Monday, February 27, 2006


Holt Biology -- Dumbing Down Evolution

As we noted in a series of earlier posts, Broward County, Florida teachers were forced to choose between two biology textbooks. One mentions intelligent design the other leaves out evolution. Rather than teach ID the teachers chose the text that leaves out evolution.

When we first wrote about this issue, we asked readers familiar with the Holt Biology text (the one that was adopted in Broward County) to let us know what's in the Discovery Institute influenced Holt text.

Now an RSR reader, who is also a high school science teacher who opposed adoption of the same Holt Biology text in her own district has provided a transcription of the text:

From a "Did You Know?" sidebar:
Radioactive dating is not always accurate. For instance, as heat and pressure are applied to a rock and water flows through it, soluble radioactive materials can escape from the minerals in the rock. Because there is often no method for measuring how much radioactive material is lost, it is difficult to accurately date some older rocks than have been heated and put under pressure or that are partly weathered.

Here's how the text, while not distorting facts, subtly echoes creationist and intelligent design arguments for sudden emergence based on evidence from the Cambrian explosion:
The [Burgess] shale fossils reveal that the earliest multicellular animals included a much broader range of body plans than expected, ­ some so different that they cannot be classified into any group of modern animals. These conclusions about Cambrian life-forms are supported by recent discoveries in China, Australia, and Greenland. Scientists have unearthed similarly diverse and complex fossils dating back to the beginning of the Cambrian period, 500 million years ago. Thus, it appears that a high level of diversity and complexity developed in animals in a relatively short span of geologic time.

Note: As these citations were hand transcribed by our sources from the text, it is possible there may be minor transcription errors.


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