Evolution is a matter of heated debate and contention in the state of Texas.It always has been, and a recent decision by the state Board of Education does little to suggest that it won't always be.
After a year of debate, the board has eliminated a single word from the state curriculum.
The word is "evaluate." Texas previously mandated that students not only learn and understand Darwinian evolution, but also evaluate the theory.A plain reading of the curriculum suggests that students were encouraged or required to question the theory of evolution - which provides a back door for the teaching of creationism.
Advocates of "evaluate" say that the word encourages the spirit of scientific inquiry, in which every theory should be subjected to scrutiny from all angles.
The Texas Board of Education deliberated over the word for a year, and finally decided that "evaluate" had to go.
The curriculum change does not prohibit the teaching of creationism.Texas science teachers have a lot of leeway to bring alternative theories into the classroom.Veering into creationism or faith-based alternatives to science is still common.
Yet the new curriculum says in black-and-white that biological evolution is to be taught in high school biology classes.