Friday, August 19, 2011

Today's Daily Stat: Creationism in TX schools

Rick Perry claims schools in Texas teach both evolution and creationism

Texas governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry recently told a boy in New Hampshire about his views on evolution and creationism.
"Evolution is a theory that's out there," Perry says crouching down and staring into the eyes of an elementary-school-age child, who stands with his mother's hands on his shoulders.

"It's got some gaps in it," Perry continues, "but in Texas we teach both creationism and evolution..."
Science requires us to reject as fact things that cannot be falsified -- that is, that have no way of being definitively proven true OR false. We are free to believe these things as individuals, but a belief in supernatural forces serves no scientific purpose if it cannot be proven one way or another. How do you provide proof of an invisible being, much less justify teaching it as fact in a school setting?

Conversely, ideas known as theories in science are oftentimes wrongly rejected by many people simply due to their name. A person may hear the word "theory" and assume it's just a made up concept. In fact, theories are well-grounded ideas that are based upon observable evidence that may be alterable from time to time, but the overall idea endures, and is accepted by the scientific community at-large. Other examples of "theories" include Einstein's theory of Relativity and Quantum theory, the latter being utilized in much of the technology that powers your cell phone. Theories, in short, shouldn't be so readily dismissed, unless Rick Perry has some kind of fossil evidence that throws the whole idea out the window.

Aside from Perry's ludicrous notions on scientific theories, he is wrong on another front -- Texas schools don't teach creationism. If the topic comes up in discussions, teachers are permitted to talk about it, but they're not teaching the subject matter as scientific fact or even as an alternative to evolution. And that's today's Daily Stat.

Number of public schools in Texas that teach creationism alongside evolution: zero.

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