In Brief

Texas Evolution Fight Hits Biology Textbooks

figures showing darwinian evolution
Turns out, we have human evolution to thank for our bad backs, dangerous childbirths, sore feet and wisdom teeth pains. (Image credit: imageZebra | Shutterstock)

Evolution is under fire once again in Texas, this time from socially conservative members of the Texas Board of Education.

In a dead-of-night meeting, the board gave initial approval to a widely-used biology textbook published by Pearson, but said final approval would have to wait until outside experts checked "errors" in the book's description of evolution. The board members took issue with statements in the book about the amount of time it took Earth to cool and the portrayal of natural selection as capable of creating new species, because "selection operates as a selective but not a creative force," they said, according to NBC News.

Three board members will now choose the outside experts to assess any changes before the textbooks can be approved. "I believe this process is being hijacked, this book is being held hostage to make political change," board member Thomas Ratliff told NBC News.  What Texas decides on textbooks is a big deal for the country, because the large state's huge market can influence what's sold elsewhere in the country.

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Tia Ghose
Managing Editor

Tia is the managing editor and was previously a senior writer for Live Science. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, and other outlets. She holds a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington, a graduate certificate in science writing from UC Santa Cruz and a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Tia was part of a team at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that published the Empty Cradles series on preterm births, which won multiple awards, including the 2012 Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism.