Clever Creationists

CLEVER CREATIONISTS….Via Matt Yglesias, I learn that the infamous Texas schoolboard has once again prevailed on a textbook publisher to make a change to a high school biology textbook that favors the teaching of creationism. According to Brian Leiter, the source of Matt’s post, the change was made to one of the chapter review topics in Johnson and Raven’s Biology. Here’s the before and after:

Original Topic

Revised Topic

20. Finding and Communicating Information. Use the media center or Internet resources to learn about the condition on Earth that scientist think existed before life formed. Identify which compounds Miller and Urey formed in their experiment…

20. Finding and Communicating Information. Use the media center or Internet resources to study hypotheses for the origin of life that are alternatives to the hypotheses proposed by Oparin and Lerman. Analyze, review, and critique either Oparin?s or Lerman?s hypothesis as presented in your textbook along with one alternative hypothesis that you discover in your research.

At first glance, this doesn’t sound so bad. Oparin and Lerman have hypotheses about the chemical origin of life, but this is still a considerable scientific mystery and surely there are others, too. Right?

Indeed there are, but the point of this wording change is painfully obvious: to open up the discussion to alternatives that include creationism and its bastard cousin, Intelligent Design. It’s cleverly worded, but the intention is plain.

If you live in Texas, call Holt, Rinehart and Winston, the publishers of the textbook, and demand that this change be removed. Here’s the person to contact:

Michael Brawley
email: mbrawley@hrw.com
Phone: 800-242-5479 extension 1175

Do it today.

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