Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Creationism Beaten Back in Texas

A bit of good news out of Texas, where the State Board of Education voted to accept a list of supplemental science materials that did not accept any creationist nonsense.

Today the State Board of Education voted to adopt the Texas education commissioner’s recommended list of science instructional materials. Special interest groups and activists off the state board failed in their efforts to force publishers to change their instructional materials to include arguments against evolutionary science. In addition, the board voted unanimously to reject the adoption of instructional materials from a New Mexico-based vendor that promoted “intelligent design”/creationism.


  1. #1 David
    July 28, 2011

    On July 21, Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott recommended nine
    high school biology options, but none include intelligent design or creationism.

    Still, I wonder how many students in schools, colleges and universities would say they have the academic freedom to critique evolution in their science classes? There should be school district and state polls of high-school and college/university students studying evolution, asking two questions:

    In this class: a) Is evolution taught as fact, theory, or both fact and theory?
    b) Do you have the academic freedom to critique evolution? (Students
    should answer anonymously.) The same questions should be asked of their

    For a partial list of questions that could be used by teachers and students to critically examine and evaluate evolution, see the article Evolution: The Creation Myth of Our Culture at


    For more info:



    From the August 15, 2005 edition of TIME magazine:

    Evolution Wars.


    Richard Dawkins: “Creationists are fond of saying that there are very few
    fossils in the Precambrian, but why would there be? asks Dawkins.
    “However, if there was a single hippo or rabbit in the Precambrian, that
    would completely blow evolution out of the water. None have ever been


    Palaeontologists still haven’t found a hippo or rabbit fossil in thePrecambrian, but they _have_ found pollen, spores, angiosperms, gymnosperms, and at least one winged insect:


    How do geologists and paleontologists explain microfossils of pollen, spores, angiosperms, gymnosperms, and at least one winged insect, in Eocambrian (Upper Precambrian) rock?

    “Pollen Paradox” by Emil Silvestru and Carl Wieland

    “The discovery of pollen and spores in beds considered Precambrian (Proterozoic) has received brief notice in geological journals and the press.” (Stainforth, R. M., “Occurance of Pollen and Spores in the Roraima Formation of Venezuela and British Guiana”, Nature, 1966, 210, pp. 292-296.)

    “The great majority are undeterminable as to genus and species, being mainly shreds of angiosperm wood, but there are also gymnosperm tracheids with large round bordered pits, and at least one good, winged, six-legged insect with compound eyes.” (Sahni, B., “Age of the Saline Series in the Salt Range of the Punjab”, Nature, 1944, 153, p. 462.)

    To Sahni, this meant the Salt Range Formation must be Eocene. He later found plant fragments not only in the kallar (thin layers of saline earth) but in associated solid rock layers composed of dolomite and shale. In his report, Sahni (1945, p. x) said “stringent precautions” were taken to prevent contamination of the samples with modern organic remains. He also emphasized that samples were taken from locations where the geological evidence ruled out intrusion from younger strata.

    Although modern geological reports acknowledge overthrusts in the Salt Range, they unanimously declare the Salt Range Formation to be Eocambrian, not Eocene. (Yeats et al. 1984, Butler et al. 1987, Jauné and Lillie 1988, Baker et al. 1988, Pennock et al. 1989, McDougall and Khan 1990).

    McDougall, J. W., and Khan, S. H., 1990, Strike-slip faulting in a foreland fold-thrust belt: The Kalabagh Fault and Western Salt Range, Pakistan: Tectonics, v. 9, pp. 1061-1075.

    Eocene: dated from about 56 to 34 million years ago
    Eocambrian (Upper Precambrian): dated from about 1.6 billion to 600 million years ago


    So is Dawkins going to announce that these discoveries completely blow
    evolution out of the water? If not, why not?