A bumper sticker often seen on cars bearing a Texas license plate reads, “Don’t mess with Texas.” In the Lone Star state this week, the science curriculum has been “messed with” by evolutionists in what has become the latest battle in the creation/evolution wars in America. Unfortunately, some in the media have incorrectly portrayed the evolution-doubters as the ones who started this skirmish, when in reality it was the state’s evolutionist community that brought on the controversy when pro-evolution activists sought to remove a key phrase from the state’s science curriculum.
The board of education in Texas took testimony this week on revising the state’s science standards. According to the recent standards, students have been required to critique all scientific explanations and explore their “strengths and weaknesses.” On Thursday, the board voted on the advice of evolutionary scientists to reject an amendment that would have retained the phrase “strengths and weaknesses.” Those who wanted the phrase stripped say that the wording allows the teaching of creation or intelligent design in science classes. Interestingly, however, it should be pointed out that the phrase “strengths and weaknesses” is used several times in the science curriculum and applies to every science field, not just biological origins. But the evolutionists are stressing the phrasing of the biology curriculum to the news media, and that’s how the dispute is being largely represented to the public.
Under-reported, though, is that the board’s approval on Thursday of language requiring students to “analyze and evaluate” common ancestry and natural selection, which we take as a positive development.
Answers in Genesis, though not active in lobbying school boards and introducing legislation on origins issues, is well known as a national advocate of science curricula that foster the development of critical-thinking skills in students and expose them to the problems with the evolutionary model. But the evolutionary establishment in Texas wants none of that, which raises the questions: is the evolutionary model in such bad shape that it needs protection, and don’t educators trust students to make informed decisions for themselves?
In a related item, see how the Institute for Creation Research and its graduate school in Texas have been treated by the state’s school officials since its move from California a year ago: Creation Graduate School Under Attack Again.
For why this battle will have far-reaching consequences beyond Texas, read tomorrow’s News to Note feature on the homepage of this website.