Pharyngula

Texas confuses me

I was premature in mentioning the good news from the Texas hearings: the situation is much messier than I thought. The ‘strengths and weaknesses’ amendment lost on points, but the creationists responded with a flurry of new amendments to various pieces of the science standards — most of them look like very nit-picky changes in wording that have deep meaning to creationists, I assume. Science wasn’t murdered by the Texas board, but is only being wounded and made to suffer the torture of a thousand cuts.


The Texas Freedom Network has released a summary statement.

The word “weaknesses” no longer appears in the science standards. But the document still has plenty of potential footholds for creationist attacks on evolution to make their way into Texas classrooms.

Through a series of contradictory and convoluted amendments, the board crafted a road map that creationists will use to pressure publishers into putting phony arguments attacking established science into textbooks.

We appreciate that the politicians on the board seek compromise, but don’t agree that compromises can be made on established mainstream science or on honest education policy.

What’s truly unfortunate is that we now have to revisit this entire debate in two years when new science textbooks are adopted. Perhaps the Texas legislature can do something to prevent that.

I am no longer confused, just unhappy.

Comments

  1. #1 minusRusty
    March 27, 2009

    Geo. W. Bush was governor of Texas.

    That should pretty much explain everything.

  2. #2 Tulse
    March 27, 2009

    most of them look like very nit-picky changes in wording that have deep meaning to creationists, I assume

    And this is what confuses me, since presumably the real issue is what meaning they have to a court of law. Why bother sneaking in coded phrases if teaching ID or creationism will still be illegal?

  3. #3 Chad
    March 27, 2009

    Those nit-picky changes will set them up for the next time the creationist movement attempts to do this. If you keep chiseling away at the pillar of science, it will fall.

  4. #4 AdjacentOrigin
    March 27, 2009

    Perhaps Texas should secede from the United States, along with all the other Bible Belt states. Nah, I’m just kidding but this is disturbing.

  5. #5 Glen Davidson
    March 27, 2009

    There won’t be any real triumph of science over superstition for years in Texas, if ever.

    The best we can do is try to keep the woo sanctioned by the McLeroys of this world to a minimum, and try to convince teachers not to put lies into their classes. Fortunately, the “strengths and weaknesses” language of the past wasn’t used too much by teachers.

    It could be worse in the future, though, because the DI has their slimy fingers in there. They don’t have much else going on, either (somehow the research possibilities for ID don’t draw their attention), and have been shitting all over the process.

    Don’t expect them to let up.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  6. #6 Joe Lapp
    March 27, 2009

    Science is being murdered in Texas. Science teachers are now required to teach “ALL SIDES.”

    The SBOE just added the following: “In all fields of science, analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing, including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations so as to encourage critical thinking by the student.”

    I don’t think the “scientific” constraint is going to help.

  7. #7 a
    March 27, 2009

    While some of the changes appear to be cosmetic, in order to make them read better, it’s disturbing to see just how many are badly disguised attempts at inserting creationism into schools. How the fuck can they be even remotely be called a ‘Board of Education’?

  8. #8 LeeLeeOne
    March 27, 2009

    Ignorance is one thing, but willful ignorance is reprehensible.

  9. #9 Matt
    March 27, 2009

    You can clearly see that these individuals have an agenda. This is one laughable Board of Education, what with their interpretive warning to slowly but surely introduce religious-based nonsense into science classrooms. Considering that the Governor of Texas is a religious nutjob, I can see why this is happening.

  10. #10 Evolving Squid
    March 27, 2009

    An “all sides” amendment can be a two-edged sword as I see it.

    Imagine that such an amendment passes. In a science class shortly thereafter, little Bobby brings home some homework that discusses the creationist “side” of evolution and the origin of the universe.

    Bobby’s parents complain to the school that this is not science.

    The school sites the all sides amendment.

    Bobby’s parents take it to court. There the creotards have to demonstrate that their creationist crap is, in fact, science equivalent to the ToE etc., which they won’t be able to do. The Dover decision will be case law or at least a powerful legal reference for that. The creotards will be legally slapped down, and slapped down hard. Anyone on the school board who supports the creationist side will be slapped too, by the court and by the voters come election time.

  11. #11 raven
    March 27, 2009

    What is so confusing? The Texas Taliban are simply using children as human shields and as a battleground for their silly culture war. It could be worse. The Afghani Taliban used real bullets as well as religious lunacy and lies.

    The real problem is much deeper than the SBOE or McLeroy or the woman who thinks Jeffrey Dahmer is a moral authority. Someone elects these clowns to their positions. Like a slight majority of the Texas voters.

    The christofascists are Nihilists who can only destroy. We might have to wait until they have driven Texas into the ground and people wake up. The signs are all there that they are well on the way. Child poverty and teen age pregnancy are all way higher than the national average and going up. This was the undoing of the Bush administration. After their destruction of the US economy and piles of bodies in a pointeless war in Iraq, most people were sick and tired of them.

    And hi tech companies are reluctant to set up in anti science and high ignorance areas. They need educated, intelligent workers, not strong backs with weak minds.

  12. #12 Walton
    March 27, 2009

    The Dover decision will be case law or at least a powerful legal reference for that.

    It’s a first instance decision, so it isn’t a binding precedent. But it certainly would be persuasive, given the thoroughness of the reasoning.

  13. #13 dean
    March 27, 2009

    For how long, and how many times, can the same folks on the BOE continue to propose these things before even the most dense citizen catches on to the real agenda?

  14. #14 Nangleator
    March 27, 2009

    I have to think that the Flying Spaghetti Monster tactic is the right way to fight this. If the fundies know that when they crack the door open enough to let Creationism in, a whole host of other wacko theories will pour in, as well.

    I’m particularly fond of the idea of creating a ‘scientific’ creation theory that demonstrates that the creator is evil and needs to be ignored. And another theory that proves that the creator intended for us all to be homosexual and communist.

    When biology teachers have to mention hundreds of creation theories in each and every class, I’d think the creotards would be scrambling to get science back into the curriculum.

  15. #15 Jeri
    March 27, 2009

    There are many folks in Texas fighting hard for sticking to the excellent standards as revised by the science writing committee. We sat, infuriated, as Mrs. Arlington/Mrs. Texas (honestly!) said she was never exposed to weaknesses in evolution until one college biology teacher mentioned “irreducible complexity.” We even listened to two creationist lawyers threaten lawsuits if the Board didn’t approve the “strengths and weaknesses” language. The Bible Belt pulled out all its stops on this fight, and made some partial inroads; the Board approved an amendment questioning the true age of the earth….

  16. #16 Ed Darrell
    March 27, 2009

    There’s a lesson here: Villainy never sleeps.

    I do like that one amendment questions the very basic parts of common descent. In short, the SBOE is saying there is no way to say we aren’t all bastards. Certainly they are trying to live up to that claim.

  17. #17 Alverant
    March 27, 2009

    You have to wonder how the IDiots would react if you were as critical and nitpicky with their book of fairy tales as they are about scientific facts. Oh wait, we do know. They whine and throw temper tantrums.

  18. #18 raven
    March 27, 2009

    The Bible Belt pulled out all its stops on this fight, and made some partial inroads; the Board approved an amendment questioning the true age of the earth….

    WOW!!! Is that silly or what? It was known centuries ago that the earth is very old. The mountain of evidence is overwhelming. And Texas makes its money from pumping fossil fuels between 90 million and 200 million years old.

    The Texas Taliban is just plain nuts.

  19. #19 Cerevox
    March 27, 2009

    Texas isn;t confusing, it is very simple. I live here, and though i was a kid when IT happened, i will do my best to explain. Basically, IT happened about 15 years ago, and what happened was…

    There was this small group of people, no one ever heard about them, and they did a average job, not good, not bad. The total amount of money spent on thier election campaigns was in the triple digits. They had a voter turnout of maybe 1% if they were lucky and it was a nice day. They were called the Texas State Board of Education.

    But then, one day, someone did hear of them. It was a right-wing fundamentalist christian. And he saw just how much power this little group had. And he got his buddys together, and they mobilized thier loon army, and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on thier campaigns. And totally conquered the entire board. Since then the sane people of Texas have been trying to dig them out, while the fundies fight to keep them there.

    And that, my friends, is the story of the fall of the Texas State Board of Education.

  20. #20 Josh
    March 27, 2009

    Nahhh, Raven. You misunderstand completely. All of that oil, as I’ve just recently been informed, comes from all of the world’s vegetation, which was uprooted and combined into giant mats and then buried by receding waters during the flud. This is where the oil comes from. The vegetation cooked into oil within a hundred years or so, depending on how deep it was buried.

  21. #21 Shaden Freud
    March 27, 2009

    We are building a religion
    We are building it bigger
    We are widening the corridors
    And adding more lanes

    We are building a religion
    A limited edition
    We are now accepting callers
    For these pendant key chains

    To resist it is useless
    It is useless to resist it
    His cigarette is burning
    But he never seems to ash

    He is grooming his poodle
    He is living comfort eagle
    You can meet at his location
    But you’d better come with cash

    Cake, “Comfort Eagle”

  22. #22 D. C. Sessions
    March 27, 2009

    As long as they’re throwing “but this isn’t a fact” stuff at every section, why should evolutionary biology be special?

    I mean, the Newtonian gravity is only a theory. Likewise the whole “sex causes babies” and “you can get an STD from these activities” and my favorite, “automobile handling is limited by friction.”

    As long as wishful thinking is being taught in science class, let’s apply it with a REALLY broad brush.

  23. #23 raven
    March 27, 2009

    Nahhh, Raven. You misunderstand completely. All of that oil, as I’ve just recently been informed, comes from all of the world’s vegetation, which was uprooted and combined into giant mats and then buried by receding waters during the flud. This is where the oil comes from. The vegetation cooked into oil within a hundred years or so, depending on how deep it was buried.

    Are you sure? I thought god put those oil reservoirs there for our use. And when no one is looking, he runs around filling them up again. We will never run out of oil, so it is said.

    So why did god put most of the oil deposits in the middle east in moslem lands? Bad planning there.

  24. #24 goldrush
    March 27, 2009

    I’m rather confused about the current situation? Are these changes final? When do they set the final standards?

  25. #25 AlanWCan
    March 27, 2009

    Fuck it’s like playing whackamole

  26. #26 Joe Lapp
    March 27, 2009

    AN IMPORTANT WIN IN TEXAS. The following McLeroy amendment was just stricken:

    7(B) “Analyze and evaluate the sufficiency or insufficiency of common descent to explain the sudden appearance, stasis and segmented nature of the fossil record.”

    There are many more to strike, but the two biggies follow:

    8(A) “evaluate a variety of fossil types, proposed transitional fossils, fossil lineages, and significant fossil deposits and assess the arguments for and against universal common descent in light of this evidence”

    7(G) “analyze and evaluate the sufficiency or insufficiency of natural selection to explain the complexity of the cell.”

  27. #27 Tony Whitson
    March 27, 2009

    GOOD NEWS !! FOR REAL !! (at last)

    The Board has finally voted to strike the first of McLeroy’s creationist amendments — one that was passed in the January meeting. The vote was 8-5, and it looks like that will be the lineup for removing other creationist amendments as well.

    McLeroy gave two impassioned (and quite remarkable) speeches before the vote. It sounded like he new when he started that his amendments were going to be taken out. If there was any doubt, however, I think his speeches made it clear to everybody what their votes really were about — so he didn’t fool anybody this time, like he did before.

    When the dust settles, I will post audio files of those two speeches. They will be linked from

    http://curricublog.wordpress.com/2009/03/27/mcleroys-impassioned-plea/

  28. #28 James F
    March 27, 2009

    Ugh, I forgot about 8(A), I thought we were done with questioning common descent. This is an excellent start, however; if the eight pro-science board members stand firm, it’s a done deal.

  29. #29 Joe Lapp
    March 27, 2009

    Ugh! They just added a variation of 7(B) back in! Now we have:

    “analyze and evaluate scientific explanations concerning any data on sudden appearance and stasis and the sequential groups in the fossil record”

    They struck “sufficiency or insufficiency” from the original 7(B). I guess if teachers stick with science, they’ll be debunking creationism.

  30. #30 Zifnab
    March 27, 2009

    For how long, and how many times, can the same folks on the BOE continue to propose these things before even the most dense citizen catches on to the real agenda?

    No one is blind to the agenda. You’ve just got a lot of fence-sitters and a lot of people trying not to make waves. So when someone throws a tantrum demanding a change from “Evolution does work” to “Evolution might work”, it’s easier to just wave your hands and let it pass. At the end of the day, you’re still dissecting the same rat and learning about the same tibia and observing the same Kreb’s Cycle so it’s not worth the BoE’s time to make it a fight.

    That’s why so much of this is warmed over bullshit. The wackos at the top can’t press through the truly bizarre garbage, but they can change a word here and a word there and go back home to tell their church groups how they Saved America! And the rest of the BoE can go back to budget requests and administrative paperwork.

    It’s a game of stamina with these people. How long do they have to bitch at you and whine at you and letter bomb you and hold things against you at the local country club until you finally toss up your hands and let them stick Jesus’s face on the biology textbook?

  31. #31 10channel
    March 27, 2009

    @#9 Matt
    “Considering that the Governor of Texas is a religious nutjob, I can see why this is happening.”

    Well, hopefully something will shake them into sense. Their problem is not that they do not subscribe to evolution, but rather that they have an agenda to push, rather than attempt to do what is best for truth.

  32. #32 Tony Whitson
    March 27, 2009

    In #27 I wrote

    The vote was 8-5.

    That should have been 8-7 (that was just a typo).

    Since then, though, there’s been the reinsertion of a modified version, as Joe reports in #29.

  33. #33 Josh
    March 27, 2009

    So why did god put most of the oil deposits in the middle east in moslem lands? Bad planning there.

    No, I think it was good planning. We’re supposed to go kill people there, you see. Something about endtimes bullshit.

  34. #34 Tony Whitson
    March 27, 2009

    7(g) [see #26] was removed 8-7.

    then they added (13-2) a revised version 7(G) “analyze and evaluate scientific explanations concerning the complexity of the cell.”

  35. #35 Sperry
    March 27, 2009

    For those of us who haven’t been following the situation as closely, how binding are these proceedings? Is this the sort of board meeting we can expect every year?

  36. #36 Tony Whitson
    March 27, 2009

    #35:

    For those of us who haven’t been following the situation as closely, how binding are these proceedings? Is this the sort of board meeting we can expect every year?

    They do this every ten years. The main impact will be in 2 or 3 years when Texas adopts science textbooks.

    In the interim, these standards can be appealed to as a mandate or as a cover for instruction in classrooms, although they might not have a great impact on what teachers do in their classrooms.

  37. #37 Joe Lapp
    March 27, 2009

    Sperry — They are deciding what students will be tested on for the next 10 years. They are deciding what textbook publishers will be required to put in textbooks that schools can use Texas money to buy. They will evaluate textbooks for conformance in 2011.

  38. #38 Tony Whitson
    March 27, 2009

    Joe, What happened to 8(a) (see #26)?

    I didn’t hear a motion to strike that.

  39. #39 Joe Lapp
    March 27, 2009

    Sorry Tony. 8(A) is in Earth and Space Sciences. They’ll get to it. I should have been clearer.

  40. #40 Tony Whitson
    March 27, 2009

    Here’s the summary by Dr. Steve Schafersman, President of Texas Citizens for Science, who is blogging live at
    http://www.chron.com/commons/readerblogs/evosphere.html?plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3af12fd84e-253f-46cf-9408-ee579f9a3a0bPost%3a31f6c3f6-9102-41de-835c-694f920c51db&plckCommentSortOrder=TimeStampAscending

    Rule 3A and the three poorly-written Biology amendments will be used by Intelligent Design Creationists in 2011 to attack the Biology textbooks and attempt to insert IDC pseudoscience into the texts. A complete victory for us would be to have rule 3A remain the same and the three bad Biology amendments striken, but we accomplished none of those. Rule 3A was revised and the two worst Biology amendments were revised. One Biology amendment–the least eggregious–was passed as originally written by Terri Leo. I think good Biology textbook authors and publishers can used these new amendments to put even more information about evolution in their texts, and I hope they do. Of course they will be attacked during the Texas adoption process, but they would be anyway no matter what the standards read.

    The other thing to remember is that there should be some SBOE seats up for election before then, so that (along with possible legislative remedies) provides opportunities for affecting what the Board will do on textbooks.

  41. #41 raven
    March 27, 2009

    In the real world, I’m not sure how much anything the SBOE does matters. From what I’ve heard, something like half of all Texas secondary schools just teach creationism or ignore evolution entirely. True in many other states as well, Arkansas is notorious for this.

    OT but funny.

    Bachmann Blasts Obama’s “Economic Marxism,” Calls For “Orderly Revolution” To Save Freedom TPM Election Central ? Fri Mar 27, 9:01 am EDT

    Bachmann is PZ Myer’s representative. Her last great achievement was calling for a witch hunt of “anti-American” congresspeople. One of those on her list of commies was….a senator from Illinois who is now the president.

    Just how fruitbat crazy does someone have to be to get thrown out of office in Minnesota? Certainly no lower limit in sight. LOL

  42. #42 Fatboy
    March 27, 2009
    For how long, and how many times, can the same folks on the BOE continue to propose these things before even the most dense citizen catches on to the real agenda?

    No one is blind to the agenda. You’ve just got a lot of fence-sitters and a lot of people trying not to make waves.

    I’d say it’s worse than that, in that many people are completely aware of the agenda and support it at the same time.

    (I’m not trying to be too hard on Texas, here. I think it’s largely the same in the rest of the country, but the creationists are just below the majority they need to push through their agenda. If around half the population accepts creationism, it only takes a slight difference to get one state supporting sound science and another state supporting creationism.)

  43. #43 Joe Lapp
    March 27, 2009

    IT’S OVER IN TEXAS. Final vote was passed. They are done with science.

    Here’s my assessment of what Texas did today. They are requiring that teachers bring up subjects that creationists love to bring up, but they are not requiring that teachers take the creationist stance on these subjects.

    They are encouraging mainstream science teachers to debunk creationism and creationist science teachers to teach creationism.

    Kind of a weird outcome. Textbook publishers could all take the mainstream side, so that textbooks all come with creationism-debunking built-in. This could work to our advantage.

    I listened online. Watch here for a final analysis:

    http://tfnblog.wordpress.com/

  44. #44 James F
    March 27, 2009

    #43

    Joe,

    From what I’ve read, it seems to me that the most egregious changes to the biology standards (“strengths and weaknesses,” questioning common descent, questioning natural selection with respect to complexity of the cell) were removed but there are still needless flaws, most glaringly one that apparently talks about “differing theories” of the age of the Earth/universe – ironically, the one big creationist claim that most of the DI folks leave alone. Would you agree? I will have to read the gory details later.

  45. #45 dean
    March 27, 2009

    “The wackos at the top can’t press through the truly bizarre garbage, but they can change a word here and a word there …”

    But isn’t the concern that these “word here and a word there” changes are cumulative? Eventually the substance of the science curriculum will be eroded.

  46. #46 Joe Lapp
    March 27, 2009

    A number of provocative requirements ended up in the final standards. For example:

    All sciences 3(A): “In all fields of science, analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing, including examining ALL SIDES of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations so as to encourage critical thinking by the student.” (My CAPS.)

    Biology 7(B): “analyze and evaluate scientific explanations concerning any data of sudden appearance, stasis, and the sequential nature of groups in the fossil record.”

    Biology 7(G): “analyze and evaluate scientific explanations concerning the complexity of the cell.”

    7(B) and 7(G) are improvements over what we had yesterday, but 3(A) is worse.

    There are others, especially in Earth and Space Sciences questioning the age of the Earth or how the Earth formed, but I’ll wait for NCSE or TFN to put them together.

  47. #47 Joe Lapp
    March 27, 2009

    I do think textbook publishers are in trouble. The Texas SBOE is also responsible for interpreting how the standards apply to textbooks.

    The SBOE will evaluate textbooks in 2011, but publishers will be trying to make sure their textbooks conform prior to that evaluation. The process starts now.

    Texas also has to revise the tests it administers to students. I don’t believe the SBOE is involved with designing those tests, but I hear that non-experts write those tests.

  48. #48 Bracken1
    March 27, 2009

    For the creationist neandertals on the Texas school board to be able to jerk the rest of the country around like this is absurd, but what is even more absurd is the willlingness of the text book publishers to be cowed by their insanity. If each of the publishing houses would simply grow a pair the “power” of the Texas decision would evaporate overnight.

  49. #49 Pascalle
    March 27, 2009

    I have an idea.

    Why not write a theory that the earth is only 150 years old?
    There is no one old enough to prove otherwise.

    and while we’re at it.. write in it, that civilistion in america was first, and they are still conquering primitive europe.

    Really.. that makes as much sense as saying the earth is 6000 years old, created by a sky daddy

  50. #50 tweetbirdie386sx
    March 27, 2009

    Look how dumb this guy is. Creationism doesn’t get much lower than that, folks. That is some top notch bottom of the barrel prime time creationism right there.

  51. #51 Keanus
    March 27, 2009

    All the hot air and political maneuvering over language in the standards, while important, have precious little bearing on what happens in the classroom. If the teacher is a creationist, and lots of them in Texas as well as elsewhere are, then they’ll do an end run around anything the text presents and give their own religious interpretation. In the long run we really need to work on proper teacher credentials, although even that won’t guarantee accurate science. Keep in mind those stray fundies who finesse a legitimate degree but proceed to ignore what they learned in taking it.

  52. #52 Joe Lapp
    March 27, 2009

    Keanus, you’re right that teachers will do whatever they want.

    But textbooks are a problem. We know from 2003 that textbook publishers will put whatever the SBOE wants into the books, just to get them sold.

    We could have HS biology textbooks promoting creationism very soon. The SBOE evaluates textbooks, and the publishers know this. They’ll do what’s expected.

  53. #53 tweetybirdie386sx
    March 27, 2009

    Don McLeroy’s new big gig is “stasis”. He says there “has to be an explanation”.

    And then in another video he talks about punctuated equilibrium. :D

    I will leave the reader to draw their own conclusions as to whether or not he is really really dumb and lame, or not.

  54. #54 Keanus
    March 27, 2009

    The SBOE historically makes the final decision on text book adoptions. But the actual review is done by an appointed committee, usually 15, drawn from teachers, supervisors, and administrators in school systems throughout the state. I’ve never heard of college faculty serving. The 15 members are typically drawn more or less at random from across the disciplines, so the 2011 committee, which I understand is scheduled to review biology texts, may include only one or two science teachers or curriculum specialists (and maybe none), with the balance drawn from Home Ec, PE, math, history, Spanish, etc.

    But never fear, Texas has a solution. Each committee member selects a group of “consultants” to assist them. For choosing the biology text that person will likely pick a half a dozen biology teachers to guide him/her decision on which books to recommend for adoption. Then after the committee has rendered its decision, the SBOE either approves or disapproves them. That approval is not a done deal in Texas.

    There is much more to the entire process, including public hearings on each text book in which anyone with an axe to grind?think creationists and the DI hacks, but also qualified college faculty?can testify for or against one or more texts. Any one can also file briefs for or against a particular text. In both the testimony and the briefs, the publisher is charged with replying orally or in writing. It’s a daunting process fraught with pitfalls and very expensive. I know. I’ve done it?several times during the ’60′s, 70′s and ’80′s. The process may have changed in the 20 years since then but I doubt it has changed much. It’s larded with too much political baggage as an opportunity for the religious right to push its views on the public.

  55. #55 386sx
    March 27, 2009

    That’s good to hear, Keanus. At any rate, I don’t see the people who make text books just lying down and putting a bunch of creationist crapola in their books as willingly as people seem to think they might.

  56. #56 Tony Whitson
    March 27, 2009

    The audio of Chairman Mc’s 2 speeches on Bio 7b (one on fossil evidence against evolution, the other on the evils of deference to the authority of experts) are now posted at

    https://tw-curricuwiki.wikispaces.com/TXSBOE_McLeroy%27s_%27%27Impassioned_Plea%27%27

    I think they both are quite remarkable.

  57. #57 Joe Lapp
    March 27, 2009

    Keanus, you know far more than I do about this process. Thanks for the info.

    386sx, I hope you’re right about the book publishers staying their hands. We caught one publisher making a deal with the creationists back in 2003 even prior to the final adoption vote, when it appeared that the creationists would get their way.

    Eugenie Scott, Executive Director of NCSE, has repeatedly said that publishers will do what the SBOE asks. However, she is also saying that modern publishing allows publishers to create just a Texas addition, unlike past years.

  58. #58 Joe Lapp
    March 27, 2009

    Oops. Make that “edition,” not “addition.” I have trouble with homophones.

  59. #59 raven
    March 28, 2009

    Eugenie Scott, Executive Director of NCSE, has repeatedly said that publishers will do what the SBOE asks. However, she is also saying that modern publishing allows publishers to create just a Texas addition, unlike past years.

    You have to remember that putting illegal creationism babble in a textbook rules out most of the rest of the USA. Texas and a few other states live in their own weird bubble land. Here on the WC, teachers caught teaching creationism can end up in big trouble. They can and have been outright fired, that case in Sisters Oregon.

    However, she is also saying that modern publishing allows publishers to create just a Texas addition, unlike past years.. That is what I guessed but wasn’t sure. This is the 21st century. Probably most textbooks are printed by robots, printed in China, or printed in China by robots. Should be easy to run off variant editions and if one publisher won’t, if there is money to be made another one will.

  60. #60 dave souza
    March 28, 2009

    On stasis….

    “Species of different genera and classes have not changed at the same rate, or in the same degree. In the oldest tertiary beds a few living shells may still be found in the midst of a multitude of extinct forms…. The Silurian Lingula differs but little from the living species of this genus; whereas most of the other Silurian Molluscs and all the Crustaceans have changed greatly…. Whether.. variability be taken advantage of by natural selection… depends on many complex contingencies… Hence it is by no means surprising that one species should retain the same identical form much longer than others”.

    Author – Charles Darwin, 1859

    http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?viewtype=text&itemID=F373&pageseq=331

    Lingula is apparently among the few brachiopods surviving today but also known from fossils over 500 million years old. Trust McLeroy will be glad to have that taught in Texas classrooms.

  61. #61 dave souza
    March 28, 2009

    correction to Darwin link: surplus ] seems to spoil it, here’s a working link:

    http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?viewtype=text&itemID=F373&pageseq=331

  62. #62 Keanus
    March 28, 2009

    Joe Lapp, #52, you’re right the “…textbook publishers will put whatever the SBOE wants into the books, just to get them sold.” The economic pressure is great. From when I was in text book publishing, the pressure on the editors (I was in charge of science texts for two different companies) was enormous. The field reps (mostly men but with a few women starting in the ’70′s) were under heavy pressure to sell, and, if they were former English, history math teachers, of god forbid, coaches, the were often indifferent to the validity of the contents. Their motto, and the classic peddler’s motto, was “give the customer what they want.” I had some real knockdown internal fights over the issue. I won some but lost others. Editors and authors for competitors were in the same boat.

    But look on the bright side. Prior to the advent of the BSCS (Biological Sciences Curriculum Study) texts in the 1960′s, evolution was NOT EVEN MENTIONED in American high school biology texts. Look at a text from before the ’60′s and one will find no mention of Darwin or evolution. Few today go that far, other than the creationist tracts, so we are making progress. But not until texts are judged on their scientific accuracy and pedagogical merit, can we concentrate on the real issue: What the average biology teacher does in the classroom.

    Many, many evangelicals consider it their god directed obligation to push their religious beliefs on others, which is what evangelism means. So when we see the public behavior of the Don McLeroys and Terri Leos of the world, what we’re witnessing is the expression of their belief that they have a moral obligation to make the world come to Jesus. To them evolution is anti-God so they blather forth without shame or regret.

  63. #63 Sauceress
    March 28, 2009

    Can someone briefly explain to me what this review entails and any relevant likely outcomes?

    Live Blogging the Texas Science Debate III
    http://tfnblog.wordpress.com/2009/03/26/live-blogging-the-texas-science-debate-iii/

    2:39 – We?re hearing news from the Capitol that the House Public Education Committee has approved legislation that would put the State Board of Education under sunset review. Will provide more details when we get them.

    2:45 – Update: We hear that the House Public Education Committee vote to put the state board under sunset review was unanimous.

  64. #64 Sauceress
    March 28, 2009

    Oooops…wrong thread

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