Don't water down science curriculum

Don't water down science curriculum
San Antonio Express News - 12/1/2008 - original
If a report found that 98 percent of university science professors in Texas rejected spontaneous generation as valid science, it wouldn't be news. Rather, the only notable aspect of the report would be that 2 percent of the individuals entrusted to impart scientific knowledge in higher education hadn't come to terms with germ theory and the 19th century research of Louis Pasteur.

Yet a survey conducted by a sociologist at the University of Texas at Arlington on behalf of the Texas Freedom Network is notable because the scientific theory in question is evolution, and the concept posing as valid science is intelligent design.

In Texas, a report that says 450 biology and biological anthropology professors are in near unanimity about the importance of teaching undiluted evolution in science classrooms is more than news. On the State Board of Education, them's fightin' words.

The board is in the process of reviewing science standards for public schools. While this should keep its 15 members too busy to speculate about impending terrorist attacks by President-elect Barack Obama's alleged allies, it gives them ample opportunity to monkey around with the science curriculum.

The Express-News quoted board member David Bradley, R-Beaumont, as saying, “There is no one on this board that is trying to inject intelligent design or creationism.” Maybe Bradley isn't familiar with the board's long history of trying to water down the science curriculum with criticisms of evolution that lack scientific credibility. Or maybe he doesn't understand what intelligent design and creationism are. Either way, he's wrong.

Valid science that passes the scrutiny of peer review, as evolution has, belongs in the classroom. Teachings of faith belong in the home or houses of worship. The most interesting finding of the Texas Freedom Network poll is 91 percent of scientists agree that evolutionary biology is compatible with religious faith.

No one would care if the Board of Education only embarrassed itself. But it has the potential to harm Texas students by inappropriately preparing them for higher education and sending them into a world in which they are scientifically outclassed. Texas children deserve better.