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News from Texas


It appears we have some good news in Texas:

Big Win in Texas as State Now Leads Nation in Requiring Critical Analysis of Evolution in High School Science Classes
Robert Crowther

In a huge victory for those who favor teaching the scientific evidence for and against evolution, Texas today moved to the head of the class by requiring students to “critique” and examine “all sides of scientific evidence” and specifically requiring students to “analyze and evaluate” the evidence for major evolutionary concepts such as common ancestry, natural selection, and mutations.

“Texas has sent a clear message that evolution should be taught as a scientific theory open to critical scrutiny, not as a sacred dogma that can’t be questioned,” said Dr. John West, Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute. “Contrary to the claims of the evolution lobby, absolutely nothing the Board did promotes ‘creationism’ or religion in the classroom. Groups that assert otherwise are lying, plain and simple. Under the new standards, students will be expected to analyze and evaluate the scientific evidence for evolution, not religion. Period.”

The new requirements were contained in revised science standards approved today by the Texas State Board of Education. The science standards include language requiring students to “analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations…including examining all sides of scientific evidence… so as to encourage critical thinking by the student.” Equally important, the high school biology standards now require students to “analyze and evaluate” the scientific evidence for key parts of evolutionary theory, including common ancestry, natural selection, and mutations.

Discovery Institute has long endorsed the idea that evolution should be fully and completely presented to students, including its unresolved issues.


The Darwinian myth is dead. That is why it is no longer being defended or even mentioned much any more. P. Z. Myers, Wesley Ellsberry and Richard Dawkins, the primary surviving internet Darwinians, make no attempt to defend the Darwinian model. They know it is indefensible. Now they dedicate all their energies to the wholesale denigration of the only conceivable alternative, a planned universe which of course demands a role for the supernatural. Whether or not we believe in a higher power has been shown to have, like every other feature of the human species, an hereditary basis. Darwinian zealots are geneticaly incapable of considering that reality even as it is now no longer a matter for conjecture. Christ knew how to deal with such creatures - "Forgive them Father for they know not what they do." Forgiving them is not easy is it? JohnADavison
If there are doubts then there should be no reason not to raise them. There is nothing wrong with critical analysis of evolution if it’s done on a scientific basis, which means it can be done in a science class.
Good point, I agree. :) I honestly see no reason to not allow students to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of neo-Darwinian evolution. They can do it in regards to any other theory, even on the theory of gravity, so they should be able to do it with neo-Darwinism. Go go critical thinking! :) Domoman
Actually replace the word dominant with prevalent. That's most likely a better word for it. PaulN
Agreed. Just something to always keep in mind: Analyze and cross reference as many sources as possible(including those from opposing parties) in order to come to your own balanced conclusion, particularly in important matters where two dominating world views clash... PaulN
There are always two sides! Art_Dustera
Yes, I see that there is more news than in the story I linked to. hazel
If there are doubts then there should be no reason not to raise them. There is nothing wrong with critical analysis of evolution if it's done on a scientific basis, which means it can be done in a science class. Art_Dustera
Pardon me, I meant to say March 27th, 2009. PaulN
Also, the above link to the Evolution News & Views blog contains a direct response to the Dallas morning coverage if you look under the posts created on May 27th, 2009. PaulN
This is the newest developmental coverage on the apparent contradiction, and in response to Hazel @5:
Darwinists Trick Themselves in Texas From my Discovery Blog The New York Times got the preview story wrong, and the Washington Post editorial writer probably was too rushed to question the charges of "creationism" coming from the National Center for Science Education, the Darwin-only lobby. So this week's important decisions by the Texas Board of Education (TBOE) on how to teach evolution were predicated in the media by the big question of whether teachers should provide both "strengths and weaknesses" of Darwin's theory. Those words might sound benign, readers were told, but they really are "code words" (take the press' word for it) for creationism and religion. To the media left, any questioning of Darwin is reserved for denizens of Dogpatch. So, what did the TBOE do? Well, it turns out that they are fairly adroit politicians. They did remove language providing for "strengths and weaknesses" and then added new language--quite a lot of it--providing that students will learn, for example, to "analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations…including examining all sides of scientific evidence… so as to encourage critical thinking by the student." Perfect! A policy distinction without a difference! In fact, the new standards are just fine, an improvement, in fact. Now teachers can tell the kids about the scientific evidence in a variety of fields that seems to contradict the Darwinian account as well as the supposed evidence in support. Once again the NCSE was too-smart-by-half. It ran blogs making fun of religion, while organizing public speakers who gave fulsome testimony to their Christian faith and how compatible it is with "evolution" (meaning Darwinian evolution). To the purists like Richard Dawkins and P.Z. Myers it probably makes them look like toadies. In the end, the rhetoric meant to evoke fundamentalist cranks was mixed with pious statements doing the very kind of religious posturing the Darwinists project onto their foes, and reminding me of the church scenes from Blazing Saddles. It all backfired. By demonizing specific words--and making the elimination of them the test of "science"--the NCSE and its state distributor, the Orwellian-named Texas Freedom Network, simply allowed the Board to do the obvious word shuffle. Okay, no "strengths and weakness, " but instead, we'll pass similar ideas in different words, and everyone will be happy. Except, of course, the NCSE and the TFN. Don't expect the media to figure this out from the NCSE Talking Points memo, but the insiders get the picture. Dawkins must be enjoying a caustic chuckle at the expense of the NCSE.
Source And also collaborative coverage from The Wall Street Journal: Texas Opens Classroom Door for Evolution Doubts Also if you read the latest chain of blog entries since March 27th on the Evolution news and views blog you'll find coverage on a medley of varying reports that misconstrue the new TBoE standards. PaulN
Looks like the amendments about common descent and natural selction got voted down:
Conservatives lose another battle over evolution AUSTIN – Social conservatives lost another skirmish over evolution Friday when the State Board of Education stripped two provisions from proposed science standards that would have raised questions about key principles of the theory of evolution. In identical 8-7 votes, board members removed two sections written by Chairman Don McLeroy that would have required students in high school biology classes to study the "sufficiency or insufficiency" of common ancestry and natural selection of species. Both are key principles of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Five Democrats and three Republicans joined to narrowly outvote the seven Republicans on the board aligned with social conservative groups.
Link hazel
There were multiple votes on different aspects on science education. The strongest language against evolution lost, but "critical thinking" about evolution will be encouraged. I do not know if the reporters used language that was deliberately confusing, but I did not find the Dallas Morning New or the Houston Chronicle particularly enlightening on this event. I do not know if it was New Earth Creationist or Intelligent Designers advising or involved. Going by the language used in the articles it sounds as if they were challenging evolution itself which makes me think it was more creationist language rather than ID. (knowing how much the press wants to lump the two together you just don't know) I am all for critical thinking about natural selection but it sounds as if this was mostly political agents and agendas and not really questions of science. Tommy V
Actually, that link doesn't work either (there's an extraneous double quote at the end of the URL). Try this one. skeech
Sorry, missing link! News from Texas That should work. iconofid
The Dallas morning news seems to see it more the other way. News from Texas iconofid

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