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The Texas Blue
Advancing Progressive Ideas

Texas Is The New Kansas?

"If this program wins approval ... Texas will replace Kansas as the laughingstock of the nation."

Robert Curl, a Nobel laureate in chemistry and emeritus professor at Rice University, was speaking of the proposal submitted to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating board by the Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research which would authorize them to award a degree in science education.

The institute's curriculum for the proposed science degree is heavily flavored with Christian references and creationism, which ascribes the origin of matter and species to God. Institute documents on file at the coordinating board say graduates of the program would be able to "design science lesson plans from the creationist worldview" and "refute evolution."

The obvious assault on the scientific method aside, the proposal also poses a problem for the recruitment of high-quality researchers to the state to continue its push for cutting-edge cancer research.

Whither the Simmons

I'd love to know what Harold and Annette Simmons, multi-million dollar benefactors to UT Southwestern, think about this kind of stuff.

My hunch is that you can build all the world-class facilities you want, but if you officially sanction turning your state's culture into something out of a Monty Python movie, you'll never be able to recruit the kind of world-class talent you need to make those facilities worthwhile.

On the other hand, perhaps there's a significant-enough division between the research world and public education in general that it won't make a difference. Maybe we can turn our science classrooms into testbeds for Aesop's Fables and it won't have any impact on the medical/biological research community. I highly doubt that, though.

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