Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Evolution Will Rule in Texas Science Classes, State Board of Education Says

Several previous postings have highlighted the value of Darwin's theory of evolution, as well as attempts by conservatives to water down the science curriculum in Texas schools to require consideration of challenges raised by adherents of creationism and intelligent design.

The posts below include: 2/12/09, 1/22/09, 6/4/08, 12/6/07, 10/2/07.

So it came as very good news last week when the Houston Chronicle reported: "The State Board of Education signed off Friday on new science curriculum standards for Texas schools that protect the teaching of evolution championed by many scientists."

The report said that scientists had won and religious opponents had lost every substantive vote on how evolution will be taught--albeit often by the slimmest of margins. These included a proposal to keep teaching the "weaknesses" of evolution and include among them the absence of an intelligent designer; references to insufficiency of evidence for common ancestry and natural selection; and arguments "against universal common descent in light of fossil evidence."

According to the article, the board did approve amendments "creating expectations that students analyze and evaluate such issues as fossil data and the complexity of the cell," but without any specific reference to common ancestry or natural selection.

After over-ruling the creationists on the specific issues, however, the board went on to approve the new standards 13-2, with three abstentions.

The vote was significant not only for the quality of science education in Texas but also in other states, because the sheer volume of textbooks ordered by Texas influences the content of science texts for students elsewhere.

No comments: