Activist parents on the move; BoE member voices opinion

We now know what another state Board of Education member thinks about evolution in the science standards. But first, let’s see what led up to that revelation.

The St. Petersburg Times education blog The Gradebook is hot on the trail of a group of activist moms who are working overtime to be heard. They want to water down evolution’s mention in the state science standards. A post from this morning reported that concerned mom Kim Kendall has friends in high places.

The state’s proposed new science standards aren’t on today’s Board of Education agenda, as we far can tell. But a handful of influential Northeast Florida moms who are active in their PTOs and the Republican Party say that with the help of state Sen. Stephen Wise, R-Jacksonville, they’ve been given the green light to come to Tampa to tell the board they don’t like what they consider to be a dogmatic, all-or-nothing take on evolution.

They apparently also shipped out a press release to anyone who would listen, referring concerned folks “to the Florida Coalition for Academic Freedom, which credits the Center for Science and Culture, which is part of the Discovery Institute, which is the nation’s leading think tank for intelligent design.”

But then the moms got a rude awakening when they were told they wouldn’t get a chance to speak. A later posting reports that the moms were told ahead of time they wouldn’t get to talk, but they showed up anyway only to be told again that there was no time available for them to talk. I wonder what arrangement Sen. Wise thought he had.

That post then gives us a look into the thinking of one of the BoE members, and it doesn’t sound good. Apparently, Linda Taylor is fuzzy about the whole concept of theories:

The Gradebook caught up with board member Linda Taylor, who had so far been silent on the topic of the standards, and found her generally supportive of the “choices” philosophy, so long as it falls within what the state can do legally.

“With the evolution, there’s a bigger topic called theories of origin. I think kids should have the opportunity to compare different theories,” Taylor (left) said. “If we are focused on evolution I am OK with that. But they should at least know there are other theories out there and that they could themselves compare them or that they be presented to them.”

She continued: “I would support teaching evolution, but with all its warts. I think that some of the facts have been questioned by evolutionists themselves. I would want them taught as theories. That’s important. They could be challenged by others and the kids could then be taught critical thinking and they can make their own choices.”

So, Ms. Taylor, what are these supposed warts? What are these other theories? What do “theories of origin” have to do with evolution, which doesn’t touch on how life began, but rather how it has changed over time?

Ladies and Gentlemen, please ship Ms. Taylor a few special Christmas cards! Don’t know what I’m talking about? Then head over to our website that explains our “call to action” project: All I Want for Christmas is a Good Science Education. We’re running out of time to teach the BoE members some basic science. Send those Christmas cards now!

4 Responses to “Activist parents on the move; BoE member voices opinion”

  1. Epistaxis Says:

    Cross-comment from Pharyngula, which linked here

    Before we throw punches…

    From the sound of the original post, board member Taylor may just be ill-informed, not malevolent.

    This sentence is key:

    The Gradebook caught up with board member Linda Taylor, who had so far been silent on the topic of the standards, and found her generally supportive of the “choices” philosophy, so long as it falls within what the state can do legally.

    She doesn’t sound like the Dover guys who were just playing dumb (in a sense) while they and their DI overlords sharpened the wedge; it just sounds like a reporter cornered her on an issue about which she doesn’t know much or feel strongly.

    In other words, she’s not necessarily the enemy. This may be a teachable moment rather than a declaration of war.

  2. Brandon Haught Says:

    Epistaxis,

    I agree. My post might have come across as sounding a bit harsh, but note that I do say we need to educate her. On the other hand, if she isn’t sure what she’s talking about, them maybe she should have stayed silent until she did some basic research.

    That’s part of the problem here. The research she and others are doing is nothing more than getting a feel for public response. These Board members are listening to the loudest voices. So, we need to get louder!

  3. E. Morriss Says:

    Quote:

    “What do “theories of origin” have to do with evolution, which doesn’t touch on how life began, but rather how it has changed over time?”

    Since science has failed at every attempt to explain the origin of life I dont blame you for that definition. The origin of life IS a change from lifelessness to life. The change over time began at that first moment science claims a glob of chemicals defied what science considers zero probabilty and sprang to life with the ability to process energy and food, expel waste and reproduce.

    Science has also failed to explain how nearly every phyla in existence today appear fully formed in the fossil record at the same time.

    Science has failed to show the evolution of flight. The only fossils are fully formed, fully flying specimens.

    Science has failed to show the evolution of sight. The only fossils are fully formed, fully sighted specimens. The list, and the excuses science expects us to accept on faith, goes on.

    Science says evolution is directionless, without purpose, yet offers explanations for the evolution of flight like: animals leaping for prey developed wings to help them jump higher; to reach safer refuges from predators, and so on. That is directed and purposeful.

    It is hard to support the non-science of evolution when modern text books *still* teach the long since dismantled Urey/Miller experiment, the fraudulent Haekel’s hacked embryos, the embarrasing display of (incorrect) horse evolution long removed from the museum, the numerous faked “missing links”, and many other similar treasures form the “science” of evolution.

    Evolution would have us believe that the directionless, non-purposeful process of completely random genetic changes resulted in a reptile developing feathers, hollow bones, beaks, and a completely overhauled respiratory system. A genetic mutation of a reptiles scales develops frays along the edges.

    From there, a series of millions upon millions of random, directionless genetic mutations continue to occur throughout countless generations of offspring causing the fraying scales to fray to the point they develop into highly complex, highly organized feathers.

    But what good are feathers without flight muscles, a heavy body and a respiratory system to provide ample oxygen to them? That poor old slow breathing reptile would have a heck of a time flying without enough oxygen getting to those flight muscles!

    So at the same time all of those random, directionless genetic changes also just happened (totally by chance and natural selection according to the “science” of evolution) are making feathers, millions upon millions of random, directionless genetic mutations begin hollowing the bones, changing the skeletal structure, muscles and nerves, and completely redesigning, I mean evolving, the cardio vascular system so that one day Robby the reptile jumps off a rock and takes flight…right into a tree trunk breaking his neck.

    Looks like the millions upon millions of random, directionless genetic mutations causing his brain to develop the knowledge of flight control forgot to kick in.

  4. Florida Citizens for Science » Blog Archive » Those not in favor of good science education, raise your hand. Says:

    […] Linda Taylor, member of state BoE who mentioned “other theories” in a St. Petersburg Times education blog Dec. 11. (Contact information on our Call to Action addresses page.) […]