Alabama science textbooks will continue telling children that the theory of evolution is "controversial" even though this claim is not true, AL.com reports.
The state board of education voted to keep this one-page disclaimer in biology textbooks, a move advocated by conservative Christians. The insert reads, in part:
The theory of evolution by natural selection is a controversial theory that is included in this textbook. It is controversial because it states that natural selection provides the basis for the modern scientific explanation for the diversity of living things. Since natural selection has been observed to play a role in influencing small changes in a population, it is assumed that it produces large changes, even though this has not been directly observed.
The decision to keep the disclaimer in the textbooks was blasted by the Friendly Atheist blog.
"The only reason it’s there is not because there’s any scientific reason for it, but because ignorant Christians in the state want to discredit evolution in any way they can," writes Hemant Mehta. "Since the facts aren’t on their side, they’ll use politics to get their way. And the Board of Education, setting aside what’s best for students in the state, voted unanimously to keep the one-page disclaimer in there."
Similar efforts were also blasted by the ACLU last year.
“This is a thinly-veiled attempt to open the door to religious fanatics who don’t believe in evolution, climate change or other scientifically-based teaching in our schools,” the ACLU's Alabama chapter director, Susan Watson, said last year.
It's far from the only time state lawmakers have tried to undermine the teaching of science. Last year, Republican state Rep. Mack Butler introduced legislation that would allow public school teachers to teach religion, as a means to "encourage debate if a student has a problem learning he came from a monkey rather than an intelligent design!"