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Choosing words: The controversy over Texas textbooks

At a campaign stop in New Hampshire last week, Texas Governor Rick Perry was asked, by a young boy who had been prompted by his mother, how old the earth is. He said he didn’t know, and went on to discuss evolution.

Rick Perry is not the only Republican candidate expressing doubts about evolution. Others challenging the theory include Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum. But for the record, it turns out that Texas teachers are not required to teach creationism. In fact, as recently as last month, the Texas State Board rejected an effort to add intelligent design materials to the curriculum as an alternative to evolution.

The state school board has had its share of controversy. Last year we caught up with school board members as they were considering changes to the social studies textbooks. Critics at the time complained the board was distorting some events in American history. The controversy got a lot of national attention because as one of the biggest textbook buyers in the country, Texas could influence what kids in other states are taught as well.

Watch the rest of the segments from this episode.

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  • Anonymous

    Well , thank you for the report. I’m not shocked that Texas continues to turn back the clock. One only needs to look at the politicians this state produces.We can only hope that the majority don’t drink the kool aid.

  • Anonymous

    Some nondescript, evolution doubting, and utterly unqualified dentist
    from Texas is allowed to dismiss factual history and rewrite it so as to
    better suit his own small world view…and then peddle it to kids.

    I’m not a trained dentist, but I do have some “God fearing” ideas about oral surgery; I wonder if Mr McLeroy would deem me qualified enough to practice on HIM?

  • Anonymous


    Evolve, or disappear.

  • Anonymous

    The dentist can’t have it both ways: serve in a public role without being criticized–if he doesn’t want to be criticized for his views he should relegate himself to private life.

  • Robert

    As we watch the Dark Ages descend upon us, we should realize one underlying issue connecting all the dots.  The myth espaused by the US for ages that this is a free society is big lie.  You are not allowed to hear or learn anything but what the Capitalist overlords want us to know to keep the poulation in line.  If one is a dissident in the US, with independent views, they are monitored by the FBI and NSA more closely than did the Stasi ever did in E. Germany.  The Conservative agenda is to create their ideal society: i.e. a  Capitalist society like those in S .America where the population is kept uninformed and uneducated — living like animals— while a few ultra-rich live like feudal lords off the labor of the rest.

  • Brownscombe

    The imperialism/expansionism discussion that took place in this piece was not debate about education in our schools,  but a debate about indoctrination.  

    Were history being taught correctly, the student would learn methods of research  and how to differentiate between fact and opinion.   The debate over history could the take place in the classroom where it belongs.   The student would then determine whether imperialism or expansionism was the appropriate and have to explain why.  Critical thinking would then develop along with the teaching of History.

  • Marshallwright48

         The controversy over evolution and creationism has always been what physicists term as elementary, and when viewed from a distance has no worthwhile endeavor. Take into consideration the theoretical concepts of the universe and you usually end up somewhere deep in thought about energy. I believe in the existence of God. However, I certainly will not spend my time arguing with an atheist. Besides, science will never be able to prove that there is not a creator of the universe. In the 1970′s mathematics proved that it is impossible for the universe to have come into existence accidentally. Too many variables involved. Today, Darwinians use visual technology to paint a picture. You cannot prove God does not exist through evidence of man evolving from ape. If biological science were to eventually prove with empirical (manipulate) evidence that man evolved from ape, that is all it would prove. God still exists as the ultimate spiritual entity and is not tempted by man’s feeble minded objectives. I believe one goal of science is to eliminate God because, God is spiritual and not physical evidence to be seen and touched. I have no problem with this. I utilize science as a process of observations in an elementary research formulative study. I have researched Intelligent Design and have come to the conclusion that it is a science. It is all about the DNA. I believe that the title Intelligent Design is mis-leading. It should be viewed as; The Natural Complex Design of Nature. The term Intelligent to me refers more to complex structures. Intelligent Design is more compatible with religion, and Intelligent Design offers a greater use of mathematics and favorable to physics. Science is empirical observation, and God is Empirical spirituality.                                                                                          Marshall Wright

  • Christopher Graves

    There are two big problems with Darwinian evolution.  The first is that there are no transitional forms in the fossil record or in nature today.  That refutes the concept of universal descent right there.  Second, Darwinism is based on the notion that nature is random and nature lacks logical structure and inherent purpose.  The latter view is not only false but at odds with rationality and the basic presuppositions of science. 

  • Wyngs

    Look around you. Every living thing is a transistional form. Nothing remains static. There were no pine trees in the Cambrian. – Saying that nature as a random entity is false is easy to do. Prove it on the grounds of rationality. It’s not entirely random. A niche must exist before a creature can evolve into it. There is no niche for flying blue whales, for example. —-

  • Wyngs

    I do not know of a single science whose goal is to disprove God. All these loose statements do is add to the growing anti-intellectuasm so rampant in this country. Science is nothing more than a “fact-finding” endeavor. As there is no evidence for the existance of God, a scientist would be no more likely be trying to prove or disprove his existance then proving or disproving the existance of invisible green gremlins in your car’s engine.

    By God, I bet you mean, your God – not anyone elses. By that I mean you should keep in mind that such arguements could just as well be made for Allah or Buddah.

  • Wyngs

    And the credulous religous are one of their strongest tools….

  • Webb

    Texas Board of Education studied the political foolishness the crept into the textbooks, and corrected the record with provable facts lost in an era of ignorance. Congrats to you Texas.

  • JD

    Transitional forms abound, such as the mammal-like reptiles–Cynognathus. Archaeopteryx, the first bird, was found fossilized with its teeth showing and feather imprints in what had been mud. How about the coelocanths, in between fish and amphibian, such as Eusthenopteron? I’ve never heard Darwinians describe nature as random. But plenty of scientists and myself when we hear Big Bang Theory, we praise God!

  • Raymond Wallace

    Empirical spirituality…is that anything like mathematical unicorns?

  • Raymond Wallace

    Empirical spirituality…is that anything like mathematical unicorns?

  • Raymond Wallace

    Empirical spirituality…is that anything like mathematical unicorns?

  • Amish

    Can’t censor textbooks with claims of discredited Darwinism forever. The internet has the truth for anyone looking.
    This is the age old struggle Catholic vs Protestant. Santorum is the oddball Catholic who believes the Bible and creation. Good for him.
    End the state brain washing of our Christian faith or we will exit the schools.

  • Nospam

    There are two big problems with the baseless nonsense that creationists spout in public forums…