Collier County textbook hearing: 30 complaints about evolution & climate change

Heads up, folks. Collier County’s official textbook hearing will be on Monday, June 18, and the public is invited to attend and be heard. Go to the instructional materials website where the guidelines for the meeting and the long list on citizen complaints against evolution and climate change being in the textbooks are posted. (See my previous post for some background in case you’re just now joining us concerning science textbook issues in Collier.)

The general public can speak first at the hearing but will only have three minutes for each person and the focus of the comments must be direct and on point. Extraneous comments will be quickly disregarded. Then those who submitted complaints will get 20 to 30 minutes to present their cases depending on how many complaints they had submitted. Officials from the school district will then be allowed a rebuttal and protesters can then respond.

This hearing may take a while. Four people had submitted a total of 30 separate complaint forms. Keith Flaugh of the creationist outfit Florida Citizens’ Alliance is well represented with about nine complaint forms. How do we know the Alliance is creationist? Easy. Just read their complaints — mostly issues with evolution and climate change — and their source material: The Institute for Creation Research, Wikipedia, the Heartland Institute, Conservapedia, and Stephen Meyer’s book Darwin’s Doubt.

The Alliance is relying heavily on the idea that state law governing textbook adoptions requires textbooks be balanced and not discriminate against religion. Similar arguments didn’t work in Martin County, especially when that school district pointed out that the textbooks must adhere to state education standards, which include the teaching of evolution but don’t require so-called alternate ideas. Will that defense be used and stand in Collier County?

Unlike other school districts’ hearings conducted so far (such as Nassau and Martin Counties), Collier County will apparently have the school board present and the board will vote on what to do about the complaints as soon as the hearing is over.

To be continued Monday at 3:30.

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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One Response to Collier County textbook hearing: 30 complaints about evolution & climate change

  1. Ted Bell says:

    What I would give to be a fly on the wall during this meeting!

    Once again removed by many thousands of kilometres (and culture) so far as the objections are concerned, I’d venture to say that there’s not much to worry about. There are some choice cherrypicking of quotes and sources regarding evolution and climate change but these shouldn’t survive rebuttal. Unbelievably, one objector has sourced objection material from The Institute for Creation Research – talk about a death wish! Another requested inclusion of several “warning labels” distilled from Johnathon Wells’ “Icons of Evolution” published by the advocates of Intelligent Design, the Discovery Institute. 18 years after first publication, this is one of the least-regarded and most thoroughly and widely debunked books of its type. Again, it should not survive rebuttal.

    Of more interest will be Mr Flaugh’s objection to the meeting proceedings. Collier’s approach is very different to Martin County and Mr Flaugh makes some assumptions about the who-what-and-when that might just be based on wishful thinking rather than the law. Of more interest, Mr Flaugh’s objection is made on behalf of the Florida Citizens Alliance – which presumably has no legal standing in this process. On the other hand, one of the Board members claims membership of the Southwest Florida Citizens Alliance – it might be an interesting conflict of interest.

    I look forward to hearing the news next week. Thank you so much for your perseverance with this issue, and providing the links to the County objection process.

    Best wishes to Collier County.

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