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Texas Vote May Challenge Teaching of Evolution

kdawson posted about 5 years ago | from the what-happens-in-texas-does-not-stay-in-texas dept.

Education 1306

tboulay writes "The Texas Board of Education will vote this week on a new science curriculum designed to challenge the guiding principle of evolution, a step that could influence what is taught in biology classes across the nation. The proposed curriculum change would prompt teachers to raise doubts that all life on Earth is descended from common ancestry. Texas is such a large textbook market that many publishers write to the state's standards, then market those books nationwide. 'This is the most specific assault I've seen against evolution and modern science,' said Steven Newton, a project director at the National Center for Science Education, which promotes teaching of evolution." Both sides are saying the issue it too close to call. Three Republicans on the school board who favor the teaching of evolution have come under enormous pressure to reform their ways.

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Cue the following: (3, Insightful)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | about 5 years ago | (#27316807)

1. "Texans are all ass-backwards hicks and should be murdered" -Tolerant Liberal
2. "This is why America sucks" -EuroTard
3. "Religion is the root, trunk, branches, and leaves, of all evil" -Sgt. Atheist
4. "Intelligent design is not Creationism. It's philosophical." -Closet Creationist
5. "Science is..." insert simplistic, high-school-esque view of 'The Scientific Method' -Every /.er that claims to have read an issue of Scientific American
6. "Although this proposal, and the people behind it, are certifiable, the idea that a theory of evolution holds some special uncriticizable position because of the 'preponderance of evidence' is just as stifling to scientific progress as the dogmatic fervor with which academia held to Newton's theory of gravitation. A theory should always be accepted as necessarily conjectural, and all efforts should be made to falsify the accepted 'best' theory and replace it with a better theory." -Me

Re:Cue the following: (-1, Troll)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | about 5 years ago | (#27316841)

So are you a proud idiot, or are you just slightly embarassed?

Re:Cue the following: (0)

jgtg32a (1173373) | about 5 years ago | (#27316883)

Try reading #6 he does make a rather good point.

Re:Cue the following: (5, Interesting)

PitaBred (632671) | about 5 years ago | (#27317025)

To a certain extent. But Newton's theory is not wrong, not by a long shot. It's just not right on the atomic scale. Newton built his theory on evidence, just as evolutionary theory is built on evidence. Academia held to Newton's theory because it's STILL RIGHT. They still teach Newtonian Mechanics in colleges for a reason. I suppose that's a great comparison, actually... there's so much evidence that evolution is right that the details are all that's left to sort out.

Re:Cue the following: (-1, Troll)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | about 5 years ago | (#27317243)

Academia held to Newton's theory because it's STILL RIGHT*.

* only applicable for sufficiently small values truth

On a more serious note, you do appear to have a rather utilitarian view of "right". I, on the other hand, choose to reject utilitarian-instrumentalism due to it's inability to encourage daring and adventurous progress in the sciences. For me, "good enough" is not good enough for the empirical sciences, even if it is good enough for basic engineering, mechanics, etc.

Re:Cue the following: (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27317067)

Not to anyone who actually understands biology.

Re:Cue the following: (2, Insightful)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | about 5 years ago | (#27317069)

Actually, he does not make a good point. The theory of evolution by natural selection is completely falsifiable, and it has been tested over and over again. His criticism #6 is just whining that the theory is just EXCELLENT at explaining what we observe.

Re:Cue the following: (3, Interesting)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 5 years ago | (#27317165)

Yes, but *where* is that "better theory"? So far none has emerged, or at least there was none the last time I took a look. Darwinian evolution may be a matter of conjecture, but that does not make the (so far) feeble attempts at science by proposers of ID/creationism any better. Nor does it justify raising doubts in the style of "hey, kids, there is no positive proof of evolution, so how about reading the book of Genesis today and pretending that it's way better than that dull British nonsense?"

Re:Cue the following: (5, Insightful)

syrion (744778) | about 5 years ago | (#27316867)

This is not an attempt to falsify the teaching of evolution. These backwards magical-thinking buffoons have no evidence, no tests, nothing to point to a different theory; they have a book. A book they believe trumps the evidence of our own eyes and our most advanced scientific methods. These people aren't asking for ID to be taught because they don't think evolution explains the evidence; they are asking for ID to be taught because they don't think.

Re:Cue the following: (3, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 5 years ago | (#27317013)

FUD. Flamebait. You rage, you lose:

Texas is such a huge textbook market that many publishers write to the state's standards, then market those books nationwide.

No. That would never fly nationwide. It would lead to an ugly mess of boycotts and TPB for the major publishers, who are all located in Northeast America.

Texas school board chairman Don McLeroy...believes that God created the earth less than 10,000 years ago...The textbooks will "have to say that there's a problem with evolution -- because there is," said Dr. McLeroy, a dentist.

Awhawha? A dentist? And what the hell does that joker think about all of those Biology classes he took in college? Oh, wait. According to another site, Texas Governor Rick Perry, who supports teaching Intelligent Design in high school science classes, recently hand-picked that assclown from Bryan University, a Christian college in Tennessee.

Re:Cue the following: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27317177)

Clarification: when I said FUD and flamebait, I was referring to the article, not to Syrion's post, which I fully agree with. Sorry for any misunderstanding.

Sorry for the lame self-reply ;)

Re:Cue the following: (0, Troll)

cb88 (1410145) | about 5 years ago | (#27317333)

and what exactly did Darwin know about biology... he was a bloomin' psychologist I can accept that prevalent theory are taught but religion is not something that changes your view of one thing it changes your view of how then entire universe works... and schools should allow for students to learn they way they choose not force one or the other down thier throats creationist don't disagreed with non-creationists about the laws of nature they disagree about what upholds them

Re:Cue the following: (2, Interesting)

FooAtWFU (699187) | about 5 years ago | (#27316877)

7. "Sigh." (Non-Protestant-Fundamentalist Christian groups who maintain any less-than-fully-metaphorical creation story but recognize that the proposal described is, in fact, nuts.)

Re:Cue the following: (0, Troll)

jgtg32a (1173373) | about 5 years ago | (#27316957)

The word Protestant is like Gentile(non-Jew), it means not Catholic. There are Protestants who do believe in evolution.

How about this, wise-guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27316917)

The fundies don't mind crashing and burning in their own intellectual black hole, and that's their business - but I'll be damned if I'll let them take my children with them. They can teach this garbage at home all they want, keep it out of the damn classrooms.

Re:How about this, wise-guy (5, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 5 years ago | (#27317293)

While Dover wasn't a precedent-setting case per se, Judge Jones final decision, in particular the elements of it demonstrating how evolution had been picked out of all the sciences for "special treatment" will be applicable if this reaches Federal court. Simply put, as much as the Fundies dishonest and fundamentally immoral argument that they're just trying to teach the flaws, they are in fact simply trying to get Creationism through the backdoor.

Let's be clear here. Creationism is dead Edwards v. Aguillard [talkorigins.org]), Intelligent Design is dead (Kitzmiller v. Dover [slashdot.org]), and now all these incredibly dishonest scam artists and their ignorant followers (most of which probably aren't even aware they're being scammed) have got left is Teach the Controversy.

Here's the news, THERE IS NO SCIENTIFIC CONTROVERSY OVER BIOLOGICAL EVOLUTION. The number of real scientists (and no, engineers and mathematicians are not scientists) who disagree with evolutionary is so exceedingly small to be utterly irrelevant. Even one of ID's biggest formulators, Michael Behe, doesn't disagree with evolution or Common Descent.

What I'm wondering, when this is handed back to them by the courts, where will they go next? What's left after "Teach the Controversy"?

Re:Cue the following: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27316935)

Not cool you just took all the hot air out of this discussion in one post. I was hoping to see some random insults and possibly a chair or two.

Re:Cue the following: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27316959)

1. "Texans are all ass-backwards hicks and should be murdered" -Tolerant Liberal

Personally, I believe everyone who's intolerant should be shot.

7. Oklahoma sez,,, (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27316991)

Whew, thank God for Texas!

Re:Cue the following: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27317241)

You forgot:

7. ???
8. Profit

Re:Cue the following: (3, Interesting)

Mr_eX9 (800448) | about 5 years ago | (#27317327)

Except for the fact that this is really just an excuse to teach Intelligent Design (read: NOT SCIENCE) in science class. ID belongs in theology/philosophy classes, NOT biology.

As someone from Alabama, let me say thanks (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | about 5 years ago | (#27316837)

I'm just grateful this wasn't us for ONCE. Of course, now our redneck legislators will feel the need to one-up the Texans with some Bill declaring Jesus the official state mascot or something.

Re:As someone from Alabama, let me say thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27317003)

I someone from the US, I say, "Ah, ha, ha" and "fuck" all at once. What happened to us? Seriously, with the economy in the shitter under direct control of Goldman Sachs who the fuck cares anymore? How long before we're too big of a risk for China and they collect the trillions we owe them? FUCK!!!!

Re:As someone from Alabama, let me say thanks (4, Funny)

Ambiguous Coward (205751) | about 5 years ago | (#27317191)

This just in: Alabama feels threatened, drafts legislation to declare the square root of two as "the baby jesus." Overwhelming approval from all constituencies.

What do you expect (2, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | about 5 years ago | (#27316853)

I mean, this is the same state that gave us the amazingly anti-science George W. "I believe God wants me to run for president" Bush.

Re:What do you expect (3, Funny)

joggle (594025) | about 5 years ago | (#27317221)

There's a certain poetic justice when driving to Texas from Colorado. As you cross the border you see a small sign saying, "Welcome to Texas! Proud home of George W Bush." A few miles later, one of the first towns you drive through is named Dumas and smells like manure.

Remains unbelievable (3, Insightful)

wimg (300673) | about 5 years ago | (#27316869)

Seriously, for the country that's supposed to be the most modern and have the best technology (all ofcourse delivered through scientific study), it remains unbelievable that evolution is even questioned.

No such thing in Europe. Not even the Vatican and the Church of England (both the foundations for the US churches) doubt evolution theory. They even support it !

Wake up, Americans :-)

Common ancestry: Hera (5, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 5 years ago | (#27316881)

The proposed curriculum change would prompt teachers to raise doubts that all life on Earth is descended from common ancestry.

Duh, her name was Hera Agathon [wikipedia.org].

Re:Common ancestry: Hera (1)

vell0cet (1055494) | about 5 years ago | (#27317267)

Hera Agathon is supposed to be the identity of Mitochondria Eve (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondrial_Eve). An ancient human female that all mitochondria in humans can be traced back to. Mitochondria are passed down from the mother as complete organelles. The father's sperm only provides DNA.

Whatever (0)

Roadkills-R-Us (122219) | about 5 years ago | (#27316907)

Whatever gets taught, proper scientific method needs to be taught first and then applied. There *are* problems and holes in the current evolutionary theory, and by pretending those don't exist and teaching evolution as unassailable dogma (not that this is how it's taught everywhere, but it is in most places I hear about) the proponents of evolution prove themselves no different than the people they claim the creationists are.

Re:Whatever (4, Insightful)

Angostura (703910) | about 5 years ago | (#27317021)

OK, I'll bite. First of all, evolutionary theory should always be taught as the best theory that fits the available evidence. And it is the best theory. But as a good biology grad, I'm always interested in hearing about holes - so what, in your opinion are the biggest problems and holes?

Re:Whatever (3, Funny)

creimer (824291) | about 5 years ago | (#27317233)

According to the last episode of Battlestar Galactica, a Human/Cylon child 150,000 years ago became the "Eve" of all humanity. Yet the current theory of evolution doesn't take this into account. :P

Re:Whatever (5, Funny)

BarryJacobsen (526926) | about 5 years ago | (#27317235)

as a good biology grad, I'm always interested in hearing about holes

I think I speak for all males when I say, you're not the only one!

Re:Whatever (-1)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about 5 years ago | (#27317049)

I agree here.

Telling kids "This is how it happened, there is no other explanation." without allowing them to use their own minds to determine their beliefs is indoctrination, which is the same thing that religion often does.

The only difference is that it's the followers of the religion of science vs the followers of the traditional religions.

Re:Whatever (4, Insightful)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | about 5 years ago | (#27317151)

Telling kids true things is not indoctrination. I suppose your wishy-washy factual relativism would have us teach math students that SOME people believe that 2+2=4, and SOME believe that 2+2=5, and we must NOT SAY that the fivers are wrong, because their god hates to be contradicted. Idiocy.

Re:Whatever (4, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | about 5 years ago | (#27317103)

To what "problems" or "holes" are you referring? Can you name one?

the proponents of evolution prove themselves no different than the people they claim the creationists are.

No. Intelligent design creationism allows for no falsification; evolutionary theory on the other hand most certainly does. That is indeed a part of the point; ID is not science because it makes no testable predictions and is for a lack of a better term: worthless. Evolutionary theory by contrast is as has been described by many others to be the very foundation on which one can understand biology.

Re:Whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27317111)

I completely agree.
A proper scientific theory makes testable predictions. If a theory does not make testable predictions then it is not a valid theory no matter who put it forward even if their name is Darwin, Einstein or even Newton.
Creationism fails this test as does evolution in many ways. I have no problem if they teach creationism in school along side evolution as long as they subject BOTH to critical scientific exploration.

Re:Whatever (1)

rm999 (775449) | about 5 years ago | (#27317117)

Yes, I agree. I learned the scientific method at an early age (independently of school), and I am very thankful for that.

But the problem is scientific theory does not support many other theories of how species formed. Every currently valid theory is some take on the basic concepts of evolution. You can (and should) teach the weaknesses of evolution, but this argument, in the USA, is usually framed in the context of simultaneously teaching other, non-scientific theories. "Intelligent design" and its ilk have no scientific basis and don't belong in science classes.

real science (2, Informative)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 5 years ago | (#27317189)

never considers itself complete, always acknowledges there are holes, and looks at all anomalies as potential realignments of contemporary dogma

yes, there are plenty of closed minded scientists who scoff at challenges to established dogma. but these are human frailties, not aspects of what real science is. in the early 1980s there was an australian scientist who said stomach ulcers were caused by an infectious agent. he was laughed at. now, he has the nobel prize, and we have isolated that bacterium. in other words, science is not captive to entrenched unyielding dogma. it is flexible, it can change

now contrast that with creationism. creationism starts with an untestable hypothesis and adheres to it as unassailable truth. theres nothing to debate. theres nothing to argue about. there is an idea put forth that no one can probe with their minds or find fault with. you either accept creationism, or you reject it. but it is entirely rigid and opaque

this is not science. it has no place in science. it is alternative idea for why we and other living creatures are here. but it is not science, and it never will be science. it cannot be taught along with evolutionary theory. it simply doesn't belong. talk about it in church, pleas,e be my guest. but it has zero validity in any scientific context, including a classroom whose purpose is to teac children science

in other words, you have it backwards when you point out that there are holes in evolutionary theory and this is a weakness. on the contrary: the holes in evolutionary theory are aspects of its strength, adaptability to new discoveries, and intellectual honesty

creationism puts forth an idea. the idea cannot be tested. end of story

What's the attack on science? (0, Flamebait)

kyliaar (192847) | about 5 years ago | (#27316915)

So, it is bad to provoke thought and questions regarding evolution? Gosh, that would lead people to possibly re-evaluate observations. That would be dangerous because .... We have a lot more recorded data than Darwin had available to him in much more widely accessible forms. Obviously, challenging his conclusions and conclusions based on his conclusions is bad. It would almost be, well, blasphemy? The science community sure seems unscientific some time.

Re:What's the attack on science? (3, Insightful)

Angostura (703910) | about 5 years ago | (#27317093)

You seem to be under the impression that modern evolutionary theory is in some way largely dependent on the raw data collected by Darwin. He was an excellent naturalist and an amazing observer/investigator - but this is simply not true.

It is not bad to provoke thought and questions regarding evolution. But starting with the axiom that life was created and shaped through some unseen intelligence is bad.

Re:What's the attack on science? (-1, Redundant)

kyliaar (192847) | about 5 years ago | (#27317283)

I feel the same way if you start with the assumption evolution is a process of selection from a random pool.

I would think there would be a much larger number of mutant babies in any given species if that were the case.

I don't see how that can be explained away with starting the assumption that there are forces that trigger mutation that just aren't present now. Perhaps species evolve past the need for random evolution as a survival mechanism.

If so, wouldn't there be some level of life low enough to observe this phenomenon in its raw random nature with mutations occuring, even in mitosis.

There is a real lack of evidence for random evolution in my opinion which makes me feel that there is intelligence behind it somewhere, not necessarily 'God, the Creator' waving his hands, but some force other than random physics and chemistry.

How does modern evolution theory address this dilemma?

Re:What's the attack on science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27317101)

So, it is bad to provoke thought and questions regarding evolution?

Nobody said that. Except you.

Re:What's the attack on science? (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 5 years ago | (#27317303)

The problem is that due to the immense size of the subject, it is impossible to teach every student everything known about evolution. What that means is that someone can show you evidence that (due to your limited knowledge) seems to disprove evolution. With more knowledge, every argument against the core of evolution can be rebutted, but the knowledge takes work to find and understand.

Maybe instead of focusing on rebutting every argument made against evolution we should encourage students to find the 'aha!' moment that makes evolution click for them. For me, it was the subject of endogenous retroviruses. Basically, these are viruses that infiltrate the hosts DNA and actually get passed on to offspring. There are chunks of DNA that are present in the exact same spot in most primate DNA, but not those primates that are believed to have branched off earliest. Based on mutations to this DNA, it's even possible to order when each species split off from the common ancestor.

I see no competing explanation for this in the 'theory' of intelligent design, which is the only other theory presented by any number of people. I suppose they could say "that's just the way the primates were designed, with that bit of DNA shared" which of course is the whole problem with ID in the first place: anything you can't explain just means God did it.

His noodly highness approves!!! (4, Insightful)

assemblerex (1275164) | about 5 years ago | (#27316919)

I am glad they open the way for my scripture to be taught side by side with christian beliefs once they step on this landmine! Prepare the pasta! We have learnin' to do!

Evolution is flawed (0, Flamebait)

CranberryKing (776846) | about 5 years ago | (#27316933)

There is no 'proof'. So how can it be taught as fact?

Re:Evolution is flawed (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27317095)

and your an idiot who obviously never took biology in high school let alone college.

Re:Evolution is flawed (2, Insightful)

OldFish (1229566) | about 5 years ago | (#27317211)

Evolution is not "flawed", it is incomplete, a work in progress. It is adjusted as we go to deal with new data. Unlike the the bible which is inherently not factual and really hasn't seen any progress in centuries.

Evolution is not taught as fact, it is only perceived by narrow-minded dingwallies as being taught as fact.

Religion sucks moosebladderthroughahairystraw. All religion.

That concludes this series of disjointed comments and attacks.

Re:Evolution is flawed (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27317281)

Less and less humans each year get born without growing wisdom teeth. But I guess that is God's plan. The facts are there if you look. A book written by men that hear voices is not fact.

This will influence (2, Interesting)

Presto Vivace (882157) | about 5 years ago | (#27316945)

everyone else's textbooks. Texas is such a big state that they serve as a de facto standard for textbook companies. If you don't ask your local school board, books written for Texas are likely to show up in your system. How many at Slashdot have ever asked their local school system how, or even if, science in taught in their school system?

It's a whole 'nother country (1)

glebovitz (202712) | about 5 years ago | (#27316953)

I heard that they are also planning to revamp the prison system to concentrate on poking out eyes and pulling teeth.

Funny how Texas came to be part of the Union. (0, Offtopic)

FatSean (18753) | about 5 years ago | (#27317113)

Government official lied that Mexico was launching attacks on the US from that area...and so the US Army went in and took over what we now call Texas.

Too bad those attacks were fabricated.

Maybe Iraq will become our 51st state. Just thought it was interesting in that Bush came from Texas.

Re:Funny how Texas came to be part of the Union. (2, Informative)

pxlmusic (1147117) | about 5 years ago | (#27317297)

Bush comes from Connecticut, but pretends to be some Texas cowboy.

Compromise (1, Interesting)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about 5 years ago | (#27316961)

How about they teach Evolution and just leave out the part about how the amino acids and the first cellular life arrived.

I mean, scientists still can't give a definitive answer on how the first cells were formed, only some scifi-esque ideas. That question won't be solved until scientists actually create cellular life or observe it form from nutrient soups.

Since student's really don't need to know the details about the planted seed life vs magic combinations of nutrients theories, the curriculum should just omit that part.

Best part is, maybe both parties will stop arguing about the whole issue.

Re:Compromise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27317125)

They've actually done it, a few times, and a few different ways. That's the real problem. No one knows just how the first amino's formed.

Science? (1)

bytethese (1372715) | about 5 years ago | (#27316963)

So just throw science out the window eh? I think they should remove "Science Teacher" from anyone who teaches the newly proposed curriculum.

It's time for Catholicism to step up (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27316969)

The Catholic church is in agreement with the theory of evolution, so it's time for it to make it clear to its followers they need to support the teaching of evolution over creationism.

Re:It's time for Catholicism to step up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27317149)

Unfortunately, most Evangelicals I know are Protestant. They have some respect for the Pope, but feel like his word is as important as their beliefs.

Re:It's time for Catholicism to step up (4, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 5 years ago | (#27317201)

The Catholic church is in agreement with the theory of evolution, so it's time for it to make it clear to its followers they need to support the teaching of evolution over creationism.

It's not the Catholics who are the problem, it's certain fundamentalist Protestants.

Please don't conflate the two.

The big problem with fundamentalist protestants is that they believe the bible to be literally true and inviolate. So if you invalidate one little part of the bible, you invalidate their entire faith.

This means that they'll defend the most ridiculous things as a defense of their faith, and supporting teaching of evolution is viewed as a direct attack on their faith.

Re:It's time for Catholicism to step up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27317253)

I'm not saying Catholics are the problem in that they're pushing for creationism. I'm saying a lot of Catholics aren't clear on this. They don't know whether creationism is what they're supposed to believe or not. If the church made this clear, creationism could very easily lose a chunk of support.

Re:It's time for Catholicism to step up (2, Informative)

pxlmusic (1147117) | about 5 years ago | (#27317319)

it has. it's the fundie protestants that are making all the noise.

Nonsense (3, Insightful)

Darren Hiebert (626456) | about 5 years ago | (#27316971)

California is a much larger textbook market than Texas. A much stronger claim can be made that California is the market that publishers try to satisfy. And California is the most likely market to demand evolution and reject its minimization.

Re:Nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27317137)

My information is from comments made at http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/

9-12 education in CA sets standards for text books, and the individual school districts pick books that meet/pass those standards. As such, the CA market isn't uniform when it comes to text book purchasing.

Re:Nonsense (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 5 years ago | (#27317265)

Text books for Texas are easier to produce - more pictures (some are pop-ups), larger print, shorter words :-)
[There, fulfilled prediction of first post...]

on curricula and the burecreauts writting them... (1)

h2sammo (1513571) | about 5 years ago | (#27316985)

in a free market education should be consumer driven (like anything else). schools providing better students will reap the benefits of higher royalties, will be able to charge more for their services, etc. the curricula of these schools will be thus chosen to reflect higher profits, thus better results in training theitr students. if science curricula which follow peer reviewed publications (aka "good" science) prove to be the bettwe way to train students in science, then those are the curricula which will be followed. every time govts intervene to dictate what and how to teach "our children" we get these sort of ridiculous situations like mention in the OP. schools with these govt run curricula will thus reflect the preference of burecreauts rather than the consumer, which in this case is the public at large. if the burecreuts are ignorant (when are they NOT?!) then the curricula will be ignorant as well.

People don't really believe in Noah's Flood (5, Interesting)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | about 5 years ago | (#27316995)

How can we know? Because they don't put their money where their mouth is.

Take oil companies. Finding oil is a very important and high-stakes issue for them. Literally hundreds of billions of dollars are riding on it. When the chips are down and they need to find the most likely spots to drill - what kind of geology do they use? Flood geology, or mainstream? Which one actually delivers the goods?

Let's assume the Earth is only a few thousand years old. Where did the oil come from? Was it created in the ground with the rest of the Earth? If so, is there a way to predict where it might be found? Or perhaps it really did form from plants and dinosaurs, but about 10,000 times faster than any chemist believes it could? Any way you look at it, a young Earth and a Flood would imply some very interesting scientific questions to ask, some interesting (and potentially extremely valuable) research programs to start. How come nobody's actually pursuing such research programs?

Why don't fundamentalists put together an investment fund, where people pay in and the stake is used as venture capital for things like oil and mineral rights? If "Flood geology" is really a better theory, then it should make better predictions about where raw materials are than standard geology does. The profits from such a venture could pay for a lot of evangelism. Why don't they do this?

(It turns out some people actually are doing this - or, at least, claiming too. But it appears that deeply-held beliefs are easier to exploit than deeply-held oil reserves [motherjones.com].)

I've never understood (5, Insightful)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | about 5 years ago | (#27316999)

I've never understood why religious folk have such a hard time with evolution. I mean, can't they just say "okay, fine, evolution is the process, and God is the architect". Far as I can see, that kind of solves it.

I do not recall any teacher or textbook saying that evolution proves that God doesn't exist. (For me, bigotted religious zealots did quite a good job of that all on their own).

I know there are those born again types who fervently believe that the Earth is only 6000 years old so they'll never be satisfied until the schools are beginning and ending each lesson with a prayer and throw out all textbooks in favor of bibles, but cummon, there have got to be SOME sane people in Texas.

perhaps they shouldn't vote (5, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 5 years ago | (#27317007)

perhaps it would be better to release the members of the board into a remote ecosystem with limited resources, and allow them to compete, whereby the most well-adapted board member is selectively chosen not to starve, and he or she at that point decides the issue of whether or not to teach evolution

if on the other hand, angels are heard singing, a bright light shines from the sky, and a booming voice chooses one particular board member while the rest perish in a scream and a flash, destined for eternity to hell, maybe that will decide the issue instead

Publishers write to Texas standards? (1)

MisterSquirrel (1023517) | about 5 years ago | (#27317051)

Texas is such a large textbook market that many publishers write to the state's standards.

Well, there's the crux of the problem. Book publishers probably shouldn't write the science textbooks. Scientists should.

Not a sure thing (1)

ishmalius (153450) | about 5 years ago | (#27317053)

If you read the article, you will see that it is likely that the vote will be 8-7 against this proposal.

The faithfull zelots from both sides .... (0, Flamebait)

JoshDmetro (1478197) | about 5 years ago | (#27317063)

do not belong in school. Evolutionists, ID'ers shouldn't be allowed to spew their propaganda in public schools. None of this is science just silly speculation to justify what they believe. For example of science "Water boils at 100c and freeze at 0c" this is scientific fact. The origin of life or any such nonsense is just speculation. Did someone go back it time and video something? It isn't fact. People beliefs do not belong in school, if they want to study evolution or whatever they can do it in college. On their dollar. I don't want my tax dollars going to further anyones foolish agenda.

Re:The faithfull zelots from both sides .... (1)

Angostura (703910) | about 5 years ago | (#27317193)

Did someone go back it time and video something?

Better than that - they dug up fossils.

Oh, by the way: "Water boils at 100c and freeze at 0c" is not a fact. You're being much too dogmatic there.

Oh come on (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27317065)

We all know the physical universe just magically appeared from thin air several billion years ago.

Exhibit 'A' for the theory of evolution (4, Funny)

slashdotlurker (1113853) | about 5 years ago | (#27317081)

Frankly some of these people are an embarrassment to the country. Maybe they can band together parts of the old Confederacy, make Chuck Norris its new Jefferson Davis, and get the hell out of the US. As it stands, most of these states survive on federal aid handouts (they take more in federal assistance than give in in taxes). The reason is simple - educated people and the high paying jobs that follow them don't want any part of their 19th century thump-the-good-book-to-get-all-answers "paradise".

With Chuck Norris, they can take their rightful place along with witch doctors of Africa, voodoo practitioners of the Caribbean, fundamentalists in rural Afghanistan and Pakistan, etc. and form a living human history museum of sorts, where we can bring our kids off and on to show how we used to live in the old times.

Evolution states among other things that not all members of the same species evolve/progress at the same rate. The odd century gap between these jokers and the rest of humanity is a startling confirmation of that.

Need not be said (3, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 5 years ago | (#27317085)

Steven Newton, a project director at the National Center for Science Education, which promotes teaching of evolution

Why would you even spell that out? I bet the NCSE also promotes teaching of water being wet and the sun being a hot thing we orbit.

Re:Need not be said (1)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | about 5 years ago | (#27317205)

Why would you even spell that out? I bet the NCSE also promotes teaching of water being wet and the sun being a hot thing we orbit.

I'm guessing because it wasn't all that long ago that the Church would have you burned at the stake as a heritic for saying that WE orbit the SUN... /just being pedantic, I actually agree with you, but some folks need it spelled out for them

More than two sides (2, Insightful)

dln385 (1451209) | about 5 years ago | (#27317087)

I am a Christian who believes the Bible. I therefore believe that "God created the heavens and the earth." However, I also believe that Evolution is possible because it fits most of our current scientific views and it seems to be compatible with my beliefs. This includes the idea that even humans are descended from common ancestry with all other life on Earth. After all, the Bible does tell us that God created Earth, but not how he created it.

Students should not be told that the theory of evolution is wrong. Nor should Students be told that it is right, either. The fact is that as a scientific community, we still do not know for sure. Also, every day we disprove things we thought we knew "for sure". This is the nature of Science. We have to teach what we think we know, and present it as such. Doing anything else would be dishonest.

Re:More than two sides (2, Interesting)

Nicopa (87617) | about 5 years ago | (#27317321)

Evolution is compatible with your believes because you are inconsistent in them, and you choose to randomly accept or reject parts of "The Book" so as to not challenge "your believes". According to the Bible god himself created all animals at once, and presented them to Adam so that he would name them. That implies that all animals were there when the first human walked on earth, and implies that animals are separate creations. And this is only a sample of the incompatibilities...

This is a good thing (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 5 years ago | (#27317091)

Evolution hasn't been proven, and the only way to strengthen the theory is to question and attack it and repeatedly fail to disprove it.

Further, universal common ancestry is a really weak theorem; life formed in stages, first as DNA that protected itself with a membrane, then as self-reproducing cells. It's entirely possible that various single-celled organisms developed independently, and that things forked off completely isolated evolutionary lines, even to the point that the earliest single celled creatures may have co-existed with newly forming DNA that started the process over again.

silly republicans ... science is the devil! (4, Funny)

zig43 (1422373) | about 5 years ago | (#27317121)

"Three Republicans on the school board who favor the teaching of evolution have come under enormous pressure to reform their ways."

Lest they be sentenced to eternal damnation and cast into hell. :)

The Discordian view on all this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27317133)

Eris is displeased... or she's not.

Such a pile of bullcrap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27317181)

It amazes me that people are still wasting their time with crap like this when our economy is in ruins and we have to win two different wars. Don't we have more important things to focus our energy on?

only way GOP will stay in power (0, Flamebait)

Dan667 (564390) | about 5 years ago | (#27317217)

Is to make their voters dumber than them and aggressively push religious beliefs that teach unquestioning loyalty. The Republicans have cracked and are grasping at straws.

What is WRONG with these people? (5, Insightful)

Stanislav_J (947290) | about 5 years ago | (#27317237)

What I wish these extremist nuts would understand is that the theory of evolution does not, ipso facto, rule out the possibility of a supernatural creator. Evolution is simply an ever-refining description of how life unfolded on Earth. No one is staking any claim in the theory concerning who or what (if anyone or anything) might have initiated or guided or overseen the process. There are tens of millions of Christian clergy, theologians, and laity who accept evolution as the process that God used to achieve his purposes. Even among evangelicals, most no longer subscribe to the literality of Genesis -- they understand the "six days" of creation as metaphor. They also understand that the Bible is not meant to be a complete, literal history that can be quantified (a la Bishop Usher) to produce a firm figure for the age of the universe.

So, who are these Christians who are on the anti-evolution bandwagon? Not Christians in general. Not even evangelicals. It's a tiny subset that still insists that evolution "denies God," that the universe was literally created in six days, that species were set and defined at the moment of creation, etc. In other words, a minority of a minority of a minority, if you will. And yet, these vastly outnumbered idjits carry incredible weight and influence, especially in the heartland, and people cower in fear of upsetting them.

Colleges have the ultimate say... (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | about 5 years ago | (#27317245)

I feel sorry for the kids of these parents to be honest with you. But I am not worried that this will do much other than cause all the kids who didn't learn the correct commonly held theory to have to take an extra few classes in remedial science before they can get to their real classes...

Texas and regression vs. evolution (1)

Teun (17872) | about 5 years ago | (#27317261)

It seems Texans are hell bent on proving our evolutionary process can turn into regression.

OK, their creationary process.

ID = Philosophy (1)

Paul Slocum (598127) | about 5 years ago | (#27317301)

A bit off topic, but I've recently changed my thinking a bit about this whole debate, and I'm wondering why ID or other philosophical concepts can't be discussed in schools as philosophy? ...as long as it's made clear that evolution is science and any questions about the existence of the universe or life or some kind of intelligence other than humans is (currently) philosophy. I think open discussions of philosophy in logical, rational terms among kids is a good thing, and might be more beneficial to science than just pretending like the debate doesn't exist, and letting religious-fanatic parents program their kids without addressing the issue at all in schools.

Actually, a good scientist would also... (0, Troll)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 5 years ago | (#27317313)

A good scientist would also doubt that all life on Earth descended from one common ancestor. Who is to say for, for example, that early life didn't arise spontaneously in more than one place at (approximately) the same geologic time?

The difference between science and religion is that science can change when new evidence becomes available. When I was in grade school, Pluto was a planet and dinosaurs were cold-blooded. Pointing out areas in evolutionary biology where evidence is lacking, or conclusions are uncertain, would be fully compatible with a rigorous scientific education.

But if the pro-evolution camp were to admit that it's OK to question scientific conclusions, that would open up the possibility of the religious right getting something they want. Atheists would generally rather misrepresent science than do that.

Interesting (-1, Troll)

sunking2 (521698) | about 5 years ago | (#27317315)

So I guess evolution is above challenge and being questioned? Last I knew it was still a theory, not a law. Tell me I can't question anything I want, be it right or wrong, and you'll get a punch in the nose :)

My DEAR god! (1)

alexborges (313924) | about 5 years ago | (#27317329)

What on earth is this people thinking?

Ive heard of special interests, of powers-that-be that would prefer certain curriculum to prevail over others...

But this?

I mean, come on!

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