Closed Minds on State Board of Education?

RECEIVED Mon., Aug. 11, 2003

Dear Chronicle:
    I'm a Texas certified biology teacher, and I testified against the addition of intelligent design to Texas textbooks at the July 9 SBOE hearing. I'm shocked that board member Terri Leo, in her letter in your Aug. 1 edition, would accuse the 27 people who spoke against religion in science textbooks of "ranting." I can see no indication of the pro-evolution speakers "ranting" in the hearing transcript. Ms. Leo seems to think that adding religion-based theories to textbooks wasn't an issue at the hearing and that the 27 "ranting" evolutionists (many of whom teach at Texas schools) were delusional about the issues on July 9. But in response to the hearing, Holt-Rhinehart-Winston publishers have proposed a change in their biology textbook that would send students to resources on unscientific, religion-based theories. It seems we weren't delusional after all.
    Ms. Leo shouldn't be accusing anyone of misquoting, when she misquoted David Hillis during the hearing, saying that he testified that the human genome project supports evolutionary theory. Although Dr. Hillis never mentioned the human genome project, Ms. Leo and Raymond Bohlin (an Intelligent Design advocate) discussed this at length. Probably this was not intentional misquoting on Ms. Leo's part, but rather an indication that she didn't listen to, or didn't understand, Dr. Hillis' testimony.
    For a Texas SBOE member to speak so ill of the heartfelt testimony of Texas teachers, scientists, and concerned citizens, and to accuse others of misquoting without addressing her own errors, shakes my faith in our school board. I hope that in the future, Ms. Leo will listen more carefully, and will refrain from using such negative language against Texans who care about providing a strong science curriculum for our children, even if she doesn't agree with what they say.
Amanda Walker
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