AUSTIN – The Texas Board of Education has endorsed science textbooks that sanction evolution and no longer include scientific criticism of evolutionary theory.
On Friday, members of the Texas Board of Education (TBE) considered several proposed textbooks for use in state high schools.
Historically, TBE members have chosen science textbooks which describe evolutionary theory but also mention several of the theory’s scientific weaknesses. Advocates of the method say that this allows students to consider the options and make informed, critical decisions.
However, after hours of debate, TBE members approved books that fully endorse the theory of evolution. In total, the board approved 400 math, science, and technology books—18 of which were biology-related. Two of the biology books are currently undergoing further review, but are expected to eventually receive approval.
Following the board’s decision, evolutionists praised the development, heralding the choice as a major improvement in Texas academics. The Texas Freedom Network, an organization committed to “defeating initiatives backed by the religious right in Texas,” described the board’s decision as “a big DarWIN for science.”
“It’s hard to overstate the importance of today’s vote, which is a huge win for science education and public school students in Texas,” Kathy Miller, president of the organization, said in a statement.
“Four years ago this board passed controversial curriculum standards some members hoped would force textbooks to water down instruction on evolution and climate change,” she continued. “But that strategy has failed because publishers refused to lie to students and parents demanded that their children get a 21st-century education based on established, mainstream science.”
However, many expressed concerns about the Texas board’s decision, arguing that evidence for evolution is far from conclusive, and that students should be taught both sides of the creation-evolution debate.
Carey Luskin, a science education expert with Discovery Institute, said, “the Texas State Board of Education appears to be backtracking on its own previous commitment to teaching young people to think critically.”
“That will please Darwin-only activists who seek to censor the very real, serious, and fascinating scientific debate about evolution,” Luskin stated. “But what about young people? Sadly, students will pay the price. Excellence in science education is poorly served by a capitulation to dogma.”
Dr. Stephen Meyer, a well-known advocate of Intelligent Design and former TBE-appointed reviewer of Texas science standards, stated that the new textbook standards will “leave students in the dark about contemporary mainstream scientific controversies over Darwinian evolution.”
“Students should be trained to think independently, rather than be drilled in rote fashion,” Meyer argued. “Unfortunately, because Texas is a major purchaser of textbooks, the board’s action may have an adverse impact on science education across America for years to come.”