TwitterFacebook

Creationists Get Influential Positions in Texas Science Textbook Review

Creationism never dies, it just smells funnier
Wingnuts • Views: 23,834

Remember the last time the religious right in Texas tried to sneak Christian creationism into public school science classes? Well, they’re back.

Actually, they never went away, and the Republican anti-science religious fanatics on the State Board of Education are making another big play to influence the textbooks that teach American kids biology: Alarm Bells Are Ringing: Creationists Get Influential Positions in Texas Science Textbook Review.

It looks like the Lone Star State’s reputation as a hotbed of anti-science fanaticism is about to be reinforced. At least six creationists/”intelligent design” proponents succeeded in getting invited to review high school biology textbooks that publishers have submitted for adoption in Texas this year. The State Board of Education (SBOE) will decide in November which textbooks to approve. Those textbooks could be in the state’s public school science classrooms for nearly a decade.

Among the six creationist reviewers are some of the nation’s leading opponents of teaching students that evolution is established, mainstream science and is overwhelmingly supported by well over a century of research. Creationists on the SBOE nominated those six plus five others also invited by the Texas Education Agency to serve on the biology review teams. We have been unable to determine what those other five reviewers think about evolution.

Although 28 individuals got invites to review the proposed new biology textbooks this year, only about a dozen have shown up in Austin this week for the critical final phase of that review. That relatively small overall number of reviewers could give creationists even stronger influence over textbook content. In fact, publishers are making changes to their textbooks based on objections they hear from the review panelists. And that’s happening essentially behind closed doors because the public isn’t able to monitor discussions among the review panelists themselves or between panelists and publishers. The public won’t know about publishers’ changes (or the names of all the review panelists who are in Austin this week) until probably September. Alarm bells are ringing.

Following are the six creationists/evolution critics we have identified so far on the biology review teams:

  • Raymond Bohlin is vice president of vision outreach for Probe Ministries in Plano and a research fellow for the Seattle-based Discovery Institute. The Discovery Institute promotes the pseudoscientific concept “intelligent design” over evolution. Founded in 1973, Probe works “to present the Gospel to communities, nationally and internationally, by providing life-long opportunities to integrate faith and learning through balanced, biblically based scholarship.” Bohlin has a doctorate in molecular and cell biology from the University of Texas at Dallas, making him a star performer for anti-evolution groups. He is listed as a “Darwin Skeptic” on the Creation Science Hall of Fame website. Probe and the Creation Science Hall of Fame promote a fundamentalist, literal interpretation of the Bible’s creation story. We know that Bohlin is in Austin this week to participate in the biology review panel meetings.
  • Walter Bradley is a retired Baylor University professor of engineering who coauthored a book, The Mystery of Life’s Origins in 1984, that essentially launched the “intelligent design” movement. “Intelligent design” suggests a scientific basis for creationism (creationism dressed up in a lab coat). Bradley, founding fellow of the Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture, is also listed as a “Darwin Skeptic” on the Creation Science Hall of Fame website. He is participating in the biology review panel meetings this week.
  • Daniel Romo is a chemistry professor at Texas A&M University and is listed as a “Darwin Skeptic” on the Creation Science Hall of Fame website. We don’t know yet whether Romo made it to Austin for the biology review panel meetings.
  • Ide Trotter is a longtime standard-bearer for the creationist movement in Texas, both as a source of funding and as a spokesperson for the absurdly named creationist group Texans for Better Science Education. Trotter, listed as a “Darwin Skeptic” on the Creation Science Hall of Fame website, is a veteran of the evolution wars at the SBOE and is participating the biology review panel meetings this week. He testified before the board during the 2003 biology textbook adoption and again in 2009 during the science curriculum adoption. In both instances, Trotter advocated including scientifically discredited “weaknesses” of evolution in Texas science classrooms. Trotter, who has a doctorate in chemical engineering, runs his own investment management company and served as dean of business and professor of finance at Dallas Baptist University. He claims that major scientific discoveries over last century have actually made evolutionary science harder to defend: “The ball is rolling and it’s going downhill. There are not enough forces on the side of Darwinism to keep pushing it back uphill forever.”
  • Richard White, a systems (network) engineer in Austin, testified at an SBOE hearing on the proposed science curriculum standards on March 25, 2009. At the time, he advocated the inclusion of phony “weaknesses” of evolution in Texas science standards: “…These are all well-known scientific problems with modern evolutionary theory, and they do not exhaust the list. The entire list is a very long one.” - White went on in his testimony to insist that teaching the mainstream scientific consensus concerning evolution without also presenting its alleged “weaknesses” amounted to forcing religious dogma on students. We don’t know whether White is participating in the review panels this week.
  • David Zeiger is a seventh-grade teacher at a Christian private school in North Texas. He holds a biochemistry degree from the University of Texas at Dallas. In 2009 he and his wife, Heather, opposed removing from the state’s science curriculum standards the requirement that students learn about so-called “weaknesses” of evolution. Creationists has used that requirement to insist that publishers include discredited arguments challenging evolution, such as supposed “gaps” in the fossil record. We don’t know whether Zeiger is participating the review panels this week.

We’ll have more on this soon.

Also see

^ back to top ^

TwitterFacebook

Turn off all ads for a full year by subscribing!
Take advantage of our end-of-the-year subscription special, and save 25% off the normal subscription price! For a limited time, one-year ad-free subscriptions are just $59.95. Turn off all ads for a full year by subscribing now and save!
Read more...

► LGF Headlines

  • Loading...

► Tweeted Articles

  • Loading...

► Tweeted Pages

  • Loading...

► Top 10 Comments

  • Loading...

► Bottom Comments

  • Loading...

► Recent Comments

  • Loading...

► Tools/Info

► Tag Cloud

► Contact

You must have Javascript enabled to use the contact form.
Your email:

Subject:

Message:


Messages may be published unless you request otherwise.
Tech Note:
Using the Contact Form
LGF Pages

This button leads to the main index of LGF Pages, our user-submitted articles. You can post your own LGF Pages simply by registering a free account with us.

Create a Page

This is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.

Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.

Last updated: 2014-12-15 2:06 pm PST

LGF User's Guide
Recent Pages
Rightwingconspirator
San Francisco Deputy Charged With Assault, Perjury
Prosecutors said the victim can be seen hunched over in a chair sleeping in the Emergency Room's waiting area, where he was scheduled to see a doctor later that day. The video shows Lewelling approaching the victim as he ...

25 minutes ago
Views: 44 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
FemNaziBitch
Vatican Report Cites Achievements and Challenges of U.S. Nuns
"Sorry, folks. This is not a controversial document," Mother M. Clare Millea, an American nun who directed the investigation, said at the news conference. Instead, she said, it was "a challenge for all of us." If anything, the report ...

4 hours, 41 minutes ago
Views: 87 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
Randall Gross
Thread Connects With UL for IoT Testing
The industry group backing the Internet of Things (IoT) networking protocol Thread has enlisted product certification outfit UL to perform interoperability and security testing for products integrating the Thread protocol. The alliance with UL marks the latest milestone for ...

4 hours, 58 minutes ago
Views: 87 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
Lumberhead
A History of Thugs
Civilization is imperiled. Demonic dark-skinned criminals exult in seizing property and security. Only a vanguard of brave uniformed officers can take them off the streets and restore order. It is 1835, and whites are finally confronting what Mark Twain ...

1 week, 4 days ago
Views: 745 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 1 • Rating: 1
Romantic Heretic
It’s Beginning To Feel A Lot Like Christmas
As always, Fairytale of New York makes me realize what time of the year it is.

1 week, 5 days ago
Views: 489 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 2
Dark_Falcon
The College Rape Overcorrection
This is the article I promised to post this morning. The quoted passage is from the second section, "2. An Overcorrection". We are told that one of the most dangerous places for a young woman in America today is a ...

1 week, 5 days ago
Views: 833 • Comments: 11
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 1
cinesimon
Charles Barkley and the Plague of ‘Unintelligent’ Blacks
theatlantic.com

1 week, 5 days ago
Views: 844 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 2
 Frank says:

Seeing a psychotherapist is not a crazy idea, it's just wanting a second opinion of one's life.