Teaching creationism in Texas public schools may become illegal next year.Texas has always been a battleground state for evolution, but great strides have been made in recent years, first with the ousting of Don McLeroy, a strident creationist who famously said “I disagree with these experts. Someone has got to stand up to experts.” McLeroy, if you will recall, was a dentist. Kopplin is, in my view, being overly optimistic. They will never go gently into that good night. They will rage, rage, against the dying of the light (apologies to Dylan Thomas). He continues:
In September, a group of educators chosen by the Texas Education Agency to streamline the state’s science curriculum standards removed portions of four passages that contained creationist language. The new standards must still be approved by the Texas State Board of Education where creationists are fighting to reverse the changes. The board members, unlike the education agency staff, are elected officials. That means the fate of creationism in Texas could be determined on Election Day.
If the decision stands, it would be a major blow to political creationism and the first time in a decade for any state’s creationism policy to be overturned.
The final vote on the new standards will take place next spring and control of the 15 member board is narrowly split 6-6 between moderates and religious conservatives, with 3 more Republican board members acting as swing voters. If the vote were held today, it’s probable the new standards would be approved. But after the election, the vote becomes less clear.Creationism tends to reappear in continuous fashion, because so much of the populace supports it and the legislators (many of whom have sympathies in this direction) fell compelled to support their constituencies. If the standards get voted out this election cycle, they will be back for the next one.