March 27, 2009 | David F. Coppedge

Big Texas Win on “Critical Thinking”

Students in Texas schools will now have more opportunities to hear the flaws in Darwinism as well as evidences for it.  After months of acrimonious debate, the Texas State Board of Education adopted science standards that require students learn to “analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations” including theories of evolution and the origin of life.
    The new language replaced the long-standing wording of teaching the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution.  Though Darwin critics were advocating to retain the old language (the website of Texans for Better Science Education is StrengthsAndWeaknesses.org), they feel the new language is even stronger.  The general critical thinking language states:

…in all fields of science, analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations so as to encourage critical thinking by the student.

As applied to evolutionary theory, this means students will have opportunity to “analyze, evaluate and critique” hypotheses of natural selection, mutations and common ancestry.  They will also be able to evaluate evolutionary explanations for the “sudden appearance, stasis, and sequential nature of groups in the fossil record,” the “complexity of the cell,” and the “formation of simple organic molecules and their organization into long complex molecules having information such as the DNA molecule for self-replicating life.”  They can also “discuss scientific hypotheses for the origin of life by abiotic chemical processes in an aqueous environment through complex geochemical cycles given the complexity of living organisms.”
    As reasonable and straightforward as this language may sound to outside observers, the evolutionists are treating the vote as a defeat for them and a victory for supporters of intelligent design.  The NCSE was just crowing over defeat of the “strengths and weaknesses” language by a tie vote (and therefore defeat) on March 26, but was angry at the final vote today, March 27.  On the other side, Evolution News and Views blog of the Discovery Institute, which has been giving the blow-by-blow account of the proceedings, calls the vote a big win, “a huge victory for those who favor teaching the scientific evidence for and against evolution.”  Undoubtedly, cheers and boos will soon be heard in the press.  Evolution News is keeping a running blog on whether the reporting in the media is accurate or not.
    What happens in Texas matters to the whole country.  Texas is the biggest textbook buyer in the United States.  Authors of biology textbooks will not wish to write one version for the Lone Star State and another for other states.  The textbooks written to incorporate the new standards, therefore, will likely become normative for the rest of the country.
    The NCSE and other pro-Darwin groups had tried to persuade the SBOE that their opponents had religious motivations.  John West of the Discovery Institute was quick to point out that the vote is a victory for fairness and balance, not the teaching of creationism or religion.  “Contrary to the claims of the evolution lobby, absolutely nothing the Board did promotes ‘creationism’ or religion in the classroom.  Groups that assert otherwise are lying, plain and simple.  Under the new standards, students will be expected to analyze and evaluate the scientific evidence for evolution, not religion.  Period.”  The chairman of the Texas State Board of Education, Don McLeroy, has written a commentary in The Statesman explaining why the new definitions will help teachers and students weigh testable evidence instead of ideology.

It is a sad measure of our cultural demise when getting a vote in favor of fairness and critical thinking requires a herculean effort against a dogmatic establishment.  Much as we celebrate with those who won, consider what a small advance this is.  The Darwinist totalitarian regime has imposed such thought control on the scientific and educational institutions they can hardly think straight.  This should have been common sense.  In what other branch of inquiry is it normal for students to have predigested conclusions poured down a funnel into their skulls?  Of all subjects, science should be the most open to critical thinking.  Not so with Darwinism.
    Less than a century ago the Darwinists were clamoring for fairness themselves.  They wanted to defend the right of a teacher to teach their views in the classroom.  Now that the shoe is on the other foot, they have redefined one-sided dogmatism to whole new levels of shame (see 12/16/2008).
    They’re like crooks who rob a radio station by begging at the door that they just want a minute to give their commercial on the air, because they want fairness and it isn’t right for the owners of the station to give just one point of view.  After enough pressure, the exasperated manager lets the Darwinists in.  They grab the manager, owner, broadcasters and toss them outside and lock the door.  Then they take over the microphones and announce that the station is under new management.  While the rightful owners are banging at the locked doors and windows, the usurpers commandeer the airwaves, teaching fairy tales about how dirt came to life and bacteria became human.  The owners spend years in court trying to get the usurpers to open the door.  The courts (in cahoots with the crooks) rule against the owners over and over, often by one-vote margins.  Finally, by a close vote, after months of wrangling, a board still doesn’t let them in, but grants them one small concession: allowing them to insist that the stories the Darwinist usurpers tell on the air can be analyzed and critiqued by the public.
    That is where this vote brings us.  It does not restore the rightful owners (i.e., the taxpayers) to their place.  It does not allow two sides to be heard.  It only means that the listeners will no longer be forced to endure propaganda taught as fact; they will have the right to think about it critically in light of empirical evidence.  In today’s mad, mad world, one can be grateful for any glimmer of sanity, no matter how slight.
    This “huge victory” is just a cloud the size of a man’s hand on the horizon (I Kings 16).  Whether it ends the drought of reason will require much more work and providence.  Lovers of fairness should take heart at the hard work and persistence of Texans for Better Science Education and the many who testified, wrote the Board and assisted in the effort in numerous small ways.
    New Scientist is all paranoid that this vote “leaves loopholes for teaching creationism.”  No it doesn’t.  It takes away the dogmatism of the Darwin Party and calls their presumptive authority to account.  They can no longer merely tell students their story is plausible.  They will have to provide evidence.  This is a good thing that everyone should welcome – parents, teachers, scientists.  The taxes in Texas should promote facts and a nexus of fair-minded people, not an axis of hacks devoted to dogmatism.  Let’s work to make last year’s movie Expelled represent the rock bottom of Darwinist intolerance, about which, from the vantage point of a new era of critical thinking, society will look back at with disgust and promise, “never again.”

The stars for right, are big and bright,
deep in the heart of Texas,
The science sky is wide and high,
deep in the heart of Texas.
The sage advice is so precise,
deep in the heart of Texas,
Reminds me of, the vote I love,
deep in the heart of Texas.

Fanatics wail, along the trail,
deep in the heart of Texas,
Reporters beat around the bush,
deep in the heart of Texas.
The righteous cry, “Ki-yip-pee-yi,”
deep in the heart of Texas,
The bigots brawl, and crawl and bawl,
deep in the heart of Texas.

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