Textbook “Facts”


As a textbook editor and proofreader, I am sometimes asked to verify statements presented as facts. This involves considerable research, and the national company asking for this proof requires that a statement presented as fact be verified by five other reliable sources (materials generally in use for years and “proofed” by previous researchers) and that those five sources all agree that the statement is a fact. While this sounds quite difficult, it all depends on the subject of the statement.  As Christians, we daily confront disbelief in a Creator. Nowhere is this dismissal of an Almighty Being more evident than in textbooks. Recently, I perused several outside science reading materials for a national school chain. In Science Encyclopedia, written for elementary schools by DK Publishing, Inc., I found this “explanation” of views of the Earth’s origin in the chapter titled, “How Life Began”: “Throughout history, people have wondered how life on Earth began. Some people (italics mine) believe it was created by God. Scientists (italics mine) think that the first simple life forms were the result of chemical reactions…” The remainder of the chapter not only makes no mention of any other support for its view, but presents no other theories (and there are several). The inference that people who believe God created the Earth cannot be scientists is a non-intellectual bias. And guess what? I was able to “verify” that statement as “fact” with the first five sources I went to! So I decided to verify my position that God created life. I had to turn to books by Henry Morris, John C. Whitcomb, or the Institute for Creation Research. These verified my position, but they are not on the list of reliable sources for verification from the textbook company.I present this information to you in hopes that it will spur you to investigate fully the textbooks your children use. For some interesting looks at textbook errors, go to web sites of the Texas Public Policy Foundation or to Mesa/Meoc Textbook Review Project.