Editorials on the impending struggle in Texas


In the wake of the June 4, 2008, report in The New York Times on the impending struggle over the presence of "strengths and weaknesses" language in the Texas state science standards, the Times addressed the issue editorially, writing (June 7, 2008), "The Texas State Board of Education is again considering a science curriculum that teaches the 'strengths and weaknesses' of evolution, setting an example that several other states are likely to follow. This is code for teaching creationism." Observing that "[e]very student who hopes to understand the scientific reality of life will sooner or later need to accept the elegant truth of evolution as it has itself evolved," the editorial concluded, "If the creationist view prevails in Texas, students interested in learning how science really works and what scientists really understand about life will first have to overcome the handicap of their own education."

Closer to the scene, the Houston Chronicle (June 7, 2008) explained [Link broken] that "strengths and weaknesses" language is "a 'teach the controversy' approach, whereby religion is propounded under the guise of scientific inquiry," adding, "Given the recent comments of both the chairman and the vice chairman of the board, there is ample reason for alarm." Rebuking Don McLeroy, who described the debate to the Times as between "two systems of science" -- "You've got a creationist system and a naturalist system" -- the editorial commented, "What students really need is to be able to study science from materials that have not been hijacked by creationists whose personal agenda includes muddying the science curriculum. Creationism is not a 'system of science,'" and ended by asking, "What chance do Texas students have of competing in the 21st century if their learning of science is warped and stunted by such benighted leadership?"