Back in 2008, Louisiana passed a law that was very controversial in the minds of some, which states the following…
C. A teacher shall teach the material presented in the standard textbook supplied by the school system and thereafter may use supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner, as permitted by the city, parish, or other local public school board unless otherwise prohibited by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
D. This Section shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or non-religion.
The battle then turned to Texas science standards. The focus was on the strengths-and-weaknesses requirement for evolution and other theories. Lobbist Eugenie Scott and others lead the charge to remove the clause. They were successful! The language was removed but with something way better than anyone expected and to the horror of Scott! The new clause states as follows…
“in all fields of science, analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations so as to encourage critical thinking by the student.”
“Analyze and evaluate the evidence regarding formation of simple organic molecules and their organization into long complex molecules having information such as the DNA molecule for self-replicating life…analyze and evaluate scientific explanations concerning the complexity of the cell.”
This was one of the most important victories on how science should be taught in the public schools and a major blow to the opposition. Why would the likes of lobbist Eugenie Scott and the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology who voted to not hold their convention in Louisiana as a result of the bill being passed, would be so against it? Why would there be opposition for the likes of Don McLeroy who was chairmen on the state board of education in Texas? Why were there attempts to kill his nomination?
“Shapleigh said there is a perception that McLeroy is using the chairmanship of the State Board of Education as a bully pulpit for promoting his religious point-of-view and pushing it into the public arena.
The nomination was eventually voted upon, and Don McLeroy was not confirmed as chairmen. So why the fuss? Obviously part had to do with critical thinking and the other part had to do with a creationist pushing for its teaching to students rather than an evolutionist. But doesn’t critically analyze mean to criticize and if one criticizes evolution in light of this three-year law, does this mean public schools like in Louisiana and Texas now teaches the overturning of evolution’s status as a ‘theory’ by consensus? No! So why then was there and still continues to be so much opposition that even lead to the removal of a well qualified chairmen?
Eugenie Scott tries to give her own rational on why students at the public schools cannot be taught critical thinking when it comes to evolution…This was posted in youtube on July 7, 2011…
In the video at 46:29, she says…“Okay, what else can you not do? I have a little asterisk here. You cannot teach evidence against evolution. There have been some court decisions that have talked about this including Kitzmiller, but there has not been a really clean test of this idea of teaching evidence against evolution…”
Later on in the video she clarifies why you can’t teach evidence against evolution, “There is no evidence against evolution…Nothing out there is running a big neon light saying, ‘Whoa! Evolution fails here! We have to toss it out!’ But “critical thinking” which has been passed has nothing to do with that statement. And it can’t be replaced by creationism because it’s outlawed in the public schools!
So the only thing she can get paid for in this battle is being afraid on what students believe in evolution if they are taught to be more critical about it and find out it’s not as solid as they try to make you believe. But like one scientist told me in here, scientists are always critical of “theories” and finds no logical reason why students can’t be either. The fact of the matter is, Christians are way more tolerate of other people’s beliefs than what is demonstrated with the creationism vs evolution debate.
The fact of the matter is, it took a creationist to get the best science standards which allows students to critically analyze every theory including evolution!