How old is the universe? Scientists agree that the answer is somewhere around 14 billion years (give or take a few million)... unless you happen to be a student in the state of Texas.
The Texas Board of Education voted on Friday to remove the universe's age from the state's educational standards, used as source material for the state's school textbooks. According to Dan Quinn of the Texas Freedom Network, this decision is a backdoor entrance for creationists and fans of intelligent design:
The goal here was to make science more tentative and vague so that teachers have room to tell students, 'This is only one explanation and the scientists are not even sure about it themselves' – which is, of course, utter nonsense.
The decision was only one of many made on Friday, and sadly, only one of many that suggested an anti-science agenda (Other decisions included specific language requiring scientific explanations on evolution to be "evaluated" by students and teachers, ominously enough). Chair of the Board Don McLeroy testified to the reason why that may be the case at the meeting:
I disagree with these experts. Someone has got to stand up to experts.
That's right! Standing up to experts and facts is exactly what the chair of an educational board's job is supposed to be! Well, at least there's always the internet to fill in gaps in these kids' education...
Texas vote leaves loopholes for teaching creationism [New Scientist]