It’s only been nine decades since the Scopes Monkey Trial; I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised that Texas is weighing whether to bring creationism into public school science classes.
As we discussed over the weekend, Texas’ Board of Education is in the process of reviewing new biology textbooks, which at face value, wouldn’t be especially noteworthy. The problem, however, is that the state board appointed a variety of creationists to conduct the review, and they “very firmly” believe that “ ‘creation science’ based on Biblical principles should be incorporated into every Biology book that is up for adoption.”
The first public hearing on the science curriculum was yesterday, and the debate is off to a lively start.
A past Texas State Board of Education chairman and outspoken creationist urged his former colleagues on Tuesday to approve high school biology textbooks he said would “strike a final blow to the teaching of evolution.”
Appearing at a board hearing on new instructional materials, Don McLeroy, a Bryan dentist who lost his seat on the SBOE in the 2010 Republican primary, told board members that the science textbooks currently under consideration contained many “hidden gems just waiting to be mined by inquisitive students” that proved there was no evidence for evolution.
It’s worth emphasizing that McLeroy was not necessarily representative of those who attended the public hearing yesterday. Miranda Blue noted that “most of those who showed up to testify at the hearing supported teaching evolution,” a point bolstered by the Texas Freedom Network’s live-blog of the meeting.
Still, the larger concern is about the anti-science voices who’ll make the policy decision, more so than the pro-science voices urging them to do the right thing.
The Dallas Morning News added, “Board members are scheduled to adopt new textbooks and digital books in November. School districts are not required to buy the adopted books. But most do because they cover most of the state’s required curriculum – and students are tested on those required skills and knowledge.”
It’s never encouraging when these fights pop up, but let’s not forget that if Texas continues on this path, lawsuits are inevitable, and the creationists are unlikely to prevail. The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that creationist pseudo-science is legally impermissible in public school science classes because it violates the separation of church and state.