Texas textbook update: all books approved by school board; creationists lose big time

The Texas Freedom Network has emailed us that the last-minute delays about adopting a problematic textbook (too much evolution, I suspect) have been resolved: the Texas School Board simply adopted everything:

Despite last-minute efforts by some board members and political activists to derail the adoption of two textbooks, the State Board of Education today voted to adopt all of the proposed instructional materials up for adoption for high school biology and environmental science. Throughout the adoption process, publishers refused to make concessions that would have compromised science instruction on evolution and climate change in their textbooks, said Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller.

“It’s hard to overstate the importance of today’s vote, which is a huge win for science education and public school students in Texas,” Miller said. “Four years ago this board passed controversial curriculum standards some members hoped would force textbooks to water down instruction on evolution and climate change. But that strategy has failed because publishers refused to lie to students and parents demanded that their children get a 21st-century education based on established, mainstream science.”

The board voted to adopt all textbooks and instructional materials submitted by 14 publishers for high school biology and high school environmental science. None of those textbooks call into question the overwhelming evidence supporting evolution and climate change science.

The bad old days in Texas are over, methinks.

40 Comments

  1. Posted November 22, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    …oh boy…

  2. bpuharic
    Posted November 22, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    If they can’t win in TX, the writing is on the wall for creationists.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted November 23, 2013 at 3:20 am | Permalink

      the writing is on the wall for creationists.

      Coming soon to a pulpit near, uh, Texas : “Readin’ is the WORK of SATAN”
      No, srsly.
      Then they’ll have to introduce some arcane language so that the priests can pronounce the teachings of the Lord High BubbaBubba in words that no one but the priest can understand. So that the poor proles don’t have to worry their minds over such theological complexities while the priesthood watches over their souls. And then it’s Latin mass and “quis custodiet ipsos custoties”, or words to that general effect.
      Didn’t religion go round this loop in the opposite direction a few centuries back? Goo, so everyone knows where it’s going to this time.
      Gilead ; that’s the name that Margaret Atwood came up for that phase of American future.

      • RFW
        Posted November 23, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

        Your description matches many religions where the liturgical language is no longer a living language: RCs with Latin until recently; the Copts in Egypt; Ge’ez in Ethiopia; Sumerian in ancient Mesopotamia; maybe Sanskrit in some branches of Hinduism; and, I’m sure, others.

        [I have a funny feeling you are already well aware of this.]

    • RFW
      Posted November 23, 2013 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      This shows that the fundagelicals aren’t as powerful as they pretend to be. Every time their madness is rejected, it will encourage others to reject them too.

      A good development.

  3. Lianne Byram
    Posted November 22, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    Way to go Texas!

  4. Richard Olson
    Posted November 22, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Four years ago I followed the TTB controversy closely. At the time I was certain “teach the controversy” policy would prevail. If the fundavangelical true believers succeeded, I was prepared to consider that the devil is indeed real.

  5. Posted November 22, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    I am 100% certain that the “bad old days” are not over in Texas. Try getting to a woman’s clinic in that state as just one example. Check the gerrymandering for another.

    • Posted November 22, 2013 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      I forgot – Rick Perry and Ted Cruz.

      • Posted November 22, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        The efforts to get creationist books in Texas has been going on for years since the Gablers(?) led the efforts for many years. this was a great victory for sane science, but I agree that the creos will likely be back.

    • Kevin
      Posted November 22, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

      I concur. Texas has a long walk to reason. But gentle steps of this sort are refreshing.

    • TnkAgn
      Posted November 22, 2013 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

      Not over, by a long shot. But ebbing? Mayhaps.

  6. Acleron
    Posted November 22, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Good result, well done all who campaigned for sanity.

  7. Matt G
    Posted November 22, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    We can never let down our guard. We are motivated by reason, but they are motivated by emotion. When you are a committed creationist, you will never give up.

    • lamacher
      Posted November 22, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      Especially when, each morning and evening, on your knees, you hear JESUS whispering in your ear.

      • DiscoveredJoys
        Posted November 23, 2013 at 1:35 am | Permalink

        Especially as Jesus whispers in your ear from the inside…

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted November 22, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      Very well said.

  8. Greg Esres
    Posted November 22, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    I wish there were a way to thank these publishers…

    • Achrachno
      Posted November 22, 2013 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      Buy some of their books?

  9. Diana MacPherson
    Posted November 22, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Phew. Until next time….

  10. Stephen Barnard
    Posted November 22, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    I think the tide has turned in Texas. It could be a blue state in 2016.

    • Posted November 23, 2013 at 6:00 am | Permalink

      Maybe in the year 2525…

      • Diane G.
        Posted November 23, 2013 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

        Maybe when hell freezes over.

  11. Dermot C
    Posted November 22, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    I predict that some quasi-evolutionist Catholic theologian, on this 50th anniversary of their President’s assassination, will see redemption for the Texas School Book Depository.

    Arguments never end; they just take a different form.

    Slaínte.

    • Matt G
      Posted November 22, 2013 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      Maybe some idiot Catholic bishop will exorcise the process which gave these textbooks the green light.

  12. marksolock
    Posted November 22, 2013 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Mark Solock Blog.

  13. jeffery
    Posted November 22, 2013 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    Creationists are like those inflatable punching dolls: no matter how hard you punch them, they just won’t stay down- look for some new version of madness soon, as if there isn’t enough already.
    It’s important to remember that once a person is locked into the fundamentalist Xtian belief system, they HAVE to oppose the theory of evolution (as well as anything else that conflicts with a literal reading of the Babble). They’re not about to give up because of one, or even a hundred, court rulings; they actually think that they are saving souls from eternal torment by doing so!

    • Posted November 23, 2013 at 6:07 am | Permalink

      This is a set-back for them, but maybe not a direct set-back for their ‘teach the controversy’ strategy. That strategy has yet to fully play itself out in the courts, so it will be with us for a long time, unfortunately.
      After that, then yes, a new madness will ‘slouch toward Bethlehem to be born’.

  14. ladyatheist
    Posted November 22, 2013 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    As a former Texan, I say Yee-HAAWWWW

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted November 22, 2013 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

      As a fancy ape, I say two opposable thumbs up! :D

  15. Stacy
    Posted November 22, 2013 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    As a native Texan I find this to be refreshing. At least a few of us have chosen to continue evolving.

  16. Posted November 22, 2013 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Skeptics Academy and commented:
    Science is participative, but not democratic. A vote would not make evolution to become false, but it can make it look like false. That’s why it’s so important to keep an open and critical mind, to detect the lie and to correct it.

  17. Russell La Claire
    Posted November 22, 2013 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    For the sake of the kids in Texas I hope it really is over. But, having spent 7 years monist them I know one has to pay attention lest they crawl back out from under their rock.

  18. Posted November 23, 2013 at 3:00 am | Permalink

    S’funny how the ruling somehow changes our understanding of the Great State of Texas. It suddenly appears more contemporary, intellectual, and a place with a great future. Texans should have realised by now that the Creationist Fundies bring only scorn and contempt onto the State.

    A reoccurring question on this site is why there appear to be so many Fundamentalist dentists and doctors. All this is explained by Human Sub-Set Theory 2005 which explains that ‘Drones’, – that is the third of any society anywhere for whom all knowledge comes from authority, – are clustered in the ‘Clerical-Admin-Professional-Educational’ spectrum. Commonly known in Britain as the Lower Middle Classes. Not all Drones are religious, but ALL religious people are Drones, probably without exception.

    In the UK it is known that a disproportionate number of suicide bombers are Muslim doctors, engineers and IT Workers. Almost all of them! The two who attacked Glasgow airport were Health Service doctors. Who would have thought it? It is rarely ordinary Workers who bomb and shoot in Afghanistan, Iraq, Spain, France and elsewhere; it is the civil servants and minor professionals. I would have thought that just reading this site alone would have informed many that the fundies are so often school-teachers, lawyers, medics, engineers and so forth. Where is Kent Hovind, “Taught science at High-School”?

    Finally, it is good to remember when talking of Muslim fundies, that the Muslim Working Classes are daily humiliated by the antics of Muslim professionals. Probably in the same way that many Texan Workers are betrayed by those fundie dentists.

    • Posted November 23, 2013 at 6:10 am | Permalink

      Yikes. Then the cause for growing more fundie pundits and suicide bombers would be served by promoting upward mobility of the lower economic classes.

  19. Posted November 23, 2013 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    Jerry, unfortunately your column is not quite true. One textbook was held up by the Board, and has still not been approved. Guess which one?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/23/education/texas-education-board-flags-biology-textbook-over-evolution-concerns.html

    • Marta
      Posted November 23, 2013 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      Egad. What, is your textbook somehow radioactive since Kitzmiller?

  20. Posted November 23, 2013 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    This is good, but don’t count them out yet, we must keep working to keep myth and politics out of science.

  21. Richard Olson
    Posted November 23, 2013 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Peter Boghossian describes the “faith virus” in his most recent book, and offers strategies to counter it. The “Drones” George Rumens mentions are the personality type most susceptible to the virus, but if not vigilant it can infect anyone to one degree or another. Critical thinking is the antidote to the faith virus, which is why it is a skill vehemently opposed by conservative religious authoritarians. The following is an excerpt from the linked article that discusses the continuing threat to reality education in textbook criteria selection, in this instance history.

    The Christian right is most known for their denial of inconvenient science, but in many respects, they’re just as bad when it comes to the facts of history. After all, no matter what the topic, they know they can just make stuff up and their people will believe it. So why not do the same when it comes to political history? Here are five examples.

    1. Joe McCarthy was a good guy. A new and extremely toxic myth is beginning to percolate in on the Christian right: Insisting that Sen. Joseph McCarthy, a paranoid alcoholic who saw communist subversives in every corner, was actually an upstanding guy fighting for God and country. In 2003, Ann Coulter published a book she claims vindicates McCarthy, but its impact wasn’t felt until 2010 when the Christian right members who stack the Texas State School Board tried to get the pro-McCarthy theories into Texas school books.

    http://www.alternet.org/belief/5-christian-right-delusions-and-lies-about-history?akid=11177.156328.ZwB8mO&rd=1&src=newsletter928098&t=4&paging=off&current_page=1#bookmark

  22. Posted November 23, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Just as the diversity and complexity of animal and plant-life suggested ‘design’ to ancient clerics, so the character and occurrence of religion suggests ‘a virus’ to outside observers. But it is not so.

    My forty years abroad have allowed me many observations, but that, probably is where my self-comparison with Russel Wallace ends. After many years traveling in many countries, and sitting with religious people of all religions in their houses, temples, cathedrals and rarely mosques, in seventy countries, – the suggestion that religion spreads like a virus is unconvincing to me. It is not religion that is like a virus. It is the assumptions concerning the nature of reality that infect the minds of people, particularly adolescents, who later become religious. And that ability to internalise the false assumptions of one’s parents and peers is typical of all Drones.

    The assumptions are really a coherent collection of falsehoods. And those falsehoods are shared by about a third of any population anywhere. Chief among the falsehoods is that we live in an “Intentional Universe” and that we best find our place by identifying the structure of authority with which to find our place within it. It is their utter conviction that we are each born into an “authority-structure’ that leads many people wrongly to identify gods, a son of god, the holy prophet, relatives of the holy prophet, angels, saints and so forth as those who inhabit the structure above us.

    From those bizarre assumptions it is only a little application of logic to begin to believe that there are gods.

    Other ‘Drones’ (people who believe that all knowledge comes from authority) find other authorities; notably in The Law, Medicine, academia, administrative procedure, government, and so forth. Every academic discipline has its sacred texts and its illustrious heroes.

    One of the most disturbing characteristics of all Drones is the ease with which they abandon the ability to ‘process of experiential information’ as a source of knowledge. It simple means they abandon the ability to process and internalise observations and reasoning concerning the world around them. All the scientific arguments in the world mean nothing to them. How many times do we have to explain why there are still monkeys?!!!
    They have to abandon experiential information because it conflicts so seriously with the subconscious assumptions that make-up their world-view.

    I guess that you all have marvelled at the way certain lawyers can put up a robust defence for an alleged multiple murderer. You have all seen the O.J. Trial. It is because Lawyers, for the furtherance of their professional career, have had to abandon any ability to process experiential information; – (that the evidence suggests that their clients are often lying murderers!) Similarly religious people lack the ability to process experiential information, and indulge in ‘dissembling’, which is to mount a parody of reality, packed with lies and half-truths. It is a permanent feature of all Drones, to respect authority as the source of all knowledge, and to disrespect alternative sources of knowledge. That is human history.

    For a thousand years we have lived a convention concerning the homogeneity of humankind. And therefore it requires a lively mind to realise that human groups are diverse in their Brain Operating Systems. Yes, there are different kinds of consciousness out there.

    I think it is useless to argue with Creationists. Those fundamental assumptions upon which their sense of reality is based, do not unravel by their own accord. It is only when religious people confront the false assumptions of their brain do they have a chance of utilising observation and evidence in understanding the world around them.


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