The Texas State Board of Education did more than open the door to creationist attacks on evolution when passing new science curriculum standards today. It also watered down a section on global warming in the standards for the environmental systems high school course.
The environmental systems curriculum standards drafted by a writing team in December had included the following standard:
(9)(G) discuss the positive and negative influence of commonly held ethical beliefs on scientific practices such as methods used to increase food production or the existence of global warming
The measure was changed to read: “analyze how ethical beliefs can be used to influence scientific practices such as methods of increasing food production.” Then the board added the following standard: “Analyze and evaluate different views on the existence of global warming.” As with evolution, there is consensus in the mainstream science community on the existence of global warming. The debate revolves around the mechanisms causing it.
The Environmental Defense Fund sent out the following press release:
Indicating doubt about the existence of global warming, today’s final vote on textbook language by the Texas State Board of Education flouts leading scientific consensus as well as the board’s own scientific advisors.
Surprising environmentalists, the board’s last-minute decision Wednesday changed the language in a school textbook chapter on Environmental Systems to include the phrase “analyze and evaluate different views on the existence of global warming.”
Dr. Ramon Alvarez, senior scientist with Environmental Defense Fund, said that to deny the existence of global warming is not only an affront to the board’s own advisors, but also to established science, citing agreement by the National Academy of Sciences, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and even one of the state’s premier academic institutions, Texas A&M University. “In a last-minute assault on science and sensibility, the board appears to be supporting its own ideological views rather than those of proven science,” Alvarez said. “Experts around the country, including the tenured faculty of Texas A&M’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences, agree that our climate is warming and that humans are responsible.”
The new textbook language also positions Texas children behind regions already addressing global warming. “The tragedy of this ruling is that it places Texas children at a competitive disadvantage in science education, thus failing them as they prepare to compete in the global marketplace,” said Jim Marston, regional director of Environmental Defense Fund.
From an alert sent out by the Texas League of Conservation Voters:
While the rest of the country and the world are rolling up their sleeves to address the causes and demonstrable impacts of global warming, Texas has chosen to bury its head in the sand and place its children behind a veil of ignorance. We can and should demand better.