Educational Research Analysts  September 2017 Newsletter 
PDFof this page  

Texas Keeps Naturalistic Weaknesses of Evolution

Texas' elected State Board of Education (SBOE) “streamlined” – i.e, abbreviated – Texas' Science textbook standards last April. Important there was to preserve mandated coverage of scientific weaknesses as well as strengths of evolution. Evolutionists claimed they purged insistence on scientific weaknesses of evolution from Texas' “streamlined” Science textbook rules. That was altogether wrong, for several obvious reasons:

FIRST, evolutionists said students lack maturity and knowledge to judge evolution's scientific weaknesses, and should therefore learn only its strengths. Texas' SBOE rejected that. Revised grade 6-12 Texas Science reg (b)(3)(A) expects students to “ana­lyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations … to encourage critical thinking.” Definitions of “critique” and “critical” together include negativity and fault-finding.

SECOND, in this revised grade 6-12 Science standard (b)(3)(A), evolutionists hailed deletion of the phrase, “examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations.” But that passage was redundant in context of the “streamlined” rule's still expecting students to “critique scientific explanations” and still calling for info to “encourage critical thinking.” No evolutionist triumph this, just no repetition.

Q: Was not dropping “examining all sides …” a blow against scientific creationism, intelligent design, and a young Earth? A: No. It changed nothing. Texas Science textbook standards have always defined “scientific weaknesses” of evolution to mean “naturalistic weaknesses.” That excludes scientific creationism, intelligent design, and a young Earth, deemed to be “religious” because they are implicitly theistic.

Texas Science textbook standards must reflect court decisions on the subject. Such case law assumes that evolution is scientific, creation is religious, and “scientific” means “naturalistic.” Thus, mandating scientific creationism (in this false view, an oxymoron), intelligent design, and a young Earth in public school Science classes would allegedly violate current First Amendment misinterpretations of “church-state separation.”

We must play that bad hand we are dealt. We can nevertheless prevail. This newsletter tells naturalistic weaknesses of evolution which do not imply scientific creationism, intelligent design, or a young Earth. Demanding them in public schools passes today's constitutional muster. Textbook reformers can fix evolution in secular Science education if they strictly and smartly follow this solely-effective strategy.

No need to mention creation to prove it. Just discredit evolution. This is no sell-out. It is being “wise as serpents (i.e., as the devil), and harmless as doves (i.e., as the Holy Spirit)” (Matt. 10:16). It does not give that which is holy unto dogs, nor cast pearls before swine (Matt. 7:6). That perfect formula, using Biblical principles, is the only proven smash in the culture war against the great naturalistic cornerstone of humanism.

THIRD, evolutionists praised removal of a rule expecting Biology students to “evaluate … evolutionary mechanisms.” In fact, this merely eliminated more reiteration. The stipulation to critique and criticize scientific explanations covers that expectation. Plus a new rule calls for evaluating evidence for the naturalistic origin of DNA. Evolutionists' face-saving “victory” strut did not mitigate their actual total defeat.

In sheer desperation, evolutionists hyped how “streamlined” Texas Biology textbook standard (b)(7)(B) substituted “abrupt appearance” for “sudden appearance” of life forms in the fossil record. Both terms mean the same. Yet good riddance to the creationist word “sudden,” that so strangely riles evolutionists. In their 1987 Edwards v. Aguillard U.S. Supreme Court brief, creationists said “complex initial appearance.”

Very significant, and most proper, is that student learning expectations in these “streamlined” Texas Science textbook standards always allude to evolution as a “scientific explanation,” never as a “scientific theory.” The difference is that in Science, “theory” means an interpretation supposedly satisfying all known data, while “explanation” boasts no such lofty status and may not bear tough scientific scrutiny.