Evolution gets added boost in Texas schools

January 23, 2009

Social and religious conservatives in Texas suffered a setback on Thursday when the State Board of Education narrowly voted to ditch a requirement that high school science teachers cover the “strengths and weaknesses” of Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, which is more popularly known as the theory of evolution.

A final vote on the entire science curriculum is expected today. You can see reports here and here.

The rule to teach “both sides of the evolution debate” had been in place since the 1980s, but national interest has been rekindled in recent years by attempts to get Biblical creationism taught in U.S. schools in one form of another.

Proponents of intelligent design — which holds that life is so complex that it must have had an ultimate creator — have suffered a number of setbacks.

Some in the pro-evolution crowd — which includes just about all of the mainstream science community in the United States — contend that introducing “flaws” or “criticism” of the theory of natural selection is a smokescreen for creationists who can claim that just discussing “doubt” does not in itself signal the promotion of a religious agenda.

Many in the scientific community say there is little doubt on this score or at least the kind of doubt suggested by the proponents of creationism and intelligent design.

The Dallas Morning News on Thursday quoted Eugenie Scott, the executive director of the National Center for Science Education, as saying that: “There are no weaknesses in the theory of evolution.”

What do you think? Is the Texas school board living up to President Barack Obama’s pledge this week “to restore science to its rightful place?”

(Photo: The new Charles Darwin postage stamp, issued by Britian’s Royal Mail to commemorate his 200th birthday this year and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his seminal work. REUTERS/Royal Mail, 29 Dec 2008)

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Posted by Kapitalismus und Aufklärung : TRANSATLANTIC FORUM | Report as abusive

Scott’s quote is rediculous and shows that evolution proponents can be just as dogmatic as creationists. There are still lots of unknowns all branches of science, including evolution, and to say it has “no weaknesses” is flat wrong, unless he defines ‘weakness’ as a critical flaw.

Posted by Drewbie | Report as abusive

The scientific method requires hypotheses, tests, peer review, and continual revision as new evidence becomes available.

Intelligent design does not derive its ideology using the scientific method, although it purports to. Intelligent Design is pseudo-science; it is religious dogma (creationism) in a lab coat.

Those desiring to teach the “weaknesses” of the theory of evolution are just trying to get their foot in the door so they can teach religious dogma. Intelligent design is very close to its cousin, creationism, so if you teach it, why not go all of the way and teach children about talking snakes and magic fruit that gives you the knowledge of good and evil when you eat it?

Posted by Archimedes | Report as abusive