuffed with hardcore young-Earth creationists in a sad attempt to secure Christianity’s place in our public school science classrooms.  Despite valiant efforts by those on the board who accept the reality that science has it right on evolution, the possibility remains that enough doubt will be placed in the textbooks to weaken evolutionary theory in favor of religious mythology.

Now, we have one more group on the side of rationality:  the publishers.  Apparently all 14 of them are refusing to compromise on the material regarding evolution and climate change, regardless of the wishes of the Board of Education:

Publishers submitted their proposed science textbooks for adoption in Texas last April. Last month State Board of Education Chairwoman Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, asked publishers to submit by Oct. 4 any changes they propose to meet objections to content raised by citizens appointed to review the textbooks. The Texas Education Agency made the publishers’ proposed changes available to the public on Oct. 11.

Some reviewers had criticized the proposed biology textbooks for failing to include a variety of discredited arguments attacking evolution. For example, reviewers lowered the rating of one textbook because it didn’t include the inaccurate claim that scientists have found no transitional fossils and that “the fossil record can be interpreted in other ways than evolutionary with equal justification.” Another reviewer insisted that all of the textbooks teach “creation science based on Biblical principles” alongside evolution.

Editorial changes from all 14 publishers that submitted high school biology textbooks for adoption this year do not reflect those arguments and beliefs, TFN’s examination shows.

The anti-evolution arguments promoted by the textbook reviewers are based on claims that scientists have shown to be false or simply have no place in a science textbook, said Arturo De Lozanne, associate professor in molecular cell and developmental biology at the University of Texas at Austin.

This is wonderful news.  I’m not sure how much power the publishers wield in this situation, but the final vote by the state Board of Education is in November.  What will happen if (when?) they vote against the publishers’ refusal to change the content of the text, I’m not sure … but considering they’re the ones printing the damned things, you’d think it will either get done their way or no way.

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3 Responses to One More Success for Real Science

  1. Elyse says:

    That’s terrific news. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. Jesus, Jason. I turn my back for a couple of days, and you’re already bashing Texas again!

    Yeah, I read that publishers were asserting their will because, with electronic publishing and e-books, they can tailor their publishing to individual states. (Sorry a quick look, but I can’t find the article.) Maybe they no longer feel the pressure to say “Yes, baby, whatever you want” to Texas. Maybe they think, if Texas wants to stay in the dark ages, okay, then, they’ll just print up their batch of books for the middle-ages.

    Regardless, it is great news that publishers are standing up to the creationists.

    • I’m hoping that even with the more tailored approach and greater flexibility allowed to them using e-books, they’ll still keep as strong a stance against enshrining Christian mythology in anyone’s science curriculum.

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