Statewide Survey Dispels Myth about ‘Controversy’ in Science Community,
Reveals Deep Concerns about Student Preparation for College and Future Jobs
AUSTIN, Texas -- A first-time statewide survey shows that science faculty at public
and private universities in Texas soundly reject arguments promoted by opponents
of scientific evolution, according to a new report from the Texas Freedom
Network Education Fund.
“This survey leaves no doubt that the political crusade against evolution and
other attempts to dumb down our public school science curriculum are deeply
misguided,” TFN Education Fund President Kathy Miller said today. “Texas
scientists are clearly worried that failing to provide a 21st-century science
education in our public schools will harm our children’s chances to succeed in
college and the jobs of the future."
The TFN Education Fund conducted the survey in conjunction with Dr. Raymond
Eve, a sociologist at the University of Texas at Arlington in early 2008. The
survey went to the 1,019 biologists and biological anthropologists on the
faculty of all 35 public and the 15 largest private colleges and universities in
Texas. An astonishing 45 percent of science faculty from 49 of those
institutions responded to the survey, said Prof. Eve.
“Many of these science faculty members almost certainly help determine who
gets into our state’s colleges and universities,” Eve said. “Their responses
should send parents a clear message that those who want to play politics with
science education are putting our kids at risk.”
The survey results are contained in a new report, Evolution, Creationism and
Public Education: Surveying What Texas Scientists Think about Educating Our Kids
in the 21st Century.
The report highlights five key findings from the survey:
1. Texas scientists (97.7 percent) overwhelmingly reject “intelligent design”
as valid science.
2. Texas science faculty (95 percent) want only evolution taught in science
3. Scientists reject teaching the so-called “weaknesses” of evolution, with
94 percent saying that those arguments are not valid scientific objections to
4. Science faculty believe that emphasizing “weaknesses” of evolution would
substantially harm students’ college readiness (79.6 percent) and ability to
compete for 21st-century jobs (72 percent).
5. Scientists (91 percent) strongly believe that support for evolution is
compatible with religious faith.
The survey results show that politicians who argue that there is a scientific
controversy over evolution are not supported by scientists even in a state as
conservative as Texas, Miller said.
“There is now no doubt that arguments about a ‘controversy’ among scientists
are a fiction devised as a political strategy,” Miller said. “The only real
controversy here is whether the personal beliefs of politicians on the state
board will trump established, mainstream science and threaten a 21st-century
education for our schoolchildren.”
The release of the survey comes as the Texas State Board of Education
continues work on revising the science curriculum standards for Texas public
schools. The state board is set to adopt the revised standards in March 2009.
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