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When Faith Trumps Reason

May 27, 2010

An interesting read by Jeff Schweitzer on the recent reforms passed by Texas’s State Board of Education. This is a tragedy if you haven’t heard about it.

Here’s a good paragraph:

And we still debate evolution (but never the Theory of Relativity). Evolution is one of the most successful, thoroughly documented scientific discoveries in human history. We can see evolution in a Petri dish. Evolution has been validated across multiple fields of anthropology, geology, genetics, embryology, bacteriology, virology, and biogeography. However, more than 75 years after the trial of State of Tennessee v John Scopes and despite incredible advances in biology, many public school boards strive to eliminate the teaching of evolution from the curriculum. SBOE succeeded. If a scientific discovery as important, mainstream, and established as evolution can be a source of controversy for school curricula, society is extraordinarily vulnerable to a general decline in all areas of public debate. Without a shared reality we have no basis for discussion. What’s next, removing Thomas Jefferson from our history books because he promoted the scientific method or argued that religion should play no role in government?

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 27, 2010 2:17 PM

    The Huffington Post is a repository of misinformation about vaccines, so it’s good to see an article saying

    All this when in reality vaccines are one of the greatest achievements of modern medicine, saving hundreds of millions of lives and improving the quality of life for countless others.

    I take it the last sentence of the quote you gave is tongue in cheek? According to Jerry Coyne’s blog Why Evolution is True, one of the curriculm revisions is that

    Thomas Jefferson, the main author of the Declaration of Independence has been removed from the list of “great thinkers.” After all, what great thinker could advocate the separation of church and state?

    It’s all pretty worrying. There seems to be some concerns over this side of the Atlantic that the reforms to the education system proposed by the Con-Libs may give schools the freedom to teach creationism. I think they’re a bit unrealistic, I’m hoping we don’t get to the point where a small group can affect the education of so many kids in such a big way.

    I’ve read that a potential consequence of this decision could be that a lot of textbooks used nationally in the states could be changed – the Texans are a massive market in the school textbook industry, and some minor changes could trickle over into books that are aimed at a wider audience than the Texans.

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