Education or Indoctrination?
Analysis of Textbooks in Alabama

III. Selected Statements from Current Science Textbooks

C. Middle School Integrated and Coordinated Science, and Traditional Life Science

Coordinated Science, Cambridge, 1995, Two Volumes.

The publisher classifies this set as suitable for grades 9 (physics & chemistry) and 10 (physics, chemistry, & biology).

SA Book 2, page 332, Figure 131:2: "How to put on a condom. The air should be squeezed out of the end to catch the semen."

Life Science, Holt Rinehart Winston, 1994.

A traditional text with a major typographic error on page 153 - the last sentence is not completed. This is one of the few books that, while assuming macro-evolution is true, still gives a somewhat correct analysis of what we can know from the fossil record: "The fossil record does not provide all the pieces to the puzzle of evolution. Sometimes there are 'gaps' in the fossil record. Fossils have not been found for every organism that has ever lived on Earth. Since no humans were present, it is impossible for us to know for certain how life originated." (p. 153) Another laudable statement is: "No one can ever know for certain how life first appeared on Earth." (p. 154) This is a refreshing contradiction to the following example of the philosophy of history expressed in several texts: "For example, to ignore all the evidence that mammals evolved from reptiles just because none of us was there to observe the transition would be like denying that the American Revolution happened because none of us saw it." (Biology Concepts and Connections, Campbell, Mitchell, Reece, Benjamin Cummings, Addison-Wesley, 1994, p. 436)

F "They know (scientists) that the more alike the chemical makeup of two organisms is, the more closely the two organisms are related." (p. 182) Again, the theoretical is presented as factual knowledge.

D "Systems of classification have changed and evolved over the years. Why is it important for science to be open to the change and evolution of ideas?" (p. 193) Note how the word "evolution" is used with such a broad meaning that it prepares students to uncritically accept its validity when used in a very limited sense.

F "The closest ancestors to modern humans are ..." (p. 197) The descent of humans from common ancestors of other primates is assumed before the data is examined.

Middle School Science and Technology, BSCS, Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1994.

Patterns of Change (Level A) = Grade 6, Diversity and Limits (Level B = Grade 7), Systems and Change (Level C) = Grade 8.

This program emphasizes the teaching of attitudes, development of process skills, the relationship of social issues to science and technology, the relationship of science with other disciplines, and the organization of the curriculum around unifying themes, rather than topics. Note how the titles of the three grade levels emphasize the key Gestalts needed to thoroughly embrace an evolutionary world view.

P "In the previous investigation, you gathered evidence that bicycles have changed a lot in the past 170 years....In this investigation, you will examine evidence for change in horses." (Level C, p. 108) The text makes an error in analogy when it compares the intelligent design changes in a bicycle with the assumed chance evolutionary changes in the horse. If we are to teach critical thinking we might ask whether it is logical to cite an intelligent, purposeful process as evidence for a non-intelligent, chance process.

E "Mutations can be beneficial, damaging, or neutral." (Level C, p. 166) Mutations are mostly harmful, yet beneficial ones are vital to evolutionary theory. (B)eneficial is listed first, giving the impression that this type of mutation is more common than it is.

D,F "Evolution occurs in systems, objects, ideas, and populations of living organisms." (Level C, p. 166) Note that "evolution" is equated to any type of change, and so loses all meaning as a precise scientific term. This use erroneously elevates the concept of evolution to the status of fact".

Prentice Hall Science - Evolution Change Over Time, Prentice Hall, 1993.

This is one book from a series of books for grades six through eight.

P "As the world's leading expert on fossils, you have been called upon to resolve a growing controversy. Recently, a collection of human bones have been found at the mouth of an ancient river. Grooves on the bones show that they were chewed by a large animal. Near the bones were discovered the tracks of a meat-eating dinosaur. Newspapers throughout the world have declared the find as evidence that people and dinosaurs once lived together and that the dinosaurs hunted and ate people. However, as a scientist, you know that the dinosaurs were extinct for over 60 million years before the first humans evolved on Earth."(p. 28 F. See Appendix G) In this "Problem Solving" exercise, the scientist "knows" the answers before he looks at the data. This is not the type of science inquiry skills we want to teach our children.

F "Living things have evolved through modification of earlier life forms. That is, living things have descended from a common ancestor."(P. 56 F)

F "There is no doubt among scientists, however, that humans evolved from common ancestors they share with other living primates."(p. 78 F)

F "3-2 Section Review 1. What are some adaptations of human ancestors? 2. What evolutionary paths led to modern humans? 3. Which genus was the first hominid to walk upright?"(p. 90 F)

F "Although people in Darwin's time were offended by the notion that humans evolved, most people today accept the idea that humans are members of the primate order and arose from apelike ancestors. Now the controversy centers on how humans have evolved." (Teacher's Edition, p. 76c F) Note that human evolution is treated as fact. Only the mechanism is treated as theory.

Science Insights, Addison Wesley, 1996.

Green = Grades 9-12, Red = Grade 9-12, Blue = Grades 9-12.

Activities are traditional question and answer. Poor "hands-on" integration. This series defines evolution so broadly that the term loses all meaning and is compatible with just about any process.

F "The first humanlike organisms, or hominids appeared between 4 and 8 million years ago... Most early hominid species eventually became extinct. But one species survived to evolve further... The first modern-looking appeared about 100,000 years ago." (Red, p. 306)

F "Similar embryos mean evolutionary relationships. Here, you can see that the embryos of the fish, rabbit, and human are quite similar, even though they look very different as adults." (Green, Figure 8.7, p. 165)

F "All your human features are adaptations that evolved over many millions of years. You share some of these adaptations with animals that have a similar ancestry...The evolutionary history of humans can be traced back from the present through species that are now extinct." (Green, p. 167)

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Copyright © 1995 Norris Anderson. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.
File Date: 12.22.95