Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Florida came close, but missed the bullseye

After many raucous debates Florida finally approved their new Science Standards, but they did cave in at the last minute to the Creationist/Intelligent Design crowd who seem to think popular opinion should decide what is or is not science. Check out the Orlando Sentinel.

To recap: Florida for years has taught "change over time" as a fundamental concept of biology. This they did as a sop to a whining minority who are against teaching Evolution thinking that it somehow belittles their place in the universe.

Florida had a team of educators re-write the standards and they included the word Evolution and described it as one of the fundamental principles of modern biology.

At the last minute the standards were changed to put the words "scientific theory of" in front of the word "evolution"! One Board member voted against the standard because of the word change, but two others voted against the standard supposedly for reasons of "Academic Freedom" . . . a code phrasefor keeping the door open for Creationism/Intelligent Design.

Florida, you had the chance to hit a home run, but you settled for a triple! Evolution, the concept that life has changed over time, is as factual as you can come in science. The evidence is overwhelming. Now referring to the explanation of Evolution as a scientific theory is fine, because your new standards already did that, but by inserting the words the way you did showed that you are caving into pressure much in the same way you left out the word 'Evolution' from your last review of standards.

Sorry Florida, you did OK, but you still missed the boat and are allowing a small, but vocal, minority set science standards. Citizens of Florida, you need to look at your school board, local and state, and take a hard look at whether or not those people are actually doing a good job! Science standards should be about science and nothing else!

Before I say anything else, I need to read the new standards and I do have one question: How many other scientific theories have the word "scientific theory of" in front of them in the standards. If Evolution is the only one, then I might have to downgrade you to a double! Judge Jones, in the Kitzmiller vs Dover School Board case, ruled that using terminology like that doesn't increase the validity of what you are teaching, but it does the opposite.

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