There was a meeting Wednesday evening to solicit comments in person about the new draft science standards. It was just a boring, ho-hum meeting, right? A real snooze-fest, right?
Mark Hohmeister of the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper attended and reports back that things were lively. I wonder why?
Wakulla County was well-represented, with Beth Mims, director of curriculum, and school board member Greg Thomas speaking against adding evolution, officially, to the standards.
Mims – of course, not speaking for the board – said adding specific requirements would take “flexibility” from the teachers. (Flexibility to do what, I wondered; to teach religion?) “There’s no mention of controversy,” she said. “(Evolution) appears to be a universally accepted fact.”
One parent wondered why schools can’t consider “an intelligent influence,” branded evolution “a tool of atheists” and spoke of the “assumption of billions of years of history.” Uh-oh, I thought, we’ve got a young-Earth creationist here who thinks the world is just 6,000 years old.
A grandmother who had five kids go through public schools said she didn’t see evolution in the similarities of life forms. (Just as Picasso paintings are recognized as being from the same artist, so are worms and humans perhaps?) She hinted at “something that I call the creator” before finally surrendering and calling it “our heavenly father.”
Hohmeister had done his homework, having read the excellent book Monkey Girl, which is a nonfiction account of a court case in Dover, Pa. that tore the town apart and made international headlines. Sitting there in the meeting and listening to what people had to say about evolution after having read that book really got to Hohmeister. “Wow,” he wrote in his notes.
He listened to a director of curriculum, and a school board member, and several parents say the same things that got the good people of Dover into so much trouble. Could this really be happening?
There is one more meeting: November 15, Jones High School Auditorium, Orlando 801 S. Rio Grande Avenue, Orlando, FL 32805, (407) 835-2300, 5:30 PM to 7:00PM. Several Florida Citizens for Science members are planning on being there.
If you don’t have time to read Monkey Girl before attending, you can watch a PBS special on the Dover case called Judgment Day. It airs on Nov. 13 at 8 p.m.