It used to be that creationists were sneaky. They knew teaching creationism was against the law, so they tried to dress it up as science, or as teaching the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution. It wasn’t exactly crafty, and it certainly wasn’t honest.
And the reason they weren’t honest is because playing fairly would result in immediate defeat (it turns out creationists don’t get to break the law more than anybody else). This is a lesson the creationists on the Texas board of education are about to learn. Karen Beathard, one of the reviewers, made a misstep by telling the truth.
Religious conservatives serving on state textbook review panels have criticized several proposed high school biology textbooks for not including arguments against Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
The review panels include several creationists. They urge the State Board of Education to reject the books unless publishers include more disclaimers on key concepts of evolution.
One reviewer even suggested a rule requiring that each biology book cover “creation science.” That would run counter to a 1987 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. The decision banned the teaching of creationism in public school science classes.
“I understand the National Academy of Science’s strong support of the theory of evolution,” said Texas A&M University nutritionist Karen Beathard, one of the biology textbook reviewers. “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.”
Should the board get silly (as they almost certainly will) and should this end up in court (as it almost certainly will) the first thing the prosecution will do is quote Karen Beathard. This will confirm that the motivation for altering the science standards was religious in nature and the case should be closed before lunch. While I certainly appreciate Beathard’s candor, being less morally repugnant about breaking the law than one’s predecessors doesn’t earn you enough gold stars to allow you to break the law.
I don’t envy Zach Kopplin. These people are persistent, and not nearly as entertaining as sparring with one’s ethical and intellectual equals.