Texas Board of Education Celebrates Constitution Day by Promoting Creationism, Ignoring the Constitution

Today, on Constitution Day, we commemorate the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution in 1787. The Texas State Board of Education apparently plans to celebrate the occasion by emulating the conditions of the original signing and pretending that the First Amendment does not exist (the First Amendment was not formally adopted until December 15, 1791). The Board is holding public hearings today on its upcoming science textbook adoption, and the creationists on the board have set their sights on the state's list of approved biology textbooks.

Textbooks are reviewed prior to adoption by citizen committees appointed by the Board. Ideally, citizen reviewers should have some sort of relevant expertise: They should be teachers or scientists, for example. Instead, the Board assigned these important positions to a number of anti-science creationism proponents, whose "review" of the textbooks consisted of complaining that they do not include enough creationism. One reviewer insisted that "‘creation science' based on Biblical principles should be incorporated into every biology book that is up for adoption." Others trotted out tired anti-evolution arguments that have been thoroughly refuted.

As explained in written testimony submitted today by the ACLU and ACLU of Texas, efforts to inject religious beliefs regarding evolution and the origin of life into public school science curricula are constitutionally impermissible no matter what form they may take. More than 20,000 ACLU supporters expressed their agreement by signing a petition that urges the Board to approve textbooks that accurately and comprehensively cover evolution. We delivered the petition today with our written testimony.

Unfortunately, textbook adoption in Texas is always a time of conflict. Science books are attacked for their coverage of evolution and climate change, health textbooks are attacked for their coverage of contraception and sexuality, and social studies textbooks are attacked for...pretty much everything, really.

Texas' textbooks are particularly important because of the state's size. Texas is the second-largest market in the country, which creates a strong incentive for publishers to accede to the demands of the Texas Board of Education. The books that are written for Texas are sold to school districts throughout the country.

Students in Texas and across the country should have the best science education possible. That starts with science textbooks that are accurate and free from the influence of religious doctrine. On Constitution Day, of all days, the Texas Board of Education should respect the First Amendment rights of students and parents by adopting textbooks based on science, not ideology.

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Illinois resident

It's fortuitous that the rest of the U.S. is no longer hostage to the Texas Board of Education textbook censorship program. Now the rights of everyone else to scientific literacy and productive skills can be realized through to the production of digital text books and resource materials that need not reflect Texas standards in order for economically viable production to be made.

Vicki Bee

And they're always saying THIS Administration is "unConstitutional."
Apparently it's only "unConstitutional" when it's something THEY don't like.
I hate that.

Anonymous

What about the religion of materialism being injected into schools? Rational Christians have no problem with science. The problem is a materialist world view is the definitive conclusion to the unseen or unknown. Just because you don't meet in a church, doesn't mean you don't have religion. If you want to present Darwinian Evolution, at least allow discussion of the numerous problems facing the theory. Discussing intelligent design is no less scientific than discussion an unseen random mutation. Throughout history we have only seen information come from intelligence. That is certainly something worth following.

Anonymous

wow anonymous #1. You expressed clearly and succinctly why people with expertise need to be on these boards.
Materialism is not a religion, it is a philosophical perspective.
Information can come from any discernible source regardless of its intelligence. I get information about the weather from cloud patterns for example.
And intelligent design is in no way scientific, regardless of the nature of the discussion or its truth value.
The fear of people like myself and others not blinded to fact by ideology, is that people with your inaccurate and sloppy thinking will have a hand in educating the children of the next generation.

Mackinz

"Anonymous"...

If you think science is based off of materialism, then you fail basic logic. And if you think science is a religion, you are plain off your rocker.

"Darwinian Evolution", better known as the Scientific Theory of Evolution has more proof than you do brain cells. I mean, considering that you only have two of them, it's not hard to do but still.

You have been indoctrinated since birth into a cult whose "religious beliefs" are dedicated to ignoring the same scientific method which brought us the internet you are oh so glad to be posting on now. The same one which has developed Biology (and Evolution) and saves life most of the time someone ends up in a hospital.

Democracy does not mean your ignorance belongs on the same shelf as scientific discoveries about reality and how to utilize it.

The fact that you are "Anonymous" also points to the fact that you are a troll.

Chris Weiss

Anonymous -> In case you missed the Kitzmiller case, one of the "scientists" supporting intelligent design, Michael Behe, was forced to admit in open court that ID is not a scientific position.

ID and evolution are not equivalent. ID is just another form of creationism, which means it is not science.

Science is based in empiricism, which requires repeatable and verifiable evidence. ID lacks this feature. In fact, ID at some level requires irreducible complexity. At first this was the eye, then it was things like clotting factors, then it was structures like bacterial flagella. Finally, DNA has now become the line in the sand. However, DNA varies in structure and complexity and most higher organisms have genes for "inactive" features such as gills in mammals, teeth in birds, etc. This more than anything else shows that DNA structures in today's creatures most certainly reflect evolution.

ID is a violation of the separation of church and state. Evolution says nothing about religion, and it never did.

Anonymous

what would happen if sensible text book publishers refused to acquiesce to Texans' wishes?

stimoceiver

Creationists - and their opponents claiming the side of Science - are both sides, uniquely unimaginative.

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

So, there were a heavens and an earth BEFORE God said "let there be light."

Next, it is clearly given in the 7 days of creation that it is not until "Day 4" in Genesis 14 where God says "Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth."

So before this, we have no celestial bodies by which to contrive the terrestrial-centric unit of time known as a "Day" as 24 hours in length. And let us not forget Psalm 90:4, "A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night."

Next, its worth noting there are TWO creation stories in the bible that contradict each other on certain key points.

The first that most Christians are familiar with runs from Genesis 1:1-2:3. In that one, humans were created after the other animals, and man and woman were created simultaneously: male and female he created them. No rib taking involved.

The second one most Christians probably assume to be merely a recap of the first, occurring from Genesis 2:4-25. In that one, humans are created first, then the other animals, then woman from Adam's rib.

Finally, did you know that after eating of the tree of knowledge, only the man was cast out from the Garden of Eden? Compare every known translation of Genesis 3:24 with the original Hebrew. Nearly every translation in existence states, "After he sent the man out." Some few rogue translations change this to "them," clearly deviating from the original Hebrew scripture. Perhaps an err on the side of seeking to render more consistent an already quite fantastic and clearly allegorical story.

Even the most ardent supporters of Creationism have failed to integrate any of the above scriptural factoids into their hastily-concocted 20th century "Creation Science." If they did, the resulting "Science" would likely find more supporters willing to consider it from the angle of science fiction.

For the record, I'm not Christian, but I was raised with a bit of Christian influence. I'd be happy to see Christian Creationism taught in schools - IF AND ONLY IF it were taught alongside the creation myths of other world religions in a comparative religions class, NOT in a Science class.

stimoceiver

for some reason, the ACLU doesnt seem to want to publish this comment... This is my third and final attempt.

Creationists - and their opponents claiming the side of Science - are both sides, uniquely unimaginative.

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

So, there were a heavens and an earth BEFORE God said "let there be light."

Next, it is clearly given in the 7 days of creation that it is not until "Day 4" in Genesis 14 where God says "Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth."

So before this, we have no celestial bodies by which to contrive the terrestrial-centric unit of time known as a "Day" as 24 hours in length. And let us not forget Psalm 90:4, "A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night."

Next, its worth noting there are TWO creation stories in the bible that contradict each other on certain key points.

The first that most Christians are familiar with runs from Genesis 1:1-2:3. In that one, humans were created after the other animals, and man and woman were created simultaneously: male and female he created them. No rib taking involved.

The second one most Christians probably assume to be merely a recap of the first, occurring from Genesis 2:4-25. In that one, humans are created first, then the other animals, then woman from Adam's rib.

Finally, did you know that after eating of the tree of knowledge, only the man was cast out from the Garden of Eden? Compare every known translation of Genesis 3:24 with the original Hebrew. Nearly every translation in existence states, "After he sent the man out." Some few rogue translations change this to "them," clearly deviating from the original Hebrew scripture. Perhaps an err on the side of seeking to render more consistent an already quite fantastic and clearly allegorical story.

Even the most ardent supporters of Creationism have failed to integrate any of the above scriptural factoids into their hastily-concocted 20th century "Creation Science." If they did, the resulting "Science" might find more supporters willing to consider it from the angle of science fiction.

For the record, I'm not Christian, but I was raised with a bit of Christian influence. I'd be happy to see Christian Creationism taught in schools - IF AND ONLY IF it were taught alongside the creation myths of other world religions in a comparative religions class, NOT in a Science class.

Rev Phil

Most Buddists would agree the universe is Created in the mind. A true acceptance of the meaning of the Bible, the Koran, or any other spiritual guide, would agree that all that is Created is done so in the mind. Where else could it be but in one's own mind. Every limitation to reason is there also, in the form of unreason, or foolishness. Beings in bodies see themselves as separate, and therefor as vulnerable and capable of being harmed and harming. Spiritual Truth informs us that we are not separate bodies with separate minds, but part of theOne True mind of (choose your favored diety), because contrary to popular belief, God is neither jealous or punishing. This is what happens when God is made in our image instead of truly seeing ourselves as Created in His.

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