Diagram representing the divergence of species
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The Dallas News website reports (Split vote upholds Texas education board ruling to ax evolution ‘strengths and weaknesses’ rule) that the creationist threat to science education in Texas may have been averted.

A last-ditch effort by social conservatives to require that Texas teachers cover the “weaknesses” in the theory of evolution in science classes was rejected by the State Board of Education Thursday in a split vote.

Board members deadlocked 7-7 on a motion to restore a long-time curriculum rule that “strengths and weaknesses” of all scientific theories – notably Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution – be taught in science classes and covered in textbooks for those subjects.

If true, this means that Don McLeroy’s manipulations may have been thwarted.  Celebration may be premature, as a final vote will be held on Friday (but the news report indicates it’s unlikely to change).

Update: Associated Press reports that

“Publishers are waiting to hear what to put in their textbooks,” said Dan Quinn, a spokesman for the watchdog group Texas Freedom Network.

In approving a handful of amendments Thursday, the board “slammed the door on creationism, then ran around the house opening up all the windows to let it in another way,” Quinn said. “We hope the vote tomorrow will reverse a lot of that.”

In one amendment, the board agreed to require high school biology students to “analyze and evaluate the sufficiency or insufficiency of natural selection to explain the complexity of the cell.”

Board member Don McLeroy said his amendment was intended “to account for that amazing complexity. I think it’s a standard that makes it honest with our children.”

So perhaps Devious Don will get his own way after all…

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