Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Florida heats up

In a recent article one of the Florida State School Board members was at least honest enough to make her position clear. Donna Callaway has already indicated she will vote against the standards. By the way the new standards being voted on Feb 19 include the word Evolution, something they had previously referred to as "Change over time."

What I would like to know is why she is voting this way? Are her personal religious beliefs interfering with the trust she was given when elected to the school board? Was her position on this subject clear when the people of Florida put her in this position of trust? A long time attendee of First Baptist Tallahassee, Callaway "acknowledged [Intelligent Design] as a theory which many people accept along with others. Students need to have any proof, scientific evidence that is there. But the face that there are other theories about certain parts, at least needs to be pointed out, footnoted."

This also shows her that she buys into the Discovery Institute (DI) marketing campaign for Intelligent Design. That is the only explanation that a trusted member of the school board refers to a pseudo-scientific concept as a theory. She is doing DI's work for them. Someone needs to educate her on both her responsibilities as a member of a a school board and also what is science! At least she did say that students would need to see proof, since there isn't any for Intelligent Design, it makes it easy to skip past without mention it in the classroom. I can see it now, a student filled with religious fervor asked their biology teacher about alternatives to evolution and the teacher replies honestly, "Since the school standards say I can only discuss theories with proof, I can say there are no alternative theories of evolution with any proof!"

In the same article Oscar Howard Jr., Superintendent of Taylor County FL school district,stated "We're in opposition to teaching evolution as a fact. Evolution continues to be a theory." In fact just Last month Taylor County School Board unanimously approved a resolution saying the district is opposed to teaching evolution as a fact. Howard says he's heard from hundreds of parents who promise to pull their children out of the school system and put them in private schools, if the state approves the changes regarding evolution. I think more education is needed here as well, evolution is a fact and the Theory of Evolution is sciences explanation of how that fact works. Does his statement strike you as some form of blackmail? "If the school doesn't teach what I believe to be true, I'll take my kids and go elsewhere!" People have always had that option and I am glad they do. If they are so afraid to learn actual science that they feel the need to remove their kids from school, I say let them! Mr. Howard, just how far are you willing to water down a school curriculum to make everyone happy who might attend? You are either letting a vocal minority drive the curriculum or you are allowing your personal religious beliefs to interfere with your responsibilities!

The people of Florida need to look out for some of the other tactics used by Creationists/Intelligent Design proponents. Whether the vote on Feb 19 accepts or rejects the new standards, you will soon be hearing the "Teach the Controversy", and "Why don't we have free speech", and "Aren't alternative protected by academic freedom" mantras. If the school board rejects the new standards you can also anticipate a new level of marketing to push Intelligent Design into the science classroom. Please know you aren't alone. Other school systems, at the local and state level, have faced this challenge and many have successfully faced it down! Talk to your friends in South Carolina over the push to reject biology texts because they cover Evolution and not Creationism/Intelligent Design. More power to you!


  1. Watch ALL newspapers in the country for a guy named Lee Bowman. He is connected with the DI. He is listed 4th from the top (#1 being Dembski) on the Uncommon Descent website. I'm not sure what his "mission" is but he shows up in newspapers all over the country, and gets in on any discussion concerning this topic. He denies being employed by the DI. All evidence points to the contrary. Good luck to you.

  2. Thanks for the info. But you know a Senior Fellow, like William Dembski or Michael Behe aren't considered 'employees' in the normal use of the word. While Mr. Bowman may well be a contributor of Dembski's Uncommon Descent Blog, that doesn't mean the Discovery Institute employs him. He is entitled to talk about these subjects in whatever forum he likes, as long as he stays out of public school science classes :-)
    I would like to see an editorial from him in my local paper, just another excuse to write a rebuttal, something I enjoy doing. ;-)