Creationism gets a good kicking in Texas

GOOD sense has triumphed over biblical bullshit in Texas. On Friday, the State Board of Education voted unanimously to approve sound-science materials for public school biology courses.

By a 14-0 vote, the board chose to approve supplemental materials from mainstream publishers, not creationist crap from Religious Right-backed suppliers of dodgy Bible-bases hypotheses.

According to this report, Americans United for Separation of Church and State submitted written testimony urging the board to disregard pleas from the Discovery Institute and International Databases to have their materials – which caste doubt on evolution from a religious perspective – included in the curriculum.

Texas has often been a trouble spot for scientists and civil liberties activists. In 2009, the state school board adopted a science curriculum that left open the door for approval of creationist twaddle.

And earlier this month, Texas Governor Rick Perry appointed Barbara Cargill (R-Woodlands) to serve as chair of the board. Cargill, a former teacher, believes that the debate over science education is a “spiritual battle”. She is a strong proponent of teaching:

Barbara Cargill. Photo: Caleb Bryant Miller

The strengths and weaknesses of evolution.

This is, of course, code language for religiously grounded attacks on accepted science.

Last spring some of Cargill’s other prejudices bubbled to the surface during the board’s debate on social studies standards. The wingnut successfully pushed for the elimination of “sex and gender and social constructs” from sociology curriculum. She said at the time:

This allows students to go into the world of transvestites, transsexuals and God-knows-what-else.

AU was worried that under Cargill’s leadership, the board would spend $60 million in taxpayer funds on creationist bumfodder. Instead, AU and its allies wanted to board to approve supplementary materials recommended by scientists and science educators.

Says the AU:

We got what we wanted, and that’s thanks in part to the large number of sound-science supporters who showed up at last week’s public hearing. According to our allies at the National Center for Science Education, four times as many people testified in favor of sound science than those who wanted supplements undercutting evolution.

Hat tip: Adam Tjaavk