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Publishers correct some factual errors, but now textbooks contradict each other
By: Staff
Discovery Institute
October 30, 2003

Top corrections include removal of Haeckel's embryos and gill slits clarification

OCT. 30 SEATTLE - After months of claims by Darwinists that biology textbooks don't contain any factual errors about evolution that need to be corrected, publishers have agreed to fix a number of errors identified by Darwin's critics.

Top corrections made by publishers include the removal of bogus nineteenth century embryo diagrams ("Haeckel's embryos") from two of three textbooks that use them, the dropping from one text of a false claim that animal embryos have "gill slits," and the elimination of an assertion that Darwin's theory is the "essence of biology." Two textbooks have also added acknowledgments that the Miller-Urey origin of life experiment was based on ideas about the earth's early atmosphere no longer accepted by scientists. Other textbooks have revised language dealing with such issues as mutations, homology, evolutionary intermediates, and the evidence of the fossil record, so as not to overstate the evidence for Darwin's theory.

"These changes represent a modest victory for students and parents who want to learn accurate information about evolution," says Dr. John West, Associate Director of the Center for Science and Culture at Discovery Institute. "Unfortunately, a lot of problems still need to be fixed."

According to West, one of those problems is that "several textbooks now contradict each other on key topics relating to evolution. Even different texts issued by the same publisher sometimes contradict each other. As it stands now, whether students learn accurate information on a specific topic may depend solely on which textbook they happen to be assigned."

West gave several examples of textbook contradictions:

In addition to these textbook contradictions, says West, there are a number of other embarrassing factual errors spread throughout various texts that have yet to be fixed, including:

The publisher's proposed revisions were made public this week by the Texas Education Agency, just a few days before the Texas State Board of Education meets to choose the state's new biology textbooks.

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