AAS ACTION ALERT 2003-06
[Mailed to US members from aas.org at 10:15am 20 OCTOBER 2003]
The American Institute of Physics, in partnership with many of its member societies is asking that members in Texas consider signing on to the letter given below.
Kevin B. Marvel
Deputy Executive Officer
American Astronomical Society
Here is the request for action from the AIP:
On November 10, the Texas Board of Education will vote to approve science textbooks that Texas students will use for the next several years. A religiously-affiliated group has been challenging the inclusion of the well- accepted, peer-reviewed theory of evolution.
Their ultimate goal is to force the teaching of the doctrine of intelligent design -- an unknown and unknowable creator fashioned the world deliberately -- on an equal footing with evolution, and their first step in doing this is to weaken arguments for evolution in current textbooks. The proponents of intelligent design do shoddy science, but trade on the general lack of knowledge about science to confuse the public.
This issue is important to physicists because the argument is not just about evolution, it's about nonscientists with an agenda invading the science classroom. Don't allow good science to replaced in textbooks or in the public's mind.
Please sign on to the letter (below) from Texas scientists to the Texas State Board of Education, encouraging them to choose only textbooks with strong, well- accepted science and without a weakened description of evolution. Please sign on by sending your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org. The last day for signatures is November 1.
The letter will also be circulated to media outlets. This letter is consistent with unanimously passed statements by the American Physical Society (APS), the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the American Astronomical Society (AAS), the Optical Society of America (OSA) and the American Institute of Physics (AIP).
Future generations will thank you.
For more information--
Four Texas Nobelists Agree:
Don't Mess with Textbooks
(Op-ed in the Dallas Morning News)
Texas Mulls How Biology
Should Be Taught
(AP, via Fort Worth Star-Telegram) http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/nation/6746752.htm
Here is the letter:
November 1, 2003
Dear Board of Education
As scientists and teachers who live and work in Texas, we write to urge the Texas State Board of Education to choose only textbooks that present accepted, peer-reviewed science and pedagogical expertise. We believe that such a process leads to strong curricula of the highest quality, accuracy, and pedagogical appropriateness.
An institution known for promoting the inclusion of religious tenets in science curricula is trying to water down the strong, peer-reviewed science in the textbooks and to influence the Board of Education to choose these unacceptable books.
At a time when our nation's welfare increasingly depends on technology, it has never been more important for students to understand the basic ideas of modern science. Evolution is not a belief, a hunch, or an untested hypothesis; it has been extensively tested and repeatedly verified. Any dilution in textbooks of the overwhelming scientific evidence for evolution should sound an alarm to every parent and teacher.
We urge you to continue supporting high standards in Texas science textbooks and not to be swayed by misleading information. Your diligence will ensure that Texas students will be better equipped for higher education and the workplace.
Very Truly Yours,
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