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Dallas Morning News Offers Alternate Reality on Texas Science Standards

John G. West

One has to wonder whether the Dallas Morning News reporter even attended today’s meeting of the Texas State Board of Education. It’s hard to tell from the garbled account the paper just published, which pretty much claims that the evolution dogmatists won everything. Of course, the truth is almost exactly the opposite. The article is a classic example of either sloppy or selective reporting. For example, the piece talks about the removal of the “strengths and weaknesses provision” from the Texas science standards, but neglects to mention the adoption of even stronger language that requires students to “critique” and examine “all sides of scientific evidence”! The article likewise talks about the removal of Chairman Don McElroy’s extra provisions on common ancestry and natural selection, but garbles the fact that the two “compromise” provisions later adopted about the fossil record and the complexity of the cell were offered as substitutes for McElroy’s earlier provisions—and McElroy praised these substitutes for covering much of the same material he had proposed. Most egregiously, the article fails to mention that the final standards preserve amendments added in January requiring students to “analyze and evaluate” the evidence for major evolutionary claims such as natural selection, common ancestry, and mutations. The new “analyze and evaluate” language is a huge change from the one-sided evolution standards in the current Texas science standards and may well be the most significant revision adopted by the Board. The article also fails to report the addition of a new standard dealing with the origin of life in the high school biology standards. It’s shoddy reporting like this that helps fuel the distrust many Americans feel toward the traditional newsmedia.

John G. West

Senior Fellow, Managing Director, and Vice President of Discovery Institute
Dr. John G. West is Vice President of the Seattle-based Discovery Institute and Managing Director of the Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Formerly the Chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography at Seattle Pacific University, West is an award-winning author and documentary filmmaker who has written or edited 12 books, including Darwin Day in America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science, The Magician’s Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society, and Walt Disney and Live Action: The Disney Studio’s Live-Action Features of the 1950s and 60s. His documentary films include Fire-Maker, Revolutionary, The War on Humans, and (most recently) Human Zoos. West holds a PhD in Government from Claremont Graduate University, and he has been interviewed by media outlets such as CNN, Fox News, Reuters, Time magazine, The New York Times, USA Today, and The Washington Post.

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