Discovery Institute - Header Graphic
title arrow
dotted line
Printer Friendly Version
Texas Professors Urge State Board to Fully and Completely Teach Evolution

By: Discovery Staff
Press Release
August 19, 2003


Click here to open a PDF of the letter

Two dozen professors from seven Texas universities have signed an open letter to the State Board of Education (see below) urging it to ensure that biology textbooks present both the scientific strengths and weaknesses of biological and chemical evolution. The open letter and list of signers, released Tuesday by Discovery Institute, is available upon request.

Professors signing the letter come from the faculties of the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, Rice University, Baylor University, the University of Texas at El Paso, Southwestern University, and St. Mary's University in San Antonio. Scientific fields represented by signers include biology, biomedicine, chemistry, forestry, physics and astronomy, engineering, kinesiology, computer science, and mathematics. Social sciences and humanities signers include philosophy, law, and government.

The professors cite the requirement in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills [TEKS] that students learn how to "analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations, including hypotheses and theories, as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information," and they urge the Board to apply "this requirement to how biology textbooks used in state schools present the subjects of chemical and biological evolution."

The professors also point out that "in recent years, a growing number of scientists have raised significant issues that challenge various aspects of neo-Darwinian theory. Thus, we think the best science education will present students with both 'the strengths and weaknesses' of neo-Darwinian theory."

"Darwinists claim there is no academic debate over Darwin's theory, and that the only objections are religious. But these professors show that claim is false," says Discovery Institute President Bruce Chapman.

Baylor Professor Francis Beckwith, one signer of the letter, agrees. "Contemporary criticisms of neo-Darwinism are borne of rigorous scholarship, published in respected venues, and offered by credentialed scholars who hold academic appointments at leading institutions of higher learning. They can't be dismissed as being based on religion." Beckwith is author of the new book, “Law, Darwinism, and Public Education” (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003).


AN OPEN LETTER TO THE TEXAS STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION

Dear Members of the State Board of Education:

We support the requirement in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills [TEKS] that students learn how to “analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations, including hypotheses and theories, as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information,” and we urge that this requirement be applied to how biology textbooks used in state schools present the subjects of chemical and biological evolution.

In recent years, a growing number of scientists have raised significant issues that challenge various aspects of neo-Darwinian theory. Thus, we think the best science education will present students with both “the strengths and weaknesses” of neo-Darwinian theory.

Sincerely,

Francis J. Beckwith
Assoc. Prof. of Church-State Studies
Associate Director, J. M. Dawson Institute for Church-State Studies
Baylor University

Vicente D. Villa
Professor Emeritus of Biology
Southwestern University

James M. Tour
Chao Professor of Chemistry
Rice University

Thomas E. Milner
Associate Professor,
Biomedical Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin

Walter L. Bradley
Distinguished Prof. of Engineering
Baylor University
Emeritus Prof. of Mech. Engineering
Texas A&M University, College Station

William A. Dembski
Associate Professor in the Conceptual Foundations of Science
Baylor University

Granville Sewell
Professor of Mathematics
The University of Texas at El Paso

Stephen Crouse
Professor of Kinesiology
Dir., Applied Exercise Science Laboratory
Texas A&M University, College Station

W. Todd Watson
Asst. Prof. of Urban and Community Forestry
Texas A&M University, College Station

Pablo Yepes
Sr. Faculty Fellow, Physics and Astronomy
Rice University

Barry Boyd
Asst. Professor, Agricultural Education
Texas A&M University, College Station

David McClellan
Asst. Prof. of Family Medicine
Texas A&M University System Health Science Center

Walter C. Daugherity
Senior Lecturer in Computer Science
Texas A&M University, College Station

Lee Lowery
Eppright Univ. Prof. of Civil Engineering
Texas A&M University, College Station

Michael D. Delp
Assoc. Prof. of Health and Kinesiology
Texas A&M University, College Station

Marvin Olasky
Professor of Journalism
The University of Texas at Austin

J. Budziszewski
Prof., Departments of Govt. and Philosophy
The University of Texas at Austin

Daniel Bonevac
Professor of Philosophy
The University of Texas at Austin

Dale W. Spence
Professor Emeritus, Department of Kinesiology
Rice University

Robert C. Koons
Professor of Philosophy
The University of Texas at Austin

Mike Caudle
Cadet Training Officer
Office of the Commandant
Texas A&M University, College Station

Stephen W. McDaniel
Professor of Marketing
Texas A&M University, College Station

Charles W. Graham
Bryan N. and Sandra K. Mitchell Endowed Professor of Housing Research
Texas A&M University, College Station








The work of Discovery Institute is made possible by the generosity of its members. Click here to donate.