Texas Textbook Reviewers Are Trying to Push Creationism Into the Classroom

How did the Texas State Board of Education get back into the news?! I thought we were done with them after Don McLeroy left, but they’re back and they’re once again promoting bad science:

Science textbooks shouldn’t include magic

Records show that the textbook reviewers made ideological objections to material on evolution and climate change in science textbooks from at least seven publishers, including several of the nation’s largest publishing houses. Failing to obtain a review panel’s top rating can make it harder for publishers to sell their textbooks to school districts, and can even lead the state to reject the books altogether.

The Texas Freedom Network and the National Center for Science Education put out a joint press release this week explaining how the TFN obtained the review panel’s notes from the Texas Education Agency “through a request under the state’s Public Information Act.”

Among the most egregious examples they found:

In a review of textbooks from publishers Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Scientific Minds, a reviewer wrote:

“I understand the National Academy of Science’s [sic] strong support of the theory of evolution. 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.”

The same reviewer also wrote (in the Houghton textbook review):

“While I understand the theory of evolution and its wide acceptance, there should be inclusion of the ‘creation model’ based on the Biblical view of history.

Also in his review of Pearson/Prentice-Hall’s textbook, [reviewer Ray] Bohlin repeatedly promotes a book written by a Discovery Institute vice president, without disclosing his affiliation with the Institute:

“This entire section is out of date and wrong. Also see Meyer’s ‘The Signature in the Cell.’ [sic]”

“There is no discussion of the origin of information bearing molecules which is absolutely essential in any origin of life scenario Meyer’s Signature in the Cell easily dismisses any RNA first scenario. The authors need to get caught up.”

“If authors would read Signature in the Cell, chapter 14, they would be made fully aware of the deep problems of any RNA first scenario.”

Again, that’s just a sampling.

These are reviewers who don’t understand science, who want to push their religious agendas into the classroom to the detriment of Texas students — and possibly students nationwide who are affected by Texas’ textbook selections.

We don’t know yet how publishers have responded to the critiques from the ignorant reviewers.

The state Board of Education will meet next Tuesday to begin discussion on science textbook adoption. NCSE is asking everyone to remind them: Don’t mess with textbooks. If you sign up for information at their website, you’ll be notified where and when exactly that meeting will take place. If you can, show up at the meeting and let them know (politely but firmly) that you want Texas students to be properly educated in science and not subject to religious beliefs that belong only within church walls.

(Image via Shutterstock)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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