Knoxville Biology Textbook Gets Approved

Remember Kurt Zimmerman? He was the Knoxville, TN father who wanted an Honors Biology textbook banned because it included the following passage:

(You can find the context of that quotation here.)

Anyway, the Knox County school board listened to a review committee’s recommendation and voted 6-3 in favor of keeping the book.

… although board members voted to keep it in the classroom, they directed Superintendent Jim McIntyre to send a letter to the publisher ‘suggesting that they consider less provocative wording in future editions,’ according to an approved motion submitted by board Chairwoman Indya Kincannon.

Kurt Zimmermann, the Farragut High School father who brought the appeal to have the book removed or amended, said while he wasn’t pleased with the decision, ‘some good things came out of it … we got awareness of (the issue), and that was the important thing.’

It’s hardly “provocative” to state the fact that Creationism is a myth.

Still, the board made the right decision in dismissing Zimmermann. Good for them.

  • http://www.frommormontoatheist.blogspot.com Leilani

    Well… technically they believe their god created it in 6 days… stupid day of rest, the reason I can’t buy a car or beer on a Sunday…

    I am sure that is the real reason he was upset by the Science text book. ;)

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    I’d love to have a chat with the three members of the school board who voted against the book…

  • Luther

    Beware of myth placed trust. I’ll take a long standing theory any day, especially Sunday.

  • Matto the Hun

    Awareness indeed, now we are all aware that Kurt Zimmerman is an ignorant twit (do you think he knows how magnets work?)

  • Brian C Posey

    I’m surprised the book brings up the subject of creationism. It seems an unnecessary diversion from the biology.

  • http://lastbiteblog.blogspot.com/ Ben Z

    I am very surprised at this outcome. Being an alumni of Farragut High School I can tell you that 10 years ago this textbook would have been wretched from the hands of each student with one in his or her possession.

    I’d say this is a pretty big victory for that area.

  • Trans Sami

    I’m surprised the book brings up the subject of creationism. It seems an unnecessary diversion from the biology.

    Every single textbook I’ve ever read in my entire life started it’s discussion on any current scientific theory by going over all the theories disproven before that one. Chemistry textbooks talk about alchemy, psychology textbooks talked about how we thought mental illness was demons and hexes and biology textbooks devote a section to talking about the idiotic superstitions we held onto in more primitive times.

  • http://lyonlegal.blogspot.com/ Vincent

    I’m just offended that it didn’t say “Judeo-Christo-Islamic God”

  • Bob

    My mother is a devout Catholic, yet at no point did she insist that Genesis was the literal truth. Nor did any of my teachers (parochial school through high school); in fact, my education by the Jesuits fed my intellectual curiousity and love of science.

    I just don’t understand the evangelical desire to live in ignorant bliss.

  • http://findingmyfeminism.blogspot.com/ Not Guilty

    Hey, they want “equal time” in the classroom. The only way to do that is to point out that it is in fact a myth. Be careful what your wish for…

  • stogoe

    Every single textbook I’ve ever read in my entire life started it’s discussion on any current scientific theory by going over all the theories disproven before that one.

    In fact, if you’d participated in any blog discussion about this issue on any skeptic blog at any point before this, you’d know that the text in question is located in the History of Biology section of the book, discussing what we thought we knew in the past and how/when/why we learned we were wrong about what we knew then.

    See? Entirely relevant, and not a diversion at all.

  • Bob

    @NotGuilty:

    I think this is ultimately an outgrowth of the nonsense perpetuated over the last few decades where you ‘everything is equal’ – even though we know this is not true.

    Want to teach 2+2=4? There’s someone out there insisting we teach 2+2=5. It’s polluting education, politics, public policy, etc.

    Yet – and I can’t seem to get this across to most people – even objective reporting means you have to make value decisions as to what is true and what is false. If x is true, and you’re reporting about x, it doesn’t mean you have to give equal time to y.

  • http://pinkydead.blogspot.com David McNerney

    They should make it less provocative though.

    The best way I can think to do that is leave it out – and put it where it belongs in a “Classical Studies” textbook.

  • Jonas

    >> I just don’t understand the evangelical desire to live in ignorant bliss.

    Having gone to a Creationist lecture only once in my life, I can only speculate. In that creationists view it seemed ‘literal creation’ was necessary in order to justify his ethics & morals derived from his christian roots. Without a ‘Real Deity’ to verify his world view (at least in his mind) his ethics would not hold.

  • Steven Mading

    Well, the textbook’s definition is incorrect, but not for the reason Zimmerman was complaining about, which is the use of the word “myth”. No, it was correct to use the word “myth”, but it was incorrect to claim that the term “creationism” is a word that narrowly refers only to the 7-day myth one gets from the bible. “Creationism” is a wider term that covers ANY god-based creation myth, whether it’s the 7-day Genesis story or some other story.

  • http://yetanotheratheist.net/ Yet Another Atheist

    @David McNerney:
    >> They should make it less provocative though.

    >> The best way I can think to do that is leave it out – and put it where it belongs in a “Classical Studies” textbook.

    Uh… what? Biology = the study of life. Creationism = the myth that we were spontaneously created as-is. For a biology text book to mention creationism is not only appropriate, but I think necessary.

  • garthhh

    Myth doesn’t even mean false, or untrue, or anything that should be taken as offensive. When it comes down to it, a myth is just a story that people believe in. The Bible is a myth, the Epic of Gilgamesh is a myth, the Mahabharata is a myth, Dine Bahane consists of several myths, etc. Yes, Creationism and the Bible are myths. However, the author is not outright saying that Creationism and the Christian Bible are false. The author is simply stating that Creationism is something that people believe to be the history of humankind. Telling the publisher to use less provocative language is completely asinine. Maybe the board should learn what all the words mean in the textbooks that they approve.

  • Pingback: Creationism is a myth | My Ivory Tower

  • Mel

    I’m surprised that a biology textbook would even include a definition for creationism, but anyhow, I heart that definition!

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    If anyone is interested the entire argument surrounding creationism and biology is thoroughly explored in Eugenie Scott’s Creationism vs Evolution. It is very clearly written and covers the actual arguments for creationism (creationists usually just argue against evolution) and why they aren’t compelling. She also provides an extremely clear overview of evolution and why the science is the very best explanation for the variety of living organisms on our planet.

  • anti_supernaturalist

    ** US ignorance of evolution exceeded only by Turkey

    Science will survive nicely elsewhere even if it dies here in the Empire of Ignorati.

    Live Science web site has posted information to help understand the problem of American mis-education, and by taking a multinational perspective, shows how ignorant the US is compared to Japan, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, but not Turkey…the only country out of 34 listed which is more scientifically incompetent than the US.

    One vector of mental disease worldwide: the RC church whose pedophile protecting pontiff on 2 May 2010 venerated the fake “shroud” of Turin! Out of Kafka, the Holy Faker has sway over what? — 500 million believers. Europe resists xianity because Western Europe is vastly more agnostic, atheist, and anti-clerical than the US.

    Stopping the spread of supernaturalism in the US means attacking fundies head-on. With declining real income over the last decade continuing, I expect the right-wing pressure to protest against the wrong forces will increase.

    The corporate/dominionist/military machine can easily protect itself and put the blame for government failures on godless atheists, illegal aliens, government taxation — anyone but the elites.

    If you want to read about the future US — then read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood — published 25 years ago — it is a portrait of the US becoming more likely every day. Keep your passport up to date.

    the anti_supernaturalist

  • Andrew

    I’ve always been greatly offended that the periodic table doesn’t include “Andrillium”, an element with which I have a deep personal relationship but absolutely no demonstrable empirical evidence. I’m positive that it’s a scientific-liberal conspiracy to suppress my views and propagate the unproven theory of “chemistry.”


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