Thursday, September 25, 2008

Texas Fights Back

According to Education Week, a review committee of teachers and academics has drafted proposals that would remove the "strengths and weaknesses"language in the Texas science standards. The article goes on to note:

Proposals released Tuesday from review committees of teachers and academics would also put up roadblocks for teachers who want to discuss creationism or "intelligent design" in biology classes when covering the subject of evolution.

The biology review committee proposed language that states supernatural and religious-based concepts such as creationism have no place in science classes.

The standards are subject to approval by the state Board of Education, where a majority of members have said they are in favor of retaining the current mandate to cover both strengths and weaknesses of major scientific theories, notably evolution.

The problem that I have always had with this kind of language, echoed by Kenneth Miller, is that it is squarely aimed at evolution and was drafted by self-admitted creationists, both in Texas and in Louisiana. An intellectually honest approach would be to apply those standards to all of science. Oh wait! That's what science does already. Predictably, there is opposition:

State Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy, R-College Station, said Tuesday he will oppose the recommendation.

"I like the present language on strengths and weaknesses," said McLeroy, who describes himself as a creationist. "This is something we've been doing for over 20 years in Texas, and we should keep doing it."

He said the theory of evolution has "plenty of weaknesses."

Somewhere in there it needs to be mentioned that Dr. McLeroy is a dentist and has no advanced training in the biological sciences. That's a nice way of saying he has no idea what he's talking about.

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