Callaway and meetings get brief notices

Florida Board of Education member Donna Callaway gets a brief story about her opposition to the new draft science standards in the St. Petersburg Times today. (We already commented on this issue in a post Nov. 30.)

State Board of Education member Donna Callaway said she will vote against the proposed new state science standards because evolution “should not be taught to the exclusion of other theories of origin of life.” Further, she hopes “there will be times of prayer throughout Christian homes and churches directed toward this issue,” according to a Nov. 30 column in the Florida Baptist Witness, a weekly newspaper based in Jacksonville. The board will vote on the new standards early next year. Educators and scientists have generally given them a good review. Callaway is the highest-profile critic to surface since the draft standards were released in October.

The newspaper’s education blog, The Gradebook, expands on this news brief. And, as can be predicted, the reader comments are in flames. Phil at the Bad Astronomy Blog takes note of the fun and excitement. We also see that The Gradebook is asking around about evolution and intelligent design, and finds that state Rep. Will Weatherford sides with the creationist Trojan horse.

Now comes state Rep. Will Weatherford, the Wesley Chapel Republican who’s already lined up enough votes to become House speaker in 2011. Asked if he supported the evolution-only approach, Weatherford told the Gradebook, “”I’m not a big fan of that.”

“Intelligent design is something I’m personally a fan of, and something I personally believe in,” he said. “But I don’t want to see that jammed down their throats, either. It shouldn’t be slanted one way or the other.”

And the Lakeland Ledger notices that two public meetings about the new science standards are coming up. (We already announced this in a post Nov. 25.)

State officials have added two locations for public meetings to discuss the changes to state science standards that include the addition of evolution for the first time.

The first meeting will be Jan. 3 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at The Schultz Center for Teaching and Leadership in Jacksonville, 4019 Boulevard Center Drive.

A second meeting will be Jan. 8 in Miramar from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Everglades High School. 17100 S.W. 48 Court.

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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8 Responses to Callaway and meetings get brief notices

  1. Jonathan Smith says:

    In the Florida Baptist online editorial by James Smith Sr.Witness as one would expect quoted me incorrectly.
    Smith also implied that I was aware “there is indeed great controversy in the scientific academy over the tenets of natural selection, even if a large majority of scientists continue to hold to Darwinian evolution.”
    So the fact that evolution is supported by a 150 years of
    empirical, reproducible, predictable evidence accounts for
    little, while the advocates of ID behave more like
    a political pressure group affirming their religious ideologies over valid hypotheses.
    I would remind Donna Callaway that walking the path of disingenuousness is fraught with disastrous consequences particularly when you have an obligation to provide a valid education for our school children. If she really feels that her particular religious convictions belong in the science classroom have the intestinal fortitude to say so, out loud, rather than hiding behind the sham of ID.

  2. James W. says:

    Providing a valid education, these days, is in the back of most educators’ minds given the pathetic state of FL schools for the most part. I’ve met very few people who can carry a conversation that have graduated from a South Florida school system in the last 10 years. Everyone down here is more interested in passing kids through and getting them to at least get passing marks on the FCAT instead of trying to teach them anything of worth.

    The sad thing about the FLSBOE is that this creationism vs. evolution ‘debate’ is not only arguably very one-sided, I think they’ll end up siding with creationism to be taught instead of evolution simply because parents won’t speak out against it due to apathy and all the kooks spearheading this won’t accept no for an answer.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have children so I can’t go raising hell to the BoE but I’d love to know that more parents would do so in my stead.

  3. JLO says:

    James W: “Unfortunately, I don’t have children so I can’t go raising hell to the BoE but I’d love to know that more parents would do so in my stead.”

    I think you have every right, James. You pay taxes, right? You probably own some property and therefore pay property taxes, right?

    James you have more right to contest ID being taught with your tax dollars than any religious person on the BoE has in spending them.

  4. Spirula says:

    Intelligent design is something I’m personally a fan of, and something I personally believe in

    Fine. Keep it personal. It’s still not science no matter how much he feels all warm and mushy about it. And he’s “personal faves” are of no count when it comes to teaching our children

    If we did science based on what we feel or what we want to be true, we might as well fund grants looking for magic unicorns and fairies in the garden because they’re cool to think about.

    I found this Penn Jillett quote over at PZ’s blog

    Penn Jillette sums it up perfectly: “There is no god, and that’s the simple truth. If every trace of any single religion were wiped out and nothing was passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it out again….Evolution is the truth. And with truth comes
    a lack of panic….The bad guys always have to fight for their ideas to be taught. They must cheat. Government force, propaganda, and hype are the tools you desperately need when you’re wrong. Truth abides.”

    Whether or not you agree with the first part (god, religion), the last part is dead on. The power of the scientific process and the information it reveals is based on the fact that it is repeatable. And the ID/creationists have to cheat to get into the science classroom.

  5. Spirula says:

    (oops…that should be “his personal faves”)

  6. Terri Bohr says:

    I was trying to get Ms Callaway’s email address to respond to her comment but they do not post those addresses. She needs to understand that all that can be taught in science class is science – things that can be measured, weighed, counted and otherwise studied. You can not do that with God or belief in God. Our job in the classroom is to teach scientific method and the best explanation for physical phenomena based on what we know now. Can that change? yes! Does that mean science is wrong? no! It is a process of discovery and no matter how string your belief in God and creationism is you can not call that science. Tell the kids that they may learn some other explanation at home or at their church but this is how science explains things. Science does not negate the existance of God – it’s apples and oranges – you can note explain God with science or use God to explain science.
    Also, people need to learn the correst scientific definition for theory – it is not someone’s idea – it’s a proposed explanation that is based on tons of evidence and tested hypotheses.

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  8. S.Scott says:

    Does anyone know if the BoE members will be in attendance at these next two meetings? (esp.Jax on Jan. 3rd?) Or is it just a Power Point presentation?

    I would like to remind them face to face that the U.S. Supreme Court has banned supporting one faith over another – and since this “ID” speculation (I refuse to call it a theory) greatly favors a specific branch of Christianity – it would be a violation of the Separation Claus.

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