Evolution debate again engulfs Texas board

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The long-simmering battle over teaching evolution in Texas boiled over at a late-night meeting, as the Board of Education extended preliminary approval of new science books for use in classrooms across the state but held up one biology text because of alleged factual errors.

With midnight looming, some of the state education board members singled out a textbook by Pearson Education, one of America's largest publishers, on Thursday. Many of the 20 concerns pertained to the theory of evolution. After a lengthy debate that got testy at times, the board voted to have three of its members pick a trio of outside experts to further scrutinize the book.

If the issues can be resolved, it will win approval. But if not, it will be returned to the board for consideration at its January meeting.

Textbook and classroom curriculum battles have long raged in Texas pitting creationists – those who see God's hand in the creation of the universe – against academics who worry about religious and political ideology trumping scientific fact. At issue this time are proposed high school textbooks that could be used statewide starting next school year and through 2022 at least.

Written By: Will Weissert
continue to source article at kctv5.com

33 COMMENTS

  1. Religious people seem not to understand what it really is they are trying to do. How about since they supposedly are all for teaching all creation “theories” then in genesis we should add evolution.

  2. These delusional numbnuts never seem to tire of the futility of their stupidity, do they? If the reality of evolution was a brick that had just hit them in the head, they’d sit there, rubbing their bruises, and say, “looked like a brick…felt like a brick…but it jist cain’t be a brick cuz there ain’t no such thing as a brick!” And then they’d get up and go on pounding their heads against a brick wall.

  3. what creationists miss is the irony of their self defeating argument.

    they demand a biblical account is taught in biology class, or any class that impacts biology because the bible is the word of god so must be true, and if people started to understand their own origin they’d stop believing in god.

    yet they don’t mind too much about other aspects of science being taught that bring the bible into question (heliocentricity for example) as presumibly, those aspects aren’t a risk to religious belief. This is understandble because most religious belief is tied up with people’s sense of self so being told you’re not a special living thing has a greater impact than being told the solar system is not a special arrangement of matter.

    So we have to ask. do they have a problem with teaching classes that contradict the biblical truth? in which case, get back to geocentric astronomy and pi=3 regardless of what you can observe, or do they only have a problem with students questioning their religious beliefs? in which case, accept the bible is wrong and the questioning of religious beliefs in the face of reality is inevitable.

    • In reply to #8 by SaganTheCat:

      what creationists miss is the irony of their self defeating argument.

      The creationists have singled out biology, but if the bible were true, most of science would not work. For example, if the earth were only 6000 years old, then radio-active dating does not work. That means our theories of radio-active decay are void. That means our nuclear reactors do not work. If the bible were true, the earth would be flat. Satellite communication could not work. If the Noah’s ark story were correct, then the number of species on earth must be very small compared with the observed estimate, (or of course there was an explosion of evolution and speciation in the last 6000 years). If the bible were correct on the earth’s age, then God must have cunningly constructed the sediments and fossils to make it look much older. Yet God is reputed to be truthful, not a trickster. Who are you to refuse to believe what God obviously wants you to? If Noah’s story were true, we would see the population collapse in the DNA diversity just afterward. We don’t. Therefore our theories of how DNA works must be totally wrong. The creationists offer no alternative theories.

      I think you could go on and on and show how no modern science would work if the bible were true, which is a quite different question from is there a god.

      I read once of a man who asked the captain of his ship if navigation would work if the world were flat. The captain assured it would not possibly. He dropped his Christianity on the spot. He was was trusting the captain with his life. He had to believe him.

      • In reply to #10 by Roedy:

        If the Noah’s ark story were correct, then the number of species on earth must be very small compared with the observed estimate, (or of course there was an explosion of evolution and speciation in the last 6000 years).

        Have you watched the trailer for Darren Aronofsky’s Noah with Russell Crowe?

        I do wonder how he’ll explain, illustrate andor justify kangaroos, penguins and blue whales on the Ark.

    • In reply to #8 by SaganTheCat: Actually, heliocentricity, flat Earth, global warming/climate change, sexual reproduction, etc., are all part of their agenda. Evo is just the tip of the iceberg.

      what creationists miss is the irony of their self defeating argument.

      they demand a biblical account is taught in biology class, or any class that impacts biology because the bible is the word of god so must be true, and if people started to understand their own origin they’d stop believing in god….

  4. They voiced questions about the book’s assertions on natural selection, noting that the theory of evolution is only part of the explanation for how life developed on Earth.

    Presumably the text book company does not care one way or the other. They just want to sell their books to the most states. If the text book company is putting out accurate text books, that suggests states other than Texas are giving up on teaching creationism.

  5. “..those who see God’s hand in the creation of the universe..”

    Except they DON’T see it. What they think they’re ‘seeing’ can be explained, they just don’t want to listen.

    • In reply to #13 by rod-the-farmer:

      I like to ask them what year was the Cambrian Explosion……?
      My wife and I took a Working Boat cruise in the Inland Passage of BC in 2007 to celebrate an anniversary. There were 12 passengers on board, 2 of whom were a Seventh Day Adventist pastor and his wife. On their way to Campbell River they had stopped off at the Burgess Shale site in BC, to see where “Satan had deposited all the fossils” . We shared a table with them in the boat’s dining room for the first meal only. I made my worldview known to them in no uncertain terms and it was they who requested another table, not us. We had no trouble with the couple who replaced them – they thought like we did !

  6. 50 years ago today, a numbskull shot another man with a rifle in Dallas. Now the Texas Board of Education attempt a far more heinous crime of trying to subvert science education in the world’s most scientifically advanced country.

    • In reply to #15 by Nitya:

      Pity the textbooks can’t go one step further and declare ID to be wrong! That would be considered unfair and disrespectful I suspect.

      ID is intelligently designed to be irrefutable. At best it can be shown to be unnecessary and to add nothing to our knowledge; but as random mutations have no visible cause, you can’t prove they are not under the control of the supernatural. You can, however, point and laugh.

  7. “What Texas decides is important nationally because the state is so large that many books prepared for publication there also are marketed elsewhere around the country.”

    There lies the problem.

    • In reply to #18 by Lilium:

      “What Texas decides is important nationally because the state is so large that many books prepared for publication there also are marketed elsewhere around the country.”

      There lies the problem.

      Fortunately, in this case the books are already being used in the rest of the country.

      • In reply to #19 by Quine:

        Fortunately, in this case the books are already being used in the rest of the country.

        Why yes, now that you mention it. Their whole Thomas Jefferson revisionism is like a bad episode of “What Not To Wear” in reverse.

  8. “After a lengthy debate that got testy at times, the board voted to have three of its members pick a trio of outside experts to further scrutinize the book.”

    So for religious reasons, unqualified members of the board want to turn over their decision making power over to people who are qualified.
    What other result do they expect given that 97% of scientists are atheists who won’t approve a religiously inspired non-science science textbook?

    Why not just make having some scientific qualification as a requirement to be on the board? You’d get the same outcome but without making your state look ridiculous.

    • In reply to #22 by Quine:

      VICTORY!!

      “Despite the last-minute controversies manufactured by creationists and climate change deniers,” Rosenau remarked, “it’s clear that this is a victory for science education in Texas.” He credited the victory to the Texas Freedom Network, Texas Citizens for Science, NCSE members and allies in Texas, and the various scientific, scholarly, and education societies that urged the board to adopt the textbooks. Rosenau added that special credit was due to the publishers who refused to compromise their integrity of their textbooks to satisfy unscientifically warranted demands.

      I think this last bit on your link sums it up nicely!

  9. By ‘Crazy Glue’ on a Yahoo story about same subject as this article: LYFAO!

    Texas Outlaws Practice Of Evolution
    AUSTIN, TX—In response to a (another) recent referendum, Texas lawmakers passed emergency legislation outlawing evolution, the highly controversial process responsible for the development and diversity of species and the continued survival of all life.
    “From now on, the streets, forests, plains, and rivers of Texas will be safe from the godless practice of evolution, and species will be able to procreate without deviating from God’s intended design,” said Bob Bethell, a member of the state House of Representatives. “This is about protecting the integrity of all creation.”
    The sweeping new law prohibits all living beings within state borders from being born with random genetic mutations that could make them better suited to evade predators, secure a mate, or, adapt to a changing environment. In addition, it bars any sexual reproduction, battles for survival, or instances of pure happenstance that might lead, after several generations, to a more well-adapted species or subspecies.
    Violators of the new law may face punishments that include jail time, stiff fines, and rehabilitative education and training to rid organisms suspected of evolutionary tendencies. Repeat offenders could face chemical sterilization.
    To enforce the law, Texas state police will be trained to investigate and apprehend organisms who exhibit suspected signs of evolutionary behavior, such as natural selection or speciation. Plans are underway to track and monitor DNA strands in every Texan life form for even the slightest change in allele frequencies.
    “Barn swallows that develop lighter, more streamlined builds to enable faster migration, for example, could live out the rest of their brief lives in prison,” said Texas A & M chemist and pro-intelligent-design author Robert Hellenbaum, who helped compose the language of the law. “And butterflies that mimic the wing patterns and colors of other butterflies for an adaptive advantage, well, their days of flouting God’s will are over.”
    Human beings may be the species most deeply affected by the new legislation. Those whose cytochrome-c molecules vary less than 2 percent from those of chimpanzees will be in direct violation of the law.
    Under particular scrutiny are single-cell microorganisms, with thousands of field labs being installed across the state to ensure that these self-replicating molecules, notorious for mutation, do not do so in a fashion benefitting their long-term survival.
    Anti-evolutionists such as Hellenbaum have long accused microorganisms of popularizing “an otherwise obscure, agonizingly slow, and hard-to-understand” biological process. “These repeat offenders are at the root of the problem,” Hellenbaum said. “We have the fossil records to prove it.”
    “No species is exempt,” said Marcus Holloway, a state police spokesman. “Whether you’re a human being or a fruit fly—if we detect one homologous chromosome trying to cross over during the process of meiosis, you will be punished to the full extent of the law.”
    Although the full impact of the new law will likely not be felt for approximately 10 million years, most Texans say they are relieved that the ban went into effect this week, claiming that evolution may have gone too far already.
    “If Earth’s species were meant to change over successive generations through physical modifications resulting from the adaptation to environmental challenges, then God would have given them the genetic predisposition to select mates and reproduce based on their favorable heritable traits and their ability to thrive under changing conditions so that these advantageous qualities would be passed down and eventually encoded into the DNA of each generation of offspring,” Austin public school teacher and creationist Joyce Eckhardt said. “It’s just not natural.”
    Some warn that the strict wording of the law could have a deleterious effect on Texas’ mostly agricultural economy, since it also prohibits all forms of man-made artificial selection, such as plant hybridization, genetic engineering, and animal husbandry. A police raid on an alleged artificial-insemination facility outside Dallas, TX on Friday resulted in the arrest of a farmer, a veterinarian, four assistants, one bull, and several dozen cows.
    Agribusiness leaders, who rely on evolution science to genetically modify crops, have voiced concerns about doing business with Texas farmers.
    “If Texans want to ban evolution, that is their right, but they must understand that we rely on a certain flexibility in the natural order of things to be able to deliver healthy food products to millions of Americans,” said Carl Casale, a vice president with the agricultural giant Monsanto. “We’re not talking about playing God here. We are talking about succeeding in the competitive veggie-burger market.”

  10. It would appear that evolution will be an ongoing battle for Texas board of governors as long as they have a religious aspect to it. Judging by they state of Texas, this will be a long time.

    • In reply to #28 by Stafford Gordon:

      I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Texans haven’t yet decided whether or not our solar system is heliocentric.

      There are some. I have tangled with them on other sites.

    • In reply to #30 by Stafford Gordon:

      In reply to Quine # 28.

      You are pulling my leg! Despite what I said I must admit to being somewhat surprised. After all, the clue is in the name “Solar” System.

      http://www.positiveatheism.org/writ/flatearth.htm – The Flat-Earth Bible

      Except among Biblical inerrantists, it is generally agreed that the Bible describes an immovable earth. At the 1984 National Bible-Science Conference in Cleveland, geocentrist James N. Hanson told me there are hundreds of scriptures that suggest the earth is immovable. I suspect some must be a bit vague, but here are a few obvious texts:

      • I Chronicles 16:30: “He has fixed the earth firm, immovable.”
      • Psalm 93:1: “Thou hast fixed the earth immovable and firm…”
      • Psalm 96:10: “He has fixed the earth firm, immovable…”
      • Psalm 104:5: “Thou didst fix the earth on its foundation so that it never can be shaken.”
      • Isaiah 45:18: “…who made the earth and fashioned it, and himself fixed it fast…”

      On a slightly different tack: – There really is no limit on the ignorance, nuttery, and faith in their lunacy, by conspiracy theorists.

      The space agency didn’t just fake going to the Moon – they’ve been doing it ever since with the Shuttle – By Dick Kennedy, Space Conspiracy Editor. – The incredulity thinking processes look very familiar!

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