Creationist trouble in Texas
When Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer, asks for something, you just have to help out. And yesterday the Bad Astronomer asked people who care about science, reason, and defeating creationist attacks on education to blog about the what’s going on in Texas.
The Texas State Board of Education is working on nominations for a six-member panel that will review proposed new science curriculum standards. Half of the nominees are anti-science creationists. Not just any creationists, but among them are the vice-mac daddy of them all: Stephen C. Meyer, VP of the loathsome Discovery Institute, who isn’t even from Texas. Texas Citizens for Science notes that
Texas has hundreds of highly-qualified professional scientists who could have served on the review panel.
These nominations are no coincidence. “Intelligent design advocates on the state board have been maneuvering for months to undermine the teaching of evolution in science classes,” according to the Houston Chronicle. TCS agrees:
It is unfortunate that some SBOE members have such a poor regard for the education of Texas science students that they must resort to pushing their own anti-evolutionist and Creationist religious ideologies into the science standards revision process. What the Texas SBOE is doing perfectly matches what the Kansas SBOE tried to do: force its anti-science ideology onto the students and teachers of our state’s public school system. All Texas citizens who care about education and wish to ensure that their children receive the best science education they can get in a world that requires scientific knowledge and technological skills should be appalled by the reprehensible actions of some of our State Board of Education members.
This one’s for you, Google: the Texas State Board of Education has a creationist agenda.
More odious, perhaps, is that Meyer’s interest in sitting on inter-state science education committees is about more than just pushing the Bible on innocent children. He’s the lead author of Exploring Evolution, a despicable scienceless Trojan horse intended to infiltrate elementary schools and release an attack of nonsense.
Discovery Institute fellows have been attempting to have their arguments against evolution incorporated into the US public school system. EE appears to be part of (that) strategy. In June, Louisiana became the first state to enact a law specifically enabling the use of supplemental materials for the critical evaluation of evolution; similar legislation has been introduced in several other states. EE appears to have been intelligently designed to be the sort of supplemental text that’s appropriate under the Louisiana legislation, and so it’s likely to be making an appearance in classrooms there. But EE may appear in other states, as the approval process for supplementary material is often far less strict than that governing textbooks.
[The above quote was from Ars Technica's excellent and thorough review of Exploring Evolution, "A biologist reviews an evolution textbook from the ID camp". The review explains in depth the core of the creationist argument against Darwin's tree of life, in favour of an orchard (ie the idea that not all life descended from the same source. Man, for instance, was put here by God on the sixth day). Read this if you were hoping Expelled was going to illuminate anything about the intelligent design position.]
So there, Bad Astronomer, another voice is added against the creationist ideologues. What they’re doing is embarrassing and ludicrous. Texas, if you don’t want to be ridiculed as backward hillbillies (or if you don’t want your children to become backward hillbillies), please make a lot of noise about this to your elected officials.