In a world dominated by magical thinking, superstition and misinformation, give yourself the benefit of doubt. This is one skeptic's view of the Universe.
"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."
“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.
“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”
The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.
That sound you hear is the collective heads of the anti-science lobby exploding. That other sound you hear is their two-year effort to undermine science education in Texas going down the drain.
As we told you late last month, the State Board of Education approved instructional materials in science that could be used in Texas public schools for the better part of the next decade. In all, the board approved materials from nine publishers. But in the case of one of those publishers, Holt McDougal, it did so on the condition that it make changes of so-called “errors” that were based on the objections of a well-known creationist who reviewed the materials.
Holt, of course, tried to hold the line in support of sound science and argued against tainting its product with creationist arguments attacking evolutionary science, and so did TFN, the National Center for Science Education and other mainstream scientists. As a compromise, the board agreed to let Holt work with Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott on any needed changes.
Well, those changes are now in (click here to download a PDF) and so are the reviews. TFN, NCSE and other scientists have reviewed the changes and have found them to be in line with established, fact-based science.
Here’s the head-exploding part for the creationists. Not only does the final version of Holt not include creationist arguments against evolution, but they also include language explicitly affirming Darwin’s theories.
With Holt’s materials finalized, we can now say with certainty that all of the materials approved from the nine publishers are in line with fact-based science and free of creationist attacks seeking to undermine science.
We wonder how the anti-science forces will try to spin this one.
Here’s what TFN President Kathy Miller had to say with respect to Holt’s final product:
The release of Holt McDougal’s finalized materials puts an end to a campaign to undermine science education in Texas that began with the board’s adoption of flawed science curriculum standards two years ago. There is now no doubt that this is an unequivocal victory for sound science. But more importantly, it is a victory for Texas school children who are now assured that their science instruction will be free of political agendas and will instead be solely focused on fact-based science that will prepare them for college and a 21st-century economy.
Not sure if this is a “final” victory for science, but it certainly is a victory!
Well done, Texas. Well done.