It seems simple. States do it all the time -- setting new science standards for their schools.
This week Texas is taking that step, but the result could be far from simple with national implications for the teaching of evolution and its weaknesses. Even freedom of religion may be threatened.
The Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) is having hearings on Wednesday and Thursday - followed by a final vote on Friday.
Click the player to see the report followed by Logan Gage of Discovery Institute explaining how this decision could affect the content of textbooks all over the U.S.
In January, the SBOE struck down, for the time being, a twenty-year standard. That guideline called for classroom discussions of evolution to include the theory's "strengths and weaknesses."
Biologist Jonathan Wells says evolution has had weaknesses from the beginning, "Darwin's book was The Origin of Species, not How Existing Species Change over Time. Yet never in the history of scientific publications has anyone reported observing the origin of a new species by variation and selection, not once."
Polls show that a heavy majority of Texans -- and citizens across the country -- support the teaching of "strengths and weaknesses" regarding evolution. That includes most Democrats, but the Texas Republican Party officially supports that approach.
Even having ten of the fifteen board members as Republicans didn't stop the January decision to abandon the "weaknesses" language. Three Republicans - Bob Craig, Patricia Hardy, and Geraldine "Tincy" Miller - went against their party and public opinion to leave that standard out.
Nevertheless, the board did propose in their January deliberations requiring students to "analyze and evaluate" parts of evolutionary theory. Those major aspects of the theory include natural selection, common descent, and mutation.
But if members Craig, Hardy, and Miller don't cast their final votes this week to allow students to "analyze" evolution or know about its "weaknesses," the potential for the theory to get a free ride in Texas is almost certain. And if the door closes for Texas classrooms, it might close for most other schools.
Texas science standards last for 10 years, greatly determining the direction of its teaching and textbooks. Publishers tend to use those Texas versions because that saves them money and makes the books cheaper across the country. Many private schools use the public school textbooks. That means more than 90% of school science books potentially offering an unchallenged view of evolution for a decade.
Darwinist Name Calling
Darwinists say no criticism of the theory is warranted and anybody who doubts evolution as absolute fact is wrong. Moreover, supporters of Darwin regularly resort to calling their opponents names and and lumping them together with people who believe the earth is flat, deny the Holocaust, or believe the lunar landing was a hoax.
And you, dear viewer of CBN News, are also subject to the name calling. You are, in fact, among those "superstitious viewers who have convinced themselves that hating Darwin really hard will get them into Heaven." Huh?
Dr. Stephen Meyer, a member of the Texas Science Review Panel appointed by the board, says we need a scientific and rational discussion instead of trash talk. He says, "You have theories and you have critiques of theories. Why should this one theory be equivalent to science itself as if you can't question it. Questioning Darwin's theory is part of science."
Dr. John West says that refusal to question exposes Darwinism as a philosophy, even a religion. West points to the praise of Darwin during this 200th anniversary year of the scientist's birth.
Darwin blogs and website often claim they don't see Darwinism as religion, "But then they say Darwin helped open up the whole new reality for us and help us understanding our place in the impersonal universe. This is about religion for them, it's their religion, it's a religion really of materialism."
West suggest the Texas standards as they now stand would entrench the religious aspects of evolution, explicit atheism. And that could violate freedom of religion for the majority of the nation's school kids who are not atheists.
Room for God in Darwinism
Still, evolutionists claim there's room for God in their theory, though Darwin himself insisted his evolutionary process was totally undirected. Meyer responds, "God can create by directing an undirected mechanism? Well, how can anyone direct an undirected mechanism? If it's directed, it's no longer undirected."
Given Darwin's stated approach, Meyer invites believers who say God could have created using Darwinian evolution to think through the contradictions of the claim, "It's a nice 'feel good' statement to bring everybody together and make everybody feel like we're all getting along. But it's not really very clear thinking."
Meyer, Wells, and West say the Texas board of education really needs clear thinking -- to avoid one of the biggest blunders in education history.
*Originally published March 25, 2009