The teaching of evolution and creationism in the classroom has generated ongoing debate for years. The newest controversy comes from Texas where the State Board of Education is considering whether to approve high school science textbooks for use in the next school year through 2022. The approval of these textbooks could have implications across the U.S. since Texas is one of the few states that has publishers that distribute textbooks nationwide. Thus, these textbooks could land in classrooms in numerous states.
At issue in Texas is that conservatives are upset over a lack of creation-based theories in the science curriculum. Even though evolution is rooted in scientific fact and creationism is based on the Bible, conservatives, led by Texas’ State Board of Education Chairwoman Barbara Cargill, are arguing that both sides need to be represented in science textbooks. The textbooks being debated contain curriculum on the theory of evolution, facts on climate change, and the Earth’s cooling.
Late into discussions on November 21, several board members delayed approval of the science textbooks lacking creationist theory by questioning twenty alleged errors based on evolution. The publishers of the textbooks did not agree to the proposed changes to the evolution-based scientific facts. As a result of the contentious debate, a panel of three outside experts chosen by three board members will determine if the objections raised by conservative members of the board are valid. If these creationist theories are included, then the consequences could be quite severe as this will affect the teaching of evolution in multiple states for nearly a decade.
ASBMB supports the teaching of evolution by natural selection in science classrooms due to the overwhelming support for the theory and the lack of evidence for competing ideas and theories.
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