Archive for February, 2006

Intelligent choices

Monday, February 13th, 2006

Intelligent choices
Brevard School Board should toss aside textbooks that undermine scientific learning

Here’s a good editorial that gives me hope that there are, in fact, voices of reason out there.

There’s no debate in legitimate scientific circles that evolution is the bedrock biological principle and should be taught to public school students.

Indeed, two studies just published in the journal Nature offer even more evidence that species can and have evolved from common ancestors.

Crusaders who fear scientific knowledge may discredit religious belief, however, want to seed doubt about evolution in the minds of students by introducing unsubstantiated claims about the origins of life into biology class.

A federal judge in Dover, Pa., recently ruled that an attempt to mix faith-based intelligent design theory with hard science in the Dover school district was unconstitutional.

But Florida Education Commissioner John Winn ignored that message when he put a version of “Biology, the Dynamics of Life” that includes a section on divine origins on the list of state-approved science textbook choices.

The Brevard County school district is now reviewing those choices, with textbook committee recommendations to be presented to the School Board on Feb. 28.

We trust district officials to make curriculum decisions that best help students gain needed scientific literacy. That means tossing aside books that undermine the teaching of evolution by discussing intelligent design.
Beliefs about supernatural beginnings of life can be discussed in other courses, such as world cultures, but they have no place in biology class.

Pinellas textbooks won’t mention intelligent design

Thursday, February 9th, 2006

Pinellas textbooks won’t mention intelligent design

Pinellas County biology students will find no mention of intelligent design in their new science textbooks next fall.

With four biology books to choose from – one of which included a description of the idea that life was produced by an unidentified intelligent agent – the district’s science teachers picked Prentice Hall Biology, Florida Edition. That book was co-written by a Brown University professor who testified recently against the teaching of intelligent design during a trial in Dover, Pa.

“I feel very confident that our science teachers looked the books over from cover to cover,” said Robert Orlopp, the K-12 science supervisor in Pinellas. “I don’t think anyone voted for or against that particular book because of that passage.”