Breaking News: Texas Review Panel Rejects Creationist Objections to Pearson Biology Textbook

This year’s sweeping win for science education in Texas now appears to be complete.

Multiple sources tell us that a special expert panel has given unanimous approval to the Pearson biology textbook whose adoption by the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) last month had been tripped up by allegations that it contained “factual errors.”

A creationist on the panel that reviewed the Pearson textbook last summer had claimed that there were nearly two dozen “factual errors” in the product. Pearson and the textbook’s authors flatly rejected those claims in a detailed rebuttal and refused to make changes. Pearson’s textbook is widely used throughout the nation’s high schools.

At its November meeting, the SBOE voted to adopt all of the high school biology textbooks proposed for Texas public schools, including the Pearson product. However, SBOE members made the Pearson textbook adoption contingent on a final review of the alleged “errors” by a panel of experts.

SBOE member Sue Melton, R-Waco, appointed University of Texas biologist Arturo De Lozanne and SBOE member Martha Dominguez, D-El Paso, chose SMU anthropologist Ron Wetherington to serve on the expert review panel. SBOE Chairwoman Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, appointed Vincent Cassone, chair of the University of Kentucky Biology Department.

A Texas Education Agency (TEA) spokesperson told us that it has forwarded the panel’s report to Pearson. TEA won’t release the report publicly until Pearson has had a chance to review it, but our sources said all three panelists dismissed the claims of factual errors and recommended no changes to the textbook.

The panel’s approval of the Pearson textbook essentially marks the end of efforts by anti-evolution activists to hijack this year’s science textbook adoption. Throughout the process, they and their board allies — including Cargill — tried to pressure publishers into watering down and distorting the science on evolution and climate change. They failed completely when publishers resisted their pressure while TFN, the National Center for Science Education and other science education advocates rallied support for the textbooks.

We will post the official Pearson review panel report once TEA makes it available.

25 thoughts on “Breaking News: Texas Review Panel Rejects Creationist Objections to Pearson Biology Textbook

  1. I have to assume that the creationists fielded their best and brightest in developing the list of “errors”, which inevitably invites the conclusion that they are not just ignorant, but also not terribly bright.

    1. They start from the position of “The Bible says…” (which they do) and believe that the Bible is inerrant with regard to all matters and subjects, then whatever science may say in disagreement MUST be wrong.

      The thing they fail to consider is the possibility that they: (1) misunderstand what the Bible is saying, (2) misunderstand what the Bible is doing, and (3) misunderstand the literary nature and purpose of the Bible verses they are reading. In doing so, they they not only make the mistake that the Bible is inerrant in certain factual ways, but they far worse make the mistake of believing that they (personally and individually) are inerrant with regard to the way they choose (and it is a choice) to read and consider the Biblical text. In the end…where they always end up—is:

      “Well, WE BELIEVE…

      The problem is that several billions of people on planet Earth believe all sorts of things, including that the Earth is flat as a desktop and men have never set foot on the moon. The problem with beliefs is that they are your personal opinion. That is why they are called “beliefs” rather than “facts.” Oh, and people may believe them sincerely. They may believe them with such heartfelt intensity that they feel close to knowing in their own minds that whatever they believe must somehow surely be true.

      However, no amount of sincerity or intensity changes the baseline fact that their beliefs are just YOUR OPINION and nothing more.

      This is why United Methodists like me and a very large number of other Christians in numerous denominations (including our Catholic brothers and sisters) do not give a FLYING INTERCOURSE what Don McLeroy, Donna Cargill, or Cynthia Dunbar believe about evolution when their is a HIMALAYAN MOUNTAIN CHAIN of scientific evidence saying that:

      1) Their view of evolution is just plain wrong.

      2) Their interpretation of the salient Bible verses is just plain wrong.

      Of course, they would say that the Holy Spirit “gives them special reading eyes” that make it impossible for them to misread and misunderstand any Biblical scripture and that God wrote the scriptures very simply to ensure that any dumbass reclined under his fig tree can understand them with minimal effort.

      They forget that the scriptures were originally given for designated temple priests and high officials to read and interpret for the people—not the common man by himself under his own fig tree. The widespread availability of scripture to the common man in our day and time is an extremely recent occurrence in the history of mankind—and so is the notion that any dumbass can sit under his own fig true, take up his Bible, and be his own interpretive priest.

      1. Well said Charles!
        When I was very young – and very Christian, I went to a talk by Richard Dawkins. He showed the now classic computer evolution simulation. 9 boxes. 8 different variations (mutations)of the centre box (the current ‘being’), he then chose one of the 8 mutations (he represented the random process of natural selection) which then became the centre and was surrounded with variations of it. With this he was able to quickly build shaped ‘beings’ that were like bats, mice etc. At the time, I thought, ‘hey, he is choosing the choices himself so why can’t God do the same thing?’ From that point onwards, I have been actively looking at Biblical text and seeing if there is a Historical / Scientific fact about them, and also any Scientific fact, and seeing if the Bible mentions something similar. I don’t support ‘Creationists’. The Bible / God teaches us to think for ourselves. If we Christians can’t find a scientific link with a plausible God-link to something, like I did with Mr Dawkins, then we should shut up until we are given the answers by God instead of making stuff up.

      2. Oh Charles, you are so wrong in so many ways. you have put your beliefs and your wisdom in your love of mankinds knowledge. can you not admit or realize there are things that occur that science has no explanation for? Do not dismiss the the thoughts of others on the basis that they are fools without examining the evidence

        1. Jason: the only knowledge we have is mankind’s knowledge. The great triumph of science and rational thinking is to rise above superstition and find ways of building genuine knowledge, rather than that which is merely passed down by those who are grown old in ignorance.

  2. So much for actual science being taught……the first 5 of the 6 types of evolution don’t hold up scientifically…but THAT shouldn’t matter!….we’ll teach it ANYWAY!

    As a real scientist, if I have a theory that doesn’t hold up to the 4 tennents that define what is or is not scientific, I THROW THE BAD THEORY OUT and make a new theory.

    EVOLUTION IS A RELIGION it is not scientific by any means, but it does meet all 4 tennents of a RELIGION.


    1. High Factual Scientist.

      It looks to me as if you are just as smart at English as you are at science. The spelling is “tenent.” Mine below (e.g., their vs there) were simple typographical errors. Your “tennent” is just plain being unable to spell, which makes me doubtful that you are a scientist because most scientists I know are pretty good spellers, and very few of them have any problems with evolution, including the ones who are Christians.

    2. Odd ‘nym you picked for yourself, FS.

      What six “types of evolution” are there? The ones that Kent Hovind talks about, perhaps? Or are thse your own?

      List them, and lets discuss. And I think you mean “tenet.”

    3. Claims to be a scientist wrote:

      “As a real scientist, if I have a theory that doesn’t hold up to the 4 tennents that define what is or is not scientific, I THROW THE BAD THEORY OUT and make a new theory.”

      (I love the all caps!) No real scientist would ever say something this ridiculous.

      Clue to the clueless: a scientific theory is not a hunch.

    4. Thank you, you’ve done all the work making yourself look stupid yourself saving so much time. Have a great day!

    1. Keep your creationist nonsense of of Texas Science classes, more like. RE classes are fine – not science.

      By the way, evolution is not a religion – it is, however, one of the best and well-documented science facts known to Man!

      Your religious dogma is poisonous!