February 20, 2002 | David F. Coppedge

Florida Wises Up and Teaches Evolution Uncritically

The Florida State Board of Education adopted, by a vote of 4 to 3, science standards that require the teaching of evolution as “the fundamental concept underlying all of biology” without critical analysis or alternatives.  Evolution News said that calling evolution a “scientific theory” instead of a scientific fact represented a meaningless compromise with the minority who had argued for insertion of the statement, “Students should learn why some scientists give scientific critiques of standard models of neo-Darwinian evolution or models of the chemical origin of life.”  No proposal for teaching alternatives, such as intelligent design, were even considered.
    Decisions on these highly-charged issues typically produce a torrent of lively commentaries in the news media.  Carl Hiaasen in the Miami Herald had a particularly fun time pointing out that the vote means that Florida’s reputation for flakiness is at stake:

In a move that could endanger Florida’s flaky backwater reputation, the state Board of Education is poised to endorse the teaching of evolution as a science.
This is a dangerous idea — not the presentation of Darwinism in schools, but the presentation of Florida as a place of progressive scientific thought.
Over the years the Legislature has worked tirelessly to keep our kids academically stuck in the mid-1950s….
By accepting evolution as a proven science, our top educators would be sending a loud message to the rest of the nation: Stop making fun of us….
Certainly that’s [i.e., evolution is] the position of every reputable academic group on the planet, including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Science Teachers Association.
But forget the fossil record, OK?  Forget DNA tracing.  Forget the exhaustively documented diversification of species. This battle is about pride and independence; about boldly going against the flow, in defiance of reason and all known facts.

Hiaasen continued his sarcasm against the compromise of calling evolution just a “theory.”  OK, “Let’s start teaching gravity as a ‘theory,’ too,” he smirked.  “And don’t forget the solar system — what proof do we really have, besides a bunch of fuzzy, fake-looking photos, that Mars really exists?”
    Hiaasen intimated that candidates like Mike Huckabee, a Christian, could help restore Florida’s reputation for flakiness.  “We’ve worked hard to keep ourselves so far behind in education, and we must stay the course.”
    A taste of the acrimony generated on both sides of the evolution-as-theory debate can be seen in quotes listed in an article by World Net Daily

Entertaining op-ed piece.  Kind of like watching Groucho Marx or the Three Stooges calling smart people stupid.  Hiaasen’s skill at sarcasm is only exceeded by his ignorance of the issues.  His intellectual dysentery is the product of feeding on arguments from authority, bandwagon arguments, glittering generalities, non-sequiturs and the rest of the junk Darwin propaganda diet.  By equating Darwin’s mythology with practical science, assuming that teaching evolution will bring in high-paying jobs, and confusing observational science with fability (01/16/2007 commentary), is it any wonder he wins Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week?  The Discovery Institute should hire him for a sideshow, to illustrate the quality of ranting by the DODO heads (Darwin-Only 2x).  Hiaasen is doing more to ensure Florida’s ongoing flakiness than anyone siding with the Minority Report could have done.

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Categories: Dumb Ideas, Education

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