A couple of our readers have pointed to an example of how the debate over science education has divided conservative ranks. Joel Walker is a candidate for the local school board in College Station, home of Texas State Board of Education chairman Don McLeroy. While we can’t endorse Mr. Walker’s candicacy, we found his perspective on science education refreshing. If you want to read a self-described conservative Republican’s defense of sound science education, check this out.
The proponents of [“intelligent design”] are generally careful to avoid explicit religious language, and often cast themselves as the protectors of science, innocuously seeking to probe the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolutionary biology and big-bang cosmology in an open minded manner. Certainly science embraces skepticism, but there is a deep flaw in the vision of science which is being advocated. Skepticism in the face of a preponderance of evidence is only unreasonable doubt.
Admitting some few exceptions, the considered verdict on these matters among active researchers in the relevant fields is settled, with a statistical weight approaching unanimity. It is inappropriate to ask our high school students to sit in their judgment; we must first simply educate them as to what has been learned. Surely the ultimate truths of science are not up for, nor are ever settled by, a vote of men. As a practical matter however, the science standards of our state are up for vote once each decade. An entrenched mindset bordering on reflexive antipathy to the opinions of our most distinguished scholars has no place on our State Board of Education.