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Texas creationism: losers win?

texas.bmpThe seemingly endless attempts by certain elements of America to caveat the teaching of evolution continued last week. As we noted:

Half of Texas’s Board of Education voted [Thursday] to support the teaching of “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution in high school classrooms. But because the vote was a tie, an earlier decision to leave out the evolution-doubting component stands.

Then on Friday, The Dallas Morning News notes, “social conservatives lost another skirmish over 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.

However the board also voted to encourage scrutiny of “all sides” of scientific theories. This didn’t go down well with Eugenie Scott, executive director of the California-based National Center for Science Education, who said, “I think we’ve seen some classic examples of politics interfering with science education.” (AP.)


Also, as the Bad Astronomy blog points out, “The far-right Republicans on the Board were not finished. They put in language to weaken the Big Bang theory, saying that there are different estimates for the age of the Universe.”

So everyone can claim they won, or they lost, depending on how they want to spin it.

In Newsweek Christopher Hitchens says proposes a compromise: school debating societies should restage the famous debates between Thomas ‘Darwin’s Bulldog’ Huxley and Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, as well as the Scopes ‘Monkey Trial’ in Dayton. Time should also be set aside for children to learn all creation stories, he says, “from the Hindu to the Muslim to the Australian Aboriginal”. In return, Texas churches should teach “the “strengths and weaknesses” of the religious world view”.

“This is America,” writes Hitchens. “Let a hundred flowers bloom, and a thousand schools of thought contend. We may one day have cause to be grateful to the Texas Board of Education for lighting a candle that cannot be put out.”

Image: Texas state flag / via wikipedia

Comments

  1. Report this comment

    t c said:

    As a biology teacher, just try and stop me from teaching the truth. Evolution is not the truth as pertains to so many concepts. There are points that are true, but so many evidences take away from points that Darwin himself contended.

  2. Report this comment

    Brandon T. Bisceglia said:

    There’s nothing wrong with scrutinizing the assumptions inherent in scientific endeavors. However, the major tenets of evolution are not assumptions. They are observable, thoroughly tested, logically and empirically sound.

    The constant attempts in this country to generate doubt about topics for which no serious scientific objections can be drawn only distracts us from the pursuit of questions that do warrant legitimate inquiry. This kind of subversion will only serve to destroy our role as scientific and technological leaders.

  3. Report this comment

    Scot Anderson said:

    To T.C.: I would not attempt to stop you from teaching the truth. You have already done that. As T.B. aptly says, the fundamentals are there for all to see unless you close your eyes. Religious hypotheses are so shallow they do not stand on their own, they have no explanatory or expository power beyond that given them by faith. Faith not all share. So teach the truth or teach religion but do not confuse our children. Evolution is the currently accepted explanation and until that changes you do your students, your country, your religion and your future a disservice by teaching your belief over observational facts. If the theory changes and is confirmed in the crucible of experiment, I then would recommend changing what you teach, but for now you are leading the way to economic collapse of our country by confusing the future scientists with mumbo-jumbo.

  4. Report this comment

    Brig Klyce said:

    I think both sides in this debate have valid points. Darwinists are right to insist that science class must teach science. Creationists are right to notice that darwinism explains less than it claims to. But the worst consequence of this debate is that no one considers scientific alternatives that could deal with the shortcomings of darwinism. One alternative is the strong version of panspermia. There may be others.

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    Kenneth Lawrence said:

    Turn from your pagan religion of evolution and believe in God and His Son Jesus Christ and you will be saved from the wrath of God that is coming on the ungodly in America and the rest of the world. Time is short. Believe in Jesus or face the wrath of God. KL

  6. Report this comment

    Wayne E. Taylor said:

    This battle between Creationists and Evolutionists is a tempest in a teacup. One word can calm the storm: CREAVOLUTION, which means Theistic Evolution.

    Hugh Ross, in his book “The Creator and the Cosmos”, argues persuasively that the “Big Bang” theory of modern physics, for the origin of matter and energy, supports the Biblical Creation story of Genesis 1. To reach this understanding that the Biblical story supports an ancient origin for our universe, it is necessary to carefully read and study the words of the Bible in the Hebrew Torah and interpret scriptures correctly, as opposed to the simplistic literal reading of Genesis given by young-earth (six day) Creationists. On the other hand, scientists can understand that the fundamental laws of physics are in accord with the existence of a Creator, by coming to terms with the “anthropic principle”: We humans are here to observe the universe only because the laws of nature and the fundamental constants (h, C, G, m(p) and m(e) etc) were “designed” perfectly to allow the universe and earth to exist. A change in the assigned values for these fundamental constants of physics, by even a tiny fraction of one percent, would cause the world to either collapse or blow apart. We have ample reason to believe that God created the world in an awesome explosion starting about 13.7 billion years ago by means of an expansion of electromagnetic energy and wave-particles (wavicles) at the nexus of space-time. This creation of our universe, which physicists have described as the “Big Bang”, is identified with God’s creative command in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created heaven and earth. — Let there be Light”. The Bible is not a science book; it gives the big picture.

    However, Ross argues that the Genesis account of God’s Creation of life is not compatible with the Darwinian theory of evolution of life on earth. This apparent dissonance between the Biblical Creation story and the scientific theory of evolution for the origin of life has resulted in recurring clashes between proponents of Religion (ie, William Jennings Bryan at the Scopes monkey trial) and Science (such as Richard Dawkins, author of “The Blind Watchmaker”). Many physical scientists find confirmation for believing that God created light and the universe by means of what we call the Big Bang, including billions of years of atomic, stellar and terrestrial development from simpler elementary wave-particles. So why is it not also conceivable that God created life by a mechanism of (what we call) biological evolution, including billions of years for the development by natural selection of plants, animals and mankind starting with simpler molecular complexes and single-cellular organisms? The Book of Nature as generally revealed in God’s Creation, must tell the same Truth as the Book of God’s Word, which was specially revealed in the Bible. There are hundreds of independent lines of evidence verifying an ancient earth, with a million years of ice cores, and a 3.5-billion year fossil record of sedimentary layers dated by radio-isotopes, consistent with 13.7 billion years of stellar evolution. These facts which inexorably give us a picture of an ancient but finite earth must be true, since God is not a liar, but the source of Truth.

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    Kenneth Lawrence said:

    Mr. Taylor, Genesis says God created man in His own image, and Jesus says we were created male and female “in the beginning”. Are “simpler molecular complexes” the image of God? What, then, do you think of God? Are “single cellular organisms” male and female? Are they people, as Jesus says were created “in the beginning”? You, like many people (including me at one time), have been conned by Satan into believing false science over God’s word. You cannot reconcile either Genesis or Jesus’ teachings on creation with evolution and long ages. You have to reject one or the other. Don’t make the terrible mistake of rejecting Jesus. Evolution won’t save you, only faith in Jesus can do that. And don’t try to reconcile God’s truth with the false science of men who deny the power of God. Do you really think God would use a wasteful, cruel process like macroevolution to create man, with millions of years of death and suffering? For what? Do you think He is incapable of creating man in a nanosecond if He chooses? Or a whole Earth and universe in six days? What kind of God do you believe in? Not the God I see in the Bible and in Jesus Christ. I’ve been where you’re at, and I know how Satan’s “science” con works. God’s word says the natural mind cannot comprehend the things of God, and that includes the truth of His six-day creation of “heaven, the earth, the sea, and all that in them is” (Exodus 20:11). Let the atheists who are blind to God believe in their delusional misinterpretation of the world. Believe Jesus, not them, please, for your sake.

  8. Report this comment

    Brandon T. Bisceglia said:

    Mr. Lawrence:

    If your interpretation of the Bible does not take into account the overwhelming and observable evidence for certain processes, what makes it fundamentally better than other religious interpretations that do incorporate the evidence into their understanding? Catholics believe that they know Jesus just as well, and the Church has accepted evolution. It doesn’t stop them from believing that God is real.

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    Duy Truong said:

    It is true that the theory of evolution might be disproved, but that is what made it Science.

    Can you disprove Creationism by experimental evidence? No. Therefore, it is NOT science.

    I just wonder how those “professors” call themselves “scientist” without even knowing what “science” means.

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