Friday, March 27, 2009

 

It Could Have Been Worse


Much worse in fact. The "strengths and weaknesses" language is out of the Texas science standards. Moreover, Don McLeroy's amendment from January, which read:

... "analyze and evaluate the sufficiency or insufficiency of common ancestry to explain the sudden appearance, stasis, and sequential nature of groups in the fossil record"

... was replaced by the marginally better:

... "analyze and evaluate scientific explanations concerning any data about sudden appearance, stasis and the sequential nature of groups in the fossil record."

McLeroy's amendment from yesterday that read:

... "analyze and evaluate the sufficiency or insufficiency of natural selection to explain the complexity of the cell."

... was replaced by the somewhat better:

... "analyze and evaluate scientific explanations concerning the complexity of the cell."

Barbara Cargill's January amendment that read:

... "evaluate a variety of fossil types, proposed transitional fossils, fossil lineages, and significant fossil deposits and assess the arguments for and against universal common descent in light of this fossil evidence."

... was replaced with:

... "evaluate a variety of fossil types, transitional fossils, proposed transitional fossils, fossil lineages, and significant fossil deposits with regard to their appearance, completeness, and alignments with scientific explanations in light of this fossil data."

As we all know, creationists will try to drive a Mack truck through the eye of a needle and these changes, while less blatantly anti-scientific that what had previously been in store for Texas schools, will leave much room for creationist maneuverings come the textbook approval process. As Steve Schafersman says:

I realize that Casey Luskin of Discovery Institute will declare complete, unqualified victory, but it is not that for them. Neither is it for us. The standards adopted were generally good, but there are several that are flawed, fortunately most in minor ways that textbook authors and publishers can deal with. I think we can work around the few flawed standards. But the point is that there shouldn't be ANY flawed standards. The science standards as submitted by the science writing teams were excellent and flaw-free. All the flaws were added by politically unscrupulous SBOE members with an extreme right-wing religious agenda to support Creatonism. This will be come apparent in 2011 when the Biology textbooks come up for adoption.


Comments:
There is an old saying about eating an elephant. You can do it, one bite at a time. What the board of education accomplished is getting their preverbal foot in the door. Over time, then one adds just a word here and a word there. Not enough to strike fear in the room. But, after a few year one looks back and realizes the elephant is gone, and the law has completely changed without anyone really noticing.
 
On the other hand, you can make 'em take a really long time to eat the elephant and hope there is a political change (which we know can happen).
 
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