Now that the moaning and hand-wringing are over, there’s talk of mounting some legal challenges to the new science standards in Texas. At issue aren’t the standards themselves, but the personal motivations of some of the Board members who advocated for these standards.
Now the issue is whether there is enough prima facie evidence to challenge the Constitutionality of the wording now, or wait for the textbook review process in two years.
“They have shown clear religious motivations that certainly raise some questions,” Quinn said. “But if the board requires phony religious arguments in the science textbooks, I can’t imagine somebody won’t challenge it.” Publishers may end up producing a textbook for Texas and other conservative states and a separate version for other states—because under the new guidelines, a Texas textbook “will be poison in states that value education,” [Dan Quinn, a spokesman for the Texas Freedom Network].
I guess Quinn isn’t bothered at all by the motivations of atheists or philosophical naturalists who want to teach students that no matter how complex and specified biological systems might appear, the design is only apparent and not actual because nature posses all the creative power to produce it through chance and/or necessity. If Quinn is really concerned about motivations, he ought to check the philosophical and worldview motivations of those who want to promote naturalism as science in science classrooms. He has nary a peep about any of that.
So here’s a few questions for Mr. Quinn and anyone else sweating bullets over the “religious” motivations of those who question the way science is taught in public school classrooms: What does a worldview free science classroom look like? How do you sucessfully divorce science from any and all philosophical underpinnings? And if you can’t do that, how do you decide which philosophical considerations are necessary for science and which aren’t?
While we’re on the subject of motivations, perhaps Mr. Quinn might take note that William Wilberforce fought for over 20 years in the early 1800’s to end the slave trade in England motivated almost entirely by his “religion” (Christianity). Should England have repealed the anti-slave trade act because of those “religious” motivations? Or can we only call motivations into question when it involves how we teach science? If so, Mr. Quinn, what’s your specific criteria for determining those motivations and deciding that no matter how good the standards might be, if they were inspired by the “wrong” motivations, we just can’t let them stand.