Governor: Hit by the theory bug

Probably the single greatest public misconception out there when it comes to political and public battles over evolution is that ornery word: theory. Even our governor seems a bit befuddled about the concept, as seen in a short news story today at WJHG:

Governor Charlie Crist is taking a wait and see attitude.

“I think the way it’s been handled historically in Florida is probably appropriate. It’s been introduced and discussed in terms of being a theory. I don’t know if there’s a need for a change in that. But I’ll leave the decision to the board.”

Perhaps a big push to clarify the meaning of a scientific theory is in order. How do we educate the decision makers and the general public about this? If you have any particularly good links to resources that clearly explain what a theory is in science, please leave them in the comments. Here are a few to get us started.
TalkOrigins. PBS online course. National Academy Press. Wikipedia. Video on YouTube.

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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6 Responses to Governor: Hit by the theory bug

  1. Dale says:

    I suppose the best way to educate people about the meaning of a scientific theory would be to have well funded, scientifically based high school science programs. But that’s just not going to happen while we keep debating whether or not to allow evolution in the class room or not. It’s a red herring. We allow our school board meetings to be hijacked time and time again while failing to resolve important funding issues. Is it any wonder we are falling behind internationally?

    I’ve been a part of several first-year university biology courses and we have found that for the most part, teaching the debate is a waste of time. The only thing to do is teach the facts about evolution, once the argument is laid out it is irrefutable. We’ve never had a student leave the course believing in anything else.

  2. firemancarl says:

    Ya know, i thought Crist ( sounds awfully close to Christ!!!!) was a smart guy. How can he not understand what is science and what isn’t? This is also the same guy that said that he wanted all sorts of high tech jobs and well educated students. Someone needs to tell him that if you can’t teach science and teach fundie versions of religion, students will not be able to compete with other students and companies that need employees with a reasonable science based education , will flee the state and we’ll be left with service industry jobs that pay $7/hour.

  3. Jonathan Smith says:

    Perhaps the FCS should start a”What is a Scientific Theory”
    campaign.send letters to all the dissenters.
    We could also explain that the vast majority of scientists have long accepted that the Theory of Evolution describes how animal and plant species grow, develop, and change over time. One source estimates that only 0.15% of scientists in the biological and earth science fields believe in creation science; the rest accept that biological evolution actually happened; it is a fact.
    Evolution is more than a theory; it is an established fact. The earth’s life forms have evolved over billions of years. Species of animals have been recently observed as continuing to evolve, both in the lab and field.
    Established theories are sometimes called “laws,” as in Ohms law, Newton’s laws and the laws of thermodynamics,perhaps if T O E was
    refered to as the “Law of Evolution”perhaps people would understand the concept better?

  4. George says:

    This is one of the best sets of videos on the Dover court battle and ID I have seen

  5. joe says:

    Don’t matter what you call evolution; theory, fact, whatever. Christian fundies will NEVER accept it. Most if not all have seen the evidence, and they choose to ignore it. This is why their arguments always repeat the same stupid arguments. The only way these folks are gonna be happy is to strike evolution from science. Oh, and stone the homosexuals. They are never gonna accept that their Bible is fable.

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