According to new documents obtained by watchdog groups, Textbook reviewers from the Texas State Board of Education are pushing to include creationism in the statewide teaching curriculums of high schools this year.
Records from at least seven publishers, including several of the nation’s largest publishing houses, show that the textbook reviewers ideologically objected to materials on evolution and climate change in science textbooks that were set to be distributed. Failure to receive a favorable rating from the panel can make it difficult for publishers to sell their textbooks to school districts — even having the state reject their materials altogether.
“Once again, culture warriors in the state board are putting Texas at risk of becoming a national laughingstock on science education,” said the president of the Texas Freedom Network, Kathy Miller.
With a state open records request, TFN and the National Center for Science Education were able to obtain the comments submitted to publishers by the textbook review board. The comments show the panel asking the textbook publishers to diminish the science contained within the texts and include creationist “alternatives.”
One reviewer directly requested that the publishers Houghton Miffin Harcourt and Scientific Minds teach “creation science.”
I understand the National Academy of Science’s [sic] strong support of the theory of evolution. At the same time, this is a theory. As an educator, parent, and grandparent, I feel very firmly that “creation science” based on Biblical principles should be incorporated into every Biology book that is up for adoption.
Addressing publisher Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, a reviewer objected to the fossil evidence for evolution.
Text neglects to tell students that no transitional fossils have been discovered. The fossil record can be interpreted in other ways than evolutionary with equal justification. Text should ask students to analyze and compare alternative theories.
A reviewer identified as Ray Bohlin claimed that climate change isn’t real. But according to him, even if it was, there are still many unknowns.
In reality we don’t know what climate change will do to species diversity . . . Question seems to imply that ecosystems will be disrupted which qwe [sic] simply don’t know yet.
Raising a few eyebrows, Bohlin went on to repeatedly endorse a book called “The Signature of the Cell” which was published by the Discovery Institute, a creationist organization. But Bohlin fails to mention in his comments that he’s a fellow within the organization.
There is no discussion of the origin of the information bearing [sic] molecules which is absolutely essential in any origin of life scenario. Meyer’s Signature of the Cell dismisses any RNA first [sic] scenario. The authors need to get caught up.
According to the National Center for Science Education, very few of the textbook reviewers actually have any scientific credentials. Among the ones that do, they are active in creationist organizations such as the Discovery Institute.
A public hearing on the books will take place next week in Austin.