Monday, December 05, 2005


Profiles in Corporate Courage

A controversy is shaping up in South Florida over what textbook will be used in first-year biology classes in Broward and Miami-Dade public schools. One book under consideration is Biology: The Dynamics of Life published by Glencoe, a division of McGraw-Hill.

Nikki Waller of the Miami Herald reports that page 388 of the biology text reads, "common to human cultures throughout history is the belief that life on earth did not arise spontaneously. Many of the world's major religions teach that life was created on Earth by a supreme being.''

A teacher's manual that accompanies the book suggests instructors organize an in-class debate on the origins of life, writes Waller.

Textbook publishers have proven time and again they will bow to the demands of right-wing school boards in order to sell their books. This is not a new development, but it bears watching. Otherwise we may find that, under the pressure of the radical right, what we win in places like Dover will be diluted by publishers who decide to crib their biology textbooks from Of Pandas and People.

The new Darwin exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History is going ahead without a corporate sponsor -- no corporation was willing to step forward. In fact, as Chris Mooney, author of the Republican War on Science points out, many corporations have enlisted -- along side the religious right -- in the fight to cast doubt on science.


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