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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.