Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'm on candid camera

Sam & Savannah acting crazeeee... :)

The truth will set you free. But first it will make you damn mad.
- Scott Peck.

I just came across this Fox News video "Evolution Debate Could Decide Children's Future" - which covered the State Board of Education hearing last Wednesday, and I'm in the video at two places: first coming into the hearing room after Clare Wuellner, Director of Center for Inquiry Austin, who they interviewed (she was dressed in the 1860-era getup, and is in the photos posted in my previous blog post). And then later you can see me standing in the audience at the Texas Freedom Network press conference. I would embed the video but I don't think I can... check it out!

Oh, and even though the coverage is decent, the title is kind of stupid, like how exactly is evolution going to decide children's future? The actual video shows that the decision of the Texas SBOE could determine how other states act on textbooks - but that was actually the issue at debate in 2003 and is not up for debate, currently. The issue currently is about the TEKS or standards. Yes, other states sometimes follow Texas' lead in some things, but... do they really? Actually come to think of it this reporter did not do his background research at all.

The other thing he missed is that although this coverage was better than most in terms of repesenting accurately that the science advocates came out in force and the creationisst were few in number, he did allow Mark Ramsey to wave about the "academic freedom" argument, but the reporter never counterpoints to explain that the reality is that nobody is trying to stop academic freedom. That is absurd! The point is that you don't teach *high school* students every brand new hypothesis and idea in science and/or allow them to debate the merits or come up with their own hypotheses. They are simply not equipped for it. Textbooks have always taught the current state of science (or whatever subject), and the process of science. And, if that were heeded, then intelligent design would not be in the textbooks. Nor would there be any "weaknesses" of evolution taught because evolution is one of the most robust theories in science - and if taught thoroughly (as I did when teaching at Kingwood College) it should be quite clear to students that the theory has genetic, genomic, physiological, anatomical, paleontological, and geological evidence - as well as predictive power.

The debate of evolution is a cultural and religious one and NOT a scientific one. So if creationists want it to be taught, they need to have a different class set up, or to teach it in social studies or current events. Dumbing down science is not going to help our children's future.

So maybe the Fox News report got the title right after all. If we remove or weaken evolution education in schools, our children's future IS at stake. As is our nation's future, really. And general concern over America's science lead was clearly shown in the National Academy of Sciences report (that I quoted in my testimony) Rising Above the Gathering Storm.

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