Creationism in Texas science classes

Creationism in Texas science classes
Editorial - Waco Tribune Herald - 12/31/2007 - original
Texas education officials should be wary of efforts to insert faith-based religious beliefs into science classrooms.

Unfortunately, people with religious agendas continue in their efforts to gain leadership positions in state education while other people continue their efforts to get schools to teach their religious beliefs in Texas public schools.

Now, the Institute for Creation Research is seeking state approval to offer online master degrees in science education, which would allow graduates to teach science in both public and private schools in Texas.

The institute teaches from the belief in a literal reading of the Bible that the earth and everything on it were created in six days by God, approximately 6,000 years ago.

The institute teaches that all plants and animals were “created functionally complete from the beginning and did not evolve from some other kind of organism.”

Surprisingly, a state advisory panel has recommended approval of the institute. Next month, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board will decide whether graduates of the online institute will be certified to teach science in Texas public schools.

There is nothing wrong with teaching religion in public schools. But religion should be taught in religion classes that do not give preference to any one faith. Religion should not be slipped into the curriculum in science classes.

A few weeks ago, the state’s director of science curriculum, Chris Castillo Comer, was forced out of her Texas Education Agency job for forwarding an e-mail that announced an upcoming speech by the author of a book criticizing intelligent design.

A TEA deputy commissioner circulated Comer’s e-mail while calling it an “offense that calls for termination.” Days later, Comer said she was forced to leave her job.

TEA officials said they expected the agency’s science director to remain neutral on the issues of creationism, intelligent design and evolution.

Neither science nor evolution precludes a belief in God, but religion is not science and should not be taught in science classrooms.