1. Education
K. Kris Hirst

Creationism in Science Classes? Just say no

By March 27, 2009

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The Texas Board of Education may do an amazing thing today: vote to change the way Texas science classes have been taught for the past 20 years. For two decades, textbooks for Texans, not to mention the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, have contained language stating that the "strengths and weaknesses" of scientific theories must be taught in science classes; "strengths and weaknesses" being code language for teaching creationism as a viable alternative to evolution.

The Blue Marble - NASA's Photo of the Earth from Outer Space
The Blue Marble - NASA's Photo of the Earth from Outer Space Photo by
NASA's Visible Earth

That language was deleted for the new standards by the board in a preliminary decision in January 2009. A vote yesterday deadlocked: seven Republican social conservatives versus three Republican and four Democrat social progressives. Since there was a tie, the preliminary decision is (currently) upheld. A final vote will be tallied later today.

The reason you should care, even if you don't live in Texas, is that Texas is a huge consumer of text books, and if the publishers are add creationist slants to the science of evolution in their textbooks, well, teachers who want to teach science will be forced to boycott those publishers. I don't think, in these times, those publishers will be able to publish one version for Texas and one version for the rest of the country. However, there are excellent Internet resources on the teaching of evolution and scientific theory that teachers can always resort to, if they must. And you know what? They should.

Whatever happens today, it may be time to stop letting one Board of Education run the rest of our education programs. If you believe, as I do, that teaching creationism in a science classroom is just wrong, and the textbooks don't allow you to do that, we need to find other venues of communicating that information to our students. In the midst of the information age, we have alternatives.

There is a place for teaching creationism: it's called comparative religions and it ought to be part of the teaching curriculum delivered to every kid in the U.S., not to say every kid in the world. The planet has shrunk astoundingly, and it would be fabulous if every kid in the world got an introduction to the religions of the world at large, and how each of them believe the world was created. Everyone knows it is turtles all the way down.

Teaching creationism in science classes? Just say no.

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Looking for a few good resources for teaching evolution?


March 27, 2009 at 11:54 am
(1) Jesco says:

I found this article via twitter.
I’m a German European and don’t even live in the USA, but I’m interested in this topic anyway.
I couldn’t agree more, especially with the wonderful part about every kid in the world being intodruced to the different belief systems. It is essential to know eachother’s backgrounds, whether one shares a belief or not.
I posted the link of this on twitter myself and maybe some of the Americans reading my tweets will do the same. I hope it helps!

March 31, 2009 at 4:17 am
(2) Alan Geake says:

I agree that creationism is not a science but then does evolution fit under any more of a sepcific heading than “Theory”? It is in my oponion not, by definition, a science.

March 31, 2009 at 3:43 pm
(3) Michael says:

Creation vs Evolution. As a Conservative Republican Christian, I see no problem with both being taught in school or at home.
One based on belief and one based on belief in a ‘theory’!
Man evolved from Apes??? yes no maybe so. Or are Apes and Off shoot of man??
God creates many defferent types of life, or as somescientist would say ‘Nature’ but still it is all the same. Multitudes of simmilar types with but one out come.
Survival of the fittest to adapt to its enviorens.
Do we have a ‘Common’ Link. I do not know, but I hate being told that my belief is BS and Science not realy prositively accurate is reality.
The earth is round is a Fact. The Bible is but one Book on the choice of man to believe in God, is also true.
To say that man is only 6-7000 years old according to the Bible is Wrong. It is mearly the timeline that the Israels have accepted God as their Creator.
God has always been here. I cannot desgregard what I know to be fact in both and assume I exist because of a lie in both forms.

April 1, 2009 at 4:53 am
(4) Edwin Johnson says:

my comment is that we should teach the facts as we belive them…If they teach creationism then they should show the source and some of the results of that belief system, (inquisitions, war ) and where it stems from..,I suppose it is possible that a “god” caused evolution, but , if so, show me the w’s(who ,what , why where etc..)

April 2, 2009 at 9:42 am
(5) Tawnia says:

I believe Creationism has just as much-if not more-right to be taught in school as evolution. In fact, I find offense that evolution is even being taught in schools at all because it is being presented as “fact” when it is actually nothing more than a theory. I consider this a type of brainwashing in our public schools & it should be stopped. People should be given all the choices & let them decide for themselves what is fact & what is fiction.

April 2, 2009 at 11:12 am
(6) Kris Hirst says:

See, the thing is, Tawnia: are you willing to accept that creationism is a “theory”? Because—I’ve never heard any creationist once say it was possible that they were wrong. Whereas evolutionists are willing to say we still are investigating. So… I think the “brainwashing” comment is a little on the strong side.

April 4, 2009 at 10:57 am
(7) Tommie says:

Wow! Liberals are supposed to be open minded. In actuality they are some of the most bigoted, closed, narrow minded people I know. You have to swallow their nonsense…if you disagree, Lord help you. Why do they call it the “Theory of Evolution?”

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