Texas SBOE wants IDeology Taught in Texas Schools

I commented in a previous posting about the Texas State Board of Education and how its Chair, a fundamentalist dentist, and other board members are willing water carriers for the Discovery Institute. They are pursuing the latest D.I. ploy of having the “weaknesses” of evolution taught in science classes. This ploy, which is really rather pathetic and smacks of desperation, makes me wonder what the next creationist tactic will be after this one also fails. Will they demand that biology teachers be required to cross their fingers behind their backs and roll their eyes when lecturing about evolution? Anyway, here is a letter to the editor I sent to the Houston Chronicle:

Dear Editor.

Thank you for Alan I. Leshner’s piece (“Board’s actions could put students at a disadvantage,” Chronicle, 10/23) warning of the State Board of Education’s unintelligent designs to put creationism into Texas school curricula. The only problem was that Leshner was far too nice. “intelligent design theory” (ID) is merely the latest incarnation of religious creationism. Time and again ID’s pseudoscientific arguments have been dissected and its religious agenda exposed. Leshner is overgenerous when he says that “of course” students need to hear about both the strengths and the weaknesses of evolution. He is referring to the recent creationist tactic (actually, a rather pathetic ploy) of trying to get the “weaknesses” of evolution taught in science classes. The problem is that these alleged “weaknesses” are figments of the creationist imagination. The “weaknesses” argument has been thoroughly rebutted by responsible scientists. For instance, creationists continue to push their hackneyed, discredited canard about the alleged lack of transitional forms in the fossil record. I have a book that draws extensively from the peer-reviewed scientific literature to list fifteen pages of indisputable examples of transitional fossils. If the Board of Education succeeds in getting ID ideology taught in Texas schools, students will get an education not only in bad science but in dishonesty.

About Keith Parsons
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10279514096764072153 Jordan Fett

    This is a tough issue. Really, when you look at the course of history, I suspect that we’ll see a similar course of events in Texas as we did in Dover if this gets as out of hand as it looks like it’s going. Science, with its merits of discovery, evidence, and reform; will likely only sharpen their arguments over time (it’s becoming harder and harder to defend the ID position, I think).

    So, overall, I think Dover helped the scientific community more than it hurt… by demonstrating to the public in clear view how Evolution (and other necessarily naturalistic phenomena) are the only reasonable explanations to some of the big questions about biology.

    That being said, it’s the children in Texas that are suffering intellectual impoverishment.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16641266062186767500 Keith Parsons

    This must be the Era of Dimnished Expectation for creationists. Twenty five years ago creationists were demanding that the “creation model,” a very thinly disguised version of Genesis, be taught in public schools alongside the “evolution model.” When the courts turned back this effort, the troops were rallied by the rise of seemingly more sophisticated Intelligent Design Theory. ID’ers, like William Dembski, were at pains to distance themselves from fundamentalist creationists. Yet, again, the courts saw through the camouflage. Now creationists are reduced to putting stickers on science textbooks, as they did for a while in Cobb County, Georgia, saying that evolution is “only a theory.” They also fecklessly pursue the “weaknesses” ploy and promote laws to assure the “academic freedom” of creationist teachers and professors. When these desperate and pathetic efforts come to naught, as they ultimately will despite the Texas SBOE, I wonder what will be the next creationist ruse. Will they produce a film, as depicted in the hilarious send-up of creationism on The Simpsons, showing Darwin and the Devil in amorous embrace? Will they take a cue from Operation Rescue and start chaining themselves to the doors of biology departments and natural history museums? The only thing we can be sure of is that, buoyed by the invincible certainty of the true ideologue, they will never admit defeat.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09636331242643054292 Steven Schafersman

    Thanks for the letter, Keith. I wrote a news report about this episode at
    http://www.texscience.org/releases/creationists-science-review-panel.htm on October 15.

    Also, I frequently write about what is happening in Texas in my evolution blog at

    Steven Schafersman
    Texas Citizens for Science

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16641266062186767500 Keith Parsons

    Steven, good to hear from you, and thank you for keeping up the good fight against the forces of darkness.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11815695119406091177 Interested

    I recently retired from teaching in Texas so I am well aware of the overwhelming presence of creationist, particularly in the elementary science class. As a librarian I was dogged at every corner to rid the library of anything that taught evolution. Some teachers were so determined to remove science material that they would check it out and destroy it to keep kids from seeing it. Please keep it up. I am out of the schools now but the kids deserve to learn good science.

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