Biology textbooks in Okla. to come with disclaimer about evolution
TULSA, Okla. (AP) – An obscure state committee has voted to require that all new biology textbooks carry a disclaimer saying evolution is a ”controversial theory” after one member said not enough attention is paid to alternate explanations of how life began.
The action by the Oklahoma State Textbook Committee makes Oklahoma the latest state to officially challenge the way evolution is taught.
This summer the Kansas Board of Education passed new testing standards, minimizing the importance of evolution. And in October, Kentucky’s Education Department deleted the word ”evolution” from its standards, replacing it with ”change over time.”
The Oklahoma panel is charged with screening textbooks for the state’s 540 public school districts. Districts may purchase only books approved by the committee.
Committee member John Dickmann, who introduced the disclaimer, said it was added because biology texts do not give enough attention to alternate explanations of the development of life.
”Some of us on the committee wanted to send a strong statement to the publishers that we are fed up with textbooks that only present one side of the story,” said Dickmann, a middle school teacher.
The theory of evolution holds that today’s species evolved from more primitive ones. Some people think creationism should be taught in schools. Creationism is the belief that a divine power created the universe in six days.
State Superintendent Sandy Garrett expressed deep annoyance at the panel’s action and said, ”We are concerned … and are looking into it further.”