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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

Evolution and creationism battle it out again in Texas and Louisiana

The Texas Board of Education thought it had delivered a knock-out blow earlier this week to the creationists who burden its schools. The Board had managed to get rid of the duty of science teachers to discuss the “strengths and weaknesses” of all scientific theories – a euphemism that permitted the discussion of “intelligent design” or creationism.

But as the Darwinists rejoiced, they had the smile wiped off their faces by the fundamentalists on the Board who then managed to substitute an alternative proposition calling for students to assess the arguments “for and against” elements of evolution to determine its “sufficiency or insufficiency”.

The amendment, which in effect, permits arguments against common ancestry in the curriculum “could provide a small foothold for teaching creationist ideas and dumbing-down biology instruction in Texas,” says Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, a non-profit organisation that campaigned against the “strengths and weaknesses” requirement.

But Barbara Cargill, who supported the proposal to cover arguments against common descent said: “This isn’t about religion. It’s about science. We want to stick to the science.” The final decision on the curriculum will be taken in March.

Meanwhile, in Louisiana, the law has been amended to permit teachers to introduce and promote creationism in schools.


30 Jan 09



Published Fri, 30 Jan 2009