28 March 2009

Aftermath roundup on Texas science standards

Don McLeroy and Gail LoweThere will probably be more articles early next week reacting to the votes on the Texas science standards. For today...

This Salon article described how excited the Discovery Institute is over the new standards. And provides yet more quotes by Don McLeroy that make me wonder why what he says isn’t being criticized by more scientists.

“Scientific consensus means nothing,” he tells Salon. “All it takes is one fact to overthrow consensus. Evolution has a status that it simply doesn’t deserve. People say it’s vital to understanding biology. But it’s genetics that’s the foundation for biology. A biologist once said that nothing in biology makes sense without evolution. Well, that’s not true. You go into the top biology labs, and it makes no difference if evolution is true or false to what they’re doing and studying. It makes no difference."

I’d love to know what “top biology lab” McLeroy has ever gone into.

Why Evolution is True has a good summary about the two worst additions to the standards. The good news, such as it is, is that the wording specifically says “scientific explanations,” which should cut out the worst possible offenders.

The Houston Chronicle features an AP wire story. They have another story here.

The Austin American-Statesman, naturally, had is own reporters there for this article. And what I read makes me proud of the representative whose district our university sits in, Mary Helen Berlanga:

Mary Helen Berlanga, D-Corpus Christi, was one of two board members who consistently voted against the rewrites proposed by members critical of evolution today. She also voted against accepting the document in its entirety.

New Scientist has an article here.

Pharygula also has some analysis, including a comment on one of the Chronicle stories:

(T)he Houston Chronicle blandly reports that "Scientists from throughout Texas helped shape the new science curriculum standards." What they don't bother to mention is that these insertions into the standards were generated in opposition to the input of scientists, in defiance of what the scientific position would propose.

And, lest I leave you thinking that only biologists are targets of contempt, the Marshall News Messenger notes that the new standards also attack climate science. In particular, it is official educational policy to cast doubt on global warming.

Language that instructed students to “analyze and evaluate different views on the existence of global warming,” which had been offered as an amendment and was adopted unanimously in an initial vote Thursday, led to outrage among environmental groups.

Texas has been oil country for a long time. Old habits die hard, I guess.

Additional: ScienceInsider policy blog calls it a win for creationists.

No comments: