Eric Lane’s comment, “Science classes are for science only” (Your Turn, Monday) makes bold — and bogus — assertions about the current debate over how to teach evolution, and what he imagines might be the reasons for this. Not surprisingly, Lane apparently didn’t bother to do a shred of research. Instead, he was quite satisfied to let his imagination come up with all sorts of ridiculous things.
According to Lane: “In the upcoming months, the Texas State Board of Education will make a decision on whether public school science classes will teach scientific concepts or religious non-scientific beliefs known as intelligent design/creationism.”
Right from the get-go, Lane is throwing up a bogus, straw man argument. The SBOE is not considering religious, non-scientific beliefs, nor creationism, and certainly not intelligent design for inclusion in science classes.
The real issue? The SBOE is currently reviewing the state’s science standards, the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, which were originally adopted in 1998. The controversial issue before the SBOE is whether the TEKS will retain language calling for students to learn about both the scientific “strengths and weaknesses” of scientific theories.
Some have proposed removing that language from the TEKS entirely, while others have suggested that good science education that encourages critical thinking should apply to all aspects of the curriculum, especially to the teaching of controversial scientific theories like neo-Darwinian evolution.
Furthermore, Lane’s absurd assertions that intelligent design advocates at the Discovery Institute are trying to usher in “a theistic fundamentalist Christian nation” are also false. As a libertarian agnostic who works at Discovery, I can attest to the fact that neither the institute’s motivations or aims includes Protestant fundamentalism, as Lane falsely claims.