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Intelligent Design Tries Again In Texas, Group Says

Evolution in the cross-hairs
Evolution in the cross-hairs

Texas might be getting ready to fill its science textbooks with anti-evolution material, critics are warning.

The State Board of Education may soon take another step in its effort to adopt material that pushes Intelligent Design, they say.

"Two years ago State Board of Education members thumbed their noses at the science community and approved new curriculum standards that opened the door to creationism and junk science, " said TFN President Kathy Miller. "Now they are getting exactly what they wanted -- the chance to make Texas the poster child for the creationist movement. The state board would be aiding and abetting wholesale academic fraud and dumbing down the education of millions of Texas kids if it doesn't reject these materials."

The material is in proposed web-based high school biology materials the SBOE is considering.

Among the language the National Center for Science Education and the Texas Freedom Network find alarming:

* Religious claims such as "life on Earth is the result of intelligent causes" (Module 1, "Origin Nucleotide," Slide 19)

* Teacher instructions such as: "students should go home with the understanding that a new paradigm of explaining life's origins is emerging from the failed attempts of naturalistic scenarios. This new way of thinking is predicated upon the hypothesis that intelligent input is necessary for life's origins." (Module 8, "Teacher Resources", Slide 3)

* Arguments that "intelligent design" is a "legitimate scientific hypothesis" (Module 1, "Origin Nucleotide," Slide 19) or even "the default position" (Module 7, "Null Hypothesis," Slide 8) in science--despite the consensus of the scientific community, and a federal court, that it is essentially religious creationism without any scientific basis

* Misrepresentations of Darwin's 150-year-old writings in an attempt to discredit modern biology

* Distortions of the scientific understanding and evidence behind key biological processes, such as the modern synthetic theory of evolution and the stages of the cell cycle

The material will be considered by SBOE this summer, and because of budget cuts it may stay in the curriculum for a decade, critics say.


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