Dozens of scientists spoke out against creationist biology textbooks at the Texas State Board of Education's public hearing in Austin, pleading for the state not to continue its anti-science stance.
“I ask you not to let Texas once again become a national embarrassment,” said Ron Wetheringon, Anthropology professor at Southern Methodist University.
Most of the debate centered on evolution coverage in high school biology books and whether students should be able to question Charles Darwin’s basic biology theories, Dallas News reported. Social and religious conservatives on the board have fought for years for textbooks which teach all sides of evolution, watering down evolutionary science to make room for creationism – many even questioning the validity of teaching climate change.
Former board chair and Youth Earth Creationist Don McLeroy, said it was important to support biblical teachings in whatever decision they make. “What we see in the world around us supports what the Bible says but what we see in these books supports what the Bible says too,” he said.
On the other hand, scientists who reviewed the textbooks couldn’t disagree more, arguing that education official should not be using books that question evolution. The hearing prompted public rallies which included 200 or so activists holding signs with messages including, “Public schools, not Sunday schools.”
The new textbooks will be used throughout the state through to 2022. The hearing was attended by dozens of scientists, activists and parents who testified before the board, which consisted of 10 Republicans and five Democrats. Texas, as one of the largest textbook purchasers in the nation, has a strong influence on books marketed in other states.
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