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1  Rene Nunez 
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2  Mary Helen Berlanga
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3  Michael Soto  
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4  Lawrence A. Allen, Jr.

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5  Ken Mercer
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6  Terri Leo
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7  David Bradley
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Common Biology Textbook Errors

Top - TEKS 3A - HS vs. AP - Book Errors - Polling Data - Officials - Links
Darwin's Finches - Macro vs Micro Evolution - Peppered Moths - Miller-Urey Experiment - Haeckel's Embryos - Fossil Record Problems


The "strengths and weaknesses" language has been in Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills" (TEKS) since their first adoption in 1998.  The phrase has been used, according to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) since at least 1988 to guide textbook publishers.

The language was adopted by a Democratic party controlled State Board of Education (SBOE) chaired led by Will Davis.

The language has never even been challenged by groups such as the ACLU.

Most current SBOE members have voted for the language at least once before.

A scientifically conducted Zogby poll found that the VAST MAJORITY of Texans across all political parties, education levels, socio-economic demographics, and beliefs regarding origins favor the teaching of both strengths and weaknesses of theories.



The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), adopted by the State Board of Education, (SBOE) states that:

“The student is expected to analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations, including hypotheses and theories, as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information.”[1]  

This rule, which carries the force of law, was specifically adopted so that publishers and teachers would be encouraged to present students with strengths and weaknesses of evolutionary theory, without necessarily mandating the teaching of what has been called intelligent design or creation science.  However, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has largely ignored this rule, and some reports have indicated that the TEA instructed citizen review panels to consider the strengths and weaknesses criteria to have been met if a single example could be found in the textbook anywhere that discussed a weakness of any theory, rather than the intent of having most theories and hypotheses, particularly those dealing with biologic evolution, so treated.

Evolution, contrary to the sound bites of groups like the National Center for Science Education, has numerous critics, even within the evolutionist community.  A list of forty-four peer reviewed articles detailing some of the weaknesses of the theories (there isn't just a single 'theory of evolution'), is located here.  This list was presented (July 9th) to the Texas State Board of Education.

Additional information is coming soon.


[1]   From  the TEA, TEKS requirement for Biology, grades 9-12, as published in section 112.43 (b)(3)(A) on the TEA website URL http://www.tea.state.tx.us/textbooks/proclamations/proc2001v1.pdf


Top - TEKS 3A - HS vs. AP - Book Errors - Polling Data - Officials - Links


HS vs. AP Books

There are two different classes of books being considered this year.  These are referred to as 'high school' and 'advanced placement' textbooks, which are intended for college credit courses being taught in the high schools.  The HS books, which constitute most of the book sales in Texas schools, are the ones that the TEKS 3A refers to.

Book Errors

Numerous examples of known errors can be found in today's textbooks, and many or most of these errors can be found in the new books being considered for adoption.  Some of these errors are the result of additional research and science showing the original results were in error or were no longer relevant to origin of life and life's diversity issues.  Some were simply bad science at the time they became entrenched in textbooks.  Still others were outright frauds.

A summary article about numerous common errors is located here.

Some Common Errors--------------------------------------

   Peppered Moths article here

   Miller-Urey Experiment
The widely reported experiment by Miller and Urey, sometimes referred to as the "Miller Experiment", was conducted in the 1950's.  At that time, under 'just so' assumptions made in order to make the chemistry work, the early earth's atmosphere was assumed to be essentially free of oxygen.  In the well known experiment, that Carl Sagan popularized as having produced the 'stuff of life', gases of the assumed early earth atmosphere were put in a closed apparatus, electrical discharge arcs were passed through the circulating gases, and products were trapped out and analyzed.  Some organic molecules resulted, including a few amino acids.  Most products were similar to tar.

However, geochemical evidence dating back at least two decades now confirms an abundance of oxygen in the early atmosphere.  Practically speaking, this alone relegates the Miller Urey experiment to an interesting chemical demonstration, but being irrelevent to chemical origin of life discussions, since the oxygen would not permit the reactions to take place and survive. 

Amino acids cannot be formed and survive in an oxygen rich environment. Hence, Miller and Urey forced their experimentally designed 'atmosphere' to contain no free oxygen, as was the common belief of their day. However, evidence from the geologic record now confirm that the early earth contained significant amounts of oxygen, and that the earlier accepted model of a reducing atmosphere (oxygen poor) was false.

The experimental design, while at the time praised as innovative, incorporated an amino acid 'trap'. The function of this 'trap' was to try and preserve any possibly created amino acids before they would be destroyed by the various chemicals in the apparatus. While successful in trapping some amino acids, this is now recognized as not being analogous to the real natural world - there are no known or even hypothesized protective traps observed in nature.

Last, the amino acids produced by the experiment, most of which were non life relevant tars, were racemic, or an approximately equal ratio of dextro- and levo- (right and left handed) molecular arrangement, called chirality. However, amino acids in living organisms are 100% left handed. Racemic mixtures of amino acids are actually toxic to life, not the 'stuff of life' as originally announced.

Evolutionary biologists and origin of life researchers now recognize the Miller Urey experiment as an interesting but largely now unimportant experiment.

Some proposed textbooks make statements like, "Miller and Urey's experiments showed that under the proposed conditions on the early Earth, small organic molecules, such as amino acids, could form."

This statement, while technically accurate, is highly misleading in that the conditions on the early Earth were NOT as modeled in the experiment. The caption should be changed to read, "Miller and Urey showed that some amino acids could be produced under certain laboratory conditions. However, geoscientists now do not believe those conditions selected for use in the laboratory are representative of the early Earth atmosphere."

   Haeckel's Embryos Fraud here

The saga of the “Haeckel” embryos continues.  Briefly, a German embryologist name Ernst Haeckel, overzealous in trying to support Charles Darwin in the late 1800’s, published what he said were drawings of embryos.  Darwin later said they were the very best evidence for evolution.   There was a slight problem.  They were faked. 

Some publishers have made substantial improvements from prior years’ editions regarding embryos.  This fully debunked idea of “embryonic recapitulation” or “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” stems essentially from drawings originally constructed by Haeckel in the late 1800's.  He originally posited that as embryos develop in the womb or egg, they essentially retraced their supposed evolutionary history.

Fig. H-1 - Haeckel, 1874 (top) – Starr & Taggart, proposed 2004 (bottom)




Note that in the late 1800’s, embryologists were already aware of the faked drawings, and openly accused Haeckel of scientific fraud.  More recently, embryologists have discovered that the idea of embryonic recapitulation is also untrue.  Yet, Darwinian thought police still maintain that it is OK to use embryos in the books.  The scientists disagree.  To quote Harvard’s late atheist - Marxist - evolutionist Stephen J. Gould, perhaps one of the most outspoken proponents of the ‘punctuated equilibrium’ flavor of evolution until his recent death, said:

"We do, I think, have the right to be both astonished and ashamed by the century of mindless recycling that has led to the persistence of these drawings in a large number, if not a majority, of modern textbooks."  [emphasis added]

Fig. H-2 - From Biology Sixth Edition (2004, proposed) by Raven and Johnson (color), overlaid with Haeckel’s 1874 drawings (in black)

It is not merely the faked drawings that are the problem, but the whole concept of embryology ‘proving’ evolution that is wrong.  (Most publishers have NOT yet addressed this, even if they have removed or changed Haeckel’s drawings).  

A second problem with the comparison of embryos is that Haeckel selectively chose both species and stages of the embryos that looked most alike, before he even distorted his depictions of them.  For the embryonic recapitulation to have been true, the earlier stages should have been used.  There are several recognized embryonic stages prior to what Haeckel called his first stage!

Additionally, it is known among embryologists that even among closely related species, like two frog species, the embryonic development pathways are different.  For example, cells that might eventually develop into one part in one frog might develop into another part in the second species.

In short, it was a fraud that has been exposed by further scientific research and scrutiny, and yet continues in even some school proposed textbooks over 100 years later.


   Galapagos Island Finches -- click for article here

   Macro vs. Micro evolution -- click for article here

   Fossil Record problems -- click for article here


Some Well Known Weaknesses

There are numerous weaknesses in evolutionary theory, such as its inability to explain the Cambrian Explosion, the Chemical Origin of Life, the Development Pathways at either the molecular or morphological level, or the Origin and Improvement of Information in the Genetic Code.  Comments by Evolutionary Scientists on Various Weaknesses in Evolutionary theory are located here.  Note that these scientists still believe in the general concept of evolution, but recognize numerous weaknesses in and shortcomings of the theory.


Icons of Evolution by Dr. Jonathan Wells is a good reference summarizing common textbook errors.


Click here to order from Amazon.com


Video highlighting some of the items in the above book, including the history of a biology teacher who was removed for teaching what a leading evolutionist said about problems with evolutionary theory.

Click here to order from Amazon.com 

Much more information can be found at the Center for Science and Culture of the Discovery Institute here.

Top - TEKS 3A - HS vs. AP - Book Errors - Polling Data - Officials - Links

Polling Data - Who Are Mainstream and Who Are Extremist?

Issue Enjoys a Wide Range of Support Across America

The issue of teaching weaknesses of or alternatives to evolutionary dogma to our children is a clear winner across the landscape of America .  Gallup polls routinely show that only a small minority (typically less than 10%) of Americans actually believe, even after decades of exclusive evolutionary instruction, that a purely naturalistic materialistic evolution is capable of explaining life. 

The Zogby polling group specifically examined whether weaknesses to or alternatives to evolution should be presented, or whether evolution should be presented in public schools exclusively.  In August of 2001, they found that 71% of those polled agreed with the statement that “Biology teachers should teach Darwin ’s theory of evolution, but also the scientific evidence against it.”  Only 15% agreed that “Biology teachers should teach only Darwin ’s theory of evolution and the scientific evidence that supports it.”  [underscore added] While not the subject of this meeting directly, that poll goes on to examine the question of “When Darwin’s theory of evolution is taught in school, students should also be able to learn about scientific evidence that points to an intelligent design of life.”  78% agreed with the statement, either strongly (53%) or somewhat (25%).  Only 13% disagreed, either strongly (8%) or somewhat (5%).[i]

Later in Ohio , even in the face of withering fire from those that would censor weaknesses in evolution from schools, Zogby found that 65% thought that “Biology teachers should teach Darwin ’s theory of evolution, but also the scientific evidence against it.”  Only 19% agreed that “Biology teachers should teach only Darwin ’s theory of evolution and the scientific evidence that supports it.”  Similarly on the question of “When Darwin’s theory of evolution is taught in school, students should also be able to learn about scientific evidence that points to an intelligent design of life”,   78% agreed with the statement, either strongly (55%) or somewhat (23%).  Only 13% disagreed, either strongly (10%) or somewhat (3%).[ii]

Similarly, the Cleveland Plain Dealer conducted a poll during their controversy.  It showed, among other things, that only 13% of respondents agreed with a purely naturalistic explanation of life, only 8% would agree that teaching biologic evolution exclusively was correct (59% would specifically teach both evolution and intelligent design (Ohio’s issue), another 15% would teach weaknesses of evolution but not intelligent design).[iii]

The most recent confirmation of this decades old support by the public for teaching both strengths and weaknesses was conducted in Texas by the Zogby organization.  It found that a remarkable 75% agreed that "The state board of education should approve biology textbooks that teach Darwin's theory of evolution, but also the scientific evidence against it."  In another question specifically addressing whether the board should enforce the existing requirement to teach both strengths and weaknesses, 82% agreed.  Yet another question tested whether biology teachers should teach both sides, and 76% agreed!  The last question was not specifically related to the question before the Texas SBOE, but asked if Intelligent Design should be taught alongside evolution, and a whopping 84% agreed either strongly (64%) or somewhat (20%).  The most likely to agree included 18-29 year olds and Hispanics.[iv]

Summary Polls


Teach Strengths and Weaknesses of Evolution 
(but no I.D.)

State Board of Education Should Enforce Teaching Strengths and Weaknesses

Teach Evolution and I.D.

Against Evol. and I.D. being taught

Teach Evol. Only

Zogby USA August 2001 71%   78% 13%  
Zogby Ohio 2002 65%   78% 13%  
Cleveland Plain Dealer 2002 74%   59% 8%


Zogby Texas August 2003 75%/76%

(Q 2b/5b)





Who represents 'mainstream' America and who are really the 'extremists'? (SW=Somewhat Agree, ST=Strongly Agree)

In short, thinking Americans, in spite of the censorship of scientific evidence against evolution from the classroom, in academia, and in public television, have and continue to reject evolution as inadequate.  Zogby further found that younger Americans were even more likely to reject naturalistic evolution than those over 65 years of age.


[i]   Zogby America Report, communicated from he Zogby polling group to the Discovery Instutute, as archived at URL http://www.discovery.org/articleFiles/PDFs/ZogbyFinalReport.pdf

[ii]  Zogby Ohio Poll, communicated from he Zogby polling group to the Discovery Instutute, May 8, 2002 , as archived at URL http://www.sciohio.org/OhioZogbyPoll.pdf

[iii]  Poll by the Cleveland Plain Dealer , reported June 2002, as archived at http://www.sciohio.org/CPDPoll.htm  

[iv] Views of Texas Residents on Teaching Evolution, communicated from the Zogby International polling group to Discovery Institute, Sept. 8, 2003, archived at: http://www.strengthsandweaknesses.org/ZOGBY.Texas.2003.pdf

Top - TEKS 3A - HS vs. AP - Book Errors - Polling Data - Officials - Links

Government Officials

The Santorum Amendment

The idea of teaching both sides of the issue, or including both strengths and weaknesses of evolutionary theories, is one of those rare issues that is overwhelmingly supported by both major US political parties.  The below is a sampling of what some influential leaders in the US have said.  Many occurred during the debate on the "No Child Left Behind" act.  The final conference report on the that [federal] legislation stated in wording taken from the so-called "Santorum Amendment":

“The Conferees recognize that a quality science education should prepare students to distinguish the data and testable theories of science from religious or philosophical claims that are made in the name of science. Where topics are taught that may generate controversy (such as biological evolution), the curriculum should help students to understand the full range of scientific views that exist, why such topics may generate controversy, and how scientific discoveries can profoundly affect society.”[1]

In the discussion of this amendment, key Senate leaders from both sides offered support.  

Senator Edward Kennedy (D – Mass):  

Mr. President, first of all, on the Santorum amendment, I hope all of our colleagues will vote in support of it. It talks about using good science to consider the teaching of biological evolution. I think the way the Senator described it, as well as the language itself, is completely consistent with what represents the central values of this body. We want children to be able to speak and examine various scientific theories on the basis of all of the information that is available to them so they can talk about different concepts and do it intelligently with the best information that is before them.

I think the Senator has expressed his views in support of the amendment and the reasons for it. I think they make eminently good sense. I intend to support that proposal. [2]


Senator Robert Byrd (D – W. Virginia ):

Mr. President, I have been interested in the debate surrounding the teaching of evolution in our schools. I think that Senator SANTORUM's amendment will lead to a more thoughtful treatment of this topic in the classroom. It is important that students be exposed not only to the theory of evolution, but also to the context in which it is viewed by many in our society.

I think, too often, we limit the best of our educators by directing them to avoid controversy and to try to remain politically correct. If students cannot learn to debate different viewpoints and to explore a range of theories in the classroom, what hope have we for civil discourse beyond the schoolhouse doors?

Scientists today have numerous theories about our world and its beginnings. I, personally, have been greatly impressed by the many scientists who have probed and dissected scientific theory and concluded that some Divine force had to have played a role in the birth of our magnificent universe. These ideas align with my way of thinking. But I understand that they might not align with someone else's. That is the very point of this amendment--to support an airing of varying opinions, ideas, concepts, and theories. if education is truly a vehicle to broaden horizons and enhance thinking, varying viewpoints should be welcome as part of the school experience. [3]


Senator Sam Brownback, (R – Kansas) spoke eloquently in recounting a recent situation in his home state of Kansas, which while different from textbook adoption, dealt with the same mindset of those who would defend Darwin in spite of the evidence.

Mr. President, as my friend from Pennsylvania , and perhaps every one in the free world, knows the issue he brings up with regard to how to teach scientific theory and philosophy was recently an issue in my home State of Kansas . For this reason, many of my constituents are particularly sensitive to this issue.

I would like to take the opportunity of this amendment to clear the record about the controversy in Kansas .

In August of 1999 the Kansas State School Board fired a shot heard 'round the world. Press reports began to surface that evolution would not longer be taught. The specter of a theocratic school board entering the class to ensure that no student would be taught the prevailing wisdom of biology was envisioned. Political cartoons and editorials were drafted by the hundreds. To hear the furor, one might think that the teachers would be charged with sorting through their student's texts with an Exacto knife carving out pictures of Darwin .

However, the prevailing impression, as is often the case was not quite accurate. Here are the facts about what happened in Kansas . The school board did not ban the teaching of evolution. They did not forbid the mention of Darwin in the classroom. They didn't even remove all mention of evolution from the State assessment test. Rather, the school board voted against including questions on macro-evolution--the theory that new species can evolve from existing species over time--from the State assessment. The assessment did include questions on micro-evolution--the observed change over time within an existing species.

Why did they do this? Why go so far as to decipher between micro and macro-evolution on the State exam? How would that serve the theocratic school board's purpose that we read so much about? Well, the truth is . . . their was no theocratic end to the actions of the school board. In fact, their vote was cast based on the most basic scientific principal that science is about what we observe, not what we assume. The great and bold statement that the Kansas School Board made was that simply that we observe micro-evolution and therefore it is scientific fact; and that it is impossible to observe macro-evolution, it is scientific assumption. [emphasis added]

The response to this relatively minor and eminently scientific move by the   Kansas school board was shocking. The actions and intentions of the school board were routinely misrepresented in the global press. Many in the global scientific community, who presumably knew the facts, spread misinformation as to what happened in Kansas . College admissions boards, who most certainly knew the facts, threatened Kansas students. The State Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the State universities were threatened based on the actions of school board. All of these effects caused by a school board trying to decipher between scientific fact and scientific assumption. The response to the actions of the board, appeared to many as a response to the commission of heresy.

For this reason, I am very pleased that my friend from Pennsylvania offered this amendment. He clarifies the opinion of the Senate that the debate of scientific fact versus scientific assumption is an important debate to embrace. I plan to support the amendment and urge my colleagues to join me. [4]

Senator Rick Santorum, (R – Penn.), in proposing the amendment stated :

Mr. President, I rise to talk about my amendment which will be voted on in roughly 40 minutes. This is an amendment that is a sense of the Senate. It is a sense of the Senate that deals with the subject of intellectual freedom with respect to the teaching of science in the classroom, in primary and secondary education. It is a sense of the Senate that does not try to dictate curriculum to anybody; quite the contrary, it says there should be freedom to discuss and air good scientific debate within the classroom. In fact, students will do better and will learn more if there is this intellectual freedom to discuss.

I will read this sense of the Senate. It is simply two sentences--frankly, two rather innocuous sentences--that hopefully this Senate will embrace:

   ``It is the sense of the Senate that--

   ``(1) good science education should prepare students to distinguish the data or testable theories of science from philosophical or religious claims that are made in the name of science; and

   ``(2) where biological evolution is taught, the curriculum should help students to understand why this subject generates so much continuing controversy, and should prepare the students to be informed participants in public discussions regarding the subject.

It simply says there are disagreements in scientific theories out there that are continually tested. Our knowledge of science is not absolute, obviously. We continue to test theories. Over the centuries, there were theories that were once assumed to be true and have been proven, through further revelation of scientific investigation and testing, to be not true.

One of the things I thought was important in putting this forward was to make sure the Senate of this country, obviously one of the greatest, if not the greatest, deliberative bodies on the face of the Earth, was on record saying we are for this kind of intellectual freedom; we are for this kind of discussion going on; it will enhance the quality of science education for our students.

I will read three points made by one of the advocates of this thought, a man named David DeWolf, as to the advantages of teaching this controversy that exists. He says:

“Several benefits will accrue from a more open discussion of biological origins in the science classroom. First, this approach will do a better job of teaching the issue itself, both because it presents more accurate information about the state of scientific thinking and evidence, and because it presents the subject in a more lively and less dogmatic way. Second, this approach gives students greater appreciation for how science is actually practiced. Science necessarily involves the interpretation of data; yet scientists often disagree about how to interpret their data. By presenting this scientific controversy realistically, students will learn how to evaluate competing interpretations in light of evidence--a skill they will need as citizens, whether they choose careers in science or other fields. Third, this approach will model for students how to address differences of opinion through reasoned discussion within the context of a pluralistic society. “

I think there are many benefits to this discussion that we hope to encourage in science classrooms across this country. I frankly don't see any down side to this discussion--that we are standing here as the Senate in favor of intellectual freedom and open and fair discussion of using science--not philosophy and religion within the context...of science but science--as the basis for this determination. [5] [emphasis added]

By roll call vote the amendment enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support, being passed by 91 ayes , 8 nayes and 1 absence. “The amendment (No. 799) was agreed to.” [6]


[1]   2001-107th Congress -1st Session-House of Representatives Report-107 334 No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 Conference Report to accompany H.R. 1

[2]   Senator Edward Kennedy, (D) Mass. , Senate - June 13, 2001 , in reference to the Santorum Amendment as originally proposed by Senator Santorum, as reported in the online Congress ional Record, http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/F?r107:1:./temp/~r107aPlVm4:e30527:

[3]  Senator Robert Bird, (D) W. Virginia, - June 13, 2001, in reference to the Santorum Amendment as originally proposed by Senator Santorum, as reported in the online Congress ional Record, http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/F?r107:1:./temp/~r107aPlVm4:e50556:

[4]  Senator Sam Brownback, (R) Kansas,  - June 13, 2001, in reference to the Santorum Amendment as originally proposed by Senator Santorum, as reported in the online Congress ional Record, http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/F?r107:1:./temp/~r107aPlVm4:e50556:

[5]  Senator Rick Santorum, (R) Penn. , presenting what came to be known as the “Santorum Amendment”, as reported in the online Congress ional Record, http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/F?r107:1:./temp/~r107MkbRyY:e0:

[6]   Senate Roll Call Vote of the “Santorum Amendment” as reported in the online Congress ional Record, http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/F?r107:1:./temp/~r107aPlVm4:e50556:

Top - TEKS 3A - HS vs. AP - Book Errors - Polling Data - Officials - Links


Discovery Institute here
   44 Evolutionist Peer Reviewed Articles detailing problems with evolutionary theory here

Strengths and Weaknesses Article:  HTML here 

News Archives
   Agape Press July 14, 2003 here
   BPNews July 16, 2003 here
   Focus on the Family Citizen Link July 17, 2003 here 
   Focus on the Family Citizen Link Sept 03, 2003 here
   Focus on the Family Citizen Link Sept 23, 2003 here

Intelligent Design Resources

Excellent Video, as appearing on PBS stations nationwide, on how certain features in biology seem to require some sort of designer.

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