The ideologues at the anti-evolution Discovery Institute put a lot of time and resources into pushing an agenda that would undermine the education of children across the country. Then they portray themselves and like-minded activists as somehow persecuted for doing so. They’re really shameless. Case in point: check out the editorial cartoon and quote from the Renaissance Era scientist and philosopher Galileo the Seattle-based organization tweeted on Friday:

The Discovery Institute, which promotes “intelligent design”/creationism as an alternative to evolution, and other creationists insist that the overwhelming evidence supporting evolution is flawed. In fact, they argue, the evidence will one day show they’re right — if only scientists will stop persecuting them for trying to find that evidence. We heard those arguments repeatedly during the debate over new science curriculum standards and textbooks in Texas. So the Institute’s use of the out-of-context quote from Galileo is hardly a surprise. That kind of “argument” is really all they’ve got.

But the portrayal of Galileo being criticized — like, supposedly, supporters of creationism today — neglects to tell the whole story. (Imagine that.) Galileo was indeed persecuted, especially for his insistence that Earth revolves around the sun instead of… Read More

We told you Monday that a religious-right group’s voter guide reveals that several Republican candidates in Texas State Board of Education elections this year think government shouldn’t be responsible for making sure all children get an education. The same candidates also support shifting tax dollars from public to private schools. So it might not be surprising to hear that their hostility to public education is matched by their disdain for science and separation of church and state.

According to answers in the voter guide, District 7 incumbent David Bradley, R-Beaumont Buna, and Fort Worth challengers Eric Mahroum and Lady Theresa Thombs in the District 11 Republican primary all support teaching “intelligent design”/creationism in public schools. They also want biology textbooks to teach creationist arguments about so-called “weaknesses” of evolution. District 11 incumbent Pat Hardy, R-Fort Worth, indicated that she opposes teaching both “intelligent design” and those discredited “weaknesses” arguments.

All of those candidates, including Hardy, say the Ten Commandments should be displayed in public school buildings, that marriage is a union of one man and one woman and that “no government has the authority to alter this definition.”) They also “strongly agree” that “the more people live by… Read More

We now have Pearson Education’s response to claims that the publisher’s high school biology textbook for Texas public schools contains factual “errors” in its discussion of the genetic similarities between humans and chimpanzees. In a detailed response, the company essentially says (politely) that the anti-evolution activist who has made the claims simply doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about.

Neal Frey, who runs an East Texas-based censorship outfit called Educational Research Analysts and rejects the overwhelming scientific evidence supporting evolution, filed his formal complaint against the Pearson textbook with the Texas Education Agency last month. Frey claims that textbook statements pointing out that chimpanzees are humans’ closest living relatives “falsify known facts.” And he demands that state officials require Pearson to “correct” the alleged errors or fine the publisher if it refuses to make the changes.

In its response, Pearson points out that Frey has mischaracterized the technical papers he points to as evidence for his claims. “(N)one of the five technical monographs provides any evidence disputing the conclusion that chimpanzees are humans’ closest living relatives,” Pearson writes, before taking readers through each of those paper’s research and conclusions. The… Read More

Have they finally stopped pretending otherwise? Leaders in the “intelligent design”/creationism movement are promoting a Texas conference next month that explicitly ties “intelligent design” to “essential Christian doctrines.”

Supporters of “intelligent design” — or ID, the deceptive, pseudo-scientific “alternative” to evolutionary science — have long insisted that they aren’t promoting a religious concept like straight-up creationism. The “designer” responsible for life as we see it today, they say, isn’t necessarily God. Of course, their arguments have fooled no one: ID is creationism dressed up in a lab coat. That’s why a Republican-appointed federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled in the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover decision that “intelligent design” isn’t science and that teaching it in public school science classrooms is government promotion of religion.

So it was interesting to see how ID proponents are pitching a March 14-15 conference at Faith Bible Church in The Woodlands north of Houston. From the event’s webpage, see how proponents equate “essential Christian doctrines” with “design in nature” (intelligent design):

“Are science and Christian faith friends or enemies? Do advances in cosmology, biochemistry, paleontology, and genetics undermine essential Christian doctrines, or is there in fact compelling… Read More

Each of the four candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Texas lieutenant governor raced as far to the extreme right as they could during their debate Monday night. Each one, for example, expressed support for banning abortion even in cases of rape or incest. Each one insisted that government should intrude into the end-of-life decisions families make for their loved ones who are brain dead. And each one insisted that public schools be put in the position of deciding whose religious beliefs about creation should be taught in their classrooms.

On the issue of creationism, disregard for now the fact that the four candidates were supporting something that would get the state’s cash-strapped public schools sued for violating the U.S. Constitution. The candidates would also create an impossibly difficult dilemma for public schools. Should those schools teach students that Earth is 6,000-years-old and that humans walked the land with dinosaurs? Should they teach competing religious beliefs about creation? Or should they simply leave, as they do now, religious instruction to families and congregations while focusing instead on teaching students established, mainstream science that prepares them to succeed in college and the jobs of the 21st century?

Just as appalling was… Read More

The New York Times

In the past year, at least 5 states and numerous cities have joined a long list of places to officially recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Here are some localities that will be formally honoring it for the first time – and what it took to get there. nyti.ms/32i8jfq