Archive for January, 2014

New State Board of Education Member: no evolution

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

This week our governor appointed a new member to the state Board of Education:

Gov. Rick Scott has made his next pick for the state Board of Education: citrus grower and former Highlands County School Board Chairman Andy Tuck.

We have a problem. Back in 2008 Mr. Tuck said this:

[Highlands County] School Board Vice Chairman Andy Tuck said Thursday, “as a person of faith, I strongly oppose any study of evolution as fact at all. I’m purely in favor of it staying a theory and only a theory.

“I won’t support any evolution being taught as fact at all in any of our schools.”

What impact will this have? Discuss.

[edited to add: Here is a link to the original story that quoted Tuck: Board Opposes Evolution Being Taught As Fact. Also, the Orlando Sentinel’s education blog has noticed.]

Teaching Creationism is Rife in Florida Schools

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Twelve days ago activist Zack Kopplin wrote a long piece for Slate about how Texas’s “charter schools” (special schools that are supported by state money), particularly those using the Responsive Education Solutions system, are openly teaching  creationism. It is, of course, illegal to teach creationism in public schools, for it violates the First Amendment mandating the separation of church and state. Court after court has supported this stand,the most recent being the Tammy Kitzmiller,et al v Dover Area School Board in 2005    Now Slate has published a complementary map showing where in the U.S. publicly-funded schools  teach creationism and guess what folks? Florida is one of the worst.

At least 164 schools in our state of Florida  are teaching creationism while participating in the state’s tax credit scholarship programs for disabled children and children from low-income families.These include private religious schools and many charter schools, all receiving public funded money,many through Florida’s school voucher programs. These bastions of scientific education, freely express their intensions in statements of learning, such as in this one from the First Baptist Academy of Jacksonville, “In Science, our teachers seek to help students learn how to use God’s wisdom and discernment to expose the false information that the world teaches, and reinforce the Truth of Creation and the Creator found in God’s Word the Bible.” So much for teaching “both sides”

This is a major problem to the academic integrity of our state and I’m certain that this issue will be seriously addressed at our AGM next month.

 

 

Questioning Darwin

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

I just noticed that a new documentary is going to be starting on HBO next month entitled “Questioning Darwin” It seems to be viewed not only from a scientific perspective but also from a religious one  Information and the trailer can be seen on Youtube.

Almost time for Going Ape!

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Look at who is in the University Press of Florida Spring 2014 catalog. This guy!

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Nye vs. Ham

Monday, January 6th, 2014

This is a good article arguing against scientists debating creationists: Should Scientists Debate Creationists?

The perpetually-bowtied science educator Bill Nye “The Science Guy” is slated to debate creationist Ken Ham, the founder of Kentucky’s Creation Museum, on Feb. 4.

“Debate is a sport, not the way we decide scientifically how the world works.”

This is not an issue of censorship. Anyone is free to hold whatever beliefs or opinions they like, no matter how unscientific or false. But there is no obligation to portray both sides as having equally strong or valid scientific arguments, when by any measure they do not.

Florida Atlantic University Frontiers in Science 2014 public lecture series

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Florida Atlantic University’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science will launch its Frontiers in Science 2014 public lecture series with a presentation by John Long, Ph.D., titled “Darwin’s Devices: Biorobots Reconstruct the Evolution of Ancient Animals.” The lecture will take place on Friday, Jan. 10 at 3:30 p.m. in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, Room 126, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus.

“The challenge of studying evolution is that the history of life is buried in the past – we can’t witness the dramatic events that shaped the adaptations we see today,” said Long. “Evolving biorobots can help answer some of the most compelling questions about evolution.”