I believe the writing of the new draft of the Sunshine State Science Standards is nearing completion and will be up for public comment soon. FCS members have been very active on the framing and writing committees and feel confident they have produced a good, useful document. FCS as an organization will be promoting the new standards during the public comment period and encouraging everyone to support them.
However, there is the distinct possibility of opposition from other groups and individuals to the inclusion of a certain biology concept. Can you guess what will be drawing all the attention? Evolution, of course. The old standards avoided the use of the word itself, opting instead to say “changes over time” and the like. The new standards draft has evolution stuck right back in there where it belongs.
The first salvo has already been fired, actually. A man named Fred Cutting has written a letter to the Science Standards Writers & Framers asking that the pros and cons of evolution be addressed, under the pretense of fostering critical thinking skills. Cutting claims that evolution is being presented in a dogmatic fashion. In other words, he’s taking the standard “teach the controversy” route. I’ll try to publish a copy of the letter in the near future once we make sure we won’t get into any trouble for doing so.
We can expect to hear more from Cutting and other like him, I imagine. If there’s one thing that can be said about the intelligent design and creationism crowd, it’s that they’re very loud. Here’s an interesting story mentioning Cutting in 2006. From the story:
Teachers have latitude. In both Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, they are free to discuss ID, although most acknowledge they do not do so.
In some cases, they bring in someone like Fred Cutting to do it.
Cutting is 62 years old and has a strong background in science. He retired as a mechanical engineer from Honeywell in Pinellas County and has a master’s degree in engineering from the University of Wisconsin.
Once a year for the past four years, Cutting has found himself at Countryside High School in Clearwater during the Great American Teach-In, talking about ID to honors students.
“I’ve got the really good students, and they ask really good questions,” he said. “I’m not teaching religion; I’m teaching, ‘Let’s think.'”
Cutting passes along not just an encouragment of intellectual curiosity but his reading of the evidence about how life came to be on Earth.
“It may not have been just the way the Bible story tells it, but I’m looking at it as a scientist, and it is pretty evident to me that there was an intelligent designer,” he said. “It doesn’t say he was a Christian God, or anybody’s god, but just that he did exist. Anything else is just faith.”
And, Cutting adds, why should evolutionists be allowed to dominate public schools with their “humanistic” faith?
“In our schools, those whose faith is atheism or humanism, they use Darwinism to reinforce their faith,” he said, “and that’s not intellectually honest.”