Archive for the ‘intelligent design’ Category

2011 in Quotes: The War on Science

December 26, 2011

The assault on science and science education continued throughout 2011. Today’s review of quotes from the past year shows that evolution and climate change were major targets in the right’s war on science, especially in Texas. Read other quotes from the far right in 2011 here.

“The controversy over science standards was actually the result of an attempted hijacking of science for ideological purposes by evolutionists. Their agenda was much more about worldviews than biology. The standards reflect real science and challenge students to study some of evolution’s most glaring weaknesses in explaining the fossil record and the complexity of the cell.”

– Don McLeroy, former Texas State Board of Education member, writing in an op-ed column about the board’s record over the past several years. Austin American-Statesman, January 1, 2011

“If your theory’s right, all these species would get together and form a new species, then where is the cat-dog or the rat-cat, whatever it be. They don’t come together. Cats go with cats, and dogs go with dogs.”

– Ken Mercer, member of the Texas State Board of Education, in another installment of his argument that evolution is bad science because there are no cat-dog and rat-cat hybrids. TFN Insider, October 28, 2011

“Evolutionists will go ‘Oh, it just happened by chance.’ Today we know that’s false. Today we know that even a single-celled organism is hugely complex. When was the last time we’ve seen someone go into a windstorm or a tornado or any other kind of natural disaster, and say ‘Guess what? That windstorm just created a watch.'”

– Texas state Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, responding to a question about whether or not he is a creationist. Zedler proposed legislation to bar “discrimination” against college faculty and students who promote creationism. It failed to pass. Mother Jones, March 21, 2011

“Are you kidding me, Earth Day in the schools? We’ve got to save the Earth? I mean, that’s like a tick . . . trying to save a whole heard of cattle. I mean, ticks go along for the ride, they don’t manage the cattle, they don’t tell them where to go. And that’s our arrogance in thinking that we can do something to save the planet and control where the planet goes. You know, we’re just along for the ride and we’re insignificant peons on this thing.”

– David Barton, president of the religious-right group WallBuilders, on human attempts to slow climate change. RightWingWatch, April 26, 2011

“As far as the Founding Fathers were concerned, they’d already had the entire debate over creation and evolution, and you get Thomas Paine, who is the least religious Founding Father, saying you’ve got to teach Creation science in the classroom. Scientific method demands that!”

– David Barton, the religious right’s favorite fake historian, on the Founding Fathers and their opinions on teaching evolution and creationism/intelligent design. Mother Jones, June 9, 2011

“I hear your mom was asking about evolution and, you know, it’s a theory that’s out there. It’s got some gaps in it, but in Texas we teach both creationism and evolution in our public schools. Because I figure you’re smart enough to figure out which one is right.”

– Texas Gov. Rick Perry, talking to a young boy in New Hampshire during a presidential campaign stop. National Public Radio, August 18, 2011

“I think what you’re advocating for is censorship on the part of government. So the government would prohibit intelligent design from even the possibility of being taught in questioning the issue of evolution. And if you look at scientists there is not a unanimity of agreement on the origins of life. … Why would we forestall any particular theory? Because I don’t think that even evolutionists, by and large, would say that this is proven fact. They say that this is a theory, as well as intelligent design. So I think the best thing to do is to let all scientific facts on the table, and let students decide.”

– Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann, at an Iowa forum where she explained her views on teaching creationism in public schools. Think Progress, November 30, 2011

“I do believe that the issue of global warming has been politicized. I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects. I think we’re seeing it almost weekly or even daily, scientists who are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change.”

– Gov. Rick Perry, again in New Hampshire on the Republican presidential campaign trail, making a claim that was a contender for Politifact’s “Lie of the Year.” Politifact Texas, Austin American-Statesman, December 5, 2011

Advertisements

Creationist Materials Found Where?!

September 23, 2011

What’s wrong with this picture?

According to the Dallas Observer, this PowerPoint slide was found on the central curriculum website (accessible only by teachers) for the Dallas Independent School District, the 12th-largest public school system in the country.

The slide was apparently part of a presentation titled “The Cell Theory.” The Observer notes most of the presentation was based on sound science. Until, of course, you got to the kicker in this slide.

The slide has since been yanked — after the Observer reporter started asking questions.

How did such blatantly unconstitutional creationism wind up  in the curricular materials for one of the country’s biggest school districts? We don’t know. Honest mistake or not, it goes to show that keeping creationist materials out of public school classrooms requires constant vigilance. Kudos to the Dallas Observer.

Rick Perry’s Problem with Science Education

August 16, 2011

The culture wars will feature prominently in Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. The Texas Freedom Network has put together a primer on Gov. Perry’s record in the culture wars at www.tfn.org/rickperry. Here, for example, is what the governor says about teaching “intelligent design”/creationism in public school science classes. From a letter to a Texas constituent:

“Recognizing that evolution is a theory, and not claimed by anyone to be more than that, the governor believes it would be a disservice to our children to teach them only one theory on the origin of our existence without recognizing other scientific theories worth consideration. Intelligent design is a concept that is gaining greater traction because it points to a notion that most people believe to be true: that we were created by an intelligent being who designed the human race with great detail and complexity….”

From a newspaper interview:

“I am a firm believer in intelligent design as a matter of faith and intellect, and I believe it should be presented in schools alongside the theories of evolution.”

The governor has also appointed — in 2007, 2009 and this year — three creationists in a row to chair the State Board of Education, which guides what public schools teach nearly 5 million Texas kids.

Read more about Gov. Perry’s record in the culture wars here.

Science Education Triumphs in Texas

July 22, 2011

Moments ago TFN released the following statement on the vote this morning at the State Board of Education:

TEXAS FREEDOM NETWORK STATEMENT
TFN PRESIDENT KATHY MILLER: TEXAS KIDS, SOUND SCIENCE EDUCATION TRIUMPH IN SBOE VOTE

New Instructional Materials Teach Sound Evolutionary Science

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

July 22, 2011

Today the State Board of Education voted to adopt the Texas education commissioner’s recommended list of science instructional materials. Special interest groups and activists off the state board failed in their efforts to force publishers to change their instructional materials to include arguments against evolutionary science. In addition, the board voted unanimously to reject the adoption of instructional materials from a New Mexico-based vendor that promoted “intelligent design”/creationism.

The following statement is from TFN President Kathy Miller:

“Today we saw Texas kids and sound science finally win a vote on the State Board of Education. Now our public schools can focus on teaching their students fact-based science that will prepare them for college and a 21st-century economy. And our schoolchildren won’t be held hostage to bad decisions made by a politicized board that adopted flawed science curriculum standards two years ago. Moreover, today we saw that the far right’s stranglehold over the state board is finally loosening after last year’s elections. That’s very good news for public education in Texas.”

###

The Texas Freedom Network is a nonpartisan education and religious liberties watchdog. The grassroots organization of religious and community leaders support public education, religious freedom and individual liberties.

TFN Insider Will Live-Blog Science Debate

July 18, 2011

TFN Insider will be live-blogging (and live-tweeting via @TFN) from the State Board of Education’s Thursday public hearing and Friday final debate and vote on the adoption of new science instructional materials for Texas public schools. This week’s state board meeting comes two years after board members adopted curriculum standards that creationists hoped would force publishers to challenge evolutionary science in their new instructional materials. Information about the meeting times and location is here.

The Texas news media is focusing on the story, including controversial comments from Barbara Cargill, the state board’s newly appointed chair. TFN Insider broke the news about Cargill’s comments questioning the faith of some of her board colleagues and insisting that the new science instructional materials be revised to conform to her creationist views. Check out an Austin American-Statesman editorial and stories from the Dallas Morning News and the Houston Chronicle.

Discovery Institute Messes with Texas

June 8, 2011

Earlier today, the anti-evolution Discovery Institute — the Seattle-based outfit that promotes “intelligent design”/creationism and has tried for years to interject itself into science curriculum decisions in Texas — sent an email to members of the Texas State Board of Education weighing in on the proposed instructional materials up for adoption in Texas this summer. The email included a 71-page “evaluation” of the proposed curricular materials. The report is basically one long complaint that the instructional materials do not cover creationist-fabricated arguments against evolution (such as contrived conspiracy theories supposedly undermining the scientific record, long-ago-debunked nonsense about “irreducible complexity,” claims about gaps in the fossil record, etc.). From Discovery Institute’s document:

Unfortunately, as regards the TEKS that pertain to biology and evolution, only one of the proposed curricula (International Databases, LLC) makes any serious attempt to fulfill the call for meaningful critical analysis of biological and chemical evolution. The remaining curricula that were accessible online make no meaningful effort to satisfy the TEKS’ requirements that students “analyze and evaluate” neo-Darwinian evolution. [emphasis in original]

(more…)

Creationists Appointed to Science Review Panels

May 13, 2011

The Texas Education Agency just released the full list of members serving on the science review panels that will evaluate instructional materials submitted for approval by the State Board of Education (SBOE). As TFN predicted earlier this spring, the review panel for biology includes a number of individuals with a history of promoting intelligent design/creationism or advocating the teaching of phony “weaknesses” of evolution in science classes.

Last month the Texas Freedom Network and the National Center for Science Education identified proposed materials from one vendor, New Mexico-based International Databases, that promote intelligent design/creationism as real science. Now evolution deniers on the review teams will likely use their positions as a podium to promote the same flawed arguments.

Read TFN’s press release here.

A preliminary analysis by TFN of the biology review panel identified at least three anti-evolution activists: (more…)

Publisher Proposes Creationist Materials

April 25, 2011

A 2009 decision by the Texas State Board of Education has enabled creationists to once again try to mess with science in public school classrooms in Texas.

Read the Press Release from the Texas Freedom Network and the National Center for Science Education

The Texas Education Agency has released proposed supplemental web-based materials for science courses from publishers who want their product in your child’s classroom as early as the 2011-2012 school year.

But there’s a problem with at least one of those publishers that represents a potential leap backward for science education in Texas.

(more…)

Dodging a Bullet?

February 10, 2011

Last month’s announcement by a prominent creationist group that it had decided not to seek state approval to sell instructional materials to Texas public schools was good news for supporters of sound science education. Now e-mails obtained by the Texas Freedom Network through a Texas Public Information Act request reveal just how bad the materials from Foundation for Thought and Ethics (FTE) would have been.

(more…)

More on the Foundation for Thought and Ethics

January 21, 2011

Yesterday, TFN broke the news that a creationist organization had formally notified the State Board of Education of its intention to submit materials for the upcoming science adoption. And not just any creationist organization — the Foundation for Thought and Ethics (FTE) is the publisher of the infamous textbook Of Pandas and People that landed a school in Dover, PA in court for forcing religious ideas on students in science class. The resulting ruling (Kitzmiller v. Dover) was an epic smack-down from which the “intelligent design” movement has not yet recovered.

Our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) have passed along some helpful background on FTE’s involvement in that landmark case. So here’s some homework for science-defenders in Texas:

Critique: “Of Pandas and People”

FTE Seeks to Intervene in Dover

Over for FTE in Dover

FTE Intervention