Creationists advising the Texas Education Agency, the state’s board of education, are no longer even trying to hide the fact that they want to insert pseudo-scientific material grounded in religious beliefs into public school science textbooks. Terrence Stutz of the Dallas Morning News reports that evolution detractors appointed to the review boards are urging the textbook publishers to ignore the Supreme Court (along with science) and push Creationism, or be rejected.
One of the panelists reviewing the biology textbooks, a nutritionist, said that “creation science based on biblical principles should be incorporated into every biology book that is up for adoption.”
Religious conservatives serving on state textbook review panels have criticized several proposed high school biology textbooks for not including arguments against Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
The review panels include several creationists. They urge the State Board of Education to reject the books unless publishers include more disclaimers on key concepts of evolution.
One reviewer even suggested a rule requiring that each biology book cover “creation science.” That would run counter to a 1987 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. The decision banned the teaching of creationism in public school science classes.
“I understand the National Academy of Science’s strong support of the theory of evolution,” said Texas A&M University nutritionist Karen Beathard, one of the biology textbook reviewers. “At the same time, this is a theory. As an educator, parent and grandparent, I feel very firmly that creation science based on biblical principles should be incorporated into every biology book that is up for adoption.”
“Now the veil is dropped,” Dan Quinn of the Texas Freedom Network writes. “Some of the reviewers are clearly oblivious to the fact that teaching religious arguments in a science classroom is blatantly unconstitutional.”
The National Center for Science Education and Texas Freedom Network found that the Creationists on the textbook review boards have also:
• asserted that “no transitional fossils have been discovered”
• insisted that there is no evidence for a human influence on the carbon cycle
• claimed that there is no evidence about the effect of climate change on species diversity
• promoted a book touting “intelligent design” creationism as a reliable source of scientific information
• denied that recombination and genetic drift are evolutionary mechanisms
• mischaracterized experiments on the peppered moth as “discredited” and as “fabrication[s]”
Due to the size of the Texas market, textbooks tailored to the state’s standards could be used across the country, making the ramifications of the Creationist influence even greater.