29 March 2009

More aftermath roundup on Texas K-12 science standards

The image is from the Bad Astronomy blog, which comments (original emphasis):

Do I sound unhappy? Yeah, damn straight I am. These creationists are trying to destroy science in Texas. And they’re succeeding. They are imposing their narrow religious and ideological views on reality, and it’s the schoolchildren in the state who will suffer. ...

It seems incredible that here we are, in the 21st century, and a group of less than a dozen religious zealots has the kind of power to affect millions of children across the country, but there you have it. One problem with a democracy — and it’s a doozy — is that it’s possible to game the system, and give far too much power to people who are far too unqualified for it.

And it’s brought us here.

A warp-up on Thoughts From Kansas reminds us:

Texas has new science standards. Those standards are better than the old ones, but those old standards really did suck.

I referenced a New Scientist article before that described the standards as containing “loopoholes.” But I wanted to call out one point (emphasis added):

Experts suspect that strategically, the Discovery Institute actually wants teachers to be prosecuted in a Dover-style court case, and that they are using the proposed Texas academic freedom bill to lure teachers into a legal trap by encouraging them to bring religious ideas into the classroom. ...

“The Discovery Institute is pushing the legal envelope and inviting litigation because they have been shopping around for years for the right judicial district in which they could win this kind of case,” (Barbara Forrest, a philosophy professor at Southeastern Louisiana University) told New Scientist. “They need a district where they can control the people on the ground, as they do in Texas. They want a ruling that conflicts with Dover in a different judicial district, because that would be the most likely scenario in which the Supreme Court would hear a case. That is exactly what they want.”

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