I believe we can defeat the bad Instructional Materials bills making their way through the Florida Senate and House (see our Instructional Materials bills ’17 blog category for information about these bills). I believe we can offer substantial resistance to these bills by simply emphasizing our opponent’s own materials. They’re handing us a treasure trove of evidence of their true motivations. We just have to spotlight how blatantly anti-science the bills’ supporters are and how the Florida education system could once again be the butt of national jokes over anti-evolution and climate change denial in our schools.
The bill’s supporters have been waving their very own “Objectionable Materials” list in everyone’s faces as evidence for the need for these awful bills (see my previous post “Nowhere in the material is a balanced discussion of the biblical explanation” for a breakdown of anti-science tomfoolery that’s in there).
Now we have an even richer supply of evidence. Besides the Objectionable Materials list, I’ve learned that our opposition has also been emphatically imploring lawmakers to read through a stack of 31 sworn affidavits from citizens who are upset about what’s being taught in their local schools. I took the time to read them and guess what I found? Several complaints about evolution and climate change. Here’s just a sample:
From 17-02-02 Cash_Mary_Ellen_Collier.pdf:
b. I have witnessed students being taught evolution as a fact of creation rather than a theory. Parental objections are ignored.
c. I have witnessed children being taught that Global Warming is a reality. Now that it is colder and the country is experiencing repeated Cold Waves, the new term is Climate Change. When parents question these theories, they are ignored.
Presentation of evolution as fact and romanticizing and fantasizing Paleolithic human life: P. 3-4 Again, a one-sided, slanted, secular world view OPINION presented as fact. The vast majority of Americans believe that the world and the beings living on it were created by God as revealed in the Bible.
The text includes 9 pages on creation myths from Australia (‘Dreamtime’), as well as repeated referrals to the big bang and evolution as facts; however, there is only passing reference to, and no explanation of the Biblical version of creation.
High School Honors Biology textbooks teach that Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is the greatest scientific discovery in the last 200 years. This is ridiculous when you research Charles Darwin, and find he was the largest promoter of Eugenics, a race-based pseudoscience which espoused using the force of government to sterilize or separate the “unfit” from society.
The majority of Science material revolves around climate change, earth-first issues, and evolution. Evolution is now taught as fact. You will not find the words ‘theory’ or ‘evolution’ in the 6th grade World History book in Collier County, however, you will learn that you were preceded by four hominids in your ancestry.
There’s quite a few more examples at their affidavits page. Don’t let the bill’s supporters get away with this. School boards across the state will be buried under complaints like the ones above. And these Instructional Materials bills will force the school boards to hire a hearing officer to take these complaints seriously. The process will be a massive waste of time, money and resources. Not only that, but any school board that gives in could then face unwinnable lawsuits that will be financial and publicity nightmares.
Call lawmakers. Tell them to please go ahead a read the materials our opposition is giving them. Point out to them that the anti-science complaints alone will be a bottomless pit of quicksand for school boards across the state. I’m not qualified to analyze all of the other complaints listed in the affidavits and the objectionable materials list, but if these science whoopers are any indication, I imagine there are many other incredible claims that will cause just as many headaches.
If lawmakers refuse to hear us, then take our case to the public. Talk to reporters. Write letters to the editor. Write op-eds. Share this information with friends, family, and other groups you belong to. Spread it like wildfire on social media.
In other words, do something. Our schools and students lose if you don’t.