09 February 2013

“All sides of scientific information” is not “Anything goes”

Ars Technica reports that Barbara Cargill, chair of the Texas State Board of Education, is unhappy with proposed materials for the K-12 schools on biology.

Cargill’s complaint is that the material overwhelmingly supports the theory of evolution, which was clearly not what she intended when she voted for the “all sides” language in the standards. Of course, evolution would have never reached the status of theory if it weren’t overwhelmingly supported, so it’s not clear what Cargill was expecting.

The testimony suggests that the confused language of the recently approved science standards was intentionally chosen to allow the board to exert pressure on publishers to undercut accurate science education. Which is precisely what many people warned at the time (the title of the Texas Freedom Network’s announcement for the video starts with “Told You So”).

When the standards were approved, I wrote:

The good news, such as it is, is that the wording specifically says “scientific explanations,” which should cut out the worst possible offenders.

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