Another Full-Scale Assault on Reality From the Texas School Board Creationists
Here we go again in Texas, where reactionary Republican religious fanatics are trying once more to insert nutty creationist falsehoods into high school science textbooks. (And climate change denial too; they often go hand in hand.)
AUSTIN — Religious conservatives serving on state textbook review panels have criticized several proposed high school biology textbooks for not including arguments against Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
The review panels include several creationists. They urge the State Board of Education to reject the books unless publishers include more disclaimers on key concepts of evolution.
One reviewer even suggested a rule requiring that each biology book cover “creation science.” That would run counter to a 1987 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. The decision banned the teaching of creationism in public school science classes.
The evaluations will be presented at a board meeting next week. Publishers must consider them, along with testimony. They can make changes before the board votes on the texts in November.
“I understand the National Academy of Science’s strong support of the theory of evolution,” said Texas A&M University nutritionist Karen Beathard, one of the biology textbook reviewers. “At the same time, this is a theory. As an educator, parent and grandparent, I feel very firmly that creation science based on biblical principles should be incorporated into every biology book that is up for adoption.”
Other reviewers objected to the books’ acceptance of key evolutionary principles. Among them is the fossil evidence for the evolution of humans and other life species.
Former State Board of Education Chairwoman Gail Lowe nominated nearly a third of the 28 reviewers for biology books. A social conservative and creationist, Lowe was defeated in her re-election bid last year.
The National Center for Science Education has more details on exactly what the religious right is trying to sneak into science textbooks — and why they’re doing it: Textbooks Under Attack in Texas.
“The arguments in these reviews are the same discredited claims anti-science activists have pushed for years,” commented NCSE’s Joshua Rosenau. Among those claims, various reviewers:
- called for the inclusion of “‘creation science’ based on Biblical principles”
- asserted that “no transitional fossils have been discovered”
- insisted that there is no evidence for a human influence on the carbon cycle
- claimed that there is no evidence about the effect of climate change on species diversity
- promoted a book touting “intelligent design” creationism as a reliable source of scientific information
- denied that recombination and genetic drift are evolutionary mechanisms
- mischaracterized experiments on the peppered moth as “discredited” and as “fabrication[s]”
“This is scary because of Texas’s big influence on publishers and on textbooks used across the country,” Rosenau said. “Publishers should listen to real experts, not unqualified reviewers who don’t seem to understand even basic scientific terms.”