AUSTIN — The Texas Board of Education is holding a public hearing today over proposed science textbooks that have caused controversy among Christian reviewers due to their overwhelming promotion of evolutionary theory.
“Every scientific test has supported Darwin’s basic ideas about evolution,” one textbook reads.
“Life on Earth is continually evolving. The history of Earth can be traced back about 4.5 billion years to an Earth that was very different to the one we know today,” another declares. “All life now found on Earth is related to these early forms of life.”
Therefore, some reviewers of the proposed high school biology textbooks state that language should be included to present the Biblical account of Creation, or at least leave room for students to question the theory of evolution.
“I understand the National Academy of Science’s strong support of the theory of evolution. At the same time, this is a theory,” Texas A&M nutritionist Karen Beathard told reporters. “As an educator, parent and grandparent, I feel very firmly that creation science based on Biblical principles should be incorporated into every biology book that is up for adoption.”
But a number of others think that the Bible should stay out of biology classrooms.
“Almost every religion has a creation story. That can be taught in a comparative religion class or philosophy class. But it’s not science,” Dr. Srini Kambhampati, the chairman of the biology department at University of Texas at Tyler, told local television station KETK. “Science has nothing to say about religion or the existence or non-existence of God. Science is basically, explaining everything we see around us in terms of natural phenomena, natural causes.”
Additionally, professors at the University of Texas at Austin and Southern Methodist University have praised the textbooks for avoiding what they called “pseudoscience.”
“Our reviews reveal that creationists on the State Board of Education have failed to pressure publishers into including ‘junk science’ that questions evolutionary theory in the new high school biology materials,” they wrote in a report about the matter.
However, Board of Education Chair Barbara Cargill has been one of the most vocal opponents of the proposed textbooks, which she believes clearly have an evolutionary bias.
“Our intent is to teach all sides of scientific explanation,” she declared, according to Dallas News. “But I couldn’t find anything that might be seen as another side to the theory of evolution. Every link, every lesson was taught as: ‘This is how the origin of life happened. This is what the fossil record proved.’ That is all fine. But that is only one side.”
A number of reviewers agree, contending that important information has been left out of the lesson plans.
“Text neglects to tell students that no transitional fossils have been discovered. The fossil record can be interpreted in other ways than evolutionary with equal justification. Text should ask students to analyze and compare alternative theories,” one identified reviewer wrote. “The statement that there are hundreds of thousands of transitional fossils is simply not true. Moreover, those fossils that are considered transitional are often subjects of disagreement among biologists.”
Others stated that the authors of the textbooks are behind the times in terms of scientific discoveries, asserting that the lessons fail to note the value of DNA and RNA studies, and the discrediting of peppered moth examples used to promote evolutionary theory.
Therefore, today’s meeting will allow the public to express their views over the matter, which are anticipated to be diverse and heated.
The Board of Education will make its final decision about the textbooks in November.