Evolution in Texas Schools Encounters Resistance


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A report from the Dallas Morning News confirmed that Texas State Board of Education members approved a series of textbooks this week that cover Charles Darwin's theory of evolution in its scientific entirety.

Almost immediately after the books were approved, a protest was lodged by one textbook reviewer who maintains creationist beliefs. Two of the approved textbooks were sidelined in order to have a panel of science experts examine the text at the request of that reviewer, who pointed out 20 separate issues as "errors."

There are only two ways for the board to proceed from here: the errors are dismissed and the books are added to the curriculum, or they are confirmed as "errors" and publisher Pearson Education may need to add corrections and pay a fine before the books are implemented.

Fox News reported one of the board members, Republican Thomas Ratliff of Mount Pleasant, as saying "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... I believe this process is being hijacked, this book is being held hostage to make political changes."

Steven Meyer, a scholar with the Discovery Institute which is a conservative think-tank that favors the theory of Intelligent Design (a mock-up of evolution and creationism in which God's guiding hand made it possible for man rise from the primordial ooze), said "[The books] will leave students in the dark about contemporary mainstream scientific controversies over Darwinian evolution."

"Unfortunately," he added, "because Texas is a major purchaser of textbooks, the board’s action may have an adverse impact on science education across America for years to come."

On the other side, science teachers and opponents of creationism lauded the Texas State Board of Education. Josh Rosneau of the National Center for Science Education said "The state will give students the foundation for the exemplary education they need to succeed in the 21st century."

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]