If you’ve followed the Texas Textbook Kerfuffle (see my post here), you’ll know that the Texas School Board approved all of the high-school biology textbooks submitted to them except for one: Ken Miller and Joe Levine’s best-selling and evolution-heavy Biology, published by Pearson. That one was held up by a creationist reviewer who demanded all sorts of ludicrous changes, changes that were patiently but forcefully rebutted by the authors (see my earlier post for some examples).
Now, thank Ceiling Cat, the process is over, and Miller and Levine won. As this evening’s New York Times reports, the panel vetting this book overrode the creationist’s objection, and Miller and Levine will apparently be available in Texas without redaction:
. . . an unidentified volunteer reviewer complained to the Texas State Board of Education that it presents evolution as scientific fact rather than a theory, which conflicts with the creation story written in the Book of Genesis in the Bible.
The reviewer concluded that the text, which includes lessons on natural selection and the Earth’s cooling process, are errors that needed to be corrected by publisher Pearson Education, one of the nation’s largest producers of school textbooks and a unit of Pearson Plc.
The opinion caused the board to delay approval of the textbook and appoint a three-member panel of science experts to analyze the book’s lessons and report any factual mistakes.
“The professors didn’t recommend any changes so the book is now approved,” Texas Education Agency spokeswoman Debbie Ratcliffe said in an email. “Schools can purchase it this spring for use in the fall.”
Until the expert panel ruled, Pearson was not able to market its book as approved by the board to school districts in Texas.
The state’s more than 1,000 public school districts are permitted to order their own books and materials, but most follow the state-approved list.
Well, at least that battle appears to be won. The ID crowd will be fuming over at the Discovery Institute (after all, 6 of the 11 textbook reviewers were evolution denialists). Just this year they’ve lost at Ball State, they’ve lost at Amarillo College in Texas, and now they’ve lost big time in Texas, with not a single creationist criticism enforced on the book publishers.
When Walter Cronkite reported, after visiting Vietnam in 1968, that the war was unwinnable, Lyndon Johnson supposedly said, “If we’ve lost Cronkite, we’ve lost Middle America.” Well, if the IDers have lost Texas, they’ve lost all of America.
h/t: Greg Mayer