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For Texas Textbooks, a Victory For Evolution 626

An anonymous reader writes "The Texas Board of Education has unanimously come down on the side of evolution. In an 8-0 vote, the board today approved scientifically accurate high school biology textbook supplements from established mainstream publishers — and did not approve the creationist-backed supplements from International Databases, LLC."
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For Texas Textbooks, a Victory For Evolution

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 24, 2011 @04:52PM (#36864846)


    • I had to shut it off after the fifth one though.... incredibly depressing to watch.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Agreed, mod parent up. On topic, and pertinent. Not an effective sample of the general population but still likely to be indicative of attitudes held by a particular subset.
      • by Jawnn ( 445279 )

        I had to shut it off after the fifth one though.... incredibly depressing to watch.

        Try living here.

      • by wickerprints ( 1094741 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @06:13PM (#36865478)

        Most of it was depressing, I agree. A few (and I really do mean, a *few*) responses were encouraging--Miss California's for example.

        It's amusing how so many responses follow the same, superficial notion of "teach both sides! Knowledge is good! Let people make up their own minds!" That misses the whole point entirely. The question itself is poorly phrased. Evolution isn't something that requires belief, at least not in the sense of personal faith. It isn't something that you "should" or "should not" be taught. Evolution by natural selection MUST be taught, if you are to teach biology. To not do so would be like attempting to teach mathematics without discussing multiplication, or chemistry without talking about the periodic table, or American history without mentioning the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence. Thus, to ask the question "should evolution be taught in schools" is no different than asking "should biology be taught in schools," or more broadly, "should SCIENCE be taught in schools." You can't separate the two.

        You can't really blame these contestants for being so hopelessly ignorant. They didn't get on that stage with their brainpower.

      • by Halo1 ( 136547 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @06:16PM (#36865510)

        I had to shut it off after the fifth one though.... incredibly depressing to watch.

        Others made a great antidote [youtube.com] for that.

    • by derGoldstein ( 1494129 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @06:21PM (#36865554) Homepage
      The parent post is currently modded "funny", and while the post should definitely be modded up, "funny" is not what I'd associate with that video. It's sad, especially because it's so recent. And these vacant mannequins are held up as "role models"? This isn't just sad, it's genuinely harmful.
      • If you turn to beauty queens for scientific insights, you might want to get your reality sense adjusted. Seriously, based on their experience as beauty queens (ignoring all other achievements they might have reached, I'm not saying beautiful=dumb) I'd at best see them as experts when it comes to the ground shaking question which lipstick is colorproof and doesn't smear on his sleeve.

        Certainly not on biology or anything else that remotely requires any kind of scientific background.

    • Listening to most of them, almost all of them say the same thing regardless of their personal point of view.

      The question appears to be: "Should evolution be taught in schools?" I'd say that that's a biased question right there.
      Their answers were mostly: "Both evolution and faith should be taught so that people can make up their own minds."

      Obviously, if you want to be voted the winner, you don't want to alienate a huge chunk of voters. (I don't know who votes, judges or viewers. Not that it matters.) So

    • There were 51 contestants. 48 said that evolution should be taught. 2 said that evolution should not be taught. The remaining contestant didn't voice an opinion. Of the 48 contestants who said that evolution should be taught, 19 said that both it and creationism should be taught. The question was ambiguous, so it's hard to tell (without sketchy inferences) how many of the remaining 29 contestants who said that evolution should be taught also believe that creationism should be taught. I don't find this terri

  • by DJ Jones ( 997846 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @04:58PM (#36864882) Homepage
    Maybe there is a God.
  • by Dolphinzilla ( 199489 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @04:58PM (#36864892) Journal

    Apparently they had an outbreak of common sense in Texas

    • Did they elect a new board or something since last year?
    • by hansraj ( 458504 )

      US still need to work a lot. 51% [cbsnews.com] of americans do not believe in evolution.

      • Re:Common sense (Score:4, Insightful)

        by vlm ( 69642 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @05:16PM (#36865032)

        US still need to work a lot. 51% [cbsnews.com] of americans do not believe in evolution.

        A lot of work has been put into conversational doublespeak such that the same word "believe" is used for both:

        1) Irrational brainwashed notions to be assumed unthinkingly as fact; evidence is irrelevant because if in support, duh, if not in support, its just devil testing the viewer.

        2) Scientific bets made using this theory haven't been proven wrong yet, despite immense intellectual effort, so its unlikely to be proven completely wrong in the future.

        It's intentional that conversations are phrased that way... keeps the masses under control and unthinking.

        Personally I don't "believe" in evolution either, at least not in the first sense above. I think its about 1e100 times more likely that evolution is correct than any one of the ten thousand mutually incompatible known non-extinct religions is correct.

      • by macs4all ( 973270 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @06:12PM (#36865470)

        US still need to work a lot. 51% [cbsnews.com] of americans do not believe in evolution.

        Wow! That correlates quite nicely with the statistical probability that 51% of Americans are below average intelligence.

        Jus' sayin'...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Opportunist ( 166417 )

        Typical. US people don't believe in what doesn't happen to them.

        (I got karma to burn, mod away!)

    • Apparently they had an outbreak of common sense in Texas

      No, I think they realized that all eyes were on them.

      They'll reverse this decision next session without a vote or public comment, in the dead of night.

      This was theater. Watch.

    • Don't count on it just now. This is just politics evolving... whoops! Did I just say evolving? I meant they are seeing new politics in creation. Well, you get what I am saying right?

      I think we are seeing the decline in the popularity of religion in politics. At first it seemed like a great way to get a whole bunch of people to vote for you and support you in office... but then they realized that they have a bunch a crazy fanatical people following them. Ever try to manage a group like that? Even in s

  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @04:59PM (#36864904) Homepage Journal
    can someone explain
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Brett Buck ( 811747 )

      What happened is this - a bunch of slashdotters who appear to be obsessed with the notion that there are a lot of people who believe in creationist theories (even though they are a tiny minority) are now surprised that there is hardly anyone who thinks teaching creationism is a good idea.

      • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @05:05PM (#36864954)

        They might be a minority, but there's still enough of them so as to pose a threat to education in the US. Or have you not noticed all the "Intelligent" Design proponents that have been having success watering down the science curriculum.

        • I have noticed, and it's a microscopic phenomenon blown entirely out out of proportion here.

      • More importantly, this was a win for rationality...
      • by iZC ( 1063372 )
        A Mathematical Model of Social Group Competition with Application to the Growth of Religious non-Affiliation, is listed at Cornell University Library, and was last revised in January 2011. The study noted that there is a steady increase in the numbers of those who claim to belong to no religious group in nine countries, and its mathematical formula showed religion will be extinct in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands and Switzerland, according to
      • If only that were true. According to this article from Discover magazine and published in 2009 only 35% of Americans [discovermagazine.com] believe that humans evolved from mammals. What's nice about the Discover article is that it breaks the US down by region. New England and the Mid-Atlantic states lead in scientific literacy, and the south (East South Central of Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi) brings up the rear. That Texas has decided to support scientific literacy in it's schools is a wonderful surprise.
      • by Troggie87 ( 1579051 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @06:06PM (#36865410)

        Not even remotely true. In the area I come from, the creationist strategy is simply changing.

        When I was just a child there was a community not far from my home that had maybe ten houses and an ultra-fundamentalist church with 50 or so members. I went to school with some of the members' kids, and it led to some very interesting conversations (and I was raised in a liberal-ish Lutheran congregation, so its not as though I'm at all hostile to Christianity).. Anyway, that congregation has something like quadrupled in size, and is currently adding on a youth center and a gym to "keep the kids out of sin." Presumably there will eventually be an ultraconservative private school there, since the people that attend that church are fed up with not getting their way in our local school districts (although I vividly remember having to watch creationist propaganda in eighth grade science class, though at that time no one said anything.). A friend of mine growing up, from a different church (hes baptist), told me in college he learns the biology textbook to pass the tests, but refuses believe any of it. I imagine that will be the line the private religious school will take too.

        I guess the point I'm making is that creationist teaching is just going underground. These people are segregating themselves and becoming more radical, which is providing the illusion that the creationist line of thought is in decline and the attack on science is relenting. It isn't. Segregated communities are indoctrinating kids from day one, then sending them to conservative colleges and law schools where they are trained to enter government and undermine it from within. Representative Bachmann is a prime example, she doesn't even deny that was the mission of the law school she attended.

        I'll end with this tidbit: ever wonder why ultraconservatives were pushing so hard for a school voucher system? Could it be that such a system would make it frighteningly easy for this type of behavior to flourish, by essentially subsidizing extremist institutions? Just my take on things of course, but it disturbs me as someone inside the scientific community.

        • by geckoFeet ( 139137 ) <gecko@dustyfeet.com> on Sunday July 24, 2011 @06:55PM (#36865796)

            A friend of mine growing up, from a different church (hes baptist), told me in college he learns the biology textbook to pass the tests, but refuses believe any of it. I imagine that will be the line the private religious school will take too.

          You're right about their desire to set up their own schools, with the government picking up as much of the expense as they get get, but the curriculum in those schools simply don't include evolution, except perhaps for a cartoon form designed for easy refutation. That's the way they work today, according to people who've attended them.

          Anyway, there's nothing wrong with refusing to believe what's in the books. A doctoral student of Stephen J Gould was a plant by the Moonies - they paid for his Harvard education so they could have a PhD biologist arguing against evolution. (It didn't work; his research has been in a non-evolutionary field, and he's been noticeably silent on the subject of evolution.) But when Gould was asked about this student, who had publically said that he doesn't believe in evolution, Gould responded that, in order to earn a doctorate, the student had to show mastery of the material. Science doesn't compel belief.

          • by Leebert ( 1694 ) *

            You're right about their desire to set up their own schools, with the government picking up as much of the expense as they get get

            Not in my experience. I attended 13 years of a fundamentalist Baptist school, and they were adamant about not taking government funding -- in ANY form. Still are (even though they're hurting financially). That is, in my experience, the norm and not the exception. Stated reason is to minimize the potential for government interference in school curriculum and other operations.

            On topic, I had a bit of animosity toward the school for failing to properly teach me evidence-based science. I had animosity towa

        • Back in the 1930s, according to Thor Hyerdahl, the Lutheran school he went to taught him two things about creation that should have made everyone happy:
          God did it.
          Darwin worked out some things about how it happened.

          Most of the fundamentalists opposition to evolution is that it is really just a soft target in an anti-intellectual attack. The poorly educated lay clerics running those groups see the educated as a threat to them expanding their flocks just as they saw the educated clergy of the established ch
    • For those not familiar with the fight, it is part of the ongoing struggle in Texas for science to prove it is not more irrational [slashdot.org] than discrimination against intelligent design [slashdot.org].
    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      This fight is between people who think that knowledge primarily comes from what is already known, often called common sense, or from new knowledge developed from careful observation of the world or study of historical documents.

      In Texas, as in much of the world, many people want to think the former is The Way. It leads to simpler conclusions, does not require one to constantly educate oneself, and in general does not cause disruption of the business cycle. This world view is very seductive and is appeal

      • Correct in so many ways. Science does not actually *prove* anything. Science merely says that the current theory can not be disproven with current methods and knowledge. It's the reason science grows in knowledge over time, the reason that theories develop and grow more refined over time. It's why science is the better and more rational solution, because it accepts that there are facts that are not presently known or understood. Religions generally and unfortunately don't acknowledge that there are limits t
  • Scary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArchieBunker ( 132337 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @05:14PM (#36865012) Homepage

    The scary part is that this subject was even up for debate.

    • by tm2b ( 42473 )
      That's scary enough, but the really scary part is that this is a 15 member board 8-0 is deceptiv, there were 7 (creationist) abstentions.
  • Seriously, there might still be a small measure of sanity left in the world.

  • Proving that they have not wasted God's greatest gift, that of intelligence and reasoning.

"Pull the wool over your own eyes!" -- J.R. "Bob" Dobbs