More than 800 Texas scientists, including hundreds of university and college professors, have signed a statement endorsing evolution as “an easily observable phenomenon that has been documented beyond any reasonable doubt” and opposing what they see as an effort to water down how it is taught in the state’s public schools, reports the Associated Press.
The statement, drafted by members of the newly formed 21st Century Science Coalition, comes as the Texas State Board of Education works on revising the state’s curriculum standards for science. The scientists support a proposed change in the standards for biology courses that would eliminate the long-held language of teaching students the “strengths and weaknesses” of theories. Talking of the “weaknesses” of evolution, they say, allows for the introduction of supernatural explanations into science courses.
But some members of the Board of Education — including its chairman, Don McLeroy — want to preserve that language. Dr. McLeroy, a dentist, told the Associated Press that “students need to understand what science is and what its limitations are,” adding: “I look at evolution as still a hypothesis with weaknesses.”
The 21st Century Science Coalition draws together Texas scientists who seek to ensure that science education “reflects the most current scientific knowledge and is based on established scientific data,” according to the group’s Web site. —Caitlin Moran