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Texas Board of Education vote on the way evolution is taught could set national trend

Rice University sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund is available to discuss the Texas Board of Education's upcoming contentious vote on a new science curriculum that outlines the way evolution is taught in Texas public schools.

At issue is whether a teacher should raise doubts about evolution when teaching biology and other science classes. The impacts could be felt far and wide, as school textbook publishers write to Texas' standards. A change in the way Texas teaches its students could change the way other states look at the issue.

Ecklund, associate director of Rice's Center on Race, Religion and Urban Life, directs the national study on religion and spirituality among scientists at top universities. Religion Among Academic Scientists is the first study in more than 20 years to systematically gather data on this topic. Ecklund recently conducted in-depth interviews with 300 scientists and completed a survey of nearly 1,700 scientists on their views on science and religion.

"This vote has monumental implications," Ecklund said. "The connection between religion and science is at stake."

  • Many scientists are not as anti-religion as volumes like evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion" might lead us to believe.
  • A surprising number of those who teach the sciences at the nation's top universities are also part of a religious tradition (about 50 percent).
  • The majority of scientists (over 65 percent) are interested in matters of spirituality.
  • Among all the scientists Ecklund interviewed, including religious and nonreligious, there was not one who thought Intelligent Design should be taught alongside evolution in a biology classroom.


Contact: David Ruth
Rice University

Page: 1

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