Creationist Textbook Reviews in Texas. Again.

Creationist Textbook Reviews in Texas. Again. September 12, 2013

The Texas Board of Education is once again considering new textbooks to purchase and, true to previous form, they’ve appointed a bunch of creationists to analyze the science textbooks. The Texas Freedom Network has the reviews written by those creationists and the results are predictable. A few examples:

“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.”

You might want to try and keep up. The Supreme Court ruled such teaching unconstitutional more than 25 years ago. On another biology textbook:

“Text neglects to tell students that no transitional fossils have been discovered. The fossil record can be interpreted in other ways than evolutionary with equal justification. Text should ask students to analyze and compare alternative theories. The statement that there are hundreds of thousands of transitional fossils is simply not true. Moreover, those fossils that are considered transitional are often subjects of disagreement among biologists.”

That’s a tired old creationist talking point and blatantly false. Ray Bohlin, one of the creationist “experts” appointed by the board, repeatedly referred to one of Stephen Meyer’s very bad books on the subject.

“This entire section is out of date and wrong.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.”

There is irony in a creationist, who takes his views from an ancient religious text, telling others to “get caught up.” Meyer, of course, is not a cell biologist and has no training in the field. Here’s what Christian cell biologist Dennis Venema had to say about this book when he reviewed it:

Signature in the Cell represents a layman’s attempt to overturn an entire field of research based on a surface-level understanding (and, at times, significant misunderstanding or ignorance) of the relevant science, published in a form that bypasses review by qualified peers, and that is marketed directly to a nonspecialist audience. This is not good science, nor science in any meaningful sense.”

Quite right. They could submit their ideas to peer-reviewed journals, but they know that actual scientists in those fields will see through their nonsense.

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