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:

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:

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Religious School’s Chairman Destroys 3,000 Student Planners Because They Include Image of ‘Satanic’ Peace Sign

This is a page from a planner given out to the 3,000 students at Pieter Zandt, a Protestant reformatory school in the Netherlands (click to enlarge):

See anything wrong with it?

Check out that one guy’s shirt. With the peace sign on it. That’s the problem.

Parents complained to the head of the school because they believed the symbol to be a sign of the Antichrist.

Even worse, the school’s chairman agreed and destroyed all of the planners:

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Why Did Israel Alter Science Textbooks at Religious Schools to Remove Aspects of the Female Anatomy?

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, discusses a recent decision in Israel to give state-sponsored religious schools censored science books:

You can read more about the issue here.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next! [Read more...]

Ask Richard: A Follow-Up Letter from a Teenage Atheist Four Years Later

Dear Richard,

I wrote to you back in 2009 when I was in the 8th grade and you really helped me and I wanted to thank you for that. I just recently rediscovered your blog and I figured I would write to you again. I’m now a senior in high school and in the time since the 8th grade I’ve completely reassessed my faith. For a little while I kept trying to be Christian, and for about a year I was. I feel like that was good for me though. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think it’s a very unwise thing to completely disown one’s faith in middle school. I have, however, come to the conclusion that I am an atheist, and I honestly do not see that changing. I’m just worried about any fallout caused by this, and I don’t quite know how to approach certain situations that I face on a near daily basis. I’m trying to get some answers to questions preemptively in hopes that when I’m faced with these situations (either once again or someday in the future) I will know the best way to handle them.

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High Court Indicates Support for Indian Teacher’s Right Not to Pray

An update on a story I brought you last week: Sanjay Salve, a teacher in India, was denied traditional pay grade increases because of his refusal to visibly pray during a school assembly. According to The Hindu, however, his fortunes may be turning around.

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