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Thursday, May 05, 2005

Pittsburgh Lawyer to Expose Embarrassing Errors in Science Textbooks

Pittsburgh-based journalist and lawyer Pamela Winnick is flaming annoyed with all the errors in science textbooks—and she can make the Darwinists wait in the lobby while she addresses more basic failures of textbooks first:

“A sloppy way with facts, a preference for the politically correct over the scientifically sound, and sheer faddism characterize their content. It’s as if their authors had decided above all not to expose students to the intellectual rigor that is the lifeblood of science.

“Thus, a chapter on climate in a fifth-grade science textbook in the Discovery Works series, published by Houghton Mifflin (2000), opens with a Native American explanation for the changing seasons: ‘Crow moon is the name given to spring because that is when the crows return. April is the month of Sprouting Grass Moon.’ Students meander through three pages of Algonquin lore before they learn that climate is affected by the rotation and tilt of Earth—not by the return of the crows.

“Houghton Mifflin spokesman Collin Earnst says such tales are included in order to ‘connect science to culture.’ He might more precisely have said to connect science to certain preferred, non-Western, or primitive cultures. Were a connection drawn to, say, a Bible story, the outcry would be heard around the world.”

But it would have to be some other world, right? In this world, no connection would ever be drawn to a Bible story. Thankfully for the supporters of the Bible, professional purveyors of nonsense are legally required to avoid it.

Winnick will shortly publish a book on weirdness in science curriculum, A Jealous God: Science’s Crusade Against Religion. It sounds as though she isn’t taking many prisoners:

“Members of the scientific elite are occasionally heard blaming religion for the sorry state of science education. But it isn’t priests, rabbis, or mullahs who write the textbooks that misrepresent evolution, condescend to disadvantaged groups, misstate key concepts of physics, show the equator running through the United States, and come close to excising white males from the history of science. Young Americans need to learn science, and they need to distinguish it clearly from Algonquin myth.”

I would add, from any kind of myth, including Darwinism. In that regard, Winnick’s comments on the PBS Evolution series are worth a look.

I would not recommend that the bureaucrats try telling Winnick that well-meaning soft soap is good for the soul.

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