Saturday, December 13, 2008


Educational Malpractice

What's wrong with this Op-Ed piece about the upcoming curriculum fight in Texas?:

In response to the Express-News editorial of 12/1 ("Don't Water Down Science Curriculum") we at San Antonio Bible Based Sciences Association would like to ask how you can water down a curriculum which is almost exclusively evolution already by changing the wording which has existed in the curriculum for many years? Also, no creationist organization in this state is trying to insert new language, change the evolutionary science curriculum of this state or insert creationism in any way during this adoption cycle. Further, all board members of the State Board of Education(SBOE) are unanimous in stating that they have no intent to insert new language, change the curriculum or in any way try to insert creation into the curriculum. How then may we ask is our children's education so imperiled, and how will it be changed in any way from what it has been? The following is a letter I sent to all of the SBOE members and which has had a positive response from two members, one of which invited me to testify in Austin. ...

[O]ur children need to be challenged with critical thinking and critical evaluation of data. Teachers do not need to worry whether responding to a students query about an ID or creationist's idea which dovetails onto the evolutionary material they are covering can be answered without fear of reprisal and that they can praise the student for their questioning mind, for that's what we want to foster! Inclusion of this phrase will not alter what is taught in our school in any significant way in terms of content since that content is all geared towards TAKS and next to the End of Course Exams (neither of which will have questions on ID not creation), but this phrase does enable an atmosphere of free dialogue we should want in our science classrooms and which promote the open, questioning minds we need as future researchers!"
In response to the several letters in the paper over the past two months SABBSA would be very happy to oblige and provide scientific evidence of weaknesses in evolution and for creation. We stand ready to go to any venue you invite us to, and can present several hours of scientific evidence which supports creation. Included in these will be the fact that evolution violates the 1st and 2nd Laws of Thermodynamics, as well as the Law of Biogenesis. We can show you creation evidence in the fields of microbiology, genetics, probability, biochemistry, biology, geology and physics which support creation and undermine evolution. You are also welcome to peruse our website at On the newsletters page you will find almost ten years worth of newsletters, most with a discussion of recent evidences uncovered for creation. On the links page you will find links to national creation organizations which specialize in providing creation evidences.
No, it isn't the claim that evolution violates thermodynamics. That is, as PZ Myers points out, an old canard and it would only be surprising if creationists left it out of the alleged "weaknesses" they want to be able to misinform innocent children with.

Nor is it the fable that Pasteur showed that abiogenesis was false (which, strictly speaking, wouldn't be a weakness of evolution in any case).

It isn't even the fact that the letter writer lost his train of though and, despite claiming that neither the Texas State Board of Education nor any "creationist organization in this state is trying to ... insert creationism in any way" into the state's curriculum, he promises to "provide scientific evidence of weaknesses in evolution and for creation," clearly seeing no difference between them. Is there any doubt that those two board members who 'responded positively' also see them as one and the same? And what will that "free dialogue" with the students look like if the creationists on the Board get their way?

This is what's wrong with the letter:

I am a math and science teacher in our public schools [and] my personal belief is that Scientific Creationism and Intelligent Design have more than sufficient scientific evidence to support their inclusion in classroom science discussions ...
The poor unsuspecting kids of Texas.

Update: Richard B. Hoppe at The Panda's Thumb has made an expedition into the darkest heart of the San Antonio Bible Based Sciences Association website and come back alive (and, more amazingly, with his sanity intact) bearing tales of the natives' strange beliefs and rituals. For a glimpse of what Texas children have in store for them if the creationist members of the SBOE get their way, go check out Richard's article.

It always amazed me that people that never had to study classical thermodynamics in college became such experts in the subject. Perhaps one should argue that Genesis 1:1 violates the first law of thermodynamics. After all, matter can not be created or destroyed, only converted from one form to the other. On the other hand, if science does argue that, the creationist will probably just knock over the chess pieces, crap on the board, fly away and declare victory. ( special thanks to
Well, that would be all fine and good, elbogz; except that the Creator didn't need to follow no silly rules like the 1LOT.
Once again a trackback from Panda's Thumb failed to make the trip. At least I'm trying!
Yea, Troy! One of my favorite descriptions of creationists.

There have even been occasions when IDers have said that "it takes intelligence to overcome the 2ndLoT," as if we know of examples of that happening.

RBH, Blogger doesn't support trackbacks (unless you install a widget, at least, and the last time I tried to do that I crashed the blog) but thanks for the thought.

You're a braver man than I am, though. I wouldn't go to the SABBSA site without some heavy-duty antidepression meds.
I wonder if the school is aware of this?
In Texas, there is every chance that the administration is made up of people of like mind.
Creativity is one of the most important goals for education while to teach kids to help those who need help is also very important, to some extent more important than creativity. At least, with kind heart, kids can be good kids, good parents in the future and good citizen.
Guide Kids by their Individuality
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