Q & A about current Texas state review of biology textbooks

Discovery Institute
November 5, 2003
Print ArticleWhat is this textbook issue that is before the Texas State Board of Education?

Accurate biology textbooks are at the center of the Texas State Board of Education’s (SBOE) current review of proposed high school biology textbooks for purchase in 2004. The SBOE meets November 6 and 7 to vote on whether to adopt all, some or none of 11 biology textbooks up for review. The issue before the board is whether textbooks conform to Texas state law, which requires they be “free from factual errors” and requires “students to analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations, including hypotheses and theories, as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information.”

Why does it matter what happens in Texas?

The decision will impact school districts and science instruction, across the nation. Publishers who can spend millions of dollars in developing a single textbook pay special attention to Texas, which purchases millions of school textbooks every year, second only to California.

What is wrong with current biology textbooks?

Current biology textbooks contain known factual errors such as Haeckel’s faked embryo drawings, the myth about human gill slits, the discredited Miller-Urey experiment and the myth of the peppered moth. These are well-documented in peer-reviewed scientific literature and should be corrected in all high school biology textbooks.

Is Discovery Institute trying to eliminate, reduce or censor the coverage of evolution in textbooks?

No. Far from reducing the coverage of evolution, Discovery Institute seeks to increase the coverage of evolution in textbooks. It believes that students ought to learn more about evolutionary theory, including the theory’s unresolved issues. The true censors are those who want to keep textbooks from including any discussion of the scientific weaknesses of evolutionary theory.

Does Discovery Institute advocate requiring intelligent design theory in textbooks as an alternative?

Absolutely not. We are NOT seeking to have intelligent design included in textbooks or in classroom instruction. We only want factual errors corrected and legitimate scientific weaknesses of neo-Darwinism presented.

What about including the Bible or creationism in biology textbooks as an alternative?

No. Discovery Institute is not a creationist organization, and it does not favor including either creationism or the Bible in biology textbooks.

What is Discovery Institute?

Founded in 1990, the Institute is a national policy and research organization that is non-profit, non-partisan, and secular. It has programs on a variety of issues, including regional transportation development, economics and technology policy, legal reform, and bioethics.

For more information

Visit the Discovery Institute website Texas textbook information page at http://www.discovery.org/csc/texas. Or call Rob Crowther at (206) 292-0401 x107.