Sunday, March 29, 2009

Texas Science Standards: Luskin Declares Victory

On the Discovery Institute's site today, an article appeared devoted to the Texas Science Standards hearings. The DI writes:
Today, the Texas Board of Education chose science over dogma and adopted science standards improving on the old "strengths and weaknesses" language by requiring students to “critique” and examine “all sides of scientific evidence.” In addition, the Board—for the first time— specifically required high school students to “analyze and evaluate” the evidence for major evolutionary concepts such as common ancestry, natural selection, and mutations.

The new science standards mark a significant victory for scientists and educators in favor of teaching the scientific evidence for and against evolution.
This is only a victory if you redefine things. The stripping of the "strengths and weaknesses" language was a blow because it related directly to evolution. Inclusion of the language to critique and evaluate "all sides of scientific evidence" is almost meaningless because that is what scientists do every day. What the article states later on is particularly two-faced though:
“Texas now has the most progressive science standards on evolution in the entire nation,” said Dr. John West, Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute. “Contrary to the claims of the evolution lobby, absolutely nothing the Board did promotes ‘creationism’ or religion in the classroom. Groups that assert otherwise are lying, plain and simple. Like the boy who cried ‘Wolf,’ the Darwin only lobby [sic] always screams ‘creationism!’ anytime educators or policymakers try to ensure a fair presentation of the scientific evidence both for and against evolution. Let’s be absolutely clear: Under the new standards, students will be expected to analyze and evaluate the scientific evidence for evolution, not religion. Period.”
The Discovery Institute was heavily involved in these hearings, just as they were heavily involved in the Dover trial in Pennsylvania in 2005, when they tried to bring in the blatantly creationist book Of Pandas and People. Can anybody say "cdesign proponentsists?" Amazing.

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