Texas To Redefine Science In Schools

It’s a good idea to regularly review what schools are teaching in their science classes and update the curriculum as new discoveries are made and old theories evolve.  That’s going to happen in Texas but the problem is that they’re not so worried about science down there.  Or, rather, they are worried about science and are doing their best to eliminate it from the public school curriculum.  Creationists on the State Board of Education have been appointing other creationists to the review panels and selecting materials that attempt to make the idea of an intelligent creator (i.e., God) sound all science-y.  Aside from the idiocy and blatant illegality of that, the problem for the rest of us is that, in large part, Texas determines the content of science books for the rest of the nation.

In the educational publishing business, the biggest customer says what goes in the textbooks; smaller customers have little say.  Houston, the largest city in Texas, has a population of over 2 million people — more than Wyoming, Vermont, and North Dakota combined.  Publishers aren’t too worried about what Vermont wants; it’s barely noticeable in terms of purchasing power.  Texas, on the other hand, as the second largest state in the nation, is the 600-pound gorilla that sits wherever it wants.  And right now, it wants religious education in the place of science.

One of the sets of materials under consideration comes from a one-man outfit called International Databases; the whole company seems to be simply a collection of PDFs that teach that the default position is that God — or some other intelligent designer — exists.  From a scientific point of view, of course, this is nonsense, but that’s not really the point — these folks aren’t really interested in teaching science, after all.

Now, personally, I don’t really care what they do in Texas — my kids don’t go to school there — but in the grand scheme of things, I do care, because I don’t really want some uneducated buffoon from Crawford to be “misunderestimated” and end up in the white house.  In a more direct way, I also don’t want my kids to have to suffer with the textbooks that Texas creationists demand.

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