Re: textbooks

Tom Pearson (
Tue, 02 Dec 1997 13:11:20 -0600 (CST)

At 12:24 AM 12/2/97 -0600, Bill Payne wrote:

>"It may be true, but it's not science."
>In this way, true events are shifted into a category of non-science, or
>fairy tales for the uninformed and uneducated. This defining away the
>competition of atheism is very subtle and having a disastrous impact on
>our culture.

Is everything that counts as "non-science" to be identified with
"fairy tales for the uninformed and uneducated"? You must have an
extraordinarily broad definition of science, if whatever falls outside of
science is thus relegated to the ashheap of "fairy tales." Are there no
"non-scientific" truths? This strikes me as a false alternative.
If the Biblical account of creation is true, it would be true even
if it had a disastrous impact on our culture. If some current version of
evolutionary theory is true, it would be true even if it, too, had some
disastrous impact on our culture. The secondary effects of a theory are not
the fundamental criteria on which the truth or falsity of the theory is
assessed. Otherwise, those who long ago voiced alarm at the social
consequences of the demise of the geocentric view of the universe may well
have been right; non-geocentrism was a bad idea (true, nonetheless). Are
you suggesting that we embrace our scientific theories on the basis of
theological rectitude and social utility? And would the answer to that
question be considered a "non-scientific" truth?

Tom Pearson

Thomas D. Pearson
Department of History & Philosophy
The University of Texas-Pan American
Edinburg, Texas

>> At 04:12 PM 12/1/97 -0400, David Campbell wrote:
>> I haven't seen any (high school or college) biology textbook in a long
>> time, but do they really say things that amount to "people used to think
>> some God created all these things, but now we know evolution did it and
>> God is nowhere in the picture"? If so, then there is a big problem,
>> though the Alabama inserts don't strike me as a good solution.
>During the textbook adoption process, the Univ. of South Alabama did a
>survey and found that 63% of Alabamians believe "God created man pretty
>much in his present form within the last 10,000 years." The "You are an
>animal, and share a common heritage with earthworms" quote below didn't
>play too well here. I video taped the State School Board meeting the
>day they voted on the textbooks; it was a scream to watch the war games,
>and very humbling to see how the hand of our God moved to give us a
>victory that day. Norris Anderson was on the State Textbook Review
>Committee and produced a summary of his findings which may be referenced
>The following is a brief snip from that site:
>BIOLOGY, VISUALIZING LIFE, Johnson, Holt Rinehart Winston, 1994.
>Chapter 1 gives the impression this is a health rather than a biology
>course. Illustrations are well
>integrated into text. Very heavy on dealing with environmental problems.
>Evolution runs throughout
>entire text. 76 pages, or 9%, is listed under "evolution" in the index.
>Origins is presented as fact.
>P "Life's building blocks can form spontaneously." (p. 200) Note: No
>spontaneous (without human
>intervention) production of either building blocks or life has been
>observed. Note how this statement
>contrasts with the following: "Laboratory simulations cannot establish
>that the kind of chemical
>evolution that has been described here actually created life on the
>primitive Earth...The origin of life
>remains a matter of scientific speculation..." (BIOLOGY, Campbell,
>Benjamin/Cummings Publishing
>Company, Addison-Wesley, 1993, p. 511)
>F "Soon after the Earth's surface cooled, life arose in the ancient
>seas. The first organisms to appear
>on the planet were bacteria, which are single-celled prokaryotes. These
>early bacteria are the
>ancestors of modern bacteria and of all the many different kinds of
>organisms living today, including
>you." (p. 203)
>F "You are an animal, and share a common heritage with earthworms and
>dinosaurs, butterflies and
>sea stars.
>(p. 453) This is the introduction to Unit 5, Animal Kingdom.