Science Scores a Victory in Fight Over Texas' Biology Textbooks

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When Texas' State Board of Education convenes next month to adopt new biology textbooks, chairwoman Barbara Cargill will be disappointed.

The Republican from The Woodlands is a staunch advocate of teaching "all sides of scientific explanations," which is code for more Genesis and less Darwin. Yet none of the 14 publishers whose books the board will choose from offers any alternative theory to explain the development of life. There's just evolution.

That was the case in the summer, when Cargill invited a couple of dozen people, including several known creationists, to review the texts. That was still the case last week when publishers submitted the changes they proposed to make in light of the reviews.

See also: SMU Prof Laundry Lists Errors Made by Creationist Reviewers of High-School Biology Textbook

The Texas Freedom Network reviewed the proposed amendments and, in a press release today, declared them to be kosher. None of the publishers had been swayed by reviewers' suggestion that "the fossil record can be interpreted in other ways than evolutionary with equal justification" or that the texts should teach "creation science based on Biblical principles."

The fight isn't quite over, and it won't be until the SBOE adopts ideologically clean biology textbooks next month, but TFN is declaring a partial victory. President Kathy Miller called it a "very welcome development for everyone who opposes teaching phony science."

Their glee was tempered somewhat by the realization that they are waging a war that should have ended decades ago.

As University of Texas Arturo De Lozanne put it to TFN, it's "remarkable and distressing that some folks are still arguing over what really is established, mainstream science."

Still, a win's a win.

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86 comments
Sarah8264
Sarah8264

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rkm200
rkm200

How ironic that throughout these comments it’s almost always the religious defender who feels the need to personally insult anyone who may express a contrarian view. “Get the fuck out” “you’re not human”, “asshole”, “moron”, “ignorant”, “fuck off” etc.. I wonder how their god would view that kind of fellowship with their brothers and sisters?

MikeAllen
MikeAllen

This country was founded by Christians, for Christians and if you don't like it, get the fuck out! Once God was taken out of textbooks and schools this countries moral decay and decline has been steep and amazingly fast. I would suggest you gather your Darwinian texts, and join an atheist group or Muslim Temple so you can ride the express train straight to hell!

bob.averill1
bob.averill1

>"I do find it shocking how random things like an i-pad or a simple pen must have had a creator but something truly amazing and intricate like the world, sun,moon etc don't? it doesn't make sense"

Well, let's explore this by example.

Supposing you were from an impoverished desert nation and had never before seen a snowflake. You're familiar with the idea of what snow is but have never had the chance to look at it up close.

So, while you're visiting a northern country, a scientist shows you a single snowflake under a microscope. 

You gasp. It's radially symmetrical, highly geometrically intricate, very obviously (to you) an object that can only have been assembled that way by an intelligent being with an understanding of math. Who else but God? You turn and ask how the scientist can possibly look at this and not conclude that it was deliberately created by an unseen intelligence.

Well, he says, when we look even closer we see that ice is comprised of water molecules. These molecules have three components: One hydrogen, two oxygen. Because of this, when they chemically bond to each other, they form hexagons. When lots of them bond, they form a sort of hexagonal grid. When enough of them bond to form a macro scale object, it's always an expression of hexagonal shapes.

"
But each one is unique!" you protest. This is because while the snowflake is falling, it passes through pockets of warmer and cooler air which slow and accelerate freezing. "Aha, but God put in place the laws which cause snowflakes to form!" but, this is the exact same error in thinking, just carried up a level. Just because you personally don't understand how something complicated could form by natural processes does not mean an intelligence created it. That seems intuitive to you because as a human, your experience is with machines humans created. But, there are very clear differences between the radial, geometric, fractal complexity seen in a snowflake (or a crystal, or a leaf, or a living cell) and the asymmetric, single purpose, non-reproductive complexity of human created objects. 

lucky1leo
lucky1leo

I'm not your philosophical, scientific, or even religious type of guy. But I do find it shocking how random things like an i-pad or a simple pen must have had a creator but something truly amazing and intricate like the world, sun,moon etc don't? it doesn't make sense. Man made stuff is standard but they can't recreate anything like a living plant or a star or anything close. When I was a child it was like commonsense that  every cause must be at least as great as the effect that it produces.  So tell me all 32 people that left a comment, why do we respect life and honor those who save lives are you saying you are no better than road kill that keeps getting run over and over again. Honest think about this a second, if you had a kid who was dying and they asked you mommy or daddy what's going to happen when I die, will we see each other again, I 'm scared mommy or daddy. What are you going to say? The truth that you don't know or even if you could know would you want to know? I suppose we are only here to just consume resources and poof!!! every dream and hope every tear and laughter every birth we celebrated and every life remembered of a loved one who has died and then in a instant gone forever! We are the universe looking through a telescope at its self, conscious that we are special, bigger than ourselves. When your baby begins to see do we say oh wow the eye is beginning to see? No! we say.., our baby is beginning to see.        

Cliffhanger
Cliffhanger

Teach intelligent design where it belongs. In the history class. Tell the kids how a bunch of deists back in Enlightenment days argued that the idea of an intelligent designer as revealed by nature disproved the Bible, and then teach how it was discredited as a school of scientific thought more than 100 years ago by evolution.

rkm200
rkm200

Just 3 words on this...Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Check it out, Pastafarians

gordonhilgers
gordonhilgers

What this perpetual brouhaha is really about is defending a single book with so many errors and contradictions that anyone looking at the Bible with a rational mind almost immediately realizes it was written by numerous men (and possibly women) who were inspired by their love of God but who did not take dictation.  The old fundamentalist Christian saw that "if you question one single word of the Bible, you reject all of the Bible" is easy to derail:  Then why did God Almighty give us the ability to ask questions? 

In other words,Christian fundamentalism wants to brainwash people into accepting absolute authority, not of God's, but of the preacher's.  That's an old rabbit trick: convince the peasantry that you are the true representative of whatever deity is fashionable, you've also convinced them that you, the king, the pharisees or the uneducated preacher, possesses absolute authority without question. 

Fundamentalist Christianity is nothing more than a totalitarian ideology.  The sad part is that Christian fundamentalists in America have politicized religion with the advantage that this politicization is still tax-exempt. 

I've got a question: Each one of the four gospels tell different stories and contradict quite often.  If the entire Bible is factually "the truth" that should be taken literally, then which gospel tells the real story?  I'm not saying the Bible is devoid of truth, but most of that truth is metaphorical truth told through stories.

As for the "buy the miracles or go to Hell" con game, I don't need miracles to wake up in wonder at the true miracle: that I have eyes to see and emotions to feel in a situation so mysterious to me that I don't need anything more than this.  To suggest that we humans actually are somehow more special than a mosquito or deserve to go to an eternal place better than this is audacious. 

Besides, who really cares why we are here?  Science asks "how".  Religion speculates as to "why".  And never shall the twain meet.  Dinosaurs are for real, Texas School Board.  Are you? 

killwhiteprivilege
killwhiteprivilege

"Evolution is real, God does not exist, but somehow, miraculously, all groups evolved exactly equally! Celebrate Diversity since we are all totally the same!"

#ProgressiveLogic

#LibtardCreationism

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@bob.averill1  

"The Bible teaches you how to go to Heaven, not how the heavens go." -- G. Gallileo

"I like your Christ very much, it is your Christians that I do not like.  They are so unlike their Christ." -- M. Ghandi

"I like Jesus very much, but he no help with curve ball." -- P. Cerrano

Tanya63
Tanya63

@lucky1leo So you're shocked that an iPad had a creator but the universe didn't.  Your god sounds pretty complex to me...so who is his creator?

rjwrobert
rjwrobert

@lucky1leo Sorry but what on earth are you babbling about? That is just a stream of nonsense. You go from not being able to understand why the earth has a moon despite this being fully explained by science. It formed after a collision by the way. 

You then go onto to ask if atheists believe people are no better than road kill? Why simply because we do not believe in your invisible sky daddy would that mean we have less respect for human life? Sorry it is an idiotic point. 

Then you come up with some hypothetical situation in which is our child was dying wouldn't it be better to lie to them. I'd say this is why man created heaven because it is easier than facing the truth that we simply die and are buried or cremated. There is no evidence of an afterlife and the idea of an invisible magical kingdom is just absurd. But yes it would be easier to lie to my dying child than have them face the truth that their life will be gone and they will simply cease to exist. This does not make lying right though does it. 

You then suggest atheists believe we are just "here to consume resources". You believe you are just here to decide to love Jesus and nothing more. You believe the entire universe is here just so you can decide to love Jesus and then go onto paradise, yet I'm sure you find some meaning to your life. So why do you think simply because I don't believe in a God(s) I can't find meaning to my life? 

for your final idiotic point you suggest that because I do not believe in your magical invisible best friend that when I look at my baby I cannot connect with them as a human being and somehow just see them as an eye or some such nonsense. 

Try to get this into your head. I don't believe in your God the same as you do not believe in Zeus and Apollo, I assume. The reason I don't believe in your God is the same reason you do not believe in Zeus and Apollo which is probably because you see them as an ancient myth and their is zero evidence for their existence. My not believing in your God effects my ability to love and experience life just as much as your lack of belief in Zeus effects you. Not at all. It is just your bigotry towards anyone who does not share what I would call you delusion about a magical being, that makes you write all this nonsense. Stop being bigot and a fool. Atheists are just as capable of human emotion and love as Christians.    



lucky1leo
lucky1leo

@gordonhilgers You couldn't believe the bible no matter how much you wanted to and I'll tell you why because I'm sure nobody has ever told you.Because it wasn't written for people such as yourself. And oh by the way science ask "why" all the time. As for "religion" well I don't care much for religion.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@gordonhilgers Unfortunately, the twain meet all too often, which is why we're talking about this. Also, it seems intrinsically human to ask "Why?" Billions of people care.

Tanya63
Tanya63

@killwhiteprivilege  Nobody has claimed that everyone evolved exactly the same.  Our VALUE as human beings is what is the same, not our physical characteristics.  I do hope you realize that your attempt to argue this just points out your own ignorance.

lucky1leo
lucky1leo

@Tanya63 @lucky1leoEverything which has a beginning has a cause. The universe has a beginning. Therefore the universe has a cause. God, unlike the universe, had no beginning, so doesn’t need a cause. Twitter Richard Dawkins the great and mighty Priest of the brain gods. If he or you can disprove this law I will send you a check for 50 thousand dollars.

lucky1leo
lucky1leo

@rjwrobert @lucky1leo 1-You literally took everything I said out of context. 2- I Never mentioned why we have a moon lol. 3- Never said anything about atheists or Jesus or even make a indirect reference to. 4-You appear to limit evidence to that which can only be tested through empirical science without question, which  is absurd, like requiring an experiment to prove your love for your children. 5- You obviously don't restrict yourself to simple passive disbelief. but even actively admonish others to not believe in anything other than that we sprang from natural forces magically appeared out of pre-existing matter that originated from…well..no one exactly knows where, and that despite compelling evidence to the contrary in the sciences, evolution is the only tale that must be taught and regurgitated and poof here we are. But is incredible huh.. 6- Your apparent anger is self-refuting. 7-I use to be a big asshole just like you.

Tanya63
Tanya63

@lucky1leo @rkm200 It's not rkm200's fault that you don't understand the point of the FSM.  There is just as much proof for the existence of the FSM as there is for your god. 

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@lucky1leo @gordonhilgers 

So, it's a pretty exclusive little deal, this little Bible Club of yours?

LOL.

Who, then, was the Bible written for, Lucky? 

I'll tell you who, since it seems that nobody has ever told you: For people like yourself that already believe.

killwhiteprivilege
killwhiteprivilege

If you believe in evolution but also have faith that "all men are created equal" then you are just as faith-based and religious as the creationists you mock.

lucky1leo
lucky1leo

@Tanya63 @lucky1leo Humans are now able to modify our environments with technology. We have invented medical treatments, agricultural practices, and economic structures that significantly alter the challenges to reproduction and survival faced by modern humans. With such technological advances mean that we've opted out of the evolutionary game and set ourselves beyond the reach of natural selection  essentially, that we've stopped evolving. FYI a theory has nothing to do with facts. A theory at best is unsubstantiated or speculative, which is why theories are always modified. Let me clarify my use of " belief". I don't use it in the philosophical sense as you have assumed. "Belief" as in the study of knowledge  or knowledgeable. Einstein himself  often spoke about "believing" about something or the other as he explained theory. Let me know when you can prove the effect before the cause of the big bang.    

Tanya63
Tanya63

@lucky1leo @Tanya63

You conveniently attach a different set of criteria to your god so that the rules don't apply in that one case. Let me know when you can prove that your god exists, OK? And FYI - everything needing a cause is not a law. It's a belief, which is quite different. If you knew anything about science, or even about the meaning of terms like "theory" and "law," you wouldn't be ignorant enough to try to refute a proven scientific fact: that evolution has occurred and continues to occur in all life forms.

lucky1leo
lucky1leo

How about before  The GREAT RADIANCE phase of 13.7 billion years ago.

lucky1leo
lucky1leo

@Tanya63 @lucky1leo @rjwrobertYes! I Love facts. Facts are my business. Which time line would you care to discuss?  GREAT RADIANCE phase - 13.7 billion years ago. GALACTIC phase - 12 billion years ago. HADEAN Eon of early Earth - 4.6 billion years ago. ARCHAEAN Eon of early life - 3.8 billion years ago. PROTEROZOIC Eon - 2 billion years ago. PALEOZOIC Era begins - 540 million years ago. 540-500 mya CAMBRIAN. 500-440 mya ORDOVICIAN 440-410 mya SILURIAN 410-360 mya DEVONIAN 360-290 mya CARBONIFEROUS 290-245 mya PERMIAN MESOZOIC ERA (Age of Dinosaurs) begins. 245-210 mya TRIASSIC 210-145 mya JURASSIC 145-65 mya CRETACEOUS CENOZOIC Era (Age of Mammals and Birds) begins. Or do you want to just jump to the HOLOCENE Period  12,000 years ago to the present? 

Tanya63
Tanya63

@lucky1leo @rjwrobert  Who are you to tell someone that they should have "passive disbelief" in the face of religious nonsense?  Since you have such a problem with scientists not knowing how life began, why don't you tell us where your god came from?

There is no "compelling evidence to the contrary" when it comes to evolution.  Evolution has been proven.  It is a scientific FACT.  It's been observed in the laboratory, and over 150 years of study of the fossil record supports it.  

BTW, before you whine that it's "just a theory," please learn the scientific meaning of the word theory.  It does NOT mean something that is unproven.

killwhiteprivilege
killwhiteprivilege

The sum total of CogitoErgoDumb's "arguments" = "NUH-UH, BECAUSE I SAY SO".

lucky1leo
lucky1leo

@CogitoErgoSum @lucky1leoThat doesn't change how amazing each of those very different systems is.  I'm personally often blown away by the universe Science shows us.  Or even mathematics - how can a one line equation create the literally infinite complexity of the Mandelbrot set?  

lucky1leo
lucky1leo

@CogitoErgoSum @lucky1leoGiven the fundamentally different types of complexity, it would not be wise to assume any similarty to the processes which created them.  A creator of the physical universe would be fundamentally different than the creators of an iPad.  Natural selection (combined with variation, some mutation,  sexual mixing of genomes, etc) seems to fit the bill for the former, while human-like intelligence fits the latter.  A human-like intelligence (even a much smarter one) would have left different fingerprints had it created the physical universe.  And an evolutionary process would have left different fingerprints in an iPad. 

lucky1leo
lucky1leo

@CogitoErgoSum @lucky1leoAn iPad is a product of forward thinking design - there's not a milligram of wasted components in it, problems are (imperfectly but amazingly well) anticipated in advance.  The power distribution and heat dissipation have been modeled in advance, the radio frequency effects and emissions of every circuit trace have been calculated and optimized.  It shows ubiquitous signs of forward thinking, anticipation and mitigation or synergy for complex consequences. A planet with it's ecosystems is quite different.  It's full of the "works well enough" compromises that trial and error produce.  Try enough variants and keep the ones that work relatively better.  Backwards thinking, no real signs of anticipation and forward optimization.  On the other hand, ecosystems are extremely complex in their interactions among vast numbers of organisms over huge periods of time. That kind of complexity is hard for humans to grasp.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@lucky1leo @CogitoErgoSum Just not how to spell in English, then? Sound bites, eh?

Tanya63
Tanya63

@lucky1leo @TheCredibleHulk @gordonhilgers The bible is "virtually responsible for the liberty and freedom we enjoy?"  In what way?  The founding of the USA had NOTHING to do with religion, and most of our Founding Fathers were not religious.  Our freedom ("freedom and liberty" is redundant as those words are synonyms) has nothing to do with religion and has everything to do with the principles of The Enlightenment, when religious dogma was rejected in favor of reason.

lucky1leo
lucky1leo

@TheCredibleHulk @lucky1leo @gordonhilgersHave you ever tried to read the Analects of Confucius or the
Wiccan Book of Shadows, or the sacred texts of Zoroastrianism or the canonical text of Scientology, the Laozi a Chinese classic text. How about The Quran. Why? NOT? Because it doesn't fit your world view It amazes me how hateful and ignorant people are towards the bible when there is so much twisted crap there is to pick on in the world. No people pick on the Bible the one book that is virtually responsible for the Liberty and Freedom we enjoy and take for granted everyday of our lives! HULK ANGRY! HULK SMASH DALLAS!

Tanya63
Tanya63

@killwhiteprivilege Being "created equal" is a reference to rights, not to everyone being the same.  100 pennies and a dollar bill are quite different, yet they have the same value.  Is that really too tough for you to wrap your brain around? 

killwhiteprivilege
killwhiteprivilege

NUH-UH BECAUSE I SAY SO - that's the beginning and end of your entire "argument". Fuck off back to church.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@killwhiteprivilege Go back and actually read things, friend. It helps sometimes. I pointed out that the authors of the study themselves say their findings were no grounds for a conclusion of the sorts you've clearly drawn.

killwhiteprivilege
killwhiteprivilege

Yeah blah blah blah that's what you said, but you never explained WHY I'm so obviously wrong. Therefore, you are full of shit until you explain exactly why I'm wrong. I'll rely on my understanding of those many peer-reviewed medical studies instead of "you're wrong because I say so", which is all you really have. So until you put up or shut up you are, I repeat, simply full of "NUH-UH" horse shit.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@killwhiteprivilege You have no support from science, racist. The last bit you tried on me was shown to be little better than guesswork. Got something else?

killwhiteprivilege
killwhiteprivilege

"unsubstantiated scholarship" - that's the worst misspelling of "peer-reviewed medical studies" that I've ever seen, CogitoErgoDumb.

killwhiteprivilege
killwhiteprivilege

Blah blah blah. Of course people are not "created", god does not exist. Neither does any kind of "equality" except for equality under the law, which I support. The rest of your post was a bunch of science-ignoring "NUH-UH BECAUSE I SAY SO" emotionalism.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@killwhiteprivilege Allow me to spell it out, because I can see this is difficult for you to grasp. No one was "created." We evolved. Further, while it is true that there are varying levels of intelligence and mental and physical fitness among human beings, we in this country have decided that it is best as a society to treat all human beings as deserving of certain rights under the laws by which we choose to abide.

I know you believe you have scientific proof to support your white supremacist beliefs, but you do not. You begin and end your investigation with a conclusion of irrational racism and attempt to support those purely emotional and ill-informed beliefs using scant scraps of unsubstantiated scholarship.

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