Charles Garner, Professor of Chemistry at Baylor University served along with Steve Meyer as Expert Reviewer on Texas Science Standards. (Here is an article from the Austin Statesman covering the issue: LINK.) Dr. Garner recently wrote the following editorial for the Waco Tribune.
Charles Garner, guest column: It’s not religion; it’s sound, skeptical science
As the Texas Education Agency reviews the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, a controversy has developed about language in the current TEKS, which states:
“The student uses critical thinking and scientific problem-solving to make informed decisions. The student is expected to analyze, review and critique scientific explanations, including hypotheses and theories, as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information.”
This language promotes critical thinking skills. It has been in the TEKS for years. The TEKS guidelines are working fine and Texas students receive some of the best science education in the country.
Nonetheless, some activist groups are protesting the “strengths and weaknesses” language. They assert that teaching “weaknesses” is a “wedge allowing teachers to insert their personal religious views into public science classrooms,” especially pertaining to evolution.
As an appointed reviewer of the TEKS, I investigated this claim. It quickly became apparent that there was no basis for it.
In fact, for several reasons, I doubt if even those who make this claim really believe it.
Whatever problems they have with “strengths and weaknesses,” religious infringement cannot be among them.
The “strengths and weaknesses” language has been in place for a decade. If it had been used to introduce religion or supernatural explanations into the classroom, these groups would have a long list of specific incidents, with names, dates, etc. Read More ›