Monday, September 16, 2013

Fire Breathing Toaster: How to Fix Texas' Schools

Photo by Larry D. Moore
by Bill Adler

Texas always amazes me. It’s big. It’s rich. It’s got this progressive city called Austin, surrounded by a sea of conservatism. It’s got people who wear guns strapped to their hips, like Americans did 150 years ago. It’s got searing heat in the summer and only less searing heat in the winter.

In Texas they still want to teach creationism in biology class in public schools. There’s a big problem with that. First, evolution is true; creationism is not. The earth has been here for over 4 billion years and was not created in a week. Those are facts. That’s science.

Educators and politicians in Texas, including the governor want to promote the religious idea of creationism; they want to diminish teaching science. It’s easy to be sarcastic about this and say that it’s okay if some Americans are undereducated, or educated incorrectly, because we need people to flip burgers. But the fact is that the smarter we are as a nation, the more successful and stronger we are.

Panelists who were tasked with examining Texas science textbooks asserted that creationism belongs in science classes. Here’s how one member of the Texas panel charged with figuring out how best to educate Texas kids put things: “I understand the National Academy of Science's strong support of the theory of evolution. At the same time, [evolution] is a theory. As an educator, parent, and grandparent, I feel very firmly that ‘creation science’ based on Biblical principles should be incorporated into every Biology book that is up for adoption.” (You can read the full Huffington Post article here

They don’t mess around in Texas. They mean what they say. A lot of powerful people in Texas would like to see creationism taught in public school science classes.

Texas also buys a lot of textbooks. So as goes Texas, so may a lot of other states’ textbooks.

But you know what? As a guy who believes in science, I say let Texas require that creationism be taught in public school science classes. But only on one condition: That evolution be required to be taught in Texas’ religious schools. I can hear the cries now: “It’s unconstitutional to force religious schools to teach evolution.” Hmm. Isn’t it unconstitutional to force public schools to teach religious doctrine?


Bill Adler is a writer. He is the author of "Boys and Their Toys: Understanding Men by Understanding Their Relationship with Gadgets,", "Outwitting Squirrels,", and a mess of other books. He tweets at @billadler. Fire Breathing Toaster is published on Mondays.

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