Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Magic in Science Textbooks?

The vocal creationist minority in the Texas State Board of Education has again forced itself upon Texas schoolchildren by inviting six creationists to the final review of science textbooks submitted for adoption.  The TFN Insider published an article yesterday that provides the names and the credentials of the creationist/intelligent design proponents that they have identified at the review thus far.  Judging by the names that I recognize, it would appear that my state is headed to yet another push for rewriting science to fit the beliefs of local Christians.

Pathetic isn't a good enough word for what they're attempting to do.  Since these proponents of religious magic only know enough to understand that the scientific method is their worst enemy, they've decided instead to redefine science with politics.

Basic science is not up for philosophical or religious debate because anyone is more than welcome to try to prove these theories wrong.  If you think someone is wrong, don't argue against it - give it a go!  The Bible, on the other hand, is by its very nature a philosophical book that simply does not stand up to the extraordinary rigors of science.  You are more than welcome to believe what you want, but as far as modern science is concerned, the Bible is no different than a book on Hobbits, Elves, or Wizards.

Popularity of a particular idea also plays no role in the scientific method.  As a matter of  fact, popularity frequently leads to further study and sometimes leads to the idea being quickly and summarily debunked.  (See Cold Fusion.)

In this day and age, we should be ashamed as a species that there are those that are still trying to place inadequate answers and anecdotal nonsense into science textbooks.  You cannot simply dream-up a catchy phrase for an empty idea and expect that idea to stand next to theories that have been proven and reinforced for well over a hundred and fifty years.  And in case anyone didn't realize it: YES, as of July 31st, 2013, the Theory of Evolution has stood for 154 years (and counting).  NO, you're not the first group of religious people to try to use political manipulation/popularity instead of the scientific method to disprove Darwin.  YES, shame on you for trying again.

I frequently hear how atheists are just angry, or that we're aggressive, or that we should just keep to ourselves because religion isn't hurting anyone.  For some reason most people forget times like these, where the religious views of conservative politicians are being used to dictate what is and what is not science.  Religious leaders, and religious people for that matter, have so mastered the claim of personal persecution that they cannot recognize when they are victimizing their own populace.  Or perhaps they simply don't care.

The vast majority of the country will usually wave their hand at events like this, since they don't see the value in worrying about what's going on with Texas.  However, what these good people don't realize is that since Texas is so much larger than other states, and since Texas requires that the same books will be used for the entire state, and since science publishers will offer discounts to other states to get them to buy the science books the publisher's already paid to have printed, then the Texas State Board of Education can and often does dictate what material gets added or removed in various science books used by other smaller states.

Do you care now?

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