Evolution Debate Rages At Texas Board Of Education Meeting

By: Val Powell - November 23, 2013

It seems that the evolution debate is not about to go away; instead, tougher questions are being asked. Ideological objections to the evolution philosophy raged in a Texas Board of Education late night meeting during the approval of science textbooks.  The Associated Press reports that a biology textbook was the main reason the meeting was held up due to fundamental factual errors.

Some board members singled out the textbook by Pearson Education publishers. Several questions were raised about the book’s proclamations on natural selection, arguing that the evolution theory is not the ultimate explanation for how life developed on Earth. Another point at issue was the differences of opinions on how long it took the earth to cool. Others suggested that the book should “balance between gradualism and sudden appearance,” suggesting that rather than developing over time, life got a boost from an intelligent designer.

Pearson was not willing to make suggested edits and changes to the book and challenged the list of the alleged errors raised during the meeting. As a result, the book by Pearson was not approved at the meeting. However, they did not block the approval but only delayed it until external experts check the concerns. Three board members shall appoint three experts to scrutinize the book.

There are those like Thomas Ratliff, a Republican who objected the approval delay saying that the approval process is being hijacked by political process. Ratliff is the board’s vice chairman. He said the book is already being used in over half of United States of America’s classrooms.

“To ask me — a business degree major from Texas Tech University — to distinguish whether the Earth cooled 4 billion years ago or 4.2 billion years ago for purposes of approving a textbook at 10:15 on a Thursday night is laughable,” Ratliff said. His colleagues on the other side of the debate weren’t laughing.

(main image via Wikipedia)

About the Author

Val PowellI'm a content writer, blogger, SEO enthusiast, visual artist, world traveler and lover of spicy foods. I also live and work in Queens, New York. FOLLOW ME on Twitter! @webnewsreporter or LIKE ME on Facebook! webnewsreporter

View all posts by Val Powell
  • JL

    There are lots of flaws in the theory of evolution. On the surface, evolution seems plausible, but peal back the layers and there are so many questions about its validity. My gut instinct is that the truth is a combination of all the theories.

    1. Evolution Origins: Darwin and Wallace aside, evolutionists have no clue about where ‘the process of evolution’ came from. Couple this with the fact that they have no idea where life started or what the ‘common ancestor was’ tells us that evolutionists are just speculating at best.

    2. Why Earth: This is another question evolutionists cannot answer. Without finding life on other planets, the question ‘why earth’ is very important. There is no reason for earth to be the only planet selected for life or the process’. Just too many unanswered questions and it seems evolutionists are left with little more than ‘just because’ or ‘why not’. They complain about Christians saying ‘God did it’ but they are in the same boat when evolution is investigated beyond the surface.

    3. Time: This is a killer as no matter how one looks at it, the time factor either provides an excuse for failing to provide evidence or it is just ridiculous as they have homo erectus surviving for a million years without fire or heat. Science cannot tell us what we did last week let alone 2,000 years ago. How do they expect that they can say what took place 100,000,000 years ago or more/less? It is just ridiculous.

    4. Evolution is clueless: it has been repeatedly said that evolution is a process, that it doesn’t know anything yet it was able to ‘guide’ all species through all environmental conditions until it found the right combination to allow life to exist unimpeded. This is perpetuating the idea of ‘something from nothing’ as ‘the process’ has nothing yet it was able to produce everything from preferred diets, down to different colors.

    5. Reproduction systems: Here is another vital life function that evolutionary adherents cannot explain why it exists. There is no reason why ‘the process’ would develop reproduction through sexual activity, there would be no need for it. In fact, sexual reproduction is one of the most inefficient ways to propagate a species.

    6. Morality: Another vital issue that evolutionists cannot explain. They may try to say it comes from a gene yet how did the gene ‘conceive of it’ or where did the gene receive the idea of morality or that it would be needed? In evolution, where survival of the fittest is the key theme, morality plays no role for evolution is all about anarchy not moral behavior. At best, only animal instincts would reside in all species including humans, meaning that a Hitlerian attitude against the sick and weak would reign without competition from those who disagree.

    7. Religious Issues: Evolution is not God and knows nothing thus the concept of God or even a god(s) would be absent from all humans. There would be no desire to find God and no reason to even think about superior beings because there would be no need for such things.

    Finally, scientists would have us believe that base chemicals that were subjected to electrical current started life. Go to your local walmart, buy some chemicals, stick them in a bucket, and provide electricity. See how good that is with creating life. Good luck with that.

    Bottom line is that we do not have a clue how life got here or how it started. I don’t mind things being taught as theories, but the reality is that really that is all it is. It is not fact. It has some facts in it, but the entire concept is not fact at all.

    • John Smithh

      Look back at your points. They all contain a form of “evolution can’t explain” argument in them. The fact that evolution can’t explain every question a person may ask does not undermine its validity or scientific structure, but your strategy is broadly used by the so called critics of evolution; –including the Texas Board of Education– they only question the theory, but fail to provide any evidence against it. Take Don Mcleroy, former member of the TBE, for example, “evolution is false because the evidence that explains the complexity of the cell is weak,” he stated before the Board. This strategy is a huge logical fallacy: argument of ignorance.
      In short, ignorance is not the basis on which one can overthrow a well established scientific theory such as evolution. The proper way to do it is by finding concrete, reproducible, and testable evidence against it.

    • RickK

      John Smith covered the logical fallacy of your post. Now I’ll just cover a few of the factual fallacies.

      Origin of life: My daughter’s science textbook clearly stated we don’t yet know exactly how life began. It doesn’t say “it might have been God” because “God did it” has NEVER been the solution to any mystery of nature. In all the mysteries we’ve solved over the past thousands of years, not once has the answer been “supernatural magic”.

      Also, evolution is the model that explains how species evolve. The fact that it doesn’t explain how life started doesn’t matter on iota. Chemistry doesn’t explain where elements come from – so do you think chemistry is therefore false?

      Why Earth? How many planets with liquid water have YOU explored?

      As for sexual reproduction, are you REALLY saying that (1) science has no clue why it evolved and (2) it is not a successful evolutionary strategy? The first point can be disproved by simply opening a book or a google query, and the second point can be addressed by simply opening your eyes.

      Why are you doing this? Why are you taking such an anti-science stance? Were you not educated in high school? Does the idea that natural phenomena have natural causes frighten you? What is so dangerous about the idea that species evolve? Why do you reject fossils and morphology and DNA and biogeography and dating methods and all the other lines of evidence for evolution?

      And are you aware of the irony of using a global digital communications network to be anti-science?

  • http://www.truthandscience.net Dr. Arv Edgeworth

    In Prentice Hall Biology 2006 on page 38 it says: “For example, science can neither prove, or disprove that unobservable or supernatural forces cause storms, rainbows, illnesses, or cures of disease. Supernatural explanations of natural events are simply outside the bounds of science. There is no way to show that such hypotheses are false.”

    A critical question needs to be posed here. Who determines what is a natural or supernatural event? What about the beginning of the universe? Was that a natural or supernatural event? How can we be certain? If supernatural explanations of natural events should be considered outside the bounds of science, what about natural explanations of supernatural events? Who decides if they are natural or supernatural?

    What if the beginning of the universe was actually a supernatural event, should science try to prove it was a natural event? If the beginning of life was a supernatural event, should science try to prove it was a natural event? If the fossils and rock layers were formed by the great cataclysmic flood written about in all the ancient cultures, should science try to prove it was a natural event? How could you prove it was just a natural event? And perhaps more importantly, should science be trying to prove they were natural events?

    Real science has to do with what an eye is, what it does, and how we treat it for disease. How and why we got an eye belongs in a philosophy class not the science classroom. Most of our science textbooks have more to do with promoting philosophical worldviews than they do with real science.

    • John Smithh

      Supernatural events are considered supernatural when science has no natural, logical way to explain it. For example, miracles.

      Natural events are those for which there is evidence to back it up. (Carbon dating of rocks and fossils which are specific to your questions)

      The beginning of the universe could be considered supernatural; except that there is a theory that explains it with natural observations and mathematics. (Expanding of the universe and Higgs Boson among others.)

      Miracles are considered supernatural because no matter how many times you input a miracle into your equation, you will not get a result back. (let x=Miracle, f(x)!=natural :P)

      PS: Science has everything to do with how we treat eye diseases, and it just got better!!! (see: http://w w w.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/2013/ )

    • Boris

      “Most of our science textbooks have more to do with promoting philosophical worldviews than they do with real science.

      > If you had ever picked one up and read a science book you would know that is not true.

    • RickK

      I’m looking through my daughter’s chemistry textbook, and all I see is science.

      If the statement “natural events have natural causes” grates on your nerves, if the complex reality of our natural world and our universe is insufficient for you, if evidence-based science conflicts with your world view, then it is not science that needs fixing. It is your world view that is broken.

      Arv – I know you believe Genesis is a true story, that the Grand Canyon was carved by the Flood, and that dinosaurs rode on Noah’s Ark. I know the fantasy world you’ve constructed is very important to you. But don’t for a minute think that this anti-science nonsense that you promote is anything other than a personal, ideologically-driven fantasy. Sadly, you’ve made it your life’s mission to lie to yourself and to others, and to use all your apparently considerable energies to turn people away from astounding natural truths and mechanisms of our intricate universe.

      Like a teacher in a fundamentalist Islamic madrassa, you’ve intentionally closed your mind and you work very hard to get others to close theirs. What a sad legacy to leave our human race.

    • thomas

      i agree with you, the great god Anshar made the earth, the havens and mankind. ALL SHOULD WORSHIP GREAT ANSHAR

  • Stephen Eckart

    The theory of evolution is factually unsubstantiated. Its given evidences have long been proven false by secular scientists, or are based on assumptions and faith. Not science.

    http://www.answersingenesis.org / http://www.icr.org / http://www.evolutionvsgod.com

    • RickK

      You’re quoting from a source written by people who believe dinosaurs rode on Noah’s Ark. Do you consider that a mature influence for your world view?

      I’ll make you a deal – I won’t rely on Harry Potter to teach me physics if you don’t rely on answersingensis to teach you biology.