The battle over biology textbooks in Texas is still going on. I last ranted about this fight back in September but not much has changed in this intellectual mess. An outfit called the Discovery Institute (absolutely no relation to the Discovery television networks – they do real science) is trying to force the publishers of biology textbooks being considered for adoption in Texas to correct the "errors" the Institute sees in the books.
So what’s wrong with that? Who wants a science book that has mistakes in it? Well, the specific "errors" they find are in the sections on evolution and the Institute wants the books to include a "listing of the flaws in the theory of evolution". The unstated goal of the Institute in all this is to have their concept of "intellegent design" included in the books as an alternate "theory" to evolution. A basic read of the Institute’s web site shows that concept to be nothing more than creationism in new wrapping.
Fortunately, science educators in Texas (and most of the publishers) seem to be holding firm in their counter demand that students be taught real science and not science fiction. And their fight is important to more than just Texas students and teachers. Being such a huge buyer of textbooks, second only to California, decisions made in Texas will dictate the materials that will be available in the rest of the country. If the Texas board caves on this matter, look for this pseudo-science showing up in your local schools during the next adoption cycle.
UPDATE (11/2/03): Another view of this issue is in the Sunday Houston Chronicle.