Last month, I wrote about the Texas State Board of Education debating the adoption of textbook supplements, some of which had creationist material. As I wrote then, those materials, after much argument, were rejected. Yay!
However, the story wasn't quite done. One of the pro-science supplements was still being held up by a creationist on the Texas BoE, who obviously didn't care for the way evolution was being portrayed... that is, accurately.
The good news is that as of last week, that final supplement has been approved! The creationist's complaints about the supplement have been determined to have been "sufficiently addressed" by the publisher. In fact, the supplement now supports evolution even more strongly. I took a look at the complaints made and the publisher's response (PDF): it's actually a thing of beauty. Where the complaints were minor wording issues, the changes were made. When the creationists made more substantive complaints, talking about the fossil record or genetic differences between humans and chimps, the publisher either did not make changes to weaken the science, or did change the wording to make an even stronger case for evolution!
Fantastic! And this is an important distinction: it's not just a win for science, it's a defeat for those who would try to undermine it.
So, once again, I get to use a graphic I hope I can continue to use in the future:
Still... a gentle reminder of why this battle took so long and had to be fought so hard by scientists, educators, and parents who supported science: the head of the BoE for many years was Don McLeroy, a staunch creationist whose disdain for actual science and evidence-based reality was palpable (read through the links in the Related Posts section below, especially this one). And who appointed him to this position? Texas Governor and now Presidential candidate Rick Perry.
Note that in 2010, when McLeroy's tenure was up, Perry considered another creationist for the position, eventually appointed a third creationist, and when her appointment was up he appointed a fourth creationist, Barbara Cargill. To head the State Board of Education.