New York Times Error about "Strengths and Weaknesses" Mutates and Spreads - Evolution News & Views

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New York Times Error about "Strengths and Weaknesses" Mutates and Spreads

As previously pointed out, the New York Times botched its recent story about the science standards debate in Texas, implying that support for covering the "strengths and weaknesses" of evolution is supposedly a new strategy on the part of Darwin critics. The only problem is that the "strengths and weaknesses" language in the Texas science standards was already included some 10 years ago in 1998 when the existing science standards were adopted, and so there is nothing new about it. (Indeed, the language itself derives from the 1980s, before the current sciences standards.) More importantly, the debate over whether to teach both the strengths and weaknesses of Darwinian evolution has been going on across the nation for the past decade.

Now, however, New Scientist's Celeste Biever (yes, Celeste Biever, secret agent) has botched the story even further. She asserts that

this summer, the Texas state education board will decide whether the "strengths and weaknesses" of evolution should be taught in public schools.

...critics say it is a new strategy taking shape across the nation to undermine the teaching of evolution, a way for students to hear religious objections under the heading of scientific discourse...

Changing the language to dodge the law is an age-old tradition for the anti-evolution movement.... [emphasis added]

Poor Celeste is even more fact-challenged than usual. She seems to think that the Texas Board of Education is debating whether to add strengths and weaknesses language to its science standards. In fact, the language has been in the current standards for a decade! The debate is about whether to remove the language, and the people trying to "change" the language are the Darwinists.

If reporters like Biever can't even get such basic facts straight, no wonder they have a hard time reporting accurately on the scientific debate over evolution and intelligent design.