Despite new science standards, Alabama biology textbooks continue to promote the false idea that evolution is a “controversial theory” in an underhanded attempt to promote Biblical creationism.
Earlier this month, the Associated Press reported that Alabama had finally updated its science standards to require that students understand and learn about evolution, which is good news.
However, buried in that good news was also an acknowledgement of a “sticker” that the state requires to be placed on all its biology textbooks, a sticker telling students that evolution is a “controversial theory,” not a fact.
The sticker, which has appeared in Alabama textbooks since 2001, is a one-page insert placed in the front or back cover of every biology textbook a child reads in public schools in the state of Alabama.
The evolution disclaimer reminds students that “no one was present when life first appeared on earth. Therefore, any statement about life’s origins should be considered as theory, not fact.” Claims clearly meant to confuse and bamboozle children, in a desperate attempt to make plausible the ridiculous claims of biblical creationists.
The disclaimer also suggests students “keep an open mind,” and remember that “[t]here are many unanswered questions about the origin of life not mentioned in your textbook,” again suggesting that there is some doubt about evolution, when there is none.
Read a copy of the disclaimer:
The insert is a clear attempt to promote creationist dogma while also making the unwarranted suggestion that there is some question concerning the validity of evolution.
Claiming that evolution is a “controversial theory” is dishonest, and amounts to educational malpractice, and a subtle form of intellectual child abuse.
The Associated Press reports the disclaimer was advocated for by conservative Christians, which should come as no surprise, since it is only religious extremists who object to teaching evolution.
The evolution disclaimer that is required to be inserted into every Alabama biology textbook is wrong and unethical. The disclaimer is a despicable attempt to leave the door open for religious superstition, and has no place in science education, and no place in a public school.
A committee that will review science texts could consider whether to remove or alter the stickers, officials said. A public hearing is set for Nov. 9 in Montgomery. Let’s hope they do the right thing, and get rid of the dishonest and deceptive stickers.