Creationism

Frank Turek: Thomas Jefferson Would Start A 'Second American Revolution' To Make Schools Teach Creationism

Religious Right activist Frank Turek claimed yesterday that Thomas Jefferson would lead a second American Revolution against the teaching of evolution.

In an interview on Washington Watch, Turek told the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins that by proscribing Creationism, public schools have effectively declared “that the Declaration of Independence is unconstitutional.”

“If [Jefferson] were to come back to America today and find that his tax dollars were going to pay public school teachers to teach his school children that his Declaration of Independence was unconstitutional, I think he’d start the Second American Revolution,” Turek insisted.

Perkins agreed: “I think you’re right.”

Turek: If these bureaucrats are going to say that we can’t mention Creation anywhere in school, I ask them this question: Are you telling me that the Declaration of Independence is unconstitutional? Because the Declaration of Independence talks about our Creator, it says we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, it says that we were created. Please don’t tell me the Declaration of Independence is unconstitutional. I think I know what Thomas Jefferson would do, the man who said that taxation without representation is tyranny, if he were to come back to America today and find that his tax dollars were going to pay public school teachers to teach his school children that his Declaration of Independence was unconstitutional, I think he’d start the Second American Revolution.

Perkins: I think you’re right.

Creationists Demand Airtime On 'Cosmos' For The Sake Of Balance

The Creationist group Answers In Genesis, which was already incensed about Neil deGrasse Tyson’s revival of Cosmos, is now complaining that the show lacks scientific balance because it fails to provide airtime for evolution deniers.

Danny Faulkner of Answers In Genesis and the Creation Museum appeared on The Janet Mefferd Show yesterday to criticize Cosmos for not providing airtime for Creationism adherents. When Mefferd asked if Cosmos will “ever give a Creationist any time,” Faulkner responded by lamenting that “Creationists aren’t even on the radar screen for them, they wouldn’t even consider us plausible at all.”

Mefferd agreed that the show isn’t being very fair and balanced: “Boy, but when you have so many scientists who simply do not accept Darwinian evolution it seems to me that that might be something to throw in there, you know, the old, ‘some scientists say this, others disagree and think this,’ but that’s not even allowed.”

“Consideration of special Creation is definitely not open for discussion it would seem,” Faulkner added.

Arguing that evolution, the foundation of modern biology, and one of many theological beliefs on human creation are simply “two sides” that merit competing time on a science program is much like the equally absurd argument Creationists use when trying to undermine the teaching of evolution in public schools.

Creationists: Sickle Cell Anemia Shows Evolution Is Wrong

Dr. John Morris of the Institute for Creation Research explains that sickle cell anemia, a blood disorder that affords a selective advantage against malarial infection, demonstrates that evolution, unlike Creationism, is fundamentally flawed.

“Evolution says that beneficial mutations have occurred trillions of times, but their best example is the fatal disease,” John Morris said in a radio bulletin today. “The point is, they’re grasping at straws; the Creation story, like we’re told back in Genesis, it’s much more credible.”

Let PBS explain how this case actually proves that evolution occurs:

A gene known as HbS was the center of a medical and evolutionary detective story that began in the middle 1940s in Africa. Doctors noticed that patients who had sickle cell anemia, a serious hereditary blood disease, were more likely to survive malaria, a disease which kills some 1.2 million people every year. What was puzzling was why sickle cell anemia was so prevalent in some African populations.



Researchers found that the sickle cell gene is especially prevalent in areas of Africa hard-hit by malaria. In some regions, as much as 40 percent of the population carries at least one HbS gene.

It turns out that, in these areas, HbS carriers have been naturally selected, because the trait confers some resistance to malaria. Their red blood cells, containing some abnormal hemoglobin, tend to sickle when they are infected by the malaria parasite. Those infected cells flow through the spleen, which culls them out because of their sickle shape -- and the parasite is eliminated along with them.

Scientists believe the sickle cell gene appeared and disappeared in the population several times, but became permanently established after a particularly vicious form of malaria jumped from animals to humans in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

In areas where the sickle cell gene is common, the immunity conferred has become a selective advantage. Unfortunately, it is also a disadvantage because the chances of being born with sickle cell anemia are relatively high.

For parents who each carry the sickle cell trait, the chance that their child will also have the trait -- and be immune to malaria -- is 50 percent. There is a 25 percent chance that the child will have neither sickle cell anemia nor the trait which enables immunity to malaria. Finally, the chances that their child will have two copies of the gene, and therefore sickle cell anemia, is also 25 percent. This situation is a stark example of genetic compromise, or an evolutionary "trade-off."

Right-Wing 'Religious Freedom' Narrative Taken To Its Logical Extreme With Anti-Gay, Anti-Evolution Push

During the controversy over Hobby Lobby’s refusal to provide its employees with contraception insurance coverage and the outrage over Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson’s being denied his supposed constitutional right to appear on television, we witnessed conservative activists stretch the limits of the meaning of religious freedom.

As Justice Scalia put it in Employment Division v. Smith, such an exaggerated view of religious freedom serves “to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself.”

The Religious Right has increasingly brought this religious freedom argument into debates over gay rights and the teaching of evolution.

In Missouri, Republican lawmakers contend that public school students should get an exemption from any class on evolution — the bedrock of modern biology — if they think learning about science amounts to an “infringement on people’s beliefs”:

Rep. Rick Brattin, a Harrisonville Republican, said forcing students to study the natural selection theories developed by Charles Darwin a century and a half ago can violate their religious faith.

“It’s an absolute infringement on people’s beliefs,” Brattin said.



“Even though what’s being taught is just as much faith and, you know, just as much pulled out of the air as, say, any religion,” he said.

“The bill is one of several anti-evolution proposals that have already appeared in statehouses across the country,” TPM notes. “The proposals would allow for a range of approaches to evolution, from presenting a ‘debate’ over evolution versus creationism to requiring that local school boards allow intelligent design to be included in biology courses.”

And GOP lawmakers in at least three states are now citing religious freedom to claim that anti-gay discrimination that violates civil rights laws should not face any legal consequences.

Of course, many proponents of Jim Crow cited religious reasons to support segregation.

Now there is a push in states including Tennessee, Idaho and Kansas to allow for legally protected discrimination. Mark Joseph Stern writes of the Kansas bill:

When passed, the new law will allow any individual, group, or private business to refuse to serve gay couples if “it would be contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs.” Private employers can continue to fire gay employees on account of their sexuality. Stores may deny gay couples goods and services because they are gay. Hotels can eject gay couples or deny them entry in the first place. Businesses that provide public accommodations—movie theaters, restaurants—can turn away gay couples at the door. And if a gay couple sues for discrimination, they won’t just lose; they’ll be forced to pay their opponent’s attorney’s fees. As I’ve noted before, anti-gay businesses might as well put out signs alerting gay people that their business isn’t welcome.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to barring all anti-discrimination lawsuits against private employers, the new law permits government employees to deny service to gays in the name of “religious liberty.” This is nothing new, but the sweep of Kansas’ statute is breathtaking. Any government employee is given explicit permission to discriminate against gay couples—not just county clerks and DMV employees, but literally anyone who works for the state of Kansas. If a gay couple calls the police, an officer may refuse to help them if interacting with a gay couple violates his religious principles. State hospitals can turn away gay couples at the door and deny them treatment with impunity. Gay couples can be banned from public parks, public pools, anything that operates under the aegis of the Kansas state government.

It gets worse. The law’s advocates claim that it applies only to gay couples—but there’s no clear limiting principle in the text of the bill that would keep it from applying to gay individuals as well. A catch-all clause allows businesses and bureaucrats to discriminate against gay people so long as this discrimination is somehow “related to, orrelated to the celebration of, any marriage, domestic partnership, civil union or similar arrangement.” (Emphases mine.) This subtle loophole is really just a blank check to discriminate: As long as an individual believes that his service is somehow linked to a gay union of any form, he can legally refuse his services. And since anyone who denies gays service is completely shielded from any charges, no one will ever have to prove that their particular form of discrimination fell within the four corners of the law.

Christian Action League: Pat Robertson Committed Blasphemy

Rev. Mark Creech of the Christian Action League – the North Carolina affiliate of the American Family Association – is furious at Pat Robertson for his criticism of Creationism, arguing in a column yesterday that believing in evolution amounts to “blasphemy.”

After linking evolution to Nazism and communism, Creech alleged that Robertson is undermining both the Bible and science: “God is the one who established all scientific laws, and good science will always point to Him. That's why we need not fear there will ever be a discovery of some scientific fact that contradicts the Bible properly interpreted.”

Modern science asserts that the geological ages are predicated on the fossil record, and these fossils speak to us of suffering and death millions of years before Adam and Eve – before the creation of man. That's a direction contradiction of the Bible's teaching that pain, anguish; travail, death and the dysfunctions of nature are a direct result of divine judgment because of man's sin. If there was a primeval prevalence of these things before the fall of man, then that would leave only God himself responsible for such menace and mayhem. The very notion a God of love and order would work arbitrarily and brutally as suggested in evolution's old earth hypothesis – a way so contrary to his own nature – carries with it an implication blasphemy.



Scott Huse, in his book, The Collapse of Evolution, lists two dozen ways the Bible's account of creation and evolutionary theory contradict each other.



Furthermore, Huse notes the general principles of evolution are starkly different than biblical Christianity. He writes:

The fruit of evolution has been all sorts of anti-Christian systems of belief and practice. It has served as an intellectual basis for Hitler's Nazism and Marx's communism. It has prompted apostasy, atheism, secular humanism and libertinism, as well as establishing a basis for ethical relativism, which has spread through society like a cancer. The mind and general welfare of mankind has suffered greatly as a result of this naturalistic philosophy.

According to the Bible, man is a responsible creature. One day he will give an account for his life's actions and motives. But when man is viewed as the product of some vague purposeless evolutionary process, he is conveniently freed from all moral obligations and responsibility. After all, he is merely an accident of nature, an intelligent animal at best.


Although Robertson and some other well-meaning Christians try to reconcile the assertions of evolutionary theory with the Bible, the fact is, the two are in no way compatible. Robertson's remarks trivialize the conflict. Belief in an earth billions of years old, a progressive evolving of earth's life, puts the biblical account in question on several levels.



God is the one who established all scientific laws, and good science will always point to Him. That's why we need not fear there will ever be a discovery of some scientific fact that contradicts the Bible properly interpreted.

Therefore, if Robertson believes that Ham's literal interpretation of the biblical creation account is a "joke." Then I suggest Robertson's remarks make him a ham.

Ken Ham Strikes Back After Pat Robertson's Creationism Diss

As we reported on Wednesday, televangelist Pat Robertson — for at least the second time — dismissed Young Earth Creationism as “nonsense” that is “making a joke” of Christianity.

Robertson made the remarks in response to the debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham, the leader of the Creation Museum and Answers In Genesis.

One thing that made Robertson’s comment’s surprising is that his own Christian Broadcasting Network regularly features fawning stories about Ham’s Creation Museum.

CBN’s website even promotes an essay by Kelly Hollowell of Answers In Genesis, called, “Evolution - The Ultimate Compromise,” that attacks critics of Young Earth Creationism for supposedly undermining Christianity.

Many Christians believe that the world is very old based on fossil records that are presumably dated at millions of years. Indeed the dispute between an old earth and a young earth is hotly debated within the Christian community. Unfortunately, those who subscribe to an old earth theory do not realize the enormity of their compromise.

The compromise is that as soon as one allows for an earth millions of years old, then one has accepted death, bloodshed, disease and suffering before Adam’s sin. In other words, the Garden of Eden would have been seated upon a mountain of dead animal bones. This doesn’t sound much like paradise.



Now if the world were millions of years old as suggested by evolutionists, blood was shed and death occurred before Adam's original sin. This would destroy the foundation of the atonement brought by the death of Christ on the cross. According to 1 Corinthians 15:54, sin and death have been swallowed up in victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus the enormity of compromise is revealed. To believe in evolution undermines the entire gospel message of Jesus Christ. All Christians believe that Jesus Christ suffered physical death and shed His blood because death was the penalty for sin. Therefore, teaching millions of years of death, disease and suffering before Adam sinned, is a direct attack on the foundation and message of the Cross.

Yesterday, Ham himself went on the attack. He pushed back against Robertson’s “misinformed and deceived” denunciation of Bishop James Ussher, who helped devise the chronology system that inspired Young Earth Creationism, by saying that Robertson “couldn’t even get the time of Ussher’s life correct. Not the 1800s but 1581-1656.”

Ham called on God to “convict and open the eyes of Christian leaders and Christian college and seminary professors, so many of whom are as uninformed and deceived as Pat Robertson. God have mercy.”

This is really sad. I wonder why Pat Robertson spoke about evolution and the age of the earth on the 700 club yesterday? I wonder if the debate on Tuesday had anything to do with this!

Pat Robertson is so misinformed and deceived. Sad that so many will believe him (who is neither a scientist, nor a Bible scholar rather than open their Bibles and see that evolution and millions of years are totally incompatible with the first 11 chapters of Genesis and rather than think for themselves and check out creationist web sites like Answers in Genesis.

He condemns Bishop Ussher (a brilliant Bible scholar and incredible student of history and ancient writings), but couldn’t even get the time of Ussher's life correct. Not the 1800s but 1581-1656.

Oh, that God would convict and open the eyes of Christian leaders and Christian college and seminary professors, so many of whom are as uninformed and deceived as Pat Robertson. God have mercy.

Even Pat Robertson Thinks Young Earth Creationism Is A 'Joke'

Back in 2012, televangelist Pat Robertson provoked the ire of Young Earth Creationists when he rejected their claim that the earth is approximately 6,000 years old. Today on the 700 Club, Robertson responded to the debate between Bill Nye and Young Earth Creationist leader Ken Ham — who criticized Robertson’s remarks on creationism as a “destructive teaching” that “gives more fodder to the secularists” — by once again rebuking Young Earth Creationism and the chronology system designed by James Ussher.

“Let’s face it, there was a bishop [Ussher] who added up the dates listed in Genesis and he came up with the world had been around for 6,000 years,” Robertson said. “There ain’t no way that’s possible. To say that it all came about in 6,000 years is just nonsense and I think it’s time we come off of that stuff and say this isn’t possible.”

He continued: “We’ve got to be realistic that the dating of Bishop Ussher just doesn’t comport with anything that is found in science and you can’t just totally deny the geological formations that are out there.”

Robertson added that he disagrees with “evolution as it is currently presented” and knocked Creationists: “Let’s be real, let’s not make a joke of ourselves.”

Creationists Allege 'Darwin Day' Is Unconstitutional, Promotes Nazism

Creation Ministries International is furious that Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) introduced a “Darwin Day” resolution to honor Charles Darwin’s birthday.

The group claims that such a move is actually an “authoritarian” and unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment’s establishment clause and protection of the freedom of speech. Also, apparently it advances infanticide, violence and Nazism.

Why are the atheists asking the government to endorse something that is so blatantly wrong and obviously a bait and switch tactic? What’s at stake? There are only two views of how the universe, the world and you and I came to be. Either it was created or it evolved. This is a philosophical debate—ultimately, it’s not really about the science. The constitution calls for the state not to be involved in the establishment of any religion—yet a mandated religious view is being proposed.



This has led to much of the moral decay we see in society. So, let the debate really be about science and let’s see who is really teaching it badly. Such teachings have had disastrous consequences on individuals and our societies including promoting euthanasia—and the abortion of millions of innocent unborn children because of the faulty evolutionary belief that they are not yet fully human. Worse still, even President Obama has agreed with arguably the world’s most radical bioethicist/eugenicist, Peter Singer, that infanticide (killing children after they are born) should be legal. If one is old, handicapped or just unwanted—one is not safe anymore.

See the following for the consequences of evolutionary teaching on society:

How to build a bomb in the public school system—The Columbine high school killers link to evolution.

Inside the evolutionary mindset of a killer—the Finnish high school tragedy.

Darwinism and the Nazi race holocaust.

Darwin, eugenics and the death of the defenseless and how modern evolutionists are advocating some of the same.

How would you feel about possibly being forced to take a public holiday to celebrate Darwin and endorse evolution? It’s already happening in the UK! If we allow this to happen any criticism of evolution will not be tolerated. This brainwashing will increasingly create a moral vacuum in our culture. So much for the scientific method of critiquing any hypothesis! Such censorship is authoritarian, and similar regimes with this evolutionary atheism at its core are responsible for more deaths in the last century than in all of the recorded religious wars in history. This is an attack on free speech and our constitutional rights. There is already ample evidence that shows the discrimination against any scientist who does not hold to an evolutionary worldview. What is happening to our great democracies?

Texas GOP Board Of Education Candidate Calls For 'Straight Pride,' Likens Gay People To Murderers

Lady Theresa Thombs, the Republican candidate for the Texas State Board of Education who rails against evolution, “socialist higher education” and “Devil worshipers,” today shared a Facebook post calling for “Straight Pride.”

When several commenters mocked her post, Thombs responded that she doesn’t hate gay people and only thinks that gay people are sinners, just like murderers: “We are not bigoted or hateful. Jesus said to love the sinner but hate the sin. God gives you free will to do what you want. But murder is a sin, but even a murderer is loved and forgiven if he asked to be. We both have the right to believe the way we choose is all that I am saying.” 

In another Facebook post, Thombs said that people who criticized her attack on evolution at a school board candidate forum are actually trying to take away the right of Christians to speak freely and run for public office.

The Texas Freedom Network wondered “who has argued that Christians ‘have no right to seek public office,’” reminding Thombs that almost all of the candidates for the post are Christian. 

Texas GOP Board Of Education Candidate: 'We Know We Didn't Come From Monkeys!'

At a debate in Fort Worth on Monday, a Republican candidate for the Texas state board of education warned that the board is currently “using your tax dollars to brainwash our children into socialist issues and ideas.”

The candidate, Lady Theresa Thombs, also decried “people from socialist higher education” who support the teaching of evolution, a subject still hotly debated in the Texas Education Agency.

“We know we didn’t come from monkeys!” she exclaimed.

Thombs made her remarks at a debate hosted by a Tea Party group, the 912 Project Fort Worth.

Bud Kennedy of the Star-Telegram reports that Thombs considers herself an “international evangelist” who is “running to fight — her spellings — ‘adgendas and ideoligies.’”

She also believes she is running to defeat “Devil worshipers”:

The multi-talented Thombs also serves as a singer at right-wing rallies.

'21st Century Creationism' Same As The Old Creationism

‘Creation In The 21st Century,’ a TV show that premiers tomorrow on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, hopes to put an edgy, modern spin on Creationist doctrine.

The host, David Rives of WorldNetDaily, claims that unlike Creationists, “Darwinian evolutionists believe, by faith, in the unproven theories of man, therefore their conclusions are also based on a belief rather that fact.”

“The Biblical account of creation as found in the first chapter of the Bible, the foundation upon which the whole Biblical record is based, is being gradually eroded away by unproven theories of evolution – not by empirical science, but by highly interpretive theories, presented by those who reject the God of the Bible,” explains David Rives Ministries. “The question arises: Does empirical science, observable and repeatedly demonstrable findings, prove the theories of Darwinian evolution to be true and the Biblical account to be false? The answer is emphatically no.

“The unproven theories of evolution that are being presented rely heavily on the interpretation of data – ‘ideology’ or ‘worldview,’” Rives explains. “Those who believe the Bible to be true see sedimentary layers of geological formations to be an indication of a worldwide flood in Noah’s day. Those who believe in the theories of evolution view the same geological layers as confirmation of millions of years of gradual deposition. The bottom line is that no one was there to witness the events responsible for producing what we see.

“Those who trust in the Biblical record believe, by faith, that ‘Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith’ (Hebrews 11:7),” Rives continues. “Darwinian evolutionists believe, by faith, in the unproven theories of man, therefore their conclusions are also based on a belief rather that fact. Darwinian evolution is a faith-based religion in opposition to the words of Scripture, which for thousands of years has been received by Bible believers as the inspired word of the Creator Himself.

“I believe that when we take a look at all the facts, it takes more faith to believe in evolution by random chance than it does to believe in the literal Genesis account,” Rives concludes.

Creationists: Evolution Is For 'Gullible' People Who 'Rely On Silly Stories'

Dr. John Morris of the Institute for Creation Research thinks that “no truly helpful discovery has come from evolution” since evolution proponents, unlike Creationists, “rely on silly evolutionary stories to make us believe it.”

He told co-host Chris O’Brien in a radio bulletin today that evolution fails because it “ought to be obvious” and “people are not gullible enough to think that a frog change into a prince.”

O’Brien: Has evolutionary science been useful to the world?

Morris: Chris, you’d be surprised. Evolutionists say that evolution undergirds all of biology, and yet no truly helpful discovery has come from evolution. It is true that many evolutionists have made amazing discoveries, but these are based on scientific observation of the way things are—how they originated is a different question. It seems to me that if evolution were really a theory of everything, as they claim, then it ought to be obvious; they shouldn’t have to rely on silly evolutionary stories to make us believe it. Face it, evolution is unbelievable because it is simply not true. Most people are not gullible enough to think that a frog change into a prince. Creation is a much better answer and we learn that when we go back to Genesis.

O’Brien: Thanks Dr. Morris!

Creationists: Thorns On Plants Debunk Evolution

In an Institute for Creation Research radio bulletin, Dr. John Morris claimed that thorns on plants are proof that evolution is nothing but a myth. He told co-host Chris O’Brien that Genesis 3 includes a curse on plants as “thorns and thistles are a direct result of Adam’s sin.”

He claims on a certain ryegrass, a certain fungus sometimes “grows unchecked” and “chokes out the plant” because “a particular gene in the fungus was turned off through mutation.”

“Mutations are thought to be the main mechanism by which evolution occurs but every mutation we see is harmful, not helpful as evolution requires,” Morris argued. “Face it Chris, evolution just doesn’t work, it doesn’t fit the facts and it certainly doesn’t agree with the ‘back to Genesis’ truth of creation.”

COPE: Teaching Science Violates Rights Of Christians; Courts Must Block Science Curriculum

Last week, we reported that an organization called Citizens for Objective Public Education filed a lawsuit contesting science standards in Kansas schools, arguing that lessons on evolution represent an unconstitutional establishment of religion.

John Calvert of the Intelligent Design Network, an attorney involved in the lawsuit, told conservative talk radio host Janet Mefferd today that lessons on evolution are “religious education” in violation of the rights of parents, children and taxpayers. Mefferd replied that it is “crazy” to think that public schools could teach evolution to Christian students.

The religious rights that are being promoted here are the religious rights of parents to direct the religious education of their children and a state interferes with that when it seeks to promote an atheistic worldview. The second right is the child’s right, the child has a right not to be indoctrinated by the state to accept a particular religious viewpoint, that right is being taken by the framework. The last right is the taxpayer has a right, you know I pay taxes to Kansas, real estate taxes, a good part of my real estate taxes go to fund Kansas public education and I don’t want the taxes used to promote a nontheistic worldview.

“This really is a case about the establishment of a complete worldview,” Calvert said, arguing that public schools violate the Constitution by teaching “materialistic science” and therefore courts should block the curriculum and instruction on evolution.

“We’ve asked the court to enjoin the whole package, they just need to go back to the drawing board,” Calvert told Mefferd. “In the alternative, if the court is not willing to do that, the court should at least enjoin the teaching of origin science in the primary school grades from kindergarten through the 8th grade.”

Calvert and Mefferd claimed it is only fair to teach creationism and intelligent design alongside evolution. Otherwise, Calvert claimed, schools would be teaching atheism.

“It’s clear that there are lots and lots of people who hold to the biblical account of creation or at the very least a view of intelligent design, share it as a perspective, evolution is not the only perspective out there,” Mefferd said.

Well, there are also “lots and lots of people” who believe that the sun revolves around the earth (one out of five Americans), so is it really settled science that the earth revolves around the sun and schools should teach both points of view?

Must schools also incorporate the claims that the earth is flat into lessons regarding the shape of the earth?

After all, we must keep the curriculum balanced and respect flat-earth proponents who think religion and science back up their beliefs.

Texas School Board Chair Hails Creationist Dietitian And Businessman As Biology Experts

At a Texas State Board of Education meeting last month, the Republican head of the school board defended the qualifications of a biology textbook review panelist who said that “creation science based on biblical principles should be incorporated into every biology book that is up for adoption.”

SBOE chair Barbara Cargill defended the panelist, who is not a biologist but… a dietitian. Cargill defended another Creationism advocate on the panel, a businessman, because he has a degree in chemical engineering, saying that not enough biology teachers wanted to serve on the panel reviewing textbooks.

“They might be well-qualified in their own professional fields, but they are no more qualified to review biology textbooks than a biologist would be qualified to review a mathematics or engineering textbook,” Dan Quinn of the Texas Freedom Network points out.

He also notes that Cargill’s claim that teachers didn’t step up to serve on the panels is baloney, as 140 of the 183 of the “individuals who applied or were nominated by State Board of Education members to serve as biology textbook reviewers” were educators, and the “vast majority of them have degrees and teaching experience specifically in biology.”

“Some of them are among the 28 individuals appointed as biology textbook reviewers. But all of the others were passed over for the dietician, business and finance professionals, and various chemical, mechanical, systems and civil engineers who used their positions on the review teams to promote completely discredited junk science attacking evolution (or simply to call for teaching “creation science based on biblical principles” in biology textbooks).”

Kansas Group Tries To Remove Evolution From Schools By Claiming Science Is A Religion

A Kansas-based group that “promotes the religious rights of parents, children, and taxpayers” is challenging the state’s science standards because they include the teaching of evolution, which the group claims is a religion and therefore should be excluded from science class.

As the AP reports, Citizens for Objective Public Education (COPE) claims that public schools “promote a ‘non-theistic religious worldview’ by allowing only ‘materialistic’ or ‘atheistic’ explanations to scientific questions.” The group argues that by teaching evolution “the state would be ‘indoctrinating’ impressionable students in violation of the First Amendment.”

COPE’s challenge [PDF] states that the teaching of evolution “amounts to an excessive government entanglement with religion” and violates the rights of Christian parents.

Indeed, COPE’s stated mission is to create “religious[ly] neutral” schools that do not promote “pantheistic and materialistic religions, including Atheism and Religious (‘Secular’) Humanism” - a category under which it includes “Darwinian evolution.”

The National Center for Science Education calls COPE’s lawsuit “silly” and “frivolous,” and the Baptist Joint Committee says COPE’s argument “makes no sense” and that the group is effectively saying schools should be “teaching no science at all.”

Just like the bogus “teach the controversy” or “teach both sides” refrains, COPE’s lawsuit is part of a long line of Creationist challenges to the teaching of evolution.

Religious Right heavyweight John Eidsmoe, a mentor to conservative politicians like Michele Bachmann, wrote in his 1984 book God & Caesar that conservative Christian activists should base their attacks on evolution on the premise that evolution is actually just as much a religious idea as Creationism, and therefore the two should be treated the same way.

Eidsmoe writes that the government “promote[s] humanism” through its “support for evolution.” He decries “secular humanism” as “the religion of the American public schools,” a result of successful push by humanists “to use the public schools to promote a religion of secular humanism.”

As Eidsmoe understands it, science classes that “contain evolutionary thought” are no different from schools that exclusively “promote Christianity or creationism.”

“Why should government ally itself with the faith of humanism?” Eidsmoe writes. “[J]ust as the government cannot actively promote Christianity, so also the government should not actively promote secular humanism.”

He claims that the “religion” of humanism “violates the fundamental beliefs of orthodox Christians,” and urges Christians to “demand that public schools which teach evolution teach creation also” or “ask that the humanistic materials be removed.”

COPE is clearly following the blueprint laid out by Eidsmoe, with its claim [PDF] that it is defending Christians’ “rights to not be indoctrinated by Kansas public schools to accept the materialistic/atheistic religious Worldview which the [Framework and Standards] seek to establish.”

Former Texas School Board Chairman Gives Bizarre Speech Claiming Biology Books Disprove Evolution

Yesterday afternoon, the Texas State Board of Education held its first hearing on whether to require new high school biology textbooks to teach creationism alongside evolution. One member of the panel appointed by the Texas Education Agency to review potential textbooks –few of whom were actual biologists--  concluded by recommending that high school biology texts be rooted in “bibilical principles.”

Yesterday, People For the American Way sent a letter to the board urging them to reject attempts to inject creationism into science classes. PFAW also joined with the Texas Freedom Network and other groups to deliver 300,000 petitions urging the board to stand up for science.

While most of those who showed up to testify at the hearing supported teaching evolution– our friends at  TFN documented many of these on their great live blog of the proceedings – there were some notable exceptions.

One of the first people to speak was Don McLeroy, a former chairman of the State Board of Education who was prominently featured in the documentary The Revisionaries. While most people were allowed just two minutes to speak, the board let McLeroy go on for over ten minutes in a bizarre speech in which he argued that the current textbooks teaching evolution should be approved because their evidence is so “weak” that children will realize that the theory of evolution is just “words” and a “just so story," and thereby strikes a "final blow" to the theory.
 

People For the American Way Urges Texas State Board of Education To Reject Religious Doctrine in Science Textbooks

WASHINGTON – Today, People For the American Way President Michael Keegan sent a letter to Texas State Board of Education members urging them to reject attempts to pressure textbook companies to include the doctrine of creationism in public high school biology textbooks.

People For the American Way also joined with the Texas Freedom Network, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, and CREDO Action in delivering nearly 300,000 petitions to the Board of Education before at its hearing on new textbooks today.

“Teaching creationism in public schools isn’t just unconstitutional: It also cheats Texas kids of the science education they need to compete in the world economy,” Keegan said. “The job of the Texas State Board of Education is to ensure that Texas students receive the best education possible, not to inject politics and religious doctrine into the classroom.”

As the Texas Freedom Network and People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch have reported, members of the review panel appointed by the Texas Education Agency to review high school biology textbooks have urged the Board of Education to pressure textbook companies to include “creation science based on biblical principles” in science books.  In 1987, the Supreme Court found that requiring the teaching of creationism in public school science classes is unconstitutional.

The full text of People For the American Way’s letter is below:


State Board of Education
1701 N. Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas, 78701

September 17, 2013

Dear Members of the Texas State Board of Education:

On behalf of People For the American Way’s 76,590 Texas members and activists, we urge you to reject attempts to pressure textbook companies to include religiously based and politically biased information in high school biology textbooks.

Recent reports by the Texas Freedom Network indicate that the majority of panelists the Texas Education Agency chose to review high school biology texts for the state do not possess post-secondary education in biological science and that many do not have any expertise in biology at all. These panelists, instead of preparing Texas students to compete in the biological sciences, have instead demanded that biology textbooks used in public schools incorporate “biblical principles” and undermine the foundational theory of evolution.

These demands run counter to the Supreme Court’s 1987 decision in Edwards v. Aguillard, which found that requirements that public schools teach creationism in science classes present a clear violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. These efforts also undermine the ability of Texas public schools to prepare students to compete in the field of biological sciences.

Our public schools must be dedicated to providing a world-class education and equal opportunity to all children, regardless of their religious backgrounds.

We urge you to reject attempts to insert political bias and religious teachings into biology textbooks used in public schools. In addition, we hope that future textbook reviews will be conducted by those with expertise in the relevant fields.

Sincerely,


Michael Keegan
President, People For the American Way


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Tell the Texas State Board of Education that science belongs in science textbooks, not religion.

Tell the TX State Board of Education: Creationism is religion and doesn't belong in a science textbook -- science does.

Texas Textbook Reviewer Sheds Light On Creationist Efforts To Undercut Science Education

In a letter sent to the State Board of Education, Jimmy Gollihar of the University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology describes the lengths to which creationists are going to undermine science and advance Creationism in Texas classrooms, as well as the help they are receiving from board chair Barbara Cargill.

While the panels reviewing science textbooks are supposed to be independent of the school board, Cargill worked closely with creationism advocates on the panels, leading Gollihar to note that Cargill aided “those who might reasonably be regarded as creationists.”

Gollihar’s letter details how the creationists who are serving on the panel not only lack any credentials but seem not to understand basic science, such as the one panelist, a dietician, who demanded that biology textbooks incorporate “creation science based on biblical principles.”

“With such a gross misunderstanding of science, it is hard to fathom that any other comments the reviewer made would have been helpful or even accurate, and it further underscores the unfortunate skewing of the panels away from real, practicing scientists,” Gollihar writes.

As Dan Quinn of the Texas Freedom Network points out, Gollihar’s name was even added to the anti-evolution panelist’s comment.

“The net result of having a huge raft of non-scientists on the panels was that rather than checking for factual errors in the texts I was put into the position of having to painstakingly educate other panel members on past and current literature,” Gollihar continues. “[E]ven beyond the obviously ideologically-derived comments on the materials many of the comments found littered throughout those reviews make no sense whatsoever from a scientific viewpoint.”

He notes that actual biologists are being sidelined in the process as he was “among a small minority of panelists that possessed any post-secondary education in the biological sciences.”

By stacking the panels with advocates of Creationism, the bodies did “not in any way reflect the distribution of viewpoints within the scientific community.”

First, it would seem that the selection process for reviewers is lacking, at best — politically motivated at worst. Coming into the live review session in Austin, I fully expected that as a doctoral student at the University of Texas at Austin I would be the least-qualified member on the panel. My fears of inadequacy would soon subside; it seems that I was in fact one of only two practicing scientists present; indeed, I was among a small minority of panelists that possessed any post-secondary education in the biological sciences. Given the high interest amongst the scientific community in improving science education in Texas, I doubt that the make-up of the panel reflected the application pool in any way.

In fact, I know that several of my colleagues who hold PhD or equivalent degrees in their respective fields were passed over in the selection process. Instead, we had several well-known creationists and even a Fellow of the Discovery Institute, an Intelligent Design think tank. Beyond the established creationists, apologists for “creation science” were scattered throughout each of the review teams. This does not in any way reflect the distribution of viewpoints within the scientific community. It is impossible to conclude that the teams reviewing textbooks were anything other than grossly skewed and obviously biased.

The net result of having a huge raft of non-scientists on the panels was that rather than checking for factual errors in the texts I was put into the position of having to painstakingly educate other panel members on past and current literature. Somewhat unsurprisingly, a reviewer from another table, who is also a well-known creationist without any training in biology, was quite proud that he was the one reviewing the sections on evolution for his table … with no scientific counterpoint to be had. As a result, even beyond the obviously ideologically-derived comments on the materials many of the comments found littered throughout those reviews make no sense whatsoever from a scientific viewpoint and are absolutely not germane to the content prescribed in the TEKS [Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills].

Secondly, I and other members of my group grew increasingly concerned with both the actions and presence of Chairwoman Barbara Cargill during the review of course materials for high school biology. We appreciated her kind words about our service to the state, but we were taken aback by the sheer amount of time spent with other panel members, especially those who might reasonably be regarded as creationists. From our vantage, Ms. Cargill was clearly trying to steer the independent review process by providing specific guidance and direction to the two other teams. She appeared to be pointing to specific locations within certain texts and encouraging the members of the panel to recommend changes to the publishers. It is our understanding that the review process should be absent of any undue influence from SBOE members.

...

Finally, I have recently been made aware that a reviewer from another team made what appears to be a grossly misrepresentative comment to the publisher. For example, in the review of the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt textbook, an incredible resource, a panel member comments:

I understand the National Academy of Science's strong support of the theory of evolution. At the same time, this is a theory. As an educator and parent, I feel very strongly that "creation science" based on Biblical principles should be incorporated to every Biology book that is up for adoption. It is very important for students to use critical thinking skills and give them the opportunity to weigh the evidence between evolution and "creation science."

This is disturbing for a number of reasons. The author of this comment has obviously not mastered the material contained within the TEKS, especially 2C. With such a gross misunderstanding of science, it is hard to fathom that any other comments the reviewer made would have been helpful or even accurate, and it further underscores the unfortunate skewing of the panels away from real, practicing scientists. Moreover, while I entered into this process hoping to improve it, I now find that my name appears on the final document containing this comment! At no time did I ever sign anything resembling such nonsense. In fact, the author of that comment and I never worked on anything together. I do not know how this inaccurate statement and my name have been paired, but because I am a professional in good standing I strongly ask you to please remove my name from anything that does not have my direct signature when providing materials to the public. To do otherwise is to potentially sully my reputation. In sum, the review process is either broken or corrupt.

In hopes of the former, let’s learn from this and ensure that the next generation of students from our state is equipped with a solid foundation in the biological sciences and can compete globally. Future panel members should be experts in the irrespective fields, preferably practicing scientists up to date on the modern information that students need. If necessary, it might be useful to partition the TEKS to academics and professionals who deal with these topics in their work and research. We should absolutely not see network, mechanical or chemical engineers, dieticians or others making decisions or pressuring publishers to change books on biology. Let biologists do biology. We’re actually pretty good at it.
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