In June 2008, the Governor of Louisiana signed the Louisiana Science Education Act into law which supports the Trojan Horse of using critical thinking as a way to creak open the door for the teaching of Creationism and Intelligent Design as part of science teaching.
And now the State of Texas is having at it.
A New York Times article reports the story. Although the forces in favor of teaching creationism gave up their long battle to insist that science teachers explore the “strengths and weaknesses” of all theories, they were able to stick various amendments on the state’s science curriculum including:
one that would compel science teachers to instruct students about aspects of the fossil record that do not neatly fit with the idea of species’ gradually changing over time, like the relatively sudden appearance of some species and the fact that others seem to remain unchanged for millions of years.
If these politicians would only read Charles Darwin’s book, On the Origin of the Species. Darwin addressed the problem of “missing” fossils long ago, yet these elected officials talk as if they understand Darwin’s work, and indeed the nature of science. And of course what they do is make a travesty of science teaching.
As reported by Glen Branch & Eugenie C. Scott in their Scientific American article, The Latest Face of Creationism, “without evolution, modern biology, including medicine and biotechnology, wouldn’t make sense (quote from Arthur Landy, Professor of Biology, Brown University).
But the face of creationism as developed by Branch & Scott should be a red marker that its only certain topics that should be examined “critically,” and they include biological evolution, chemical origins of life, global warming and human cloning. In fact, these topics are explicitly mentioned in the Louisiana Law.
So why are elected officials in many states, including Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas and others spending so much time worrying about evolution. In many of these cases, if you look beneath the surface, there will be lurking a institute, yes, The Discovery Institute. This organization promotes the notion of intelligent design, and has worked with certain elected officials and irate parents to try and undermine science teaching by using its wedge theory to enact legislation that casts doubt on scientific thinking, and indeed uses the very nature of science to try and insert religious dogma into the teaching of science. You can read some of my earlier comments and posts about this institute here.
One suggestion for homework that I have for the board members in Texas and other states is to read two books:
The Voyage of Beagle—This is a link to the text of this amazing book written in 1839 (twenty years before his next book). You can read it here online, or send the link to one of your elected officials.
On the Origins of Species—A link to the book online, published in 1859, 150 years ago.Tags: creationism, evolution, intelligent design, Louisiana, Louisiana Science Education Act, New York Times, origin of the species, teaching biology, Texas