Texas Creationists Pushing Hard

An editorial in the Houston Chronicle blasts the Texas State Board of Education for their outrageous appointment of three creationists to a six-member panel that will decide Texas’ science curriculum standards—two of them shills for the infamous Discovery Institute: Board’s actions could put students at a disadvantage.

Texas has earned a reputation as an innovation powerhouse in fields ranging from agriculture and life sciences to high technology and space exploration.

But in a report issued this summer, a panel of Texas business, education and government leaders warned that without “critical changes” in state schools — especially in science-related instruction — the state will lose its global competitive edge.

It appears, however, that some members of the State Board of Education are working on a different agenda. Last week, they appointed three anti-evolution activists, including a leader of the “intelligent design” religious campaign, to a six-member panel that will review proposed new science curriculum standards.

The new standards will shape how science education is taught in Texas for the next decade, and it would be a terrible mistake to water down the teaching of evolution in any way.

Given the concerns about the state’s future work force, the appointments are a troubling signal. At a time when most educators are working to prepare students for 21st century jobs, the board members’ action threatens to confuse students, divide communities and tarnish Texas’ reputation as an international science and technology center.

Intelligent design advocates on the state board have been maneuvering for months to undermine the teaching of evolution in science classes. They say that students need to hear about the strengths and weaknesses of evolution, which of course is true. But then they argue that the universe is so complex that it required an intelligent designer and that should be taught in science classes as an alternative to evolution. This is a religious belief, not a scientific argument.

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