Friday, January 30, 2009

Teach Them Science

A new website called Teach Them Science was mentioned in stories about the recent defeat in Texas of anti-evolution statements some school officials wanted to insert into the state's textbooks. This threat is bigger than just Texas, because textbook publishers cater to the Texas market -- which buys in bulk for the entire state. Here is what the National Center for Science Education says about the new website:
As the Texas state board of education prepares to vote on a revised set of state science standards, two organizations — one secular, one religious — have joined forces to produce a new website, Teach Them Science, in order to advocate for a twenty-first-century science education for the students in Texas's public schools. Sponsored by the Center for Inquiry Austin and the Clergy Letter Project, the Teach Them Science website is intended to empower parents, educators, and concerned citizens to rally in support of the new standards, which treat evolution as the central and unifying principle of the biological sciences that it is.
The National Center for Science Education's own site has some interesting information about the why the controversy is important:
  • The new standards last for ten years. The SBOE voted on the new standards during their January 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.
  • 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.
About that site:
The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) is a not-for-profit, membership organization providing information and resources for schools, parents and concerned citizens working to keep evolution in public school science education. We educate the press and public about the scientific, educational, and legal aspects of the creation and evolution controversy, and supply needed information and advice to defend good science education at local, state, and national levels. Our 4000 members are scientists, teachers, clergy, and citizens with diverse religious affiliations.

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