Archive for July 17th, 2007

Dover a win for “teach the controversy”?

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

We here in Florida are revising the state science standards, so this story about “teach the controversy” is worth reading and keeping in the back of your mind. Basically, the story claims that intelligent design’s tanking in Dover, Pa. was actually a good thing for ID. Anti-evolutionists are now supposedly wholeheartedly united behind the “teach the controversy” tactic. Taking time to point out a bunch of evolution’s so-called shortcomings in the science classroom is supposedly legally bulletproof, according to the article.

But the Dover lawsuit also highlighted the effectiveness of the Discovery Institute’s approach. State school boards in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, New Mexico, and Minnesota along with local boards in Wisconsin and Louisiana have adopted science standards that encourage critical analysis of Darwinian Theory. To date, not a single lawsuit has challenged such standards.

Let’s try to keep such nonsense out of Florida’s science standards. “Critical analysis” or “teach the controversy” is only valid if there is a legitmate controversy, and if the real controversy is something applicable to a middle school or high school introductory level course. A group of vocal anti-science advocates guided by narrow religious ideology screeching about “gaps” in the fossil record and long dead watchmaker arguments don’t qualify as having a legitimate controversy. If there is no actual research concerning ID going on, and no serious scientist working in a relevant field gives ID any notice, then where is this controversy? Every so-called “critical analysis” brought on by the anti-science folks has been refuted many times over, so why waste time on this garbage in a high school science classroom? Should students be taught the controversy concerning the Earth going around the sun? Sheesh. Time is valuable in the science classroom, as it is in any classroom, especially with FCATs looming so large over everything. There is no time for addressing crackpot ideas in an already packed schedule.

Like I said, let’s keep this out of Florida.

Deadline extended

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

Despite 23 candidates having applied for the Florida Education Commissioner position, the deadline for submitting applications has been extended for a week so as to have a “robust list of candidates.” Interesting.