Our friend Zack Kopplin issued the following invitation via email to TFN supporters this morning. We’re sharing it here for TFN Insider readers. And, of course, we’ll have much more on this in the weeks ahead.

Learn more about Zack

All students deserve a high-quality science education that prepares them to succeed in college and the jobs of the 21st century.

But they will not get one if the State Board of Education (SBOE) approves new textbooks that include junk science.

That’s why I’m proud to be attending the Texas Freedom Network’s Stand Up for Science rally. Can you join me at the rally at noon on September 17 in Austin? Or to speak at the textbook hearing that same day? (Date pending confirmation of textbook hearing day)

Click here to RSVP.

Keeping creationism, climate-change denial and other junk science out of public schools is personal for me. Louisiana, where I grew up, actually has a law promoting creationism. And I’ve been fighting to keep that kind of anti-science propaganda out of textbooks since I was in high school.

Now as a student at Rice University in Houston,… Read More

The battle over what students learn about evolution in their science classrooms is just one of many challenges facing supporters of sound science. Climate change remains a prominent target of anti-science extremists. Take, for example, right-wing radio blowhard Rush Limbaugh. (Please.) On Monday, his voice dripping with contempt, Limbaugh even questioned the religious faith of people who think human actions that contribute to climate change endanger what they believe is God’s creation. From his Monday radio show:

“If you believe in God, then intellectually, you cannot believe in man-made global warming. You must be either agnostic or atheistic to believe that man controls something he cannot create.”

More on the Media Matters audio clip:

What Texas students learn about climate change will almost certainly be part of the debate over new science textbooks up for adoption by the State Board of Education this year. Remember back in 2009 when Don McLeroy, then still chairman of the state board, dismissed climate change science as “a bunch of hooey”? Climate change deniers still sit on the board.

If you haven’t already, sign the pledge to #StandUp4Science and help the Texas Freedom Network… Read More

Today the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund has some good news about proposed new high school biology textbooks in Texas. A review of the new textbooks by science scholars at Texas universities shows that publishers have largely resisted — so far — efforts by political activists to include junk science that weakens coverage of evolution.

This new report from the TFN Education Fund comes after we reported that six proponents of “intelligent design”/creationism got influential positions on the State Board of Education‘s review panels for the proposed biology textbooks. And state board Chair Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, has refused to say whether she tried to get the review panels to pressure publishers into weakening textbook content on evolution.

So while it’s clear that publishers are likely under a lot of pressure to dumb down their textbooks, the versions they submitted for consideration in April treat evolution as established, mainstream science. This is very good news because creationists on the State Board of Education made revisions to curriculum standards in 2009 that they hoped would force publishers to include discredited arguments against evolution in their new textbooks. Publishers refused to do so.

The challenge now will… Read More

The audio above is almost as amusing as the clip from “The Revisionaries” in which former Texas State Board of Education Chair Don McLeroy uses a cardboard model to describe how all the animals were able to fit on Noah’s Ark. You know, this one, where at the end all the children pretty much say “NO!” when asked if dinosaurs were on the Ark, only to be contradicted by McLeroy.

The audio above is a radio ad that comes courtesy of Ken Ham. Ham, a young-Earth creationist from Australia, founded the Christian ministry Answers in Genesis and is president of the Creation Museum in Kentucky. Answers in Genesis seeks “to train others to develop a biblical worldview” and “to expose the bankruptcy of evolutionary ideas, and its bedfellow, a ‘millions of years old earth’ (and even older universe).” All of this is on full display in Ham’s ad above. Here’s the money quote:

What else does the Bible say about dinosaurs?

Um, nothing. It says nothing.

As long as we’re throwing out nonscientific ideas, let’s play along. Maybe all of the animals, including the dinosaurs, were placed on the Ark in alphabetical order. The unlucky… Read More

Was Texas State Board of Education Chair Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, trying to influence the work of the panels reviewing proposed new high school biology textbooks last week? Cargill, a creationist who has insisted that textbooks should teach “another side” when discussing evolution, met with the panels last Wednesday (July 31). We now know that those panels included at least four creationists invited to participate in the review. When a fellow state board member raised her own concerns about the independence of the panels at a meeting last Thursday, Cargill replied that she had simply been thanking the reviewers and answering their questions. She also invited anyone with concerns to contact her. So we did.

Unfortunately, Cargill’s responses to our emails weren’t particularly helpful. She simply told us that the meetings of the review panels were open to the public. That’s irrelevant in this case. Observers are required to sit so far from the panels that it’s impossible to hear discussions among the reviewers or what Cargill told them. Cargill ignored our questions about whether she was trying to influence the work of the panels.

Following is TFN President Kathy Miller’s email… Read More