There we were, almost at the end of last night's Republican presidential debate, ready to declare that Texas had gotten off embarrassment-free. Then the moderator had to ruin it all by asking Gov. Rick Perry a question about science. Asked about climate change, Gov. Perry repeated his claim that the idea of man-made global warming is increasingly in dispute in scientific circles (not really), and .... "Galileo got outvoted for a spell." Here's the video: [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKxCMyjb2G8&w=400&h=255] Buried somewhere beneath this flat, 6,000-year-old Earth of ours, Galileo spun in his grave. Read More

The culture wars will feature prominently in Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. The Texas Freedom Network has put together a primer on Gov. Perry’s record in the culture wars at www.tfn.org/rickperry. Here, for example, is what the governor says about teaching “intelligent design”/creationism in public school science classes. From a letter to a Texas constituent:

“Recognizing that evolution is a theory, and not claimed by anyone to be more than that, the governor believes it would be a disservice to our children to teach them only one theory on the origin of our existence without recognizing other scientific theories worth consideration. Intelligent design is a concept that is gaining greater traction because it points to a notion that most people believe to be true: that we were created by an intelligent being who designed the human race with great detail and complexity….”

From a newspaper interview:

“I am a firm believer in intelligent design as a matter of faith and intellect, and I believe it should be presented in schools alongside the theories of evolution.”

The governor has also appointed — in 2007, 2009 and this year — three creationists in a row to chair… Read More

Update: TFN has obtained a copy of letter addressed to the state board signed by five members of the official biology review panels. The letter challenges the alleged “errors” identified in the report presented to the board late yesterday, concluding:

“Holt McDougal’s supplement, as well as the publisher’s response to the reviewers, accurately describes the current state of the science, satisfies the TEKS, and matches the other supplements already approved by the board on Thursday.”

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The Texas State Board of Education’s public hearing and debate over proposed new science instructional materials today went well — until a big bump at the end. Most of the instructional materials the education commissioner has recommended for adoption received preliminary approval from the state board. The board has scheduled a final vote tomorrow.

But toward the end of the debate this afternoon, Texas Education Agency staff revealed that a review team had identified eight objections to content in the Biology instructional materials submitted for approval by publisher Holt McDougal. Board members were told that Holt McDougal is arguing that the objections are based on bad science.

Indeed, the objections appear to be largely the work of a young-earth… Read More

4:30 – With the end of the public hearing on proposed new science instructional materials, the State Board of Education is now starting debate over whether to adopt the materials recommended by the Texas education commissioner. In past adoptions, the state board has taken a preliminary vote at the end of this initial debate. The final, formal vote on which materials to put on the official adoption list is scheduled for Friday.

We’re also live-tweeting at #sboe. For anyone who wants to watch the proceedings, the meeting is being live-streamed here. For a primer on what’s at stake today and tomorrow, you can view an archive of TFN Insider posts on the science debate by clicking here.

4:37 – The board will consider the proposed instructional materials by grade level, beginning with Grade 5. Under consideration are science materials for Grades 5-8 and materials for Biology, Physics, Chemistry, and Integrated Physics and Chemistry at the high school level.

4:41 – The board is considering a motion that would require publishers to make corrections to errors identified by the Texas Education Agency’s instructional review teams in June. This motion would apply to all materials, for Grades 5-8 and high… Read More

TFN has taken up its usual post in the board hearing room at the State Board of Education, where we are bringing you up-to-the-minute action from today's one and only hearing on proposed new science instructional materials. (We're also live-tweeting at #sboe.) For anyone who wants to watch the proceedings, the meeting is being live-streamed here. For a primer on what's at stake today and tomorrow, you can view an archive of TFN Insider posts on the science debate by clicking here. 1:00 p.m. - The SBOE is back from lunch, and the public hearing on proposed science instructional materials is about to begin. 1:10 - The board plans to limit testimony today to four hours, with each speaker permitted two minutes for his or her statement. In the past we've seen time for a speaker extended if board members have questions. 1:14 - Clare Wuellner of Austin kicks off testimony by calling on state board members to adopt instructional materials based on sound science. 1:16 - Testifier Tom Davis asks of anti-evolution board members: "Whose story of creation are you going to use?" 1:18 - Board member David Bradley, R-Beaumont Buna asks whether Davis can identify…… Read More