As we have reported, the State Board of Education voted last month to adopt all of the high school biology textbooks up for adoption in Texas. The adoption of one of those textbooks, from Pearson Education, was made contingent on a final examination of factual errors made by Ide Trotter, a creationist who had served on that textbook’s official review panel. (Pearson’s textbook is a market leader.) We now hear that the expert panel assigned to review the Pearson textbook appears pretty solid — all respected scholars and supporters of evolutionary science.

The three panelists include Ron Wetherington, an evolutionary anthropologist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas; Arturo De Lozanne, an associate professor in molecular, cell and developmental biology at the University of Texas at Austin; and Vincent Cassone, chairman of the Biology Department at the University of Kentucky (and former department chair at Texas A&M).

Wetherington, who served as an official reviewer of several non-Pearson textbooks, has already analyzed and rejected Trotter’s complaints about the Pearson material. We published Wetherington’s analysis in September. De Lozanne testified during a public hearing in favor of adopting the textbooks and has called on the… Read More

Anti-evolution activists have been alarmingly influential in the state’s official review process for proposed high school biology textbooks in Texas, but truly qualified reviewers have also been part of the process. One of the best examples of the latter isĀ Ron Wetherington, an evolutionary anthropologist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Wetherington is not just a highly respected scholar and published researcher. He also is a veteran of the evolution battles at the State Board of Education (SBOE). In 2008-09, for example, he served as an expert adviser during the SBOE’s controversial revision of science curriculum standards for Texas public schools. As the award-winning documentary The Revisionaries makes clear, Wetherington helped frustrate creationists’ efforts to undermine instruction on evolution in those standards.

This year Wetherington is serving as an official reviewer for Texas textbook adoption. The textbooks assigned to him for review did not include Pearson Education’s biology textbook, one of the leading texts in the market. However, that textbook did go through the review panel that included Ide Trotter, one of the most prominent anti-evolution activists in the state. And sure enough, that panel’s review is filled with misleading and… Read More