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FW: And It's Not Just Dover ... Textbook committee rejects elementary books on evolution

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  • Popplestone, Ann
    ... From: Steven A. Edinger [mailto:Steven.Edinger.1@Ohio.edu] Sent: Thursday, November 03, 2005 5:45 PM To: Science Education Subject: And It s Not Just Dover
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 3, 2005
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      -----Original Message-----
      From: Steven A. Edinger [mailto:Steven.Edinger.1@...]
      Sent: Thursday, November 03, 2005 5:45 PM
      To: Science Education
      Subject: And It's Not Just Dover ... Textbook committee rejects
      elementary books on evolution

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      >From the Kansas City Star at <http://www.kansascity.com/>

      Posted on Thu, Oct. 27, 2005


      Textbook committee rejects elementary books on evolution


      Associated Press

      MONTGOMERY, Ala. - The state textbook committee Thursday recommended
      dozens of
      science textbooks to be approved by the state school board for Alabama
      students, but rejected three elementary-level books for containing
      material on
      evolution which was deemed "controversial" for that age group.

      The books were considered supplementary readers, meaning they could not
      be used
      as the sole textbook in the science curriculum, said Ron Dodson, a
      member of
      the committee, who presented the recommendations to the school board.

      Each of the three elementary books rejected contained "controversial
      material
      at a grade level that is not developmentally ready for such
      controversial
      material," according to a series of Sept. 28 memos sent to school board
      members. The books also didn't meet the state's science guidelines and
      were not
      "appropriate for the maturity level of the age group" they were
      targeting, the
      memos said.

      The book "Geologic Time" (Perfection Learning Company) was rejected for
      an
      illustrated diagram that shows humans evolving from apes. Similarly,
      "Reptiles"
      (Heinemann-Raintree Classroom), incorporates two pages on reptiles
      evolving
      from amphibians. "Orangutan" (Heinemann-Raintree Classroom) discusses
      natural
      selection - a key part of the evolutionary theory.

      The board is scheduled to vote on the recommendations next month.

      The committee also rejected a high school science textbook titled
      "General
      Science" (AGS Publishing), saying it did not meet graduation criteria
      for
      biology and physical science standards.

      The 23-member committee, which includes 14 educators, was unanimous in
      its
      recommendations, Dodson said.

      The committee made its recommendations with the stipulation that high
      school
      biology textbooks would continue to carry a disclaimer which describes
      evolution as "a controversial theory" in the first paragraph and says in
      the
      second paragraph that any statement about the origin of life is "not
      fact."

      The purpose of the disclaimer is to give room to teachers who want to
      discuss
      alternative theories, namely creationism.

      All the textbooks were available for public review, though the committee
      received only one objection. Don McDonald, a sociologist at Troy
      University,
      Montgomery, in a Sept. 14 letter said the biology book, "Exploring Life"
      (Prentice Hall), offered "nothing other than a full endorsement of
      Darwinian
      evolution."

      "This is at best a waste of taxpayers' money and at worst a numbing of
      student
      minds," his letter reads in part, suggesting that the committee instead
      recommend "Prentice Hall Biology" (Prentice Hall).

      The committee recommended both of those books and more than a dozen
      other
      biology books to the school board.

      While evolution has sparked heated debate in past meetings, most school
      board
      members had little to say Thursday about the content of the books. They
      instead
      praised the committee for evaluating each book "from scratch" rather
      than
      taking the publishers' word that they correlated with Alabama's new
      course of
      science studies.

      However, after the meeting, school board member Betty Peters said she
      had hoped
      to see the textbooks discuss alternative theories of life, including
      creationism and intelligent design, in addition to evolution. She said
      that
      despite the disclaimer, many teachers are still afraid to teach about
      theories
      that are not included in textbooks.

      Intelligent design supporters argue that natural selection, an element
      of
      evolutionary theory, cannot fully explain the origin of life or the
      emergence
      of highly complex life forms.

      "I'm not saying advocate it, just open it for discussion," Peters said.

      ON THE NET

      The textbook committee's recommendations can be viewed under the
      "Special
      Links" category on the Alabama Department of Education Web site,
      http://www.alsde.edu






      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      --------

      (c) 2005 AP Wire and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.
      http://www.kansascity.com




      Please see the Ohio Citizens for Science's web page at:


      http://OhioScience.org



      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      ---
      Steven A. Edinger, Physiology Lab Instructor

      064 Irvine Hall
      Department of Biological Sciences
      steven.edinger.1@...
      Ohio University Office: (740) 593-9484
      Athens, Ohio 45701-2979 Fax: (740) 593-0300
      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      ---

      ******************************************************
      "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of
      evolution." Theodosius Dobzhansky, 1973
      ******************************************************




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      ******************************************************
      "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of
      evolution." Theodosius Dobzhansky, 1973
      ******************************************************
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