Attacks on Science: Predictions for the New Year

2011 will be the year that the phrase “supplemental materials” will emerge at the forefront of the creationism battles. Over the past several years, recommendations that supplemental materials be introduced in public school science classrooms have been part of anti-evolution bills in states across the country as a way to sneak creationist literature into the curriculum. Because they are not subject to the same formal adoption process as official textbooks, supplemental materials used in local school districts could rely on some seriously dubious source matter. (Discovery Institute material, perhaps?) Expect the battles over this issue to take place in Texas and Louisiana.

Because of financial constraints, the Texas Board of Education has decided to delay the adoption process of new science textbooks, which had been scheduled for this spring. Lacking new up-to-date textbooks, school districts may instead use supplemental materials. Outgoing board member and young earth creationist Don McLeroy said last year that the provision allowing supplemental materials is one of his proudest achievements.

Meanwhile, in Louisiana, creationists, led by members of the fundamentalist Christian organization Louisiana Family Forum, have lost their battle to defeat science textbooks that include legitimate science. It’s doubtful that its creationist supporters are just going to accept defeat. So, look for them to try to sneak in anti-evolution supplemental materials into local local school districts.

In other news, keep an eye out for ongoing developments about Kentucky’s planned $150 million Noah’s Ark theme park, which is receiving substantial tax incentives from the state.

Also, get ready in the new year for Congress’ new Republican majority’s touted plans to conduct witch hunts against climate change scientists. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the incoming chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, vowed he will hold hearings on the “Politicization of Science,” to fuel attacks on the reality of climate change.

To paraphrase Bette Davis’ great line in All About Eve, “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”