I just got a notice from Michael Zimmerman of The Clergy Letter Project that the Project has developed a new Web page, Teach Them Science. The Web page was developed in conjunction with the Center for Inquiry Austin, and was released now “because the Texas State Board of Education is poised to vote on new science standards for the State of Texas.” Professor Zimmerman adds that the Web page contains “an enormous amount of information about the evolution/creation controversy on it.”
Professor Zimmerman continues,
Although a committee of teachers and scientists has written a K-12 curriculum of which all of us could be proud, the State Board of Education’s composition is such that just about half of the members hold a worldview incompatible with modern science. Our new web page explains the situation and provides ways for people to get involved. Something to keep in mind is that textbook publishers are well aware of what the State of Texas requires. Because of the huge Texas market, changes to the Texas curriculum are likely to have an effect throughout the country. In short, an anti-science vote in Texas may affect science teaching in local communities throughout the United States. Read more about the situation, and how you can get involved, on our Teach them Science (www.teachthemscience.org) web page and in a news report at the National Center for Science Education’s web page (www.ncseweb.org).
I checked the home page and found links like these:
The new standards last for ten years. The SBOE votes on the new standards during their January 21-23, 2009 meeting, and barring a reverse vote in March, the new standards will apply for ten years.
Evolution is science, not politics. Anti-evolutionists argue against evolution using rhetoric, but it takes new evidence to change science. They are teaching students that science works like politics. Evolution is one of the most strongly confirmed theories in science.
God and evolution get along just fine. Many people of faith accept evolution, including both clergy and scientists.
A problem bigger than Texas. Texas is so big that publishers will change their textbooks to meet Texas standards. Many states use these textbooks. A problem in Texas will spread around the country.
Science is our children’s future. If we teach students that science works in ways that it does not, we risk their future in science. We also risk our country’s future in science.
I followed a few of the links (not shown explicitly here) and found them to be full of useful information, such as a clear explanation of why evolution is not “just” a theory.
The home page also displays a small box, “Evolution in Action,” which today posed the question, “I just had a flu shot last year - why do I need one now?” If you don’t know the answer, just go to their Web page and click on “ANSWER.” If you got that one right, click back through a few previous questions and find out why pregnant women get morning sickness or why there is no vaccine for AIDS.
Finally, and arguably I could have highlighted this earlier, Teach Them Science is a welcome collaboration between the secular Center for Inquiry, which some might deem atheistic, and The Clergy Project, which is composed of moderate theists and supports Evolution Weekend, February 13-15, 2009. Such a collaboration is a welcome development; as Frederick Crews noted in his book Follies of the Wise, “… the anticreationist cause in the US would be doomed without the help of Christians who are favorably inclined toward the teaching of evolution.” It is thus a blessing that the Center for Inquiry and The Clergy Project have put aside their differences, which may at times be considerable, and agreed to collaborate on this important Web site.