Friday, March 27, 2009

Evolution Lives

On a tie vote, it appears that the creationists on the Texas State Board of Education failed in their attempt to prevent the teaching of evolution in science classes. However, they managed to make some mischief, requiring science teachers to evaluate critically a variety of scientific principles like the Big Bang, for example.

Here is additional background, as reported here on Wednesday ("Will Darwin Take It On The Chin In Texas?").

The New York Times ("Defeat And Some Success For Texas Evolution Foes") and the Dallas Morning News ("Split vote upholds Texas education board ruling to ax evolution 'strengths and weaknesses' rule") have the full story.

Board members deadlocked 7-7 on a motion to restore a longtime curriculum rule that "strengths and weaknesses" of all scientific theories – notably Charles Darwin's theory of evolution – be covered in science classes and textbooks for those subjects.

The tie vote upheld a preliminary decision by the board in January to delete the strengths-and-weaknesses rule in the new curriculum standards for science classes that will be in force for the next decade. That decision, if finalized in a last vote today, changes 20 years of Texas education policy.

Because the standards spell out what must be covered in textbooks, science educators and publishers have been monitoring the Texas debate closely. As one of the largest textbook purchasers in the nation, Texas influences what is sold in other states.

Now if they could only agree on how old the earth really is.

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