In July we told you about Dr. David Shorrman, author of The Exchange of Truth: Liberating the World From the Lie of Evolution and a member of the state biology panel making recommendations to the Texas Board of Education.
Turns out, Shorrman (pictured to the left) was riding in the vanguard of the Board of Ed's frontal assault on science. Hewing suspiciously close (read: verbatim) to a separate review he authored, the panel made a number of evolution-related challenges to publisher Holt McDougal's biology supplement. To resolve the issues, the board ordered Holt to work directly with the state education commish.
We thought it strange that an avowed evolution denier had such outsize influence on the shaping of biology texts and our kids' impressionable minds.
Fear not. For once, it appears reason has prevailed in the Lone Star State.
The nuttier suggestions are on the cutting-room floor, along with Adam and Eve and their hadrosaurus mounts, according to the Texas Freedom Network.
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For example, Shorrman challenged a lab activity where students compare the hominid skulls of chimpanzees and humans. Genetically speaking, there's a 30-percent difference between humans and chimps, he argued, citing a study in the journal Nature. But he grossly misinterpreted the article, which found a 30-percent difference in the makeup of the "male-specific region of the Y-chromosome." Otherwise, the difference is less than one percent.
The activity stays, the commissioner ruled.
Next, Shorrman took aim at a section on the evolving morphology of whales from land mammals to cetaceans. Since there isn't a complete skeleton of the long-extinct "Walking Whale," how could we possibly make any such hypothesis, he argued. But, as Holt pointed out, a complete fossil record is a rarity, but through knowledge of whale morphology and the fossils we have, we can make damn good informed guesses. Been doing it for years!
Another miss. In fact, the text will expound upon the chronic incompleteness of the fossil record. This is progress, right?