Scientists pleaded with the Texas Board of Education not to allow their state to become “a national embarrassment” by requiring school biology textbooks to put creationism on equal footing with evolution.
The Board held a hearing in Austin Tuesday night on approval of new science textbooks for the statewide curriculum.
Most schools in Texas use textbooks that have been okayed by the state board, even though a law passed two years ago allows local school districts to choose their own.
In what the Texas Freedom Network, which opposes teaching of creationism, called “an overwhelming victory for science,” parents and scientists from across the state flooded the hearing room, many offering testimony supporting the idea that evolution alone is worthy of scientific study.
Some members of the education board’s science review panel earlier recommended that creationism, the belief that God created human beings fully formed as described in the Bible’s Book of Genesis, be included in biology textbooks alongside teaching of evolution.
“To ensure that ‘Texas edition’ is a mark of quality, not a warning label, I ask that you assure publishers they won’t have to make revisions to satisfy these flawed reviews,” Josh Rosenau of the National Center for Science Education implored the board.
Southern Methodist University anthropology Professor Ronald Wetherington told the board that the reviwers who wanted creationism included in the textbooks, “expose an ignorance of the very materials they are attempting to review.”
Wetherington (pictured, circa 2011) went on to urge board members, “not to let Texas once again become a national embarrassment."
But a former chairman of the education board, who lost a reelection bid in 2010, called for adoption of the controversial textbooks that include creationism in order to “strike the final blow to the teaching of evolution.”
"What we see in the world around us supports what the Bible says but what we see in these books supports what the bible says too," said Don McElroy, a dentist.
Prior to the 3 1/2-hour hearing, activists held a rally to support scientific accuracy in textbooks.
"We don't want to send our children into the information and technology age with a science education from the dark ages," said Kathy Miler, Texas Freedom Network president.