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Texas School Board should uphold sound science, reject creationism

 

Religious Right Push For Creationist Concepts In Texas Science Standards Could Damage Textbooks Nationwide, Says AU’s Lynn

AU Executive Director Barry Lynn

Americans United for Separation of Church and State on Wednesday urged the Texas State Board of Education to stick to sound science and reject creationist concepts when revising its science standards. The state school board is currently examining the science curriculum, which is reviewed and updated every 10 years. The Seattle-based Discovery Institute and other Religious Right forces are seeking to include loopholes that undermine instruction about evolution and open the door to creationist ideas.

Scientists, teachers, mainstream religious leaders and civil liberties activists want to improve the Texas standards to ensure that the public school classroom does not become a vehicle for religious indoctrination.

“Public schools should educate, not indoctrinate. The Religious Right is exploiting Texas public schools to push a narrow viewpoint and in the process is doing a great disservice to its students, not to mention undermining the mandates of our Constitution.” ~~   Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director.

The battle in Texas is focused on Religious Right-backed language currently in the standards that requires schools to teach the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution. That wording, experts say, is an invitation to introduce creationist concepts based on fundamentalist religion, not science.

“Let’s just hope members of the Texas school board recognize the ‘strengths and weaknesses’ language for what it is,” Lynn concluded. “If they don’t, they could be inviting public school districts to face some costly litigation.”

In its letter to the board, Americans United makes it clear that litigation may result if religious beliefs are introduced into public school science classrooms.

The board’s decision, which is expected to be made in March, could influence science instruction across the country. Texas is the second largest purchaser of textbooks, after California. To meet Texas standards, textbook producers may include creationist concepts in books that would circulate nationally.

A hearing is scheduled for today in Austin for individuals and groups to testify on the curriculum.

Religious Right groups have already succeeded in pushing through their agenda in Louisiana, which now allows science teachers to use “supplemental materials” to teach the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution. AU is closely monitoring whether religious beliefs are being introduced unconstitutionally as science by teachers in Louisiana.

The federal courts have repeatedly struck down other tactics used by the Religious Right to push religion in public science classes. In 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court in Edwards v. Aguillard invalidated a Louisiana statute requiring science educators to “balance” teaching evolution concepts with “creation science” concepts.

In 2005, a federal district court said in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District that Pennsylvania public schools cannot teach “intelligent design,” a creationist concept that claims the universe and living things were created by an “intelligent cause.” The court ruled “intelligent design” unconstitutional for use in public schools because it is unscientific and religious.

About the Author: Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.


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2 Responses to “Texas School Board should uphold sound science, reject creationism”

  1. JoeU Says:
    November 22nd, 2008 at 7:07 am

    The article says:
    “Americans United for Separation of Church and State on Wednesday urged the Texas State Board of Education to stick to sound science …”

    Yes,
    in science class,
    let’s “stick to sound science”
    such as:

    – Matter from explosions does not condense to form objects like galaxies.

    – Chemicals do not react together randomly to form amino acids through natural processes.

    – Amino acids do not randomly interact to form living cells through undirected natural processes.

    – Molecules-to-man evolutionism violates the Law of Biogenesis: Life does not come from non-life.

    – The specific complexity of genetic information in the genome does not increase spontaneously. Therefore, there is no natural process whereby reptiles can turn into birds, land mammals into whales, or chimpanzees into human beings.

    Quoted from:
    What does the Catholic Church Teach about Origins?
    What Does Cutting-Edge Science Teach about Origins?
    http://www.kolbecenter.org/church_teaches.htm

  2. Bill Larson Says:
    November 22nd, 2008 at 9:37 pm
    Bill Larson

    Science is not about what is known for certain, those are facts. What we are not yet able to prove is known as a theory. It’s the job of the person who creates a theory to find evidence to support and prove their theory.

    So if you can prove your statements above, then you can change the world. But I seriously doubt that you will be able to do so. In the real world religious faith isn’t accepted or acceptable as proof only concrete and reproducible data.

    Matter from explosions does not condense to form objects like galaxies.

    The energy of the big bang had to go somewhere. Energy doesn’t just disappear. So what can happen with energy. A. It remains energy and thus the universe would be too hot and void of matter for life to form. B. Over time it can cool down and covert to matter which is explained by Einstein’s E=MC2.

    What happens to energy over the course of a billion years? I guess we will have the proof for sure in oh some 970,000,000 years or so.

    Chemicals do not react together randomly to form amino acids through natural processes.

    Actually it does and was proven in a lab way back in 1953. (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aso/databank/entries/do53am.html)

    Amino acids do not randomly interact to form living cells through undirected natural processes.

    In 1960 using nothing but the gases found on the early earth and electricity they synthesized in a lab one of the four base pairs found in DNA. So given enough time it’s quite likely that they can prove that indeed it does.

    Molecules-to-man evolutionism violates the Law of Biogenesis: Life does not come from non-life.

    A second meaning of biogenesis was given by the French Jesuit priest, scientist and philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin to mean the origin of life itself due to an inherent drive of matter towards higher consciousness, an extension of the orthogenesis hypothesis.

    See the next answer to continue this line of thought.

    The specific complexity of genetic information in the genome does not increase spontaneously. Therefore, there is no natural process whereby reptiles can turn into birds, land mammals into whales, or chimpanzees into human beings.

    That’s why evolution is still a theory but one with significant evidence to support it. There is not yet enough evidence for the scientific community to agree and state that it’s a proven fact, but there is absolutely no evidence to support either creationism or intelligent design.

    It’s thought that some evolution is caused by mutations caused by cosmic ray damaging the genome of living organisms. (http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/science/20060607-9999-lz1c07meinel.html) The rest may be controlled by enviromental pressures or chemical messengers. (http://io9.com/5083673/princeton-scientists-discover-proteins-that-control-evolution)

    Try do your own research and not rely on quoting from out of date religious materials lacking in any factual basis. Even the Catholic Church no longer holds as a fact that the Bible is the true story of the creation of the world, or man but may merely contain historical traces… (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article574768.ece)

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