Washington County: school board #9 on the anti-evolution train

The Washington County school board — yes, another county in North Florida — is apparently the latest school board to adopt an anti-evolution resolution. Unfortunately, the school system website doesn’t list board meeting agendas anywhere that I could find. I found out about the resolution through one of my regular search engine sweeps. The resolution is mentioned in the local paper, The Chipley Bugle:

In other action, the board approved a resolution concerning the proposed Sunshine State Standards for Science. The resolution urges the State Board of Education to direct the Florida Department of Education to revise the new Sunshine State Standards for Science such that evolution is not presented as fact, but as one of several theories.

This discovery falls in line with The Gradebook blog’s report that there could be as many as 12 to 14 resolutions passed by local school boards by the time the state board of education meets in February. Makes you wonder what Wayne Blanton, executive director of the Florida School Boards Association, knows that the rest of us don’t. And how does he know it?
By my count, there are now nine counties with anti-evolution resolutions: Baker, Clay, Hamilton, Holmes, Jackson, Madison, St. Johns, Taylor, and Washington. Nassua could make 10 if their resolution is passed tomorrow.

[edited to add the following] The Gradebook post has been expanded into a full story. It’s amazing how many of these school board members and superintendents think they are scientists. I mean, they have to be scientists in order to speak with such authority, right? Take this example:

Evolution is “going to be taught as fact, and everyone knows it’s not fact,” said Dennis Bennett, the superintendent in Dixie County, west of Gainesville. “There’s holes in it you can drive a truck through.”

What does Bennett base this assertion on? His extensive training and experience in the field of biology? No. I doubt he’s even touched a biology book in decades. Everyone knows it’s not fact? O.K., so what about these folks, Bennett … why hasn’t word spread to them yet?

Scores of scientific societies and organizations have issued statements in support of evolution, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Teachers Association.

Yes, scores of scientific societies and organizations is right. And where are you getting your information from, Bennett?

“We just wanted to get it on the record that we’re a Judeo-Christian community and we believe in academic freedom,” Bennett said.

“We’re not asking that evolution not be taught, just that it be taught as a theory, one of several,” said Ken Hall, a School Board member in Madison County, east of Tallahassee. “I’m a Christian. And I believe I was created by God, and that I didn’t come from an amoeba or a monkey.”

15 Responses to “Washington County: school board #9 on the anti-evolution train”

  1. Mike O'Risal Says:

    Yeah, I saw that article, too. As usual, I’m dumbfounded by the level of ignorance displayed therein. After seeing yet another ignorant statement by Beverly Slough in there, I decided to do something about it today.

    Maybe somebody from FCFS could check in with her and see if she’s started reading Your Inner Fish in a week or so.

  2. Karen R Says:

    Good call!

    On a related note, out of all the school board members I have e-mailed over the past few weeks, Ms. Slough is the only one that responded – with a “Thank you for expressing your opinion.” form letter, but a response nonetheless. I replied thanking her for the e-mail, noting that it means at least something that she is willing to acknowledge those of us supporting science.

  3. S.Scott Says:

    Karen – I got the same email response.

  4. S.Scott Says:

    Mike – what article are you referring to?

  5. Karen R Says:

    The quote refererenced in his blog is the ‘the fossil record doesn’t support all that’ quote that irks me every time I come across it.

    By the way, I received Hamilton county’s resolution today. I got it as I was heading out the door, so I’ll post a scan this afternoon (or sooner if I can figure out how to post photos from my phone.)

    For those interested, the resolution features the unbeliveably uninformed ‘one of several theories as to how the universe was formed’ and ‘unfairly exclude other theories as to the creation of the universe’ wording. I’ve left messages with the superintendant and chairman – I’ll keep you all updated.

  6. Mike O'Risal Says:

    S.Scott,

    It was an article in today’s St. Pete Times entitled “North Florida Weighing in against Evolution.” It carries the following quote from Slough:

    “Anybody with half a brain can see that natural selection takes place,” said Beverly Slough, a St. John’s board member who is president-elect of the Florida School Boards Association. “But to make great leaps from a fish to a man … the fossil record doesn’t support all that.”

    That’s why I specifically chose to send her Shubin’s book. It’s such a completely ignorant statement, not only in relation to the fossil record but to many other lines of evidence, many of which are covered in “Your Inner Fish.” Clearly, Slough needs some education on the topic.

  7. Jonathan Smith Says:

    Mike O’Risal
    Thank you for tying to educate the uneducated,but I fear that your
    efforts may be in vain.I have just finished Shubin’s book,any
    one with a open mind must be swayed be the evidence and logic.
    Unfortunately people like Beverly Slough will never accept any
    evidence that will contradict their religious ideologies.

  8. Mike O'Risal Says:

    Jonathan,

    You may very well be right that Slough won’t change her mind; I don’t expect that she would.

    However, she cannot legitimately claim that no evidence exists. It is now more-or-less public knowledge that she is going to be in possession of a book that specifically refutes the statement that she made to that effect. If she makes the assertion again in a public forum, she can be called on it and shown to be intellectually dishonest.

    It would be one thing to say that she disputes the evidence, but for her to ever say again that there is no evidence would be a bold-faced lie that she now knows is a lie… and she ought to be called on it just as publically as she shown herself to be willing to make such ridiculous comments in the first place.

    And who knows… maybe there will be a miracle. ;)

  9. S.Scott Says:

    @ Mike – thank you :-)

  10. j a higginbotham Says:

    Oh come on, man from fish? That’s just obviously insane.

    [Shipping address below.]

  11. Jonathan Smith Says:

    j a higginbotham wrote ‘Oh come on, man from fish? That’s just obviously insane.”

    Almost as insane as, man from dirt,woman from mans rib!!
    Read the book, then you can make a educated comment.

  12. Karen R Says:

    I think he was hoping for a free copy =)

  13. Spirula Says:

    Oh come on, man from fish?

    Amen brother!

    We all know fish swallows man. Man lives in belly of fish three days. Fish spits man out on beach. Man preaches to infidels.

    Oh, and man rides chariot of fire into heaven. And man talks to snakes, donkeys and burning bushes. And man walks on water, raises the dead, curses a fig tree to death, and flies, undeaded into heaven.

    But lobe-finned fish evolving into terrestrial tetrapods, giving rise to amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals over millions of years…well, that’s just absurd!

  14. firemancarl Says:

    Sweet hey, maybe if enough counties are against evolution, we can party like it’s 1399!

  15. ABO Says:

    Spirula

    I haven’t ever seen a man come from a fish either, that’s stupid. Every body knows fish come from men, like at Captain D’s. These people have been fed to much sugar.