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Battle Over Teaching 'Weaknesses' of Evolution Moves to Texas

June 6, 2008|10:07 am

Darwinists in Texas are seeking to remove a science standard that requires schools to teach both the "strengths and weaknesses" of evolution.

Under current standards for the state's science curriculum, students are expected to "analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations, including hypotheses and theories, as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information."

But when the Texas Board of Education look to update state science standards this summer, some committee members will ask the board to remove the "strengths and weaknesses" phrase, according to The New York Times.

Among those requesting the board to drop the phrase is Kevin Fisher, a committee member who told the NY Times that questions left unanswered by evolution shouldn't be regarded as its weaknesses.

Other critics include Texas Freedom Network, a group that has opposed state proposals for Bible classes and Bible textbooks in the past.

Several board members appear to favor the current standard, saying it maintains a balanced debate on evolution.

"Evolution is not fact. Evolution is a theory and, as such, cannot be proven," Board Vice Chairman David Bradley told The Houston Chronicle. "Students need to be able to jump to their own conclusions."

Bradley also dismissed concerns by critics over the board's intention to sneak religion into the classroom.

"The only thing that this board is going to do is ask for accuracy."

Barbara Cargill, the vice chair of the board's Committee on Instruction, said giving students the freedom to discuss both sides of evolution will ensure them a "well-rounded education."

"It prompts them to be critical thinkers, and it also helps them to respect the opinions of other students even if they disagree," she told The Houston Chronicle.

Meanwhile, Discovery Institute, an intelligent design think tank, has rejected allegations that the group is using the "strength and weaknesses" rhetoric as a new strategy in pushing intelligent design in schools following the 2005 Dover case – when intelligent design was barred from being taught in Pennsylvania's Middle District public school science classrooms.

On the organization's blog site, staff member Robert Crowther points out that the "strengths and weaknesses" language was adopted by the Texas Board of Education over a decade ago, long before the Dover case, and that debate over it has been going on across the nation since then. In 2003, the Texas Board of Education was asked to enforce its previously adopted "strengths and weaknesses" language in biology textbooks but has yet to fully comply, according to Crowther.

Source URL : http://www.christianpost.com/news/battle-over-teaching-weaknesses-of-evolution-moves-to-texas-32701/