July 17, 2024

Back to the textbook trenches in Texas

Next week, Tuesday Sept 17th, I will be in Austin once again, testifying before a panel reviewing and revising our science standards.  They’re good as they are, no revision necessary. So guess who’s trying to change them and why.

Once again, I will be speaking to a panel of religious ideologues determined not to listen, determined not to learn, and determined not to teach anything that is actually factually true.

The new textbook review committee was nominated by our now infamous State Board of Education, which means that several of these panelists were strategically-positioned with the specific intention of undermining science education in favor of a religious agenda. Some of the people on that board are associated with, or actually employed by, the Discovery Institute. That’s the creationist belief-tank that has turned up behind every misguided faith-based deception in all our public schools over the last decade or so at least.

According to the National Center for Science Education, they’re still denying that humans have any responsibility or influence with regard to climate change. They are still trying to include the oxymoron of ‘creation science’ based on ancient fables, and they’re still denying all of the verifiable facts of evolution that I listed for them last time.

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All their arguments have been soundly and profoundly repeatedly disproved many times over, and they know it! But they don’t care. They’re still on their same old mission to mislead and deceive. So once again I’m siding with the Texas Freedom Network to Stand Up For Science.


13 thoughts on “Back to the textbook trenches in Texas

  1. I’m sure this isn’t an original question…. but can’t the parents of a student sue? This kind of shit is so egregious that I just can’t quite get how it happens. And I’m partnered with a lawyer!*

    * She’d be the first person to tell me I’m a naive idiot, but .. well… her fault for making me think remedies are available through the legal system! Justice. Pfft.

    1. Things like this have happened, parents have sued. And won. Kitzmiller v. Dover In the Kitzmiller case, the plaintiffs won, but not before costing the school board and district (defendants) quite a bit of money trying to defend their goal of putting religion in the classroom. While I would encourage parents to sue the state or districts if they vote to include religious explanations for natural phenomena, it saddens me to think that districts will wind up spending money defending themselves against something that never should have happened. Money that would be better spent on quality education that teaches students to think critically, rather than believe in a religious explanation for scientific principles.


      FWIW- Following the case, two books 40 Days and 40 Nights (Matthew Chapman), Monkey Girl (Edward Humes) were published. Both are good reads, and do a good job covering the trial as well as the attitudes that led to the trial to begin with.

      1. 40 Days and 40 Nights was a great read – Chapman got into the personalities and thought processes of many of the players in that drama (e.g. “Liars for Jesus”).

        Another great book was The Battle Over the Meaning of Everything: Evolution, Intelligent Design, and a School Board in Dover, PA by Gordy Slack. Slack got the blow-by-blow of the lead-up to the trial as well as the trial itself, the decision, and the aftermath.

        The transcript of the trial is available online as is the judge’s decision. The decision makes fascinating reading.

        1. Correction, the chapter was called “Liars for Christ” and not “Liars for Jesus” and it was Slack, not Chapman, who wrote that chapter,


          I do my fact-checking after posting – it’s more interesting that way 🙂

  2. Bringing a case to court is VERY expensive so if you have no helpful backing no one will do so.

    For the kids there is a source of intelligence…the Infernalnet! Where truth does exist if you can dig it out from all the noise.

  3. Listen to the kid who speaks just ahead of me in the video. Pay attention to his pronunciation of “R.K.O. PET-tricks” (Archeopteryx). He’s obviously never even heard this word before, yet he is in a position to testify as to what it isn’t.

    1. I was particularly flabberghasted by the statement that natural history is outside the realm of science.

      On a broader note, I wonder if people are being genuinely dishonest, or if they don’t understand that the predictions of the tree of life based on physical traits, behavioral traits, the fossil record, etc, being overwhelming confirmed by the relationships in non-coding genes in these animals means that the theories generating those hypotheses are essentially correct (or, if incorrect, still amazingly fit).

      If the theory were not correct, then there would be no relationship suggesting descent found in these genes, or they would suggest a fundamentally, measurably different model of descent than predicted by evolutionary theory.

      It’s like this board is a room-full of people who don’t understand what evidence means.

    2. Most of the anti-science people had trouble with the pronunciations. The first imbecile in this video set a very low bar for content yet several more people sounded like bigger fools. The smarmy Mr. Mercer with his talk about two phylogeny trees one based on comparative anatomy and the other on comparative biochemistry reminded me of a certain inmate in Colorado whose last name is Hovind.

  4. Truthfully whenever I see a creationists argue with a knowingly false argument.

    All I can think is BIGOT.

    in all honesty. On any other topic or person that is what they are. Yet for some reason they are state supported when it comes to education.

  5. It is amazing the lengths they go to pander to the knuckle-dragging demographic in their communities.

  6. On a wider note, here in Asia and untainted by this nonsense, countries like China and Singapore are pouring billions into biomed & biotech research, and salivating at the fact that America is gutting is biological science education, because in a generation from now, America will have to buy its healthcare solutions from Asia. Now, won’t that be a frabjous day?!

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