Creationist efforts to pull one of the nation’s best biology textbooks were crushed when the school board voted, 9 to 7, to keep using the book.
The South Carolina Education Board approved a biology textbook Wednesday for public schools, despite questions from critics worried about how the book teaches evolution.
The board voted 9-7 to approve the textbook’s latest edition, which can be used in ninth- and tenth-grade biology classrooms. Science teachers from across the state erupted in applause after the vote.
This means that there are seven members of the SCEB that need to be shown the door at the next available election cycle.
Board member Charles McKinney argued the origin of life is an incomplete mystery and thinks the book presents evolution as fact rather than theory.
He asked the board to “carefully weigh the impact that distorted science opinion presented as scientific truth in adopted text will have upon youth.” He said evolution was used by Nazi Germany and other totalitarian states as an excuse to kill millions of people.
“I need to assure that neo-Darwinism is not allowed to project lies that could once again allow the emergence of social Darwinism,” McKinney said.
The former teacher said teaching evolution doesn’t bother him, as long as students are taught it’s an incomplete science. He said he realizes creationism can’t be taught, because the courts have ruled against it.
It is important to remember, however, that the creationists have actually gotten what they wanted. You would have to believe that creationists, creation scientists, and intelligent design proponents are total morons to believe that this sort of intrusion into the education system could actually cause the removal of a mainstream textbook. But what did happen is that an entire season of school board meetings and public involvement in education in South Carolina was hijacked by this absurd debate. This seems to be the new creationist strategy: Disrupt.
“It’s almost shameful to me that we’re spending so much time questioning whether evolution should be taught in school in 2008,” said board member Trip DuBard of Florence. “I thought we were beyond that. If you can’t support teaching science to kids, something else is going on.”
Several board members called it embarrassing that so many science specialists had to come to the meeting to defend a textbook. They also argued that rejecting the book would send a message to teachers that their expertise isn’t wanted. The textbook was given top ratings last year by a panel of 11 South Carolina teachers.
In South Carolina, the state pays for textbooks and the state Education Board approves which can be used in classrooms after a panel review.