We write to express our concern about the proposed changes to the Biology Textbook under consideration for adoption by the Texas State Board of Education. We urge you not to adopt the changes proposed by the Discovery Institute, because doing so will undermine the presentation of information about evolution.
At the public hearings conducted over the summer, several prominent scientists from Texas testified that the proposed changes have absolutely no scientific validity. There is every reason to accept their judgment, which represents mainstream scientific thinking, rather rely on a statement organized by the Discovery Institute, whose mission is to alter how biology is taught in public schools. The Institute’s ultimate goal is the promotion of an ideological agenda, not the promotion of scientific knowledge. Indeed, only four of the forty scientists who signed the original statement from the Discovery Institute actually work in the field of biology.
Textbooks should reflect the thinking of those most knowledgeable in a particular field, not self-appointed experts and watchdogs. Unless textbooks are created through an independent scholarly process, high quality education is at serious risk. Textbooks should be immune from ideological warfare.
You will set a dangerous precedent if you accept the proposed changes. Controversy over the presentation of information about evolution is not new, and is unlikely to go away any time soon. Accommodating complaints that, however couched, invariably represent an effort to impose a particular ideology on the teaching of science, merely invites additional demands for accommodation, diminishes the quality of education, and compromises the integrity of the scholarship presented in textbooks. We strongly urge you not to accede to such demands.
Joan E. Bertin, Executive Director
National Coaltion Against Censorship