Texas: The Science Textbook Review Panel

[Correction: the panel in question is a science curriculum review panel.]

Six people were appointed. An earlier post took up the two obvious ringers affiliated with the Discovery Institute, Stephen Meyer and Ralph Seelke. I emailed Kate Alexander, who wrote the American-Statesman post on that topic, and asked for the other names, which she provided.

David Hillis, U. Texas at Austin — clued-in scientist who has been an outspoken opponent of IDC in the past.

Gerald Skoog, Texas Tech — professor in education, and past president of the National Science Teachers Assocation, who has criticized antievolution in the past.

Ronald K. Wetherington, Southern Methodist University — professor of anthropology, one of the people who told the Discovery Institute to get lost last year when they were looking for some free exposure at SMU. The DI didn’t like his response, noting that Wetherington talked about a debate done in 1992 at SMU, and waxed satirical over that. However, IDC was debated at SMU far more recently than Wetherington had noted, and way too recently for the satirical invective from the DI to have any traction.

Charles Garner, Baylor University — professor of chemistry, signer of the DI’s “Dissent from Darwin” statement.

So, one-half of the textbook science curriculum review panel has been ceded to a batch of religious antievolution advocates, whose entire contribution to the process is expected to be terminal nit-picking over any effective presentation of the accountable scientific position, evolutionary science.

The fact that half the panel is not part of a radical fringe pseudoscience faction has already been commented upon as showing “balance” by, you guessed it, a radical fringe pseudoscience cheerleader.

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Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

4 thoughts on “Texas: The Science Textbook Review Panel

  • 2008/10/15 at 11:17 pm
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    Can we buy tickets for the meetings? I don’t want a front-row seat, though. It’ll take me ages to wash the stains out of my clothes.

  • 2008/10/16 at 9:25 am
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    This is a science curriculum review panel, not a textbook review panel, which is something new for the SBOE. The effectiveness of the panel may be reduced to tie votes, but the full 15 member SBOE will probably end up doing another end-around move like they did on the English standards earlier in the year anyway.

    The best thing that could happen at this point would be if the two contested seats held by far-right members were to be taken by their more moderate contenders. This would change the odds dramatically.

    Laura Ewing is running against David Bradley and Dr. Edra Bogle is running against Gail Lowe. Help them if you can.

  • 2008/10/17 at 2:04 pm
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    A question I asked elsewhere wasn’t really answered, so I might as well pose it here. What should the pro-science members do about this? I am almost of the mind that they should boycott the committee, not unlike what was done with the Kansas hearings, as their role seems only to provide McLeroy a fig leaf of objectivity over his pre-determined agenda. It seems pretty clear that they don’t have the numbers to stop the anti-evolutionists, so why not just let them hang themselves and sort it out in court. With Meyer on the committee, it would certainly open the Discovery Institute up to a level of legal discovery that they have avoided to date.

  • 2008/10/17 at 4:56 pm
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    I think it would be better if the three pro-science people did show up to meetings. In fact, they should insist on completely open proceedings, with at least audio recordings taken of all meetings, and insist that all email interactions between members and anyone else concerning Texas curriculum issues be permanently archived. They should require justifications for criticisms that the anti-science faction puts forward. The more stubborn they can be about getting to why those folks want to criticize what they do criticize and what, exactly, they want to see taught in the curriculum, the better that pretty-much-inevitable court experience is going to be.

    As far as discovery of Discovery goes, yeah, that should be awesome.

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