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On November 1, 2003, a statement was released urging the Texas Board of Education to resist pressure on it to undermine the treatment of evolution in biology textbooks now under consideration. Signed by over 550 Texas scientists and educators, the statement observes that "Any dilution in textbooks of the overwhelming scientific evidence for evolution should sound an alarm to every parent and teacher."
An op-ed piece by Alfred Gilman, who was awarded the 1994 Nobel Prize in Medicine, and signed by sixteen members of the National Academy of Science and/or the Institute of Medicine, including three other Nobel laureates, appeared in the Dallas Morning News on Sunday, September 21, 2003. All of the signatories live and work in north Texas.
A standing-room-only crowd attended the hearing on biology textbooks before the Texas Board of Education in Austin on September 10. More than 160 people signed up to speak before the board, and the testimony continued into the wee hours.
On August 26 the school board of Washakie County School District #1, in Worland, Wyoming, voted to consider changing the district's policy on teaching biology. According to an Associated Press news report the proposed change reads: "It shall be the policy ... when teaching Darwin's theory of evolution that it is only a theory and not a fact.
"Evolution is a normal part of science and should be treated the same way as all other scientific ideas." That was the message to Texas authorities from the authors of leading biology textbooks, delivered on September 8 in a statement jointly released by Texas Citizens for Science and the National Center for Science Education. The authors, who are scientists and educators, also stated, "It is a disservice to students to mislead them about the important position that evolution holds in biological and other sciences."
Evolution education in Delaware just keeps getting better. An article in the News Journal hails, "While other states wrestle over whether to even use the word "evolution" in their science standards, Delaware has become one of the nation's leading states in teaching the theory in public schools, state officials and national experts say."
A local conservative group in Montgomery County, Texas is mounting a petition drive to mandate the teaching of "intelligent design" in all six school districts in the county. Jim Jenkins, president of the Republican Leadership Council (RLC), said that the group is attempting to convince school boards to supplement evolution with intelligent design, reported the Magnolia Potpourri (2003 Jul 22); available on-line here.
The following appeared in the San Angelo (Texas) Standard-Times on August 13, 2003, and is posted here with the permission of its author.
William Jewell College, a liberal arts college founded in 1849 associated with the Missouri Baptist Convention, is about to lose the MBC’s support due to its position on a variety of issues, including the teaching of creationism.
The MBC’s executive board voted 44–4 to recommend that the MBC discontinue its support of the college -- about $850 000 per year, roughly 3% of the college’s annual budget. The recommendation is expected to be followed at the MBC’s annual meeting in early November.