|Back to December Ed Reporter|
|NUMBER 191||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||DECEMBER 2001|
Warning: 'Controversial Theory' Presented Here|
Alabama adopts textbook insert
"This is a very positive development," says Eunie Smith, president of Alabama Eagle Forum, one of several pro-family groups that strongly supported the disclaimer. "We were pleased and gratified that the insert was adopted and that there was so little opposition."
Textbooks submitted for consideration in Alabama are required to conform to the state-approved course of study. "Regrettably," writes educator and textbook reviewer Norris Anderson, "biology textbooks submitted this year fail to comply with this reasonable directive for the teaching of origins."
Anderson states that biology textbooks "are written in order to convince students that Darwin was right. They present Darwinian evolution as the most important central, unifying, and productive idea in biological science." Yet the most common examples used to "prove" evolution have been disproven, such as "Darwin's Finches." (See "Ten Questions to Ask Your Biology Teacher. . . ..")
The Alabama Department of Educa-tion's science expert, Robin Long, distributed a list noting erroneous inclusions in new biology textbooks to members of the state textbook committee. His list showed that 11 of the 14 adoptable textbooks contain the notorious "Darwin's Finches" example. Twelve books present the discredited "vertebrate embryos" as evidence of common ancestry, and all but one (Fearon's Biology, Globe Fearon, 1998) present at least two disproven "icons" of evolution.
Poll/Scientists Support Insert
In addition, 100 scientists from across the United States and several other countries, representing the fields of biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, geology, anthropology, and others, signed the statement: "I am skeptical of the claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged." The signers included professors and researchers from Princeton, MIT, the University of Pennsylvania, Tulane, and the National Laboratories at Livermore, California and Los Alamos, New Mexico.
Among Alabama's scientific community, 83 members supported the adoption of a "meaningful textbook insert," in light of current textbook deficiencies and presentations of discredited information.
"There are two important questions we need to be asking in this debate," asserts Eunie Smith. "First, why are there no transitional forms between phyla in the fossil record? Secondly, how did all living things come to possess such a complete and complex set of 'instructions' for building a living body? These questions need to be widely presented and thoroughly explored."
In 1996, Alabama became the first and only state to place a disclaimer sticker in public school textbooks warning students of the controversial nature of the evolution theory. However, the issue has been debated in other states as well, including Arizona, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.