Archive for November, 2013

Are you a Filthy Dreamer?

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

A documentary film class at the University of Central Florida is creating a short film, “Filthy Dreamers,” about the efforts of fundamentalist activists and lawmakers in Florida who tried to ban books on the teaching of evolution at public schools and colleges in the 1920s.

They have a website for a fundraising campaign so the students can afford to buy the materials they need as well as pay for film festival fees so people can see the final film.

From the fundraising website:

In the late 1920’s a controversy sparked about the teaching of evolution to women students at Florida State Women’s College. Nearly 100 years later, public figures and activists are still trying to control curriculum in public schools, colleges and universities. The students enrolled in this Honors class through the University of Central Florida aim to educate and inform our viewers about the long history of censorship in the classrooms, the libraries and around the campus.

As of this writing (11/26/13), they have raised $210 of the target $1,500. And they have 15 more days left in the fundraising effort.

A previous film from an earlier class was called The Committee and it was about efforts by the Florida Legislature to remove gay and lesbian teachers and students from the classroom during the 1950s and 1960s. It won awards and was screened at film festivals around the country.

Creationism at UF … sort of

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Creationism is being taught at the University of Florida! No, not really. That’s just Pastor Short. Creationist exhibit on Plaza of the Americas causes controversy

Ten-foot tall posters displaying creationist beliefs stirred up controversy on the Plaza of the Americas on Monday and left many students arguing.

The display was part of a three-day exhibit by traveling pastor Tom Short, said Megan Lisle, an 18-year-old UF anthropology freshman and member of Gator Christian Life, which helped bring Short to UF.

Megan Anderson, a 22-year-old University of North Florida elementary education junior, took a semester off to intern with Short. She said the mission was to spread the creationist point of view, “because you aren’t taught that in school.”

Ulterior motives

Monday, November 4th, 2013

H. Roy Kaplan, an educator for more than 40 years and a U.S. Department of Education “Hero of Education” for his work in Tampa Bay schools, wrote an opinion column for the Tampa Bay Times advocating strong science education. He confuses the Next Generation Science Standards with Common Core (which are actually separate efforts) but his message is positive nonetheless.

One of the great strengths of our society is our freedom to debate such issues. But the time for debating has passed.

Modern science acknowledges the veracity of evolution. It lies at the very foundation of biological science and has illuminated our scientific and social perspectives, enriching our lives through understanding our past and lighting the way to our genomic future. And scientists around the world have issued numerous reports documenting the disadvantageous effects of man-made global warming. Recent estimates predict a rise in oceanic water levels in this century between 3 to 6 feet.