The Origin of Sub-Species

The War on Science has moved to Texas where the State Board of Education has been engaging in some educational brinksmanship: Texas Bills Take Aim at Education Board

Texas state legislators are considering reining in the Board of Education amid frustration with the board's politically charged debate over how to teach evolution.

The board last month approved a science curriculum that opens the door for teachers and textbooks to introduce creationist objections to evolution's explanation of the origin and progression of life forms. Other parts of the curriculum were
carefully worded to raise doubts about global warming and the big-bang theory of how the universe began.

While the science standards have drawn the most attention, the 15-member elected board has been embroiled in other controversies as well. Last year, it rejected a reading curriculum that teachers had spent nearly three years drafting. In its place, the board approved a document that a few members hastily assembled just hours before the vote.

Some lawmakers -- mostly Democrats -- say they have had enough.

I probably shouldn't say anything about this, since this sounds like some sort of in-house bureaucratic meltdown that only Texans could care about.However, "Evolution/Creationism" has reared its head, so that should ratchet the hystero-meter up a notch.

In all honesty, I think these arguments over the teaching of intelligent design/creationism are a complete waste of time and an embarrassment for conservatives and the GOP. That's not to say the science on evolution is "settled." The science is never settled. However, the supporting evidence for evolution is pretty close to overwhelming. Trying to prove that the earth is 6000 years old and the like is almost too farcical to take seriously, but religious conservatives serving on ed boards seem to feel compelled to keep bringing this up.

Why this is so is beyond me. I know a lot of conservatives and Republicans, and I have never met someone so gung-ho for creationism that they considered it a make-or-break issue. Most objections to evolution are along the lines of "Hey, they used to think the sun revolved around the earth," which should be the sort of critical thinking that would be basic to any claim that the "science is settled." If the Texas School Board is creating such standards for global warming or the Big Bang, that's fine with me. Global Warming is a political cause, not science, while the Big Bang is of such recent vintage that it should be subject to question, no matter how elegant the theory might be. But, trying to introduce creationism as a literal alternative to evolution is the work of crackpots.

Certainly, if you have been keeping up with the studies of the human genome (see Nicholas Ward's "Before the Dawn" for a good summary), you would know that genetics is teaching us a lot about human development - including substantial evidence of a literal Adam and Eve - that would be appealing to religious people. That, however, would require creationism's proponents to actually keep up with developments in the field, rather than try to re-fight the Darwin Wars of the 19th century. These fights over creationism are just as useless and just as embarrassing as the Left's attempts to ban the ROTC from high school. I would be happy if we could all agree to drop it and simply teach creationism where it belongs - at church and at home.

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