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This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Texas school board support for "strengths and weaknesses" language could weaken

A news article says,

In previous public discussions, seven of 15 board members appeared to support, on some level, the teaching of the weaknesses of evolution in science classrooms.

Six have been opposed, and two — Geraldine Miller, R-Dallas, and Rick Agosto, D-San Antonio — are considered swing votes.

Though the seven supporters of the "strengths and weaknesses" language have been portrayed as fundy-type creationist crackpots, to my knowledge none of them have called for removing evolution from the Texas biology standards. The dogmatic Darwinists who are trying to remove the sensible "strengths and weaknesses" language from the biology standards are the real crackpots.

This already precarious support for the "strengths and weaknesses" language is threatened with being weakened further by the possible results of upcoming board elections. Apparently there are two races in which supporters of the "weaknesses" language are being seriously challenged: District 14, Gail Lowe, and District 7, David Bradley. The balance on a science standards review panel is also threatened because each member of the panel was nominated by a pair of board of education members.

The Democratic challenger in District 14, Edra Fogle, appears to be a hopeless dyed-in-the-wool dogmatic Darwinist. Her campaign website even makes the straw-man comparison of the evolution controversy and the heliocentrism controversy:
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This year the question will be whether to teach creationism, otherwise called intelligent design, in high school biology. Serious scientists reject the belief, based on the fossil evidence—and on what we see every year about mutations, about bacteria and viruses adapting to new drugs, about one species of plants or one kind of fish driving out another. Everyone has a right to one’s religious beliefs, but these have no place in the curriculum. Our children will have to compete in an increasingly global market. American education is currently producing less satisfactory results than that in many foreign countries. We do not dare let our schools fall ever further behind by ill-equipping our students.

Do we want to be like those “scientists” of the Renaissance who rejected heliocentrism — the belief that the earth goes around the sun? What would our understanding of the universe be like if we still taught that the earth is fixed in place at the center of everything, and that the planets and stars revolve around it? Copernicus developed mathematical reasons refuting this belief in the early 1500’s, but was forced to recant. Over a century later Galileo was held under house arrest by the Inquisition for advocating Copernican theory, in spite of the evidence supplied by better telescopes. Not until well along into the 1700’s was the overwhelming evidence that the earth revolves around the sun accepted.

When in the hell are Darwinists going to get it through their thick skulls that not all criticisms of evolution are based on religion?

The Fort Worth Star Telegram reports that an independent is also running against Lowe.

A Houston Chronicle endorsement of the District 7 challenger, Laura Ewing, says,

One of the board members supporting the "strengths and weaknesses" provision is the vice chairman, David Bradley of Beaumont. Bradley, a Republican representing District 7, which includes parts of the Houston area, contends: "Evolution is not a fact. Evolution is a theory and, as such, cannot be proved. Students need to be able to jump to their own conclusions."

Ewing, by contrast, says she believes in creationism but thinks it is best discussed in personal religious practice rather than in the classroom. The Chronicle could not agree more.

However, nowhere does Ewing's campaign website say anything about her believing in creationism, nor does her website have any direct statement from her about the evolution controversy (her website does post copies of pro-Darwinist articles, but these are not in Ewing's own words). The closest her website comes to making her own statement -- in her own words -- about the evolution controversy is the following statement, from an op-ed published in the Beaumont Examiner:

Unfortunately, a group of so-called conservatives that has seized control of the board appear much more interested in furthering an ideological agenda than improving Texas schools. Far from conservative, these board members are fostering a radical attack on public education in this state. From tampering with science and reading textbooks to skirting or ignoring laws with which they disagree or find inconvenient, the group works full-time to undermine the very school system they are legally bound to support. (emphasis added)

The school board members can't "tamper" with textbooks -- only publishers can do that. However, publishers have sometimes rewritten textbooks to suit the wishes of the Texas board of education.

Also, as I have said many times, the issue here is not just "poof"-type creationism -- some scientific and pseudoscientific criticisms (or weaknesses) of evolution are so technically sophisticated that they can be properly taught only by qualified science teachers.

If Ewing really believes in creationism, that's good IMO -- that would probably make it easier to persuade her to support retention of the "strengths and weaknesses" language. If she will approach the "strengths and weaknesses" language with an open mind, that's good.

BTW, here is an op-ed by board chairman Don McLeroy, who supports the "strengths and weaknesses" language.
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4 Comments:

Anonymous 'Nonymous said...

"Students need to be able to jump to their own conclusions."

LOL! Is this satire?

Monday, October 20, 2008 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>>> "Students need to be able to jump to their own conclusions."

LOL! Is this satire? <<<<<<<

An idea should not be rejected just because a supporter of that idea made a poor choice of words.

Monday, October 20, 2008 11:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's out "nonymous". It is obviously Shemp Fafarman.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008 9:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Jim Sherwood said...

A candidate cried, "I was taught
To worship all Darwinist thought!
I'm unable to think
For myself, so I link
Those ID guys to a plot."

Thursday, October 23, 2008 5:31:00 PM  

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