Readers are no doubt aware that Perry was asked by a child in New Hampshire “how old the earth was.” Before Perry could respond, the boy’s mother urged him to ask about evolution. Perry responded, “Your mom is asking about evolution. You know, that’s a theory that’s out there; it’s got some gaps in it. In Texas, we teach both creationism and evolution in our public schools — because I figure you’re smart enough to figure out which one is right.” No doubt some teachers in Texas slip creationism into their lesson plans. But the state-adopted TEKS on evolution (“Texas essential knowledge and skills”) says that students should “analyze and evaluate the theory of evolution.” Perry is probably right that both creationism and evolution are being taught in Texas classrooms, but there is no authorization for creationism. Indeed, a mandate for teaching creationism has been struck down as unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, as has the teaching of intelligent design. Perry should have known that the TEKS do not authorize the teaching of creationism, but otherwise I don’t regard his response as being off-the-charts weird, as his remarks about the “treason” of the head of the Fed and scientists’ perfidy involving global warming were.
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