Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Debate on Proposed Science Standards Continues

The Florida Baptist Witness published a pretty fair article "Debate on Proposed Science Standards Continues" about the current debate over the new science standards. I was proud of how they represented both sides of the debate, particularly about the part where one of the teachers who helped develop the new standards explained that Evolution is not taught as Dogma, and that the current and proposed standards encourage students to think critically.

I do disagree with statements implying that the fact scientific theories can change automatically means they are dogmatic in nature. The changing of a theory is not a non-trivial exercise. Since a theory is the best explanation of a given phenomena at a given time, they have to be subject to change in order to be useful. Did all study of Gravity stop when Newton put forth his theories? No, of course not. For the majority of people, Newtons theories and his mathematical laws still apply. The theory has been expanded by Einstein in order to fill in gaps in planetary motion Newton's theories couldn't explain. Has all work in Biology stopped due to Darwin? Certainly not, his theories form much of the basis of Evolution, but his work does not stand a lone. In fact many of his details have been expanded as we learn new things.

Science, by nature, is not dogmatic or we would never have advanced in the ways that we have! A science teacher who teaches any subject as if any new learning cannot happen is doing a severe disservice to their students. This is one of the arguments against teaching Intelligent Design. Once you decide a "Designer" did it, where do you go? By it's nature it is not a predictive area of study, no matter what the Discovery Institute claims it to be.

While one of the people interviewed in the article is encouraging folks to contact their school boards, that person has spoken out against the standards and is looking for more people to do so. I would like to add my voice to encourage the people of Florida to contact your school boards, and the State School Board and also show your support for teaching Science in Science class and adding the word 'Evolution' to your curriculum!

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