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Texas Board Meeting Recap for Thursday

John G. West

The Texas Board of Education has finished the tweaking of its revised science standards for today. Unfortunately, an effort to reinstate the “strengths and weaknesses” language again failed on a vote of 7-7. Board member Bob Craig, one of the Republicans who has led opposition to the “strengths and weaknesses” language, offered an ambiguous and watered-down “compromise” that called for teachers to discuss “what is not fully understood so as to encourage critical thinking.” Although rejected by the full Board, Craig’s so-called compromise was supported by fellow Republicans Pat Hardy (Fort Worth) and Geraldine Miller (Dallas), both of whom have also crusaded against the “strengths and weaknesses” language and supported the Darwin-only crowd pretty much down the line. In defense of her views, Mrs. Miller launched into a remarkable speech about how she is a Christian and “a student of the Bible,” as if her personal religious beliefs have any relevance to what should be taught in science classes. Miller also lavished praise on Francis Collins’ book The Language of God for persuading her about the correct theological understanding of evolution. (Too bad Miller hasn’t bothered to read any of the critical reviews of the junk science in Collins’ book.) Once again, a defender of evolution has appealed to religion rather than science to justify his or her views. Mrs. Miller is certainly entitled to her religious views, but she wasn’t elected to serve on a state board of theology. While the government has a legitimate secular interest in teaching the science of evolution, it has no right whatever to try to dictate students’ theological beliefs about evolution, pro or con. The fact that evolution defenders can’t stick to science when justifying their censorship of the science curriculum is telling.

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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