The state of Florida, in an admirable attempt to lurch into the 21st century, is considering adopting new science standards that actually mention the word “evolution.”
Current standards talk about “biological changes over time.” The new standards, if adopted in January, will promote evolution as one of several key ideas in science that students need to learn.
Naturally the Religious Right is throwing a fit - and at least one local school board is right there with them. The Lakeland Ledger reported recently that if the new standards are adopted, members of the Polk County School Board are ready to fight them.
Of the seven members on the board, five expressed support for teaching “intelligent design,” the latest variant of creationism.
Member Margaret Lofton said, “If it ever comes to the board for a vote, I will vote against the teaching of evolution as part of the science curriculum. If [evolution] is taught, I would want to balance it with the fact that we may live in a universe created by a supreme being as well.”
Tim Harris added, “My tendency would be to have both sides shared with students since neither side can be proven.” Hazel Sellers chimed in: “I don’t have a conflict with intelligent design versus evolution. The two go together.”
These folks need to do some reading. I’m tempted to tell them to start with On the Origin of Species, but I’ll admit that can be an intimidating place to begin. Instead, I’ll give them an easier assignment: *40 Days and 40 Nights *by Matthew Chapman. It’s a good overview of the court case against intelligent design that was litigated in part by Americans United for Separation of Church and State in 2005. Members of the Polk County board should digest it fully before launching a crusade on behalf of teaching religion in science class.
Let’s say it again: Intelligent Design is not science. Philosophy, yes, but not science.