I usually don’t respond to many comments on my blog, preferring instead to encourage conversation between readers. I also don’t typically close comments on any of my pieces, so conversations and reactions continue for a long time. Sometimes that takes the discussion in an interesting direction. I think that a few recent comments on my “Dear parents…” piece are worth highlighting, as they provide an excellent window into an ongoing discussion of a very common anti-vaccine argument. Continue reading
I’ve written before about the ongoing battle to maintain decent science standards in Texas schools, and why this is not just a regional issue, but important for science education in the United States as a whole.
Today I went before the Texas State Board of Education to testify in support of the science textbooks currently under review. They’re all quite good on the subject of evolution, but there’s a chance that the board may require the textbook companies to modify them based on the testimony of their so-called experts (whose anti-evolution opinions can be read here). The outcome is very much in doubt right now.
I came expecting this to be a largely symbolic (though important) gesture, but I was completely wrong. The pro-creationism/Intelligent Design crowd was present in force, and even though they were vastly outnumbered by the science advocates, they were given extra time and friendly questions by some SBOE members, which amplified their voices.
This past week, Houston hosted several major players in both the anti- and pro- evolution camps. The Texas Home School coalition had their annual convention on Aug 1-3, and unfortunately chose to invite Ken Ham as a keynote speaker. Ham has a long history of anti-science, anti-evolution advocacy, including recently criticizing Bill Gates’ “Big History” curriculum for teaching evolution.
In response to Ham’s presence at the convention, several groups, including Houston Atheists, Humanists of Houston and Houston Oasis, organized an “Answers in Science” educational event at the Houston Museum of Natural History.