Business Leaders, Clergy, Scientists Say No To Censorship

Business Leaders, Clergy, Scientists Say No To Censorship

August 20, 2003

Austin, Texas With one day left to sign up to testify on proposed Biology textbooks, a group of citizens launched a campaign they say protects the best interests of science, religion and business.

The proposed textbooks have drawn fire nationally from an organized group that wants their creationist perspective included in the books. But today, a group of citizens announced the launch of Stand Up for Science, a grassroots campaign encouraging people to speak out against the push to undermine the study of evolution.

Over 50 Texans gathered at the William B. Travis Building, home of the Texas Education Agency, to show support for keeping good science in Biology textbooks.

“Our economy is increasingly driven by science and technology, and to undermine the study of science threatens our children’s ability to compete for jobs and our state’s ability to compete for business,” said David Vom Lehn, a network systems engineer and former technical recruiter.

“Individual religious beliefs about the origin of life are sacred and illuminating, and they should be studied in homes and religious congregations, just as evolution is studied in science classrooms and laboratories,” said Rev. Dr. Larry Bethune, Chairman of the Texas Freedom Network. “The question for the State Board of Education is not religion or science, but which should be taught in science classrooms.”

Dr. Bethune added, “As a Texan, a pastor and a father of two high school boys, I want the strongest possible science curriculum and textbooks available to them.”

“There is no debate about evolution in college textbooks, where scientists select the best books for use,” said Dr. David Hillis, Alfred W. Roark Centennial Professor of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas. “The debate is at the level of secondary school textbooks, precisely because that is where non-scientists can exert influence. These objections to the textbooks are not about science or facts; they are about pushing a political and religious agenda.”

“Our kids are already falling behind the rest of the nation in science education,” said Amanda Walker, a Texas certified high school Biology teacher. “To water-down our textbooks is irresponsible and reckless.”

The second and final public hearing at the State Board of Education is scheduled for Wednesday, September 10. The deadline to sign up to testify is Thursday, August 21.