"Of Pandas and People"

Critique: "Of Pandas and People"

Of Pandas and People, the foundational work of the 'Intelligent Design' movement

by Nick Matzke

The creationist textbook Of Pandas and People was published in 1989 (second edition, 1993). This was the first book to frequently use now-common buzzwords such as "intelligent design," "design proponents," and "design theory." As such, Pandas represents the beginning of the modern "intelligent design" movement.

Washington School District Wrestles with Creationism, "Intelligent Design Theory"

From February through April, 1996, the small town of Sultan, WA, was the site of now-familiar rancorous school board meetings over the question of whether creationism should be taught with evolution. Teacher Meg Town had attended a workshop on creation and evolution at a National Science Teachers Association regional meeting (taught by NCSE board member Dr. Duane Jeffery), so she knew where to go for help when the school board was approached with the request that it introduce creation "science" and Intelligent Design Theory into the curriculum.

Close Ohio House Vote Scuttles "Evidence Against Evolution" Bill

On May 28, 1996, state representative Ron Hood's HB 692 was voted down in the Ohio House of Representatives Education Committee by a vote of 8-12. When introduced on April 12, 1996, the bill stated that

Science Textbook Adoptions in Alabama: Part I

Alabama has just witnessed its most serious challenge to the integrity of science education since 1977. The State Textbook Committee voted on October 2, 1989 not to consider Of Pandas and People a textbook submitted by Haughton Publishing (Dallas, Texas) for inclusion on the recommended list for science text adoptions. One committee member, quoted in a newspaper interview, remarked that Pandas "is a strictly religious book."

Science Text Adoptions in Alabama: Part II

In part I of this article (NCSE Reports 9(6):5), I told how Haughton Publishing submitted its text, Of Pandas and People, for adoption in Alabama as a supplemental high school biology textbook. I consider this book a serious challenge to the integrity of public science education in Alabama because it falsely promotes "Intelligent Design" as a scientific concept. The Alabama Textbook Committee, which advises the Board of Education, reviewed Pandas and refused to consider it by a vote of 17-5.

Texas Textbook Adoptions: Whither (Wither) Evolution?

Texas is the largest single purchaser of textbooks in the nation, thus what Texas wants in its textbooks strongly influences what other states get. In past years, evolution was systematically deleted or downplayed in textbooks because Texas required textbooks to print a disclaimer that any textbook dealing with evolution.