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Archive for the ‘texas BOE’ tag

Texas BOE gets something right for once

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Thanks to Robert Luhn from the National Center for Science Education for passing this bit of news along to me.

This issue has been stewing for quite some time, but the Texas Board of Education voted 8-0 this week to use mainstream science textbooks from established publishers in its classroom materials, rather than use materials from International Databases, LLC., that would have included elements of intelligent design, or at least thrown Darwinism and evolution into some question.

Credit: Photograph by: Richard Milner Archive/Handout, Reuters

Here’s some examples of material submitted to the Texas BOE from International Databases (I assume it’s no coincidence that the LLC’s initials are “ID”) claiming that “intelligent input is necessary for life’s origin” and “life on Earth is the result of intelligent causes.”

In an article from The Dallas Morning Star, International Databases president Stephen Sample had this to say:

I am not trying to bring the book of Genesis into science classes. One of the reasons I decided to enter the bidding for these books was to give Texas students a fair and honest treatment of evolution. The scientific community is split on Darwin’s theory, and my material reflects that.

The mainstream scientific community is not “split” on evolution, and it has not even been unsure on the matter in a very long time. Likewise, Darwin’s “theory” is no longer a theory in the more common sense of the word, that is, “a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.”

Evolution is a scientific theory, that is, as close to proclaiming something as fact as we ever get in science. Here’s some light reading on types of “theories.”

See this article for more background on the Texas BOE case.

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Top posts of 2010

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I plan to jump back on this site after I get the holidays are behind us. I’ve recently been entrenched with the aforementioned “War and Peace,” and now, I’m reading a book titled, “Nixon’s Piano,” in which Kenneth O’Reilly traces the track record of each United States president on the topic of race and how few presidents moved race relations and civil rights forward. Rather, the large majority either did all they could to ignore the problem, thus passing the buck to successors or used blacks and other minorities to secure the Southern vote. Of course, numerous early presidents from Washington to Adams to Jefferson knew the peculiar institution was unsustainable in the long run but again, deferred to later generations to actually enact meaningful change. Reluctantly, Lincoln was the man that conclusively ended slavery, but what he couldn’t end was racism, and blacks and other groups would wait another century-plus before Martin Luther King Jr., and other members of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement finally broke the chains of segregation and Jim Crow.

It’s an enticing read, and I would like to read O’Reilly’s other book on race, “Racial Matters: The FBIs Secret File on Black America” in the future.

Needless to say, I typically either spend the bulk of my free time writing and researching for this site or reading and/or playing video games like the 33-year-old teenager that I am.

That said, and in the spirit of annual, year-ending “Best of …” lists, here are 20 of what I consider to be my top blog posts for 2010. In no particular order:

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Texas BOE knows best, ctd.

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I previously wrote on this topic at this link.

Seemingly antithetical to anything that could be called educational planning, planning based on science and the record of history, that is, the Texas Board of Education handed down a 10-5 preliminary vote in favor of amending the state’s social studies curriculum, with many of the decisions falling along conservative political or ideological lines.

For instance:

The bad news, at least for students, is that

social conservatives claimed at least one victory as Ken Mercer of San Antonio successfully fended off a GOP challenge from Austin attorney Tim Tuggey. And conservative Brian Russell forced an April runoff with educator Marsha Farney in the race for the seat held by outgoing Christian conservative Cynthia Dunbar.

“I hope we can keep our conservative posture,” Mercer said of the board.

Since when should educational material break down along party lines or even ideological lines?  I will now return to some corner silently weeping.

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