Highlands County: resolution fails!

Florida Citizens for Science members who were present at today’s Highlands County school board meeting have reported in. Good news! The school board decided not to pass their anti-evolution resolution. Apparently, there was even a last minute effort to change the wording of the resolution, but several passionate speakers who gave presentations to the board didn’t let that deter them from their objective of advocating strong, sound science.

Speaking in favor of science were about five community college professors, a few Archbold Biological Station Researchers, a concerned citizen and an amazing teenage student. I believe only one person was there to speak in favor of the resolution. One of our members who was there said: “It was truly inspiring to hear these passionate professionals speak so eloquently on behalf of the standards and science in general. Keep up the fight at the state level, but we will celebrate a small victory here in Highlands County.”

[edited to add] Comments on this post have now been closed. I have no problem with allowing a drawn out debate about science-related topics, but branching off into other territory like this comment thread has is beyond the scope of this blog.

42 Responses to “Highlands County: resolution fails!”

  1. ABO Says:

    Having been at this meeting it was apparent that evolution is truly an alternate theology. The rhetoric was typical of those who put their faith in the faith based aspects of evolution. Once again evolutionary doctrine has triumphed and science has lost.

  2. Nick D Says:

    ABO, what do you mean? You have failed to give any examples.

    Evolution is NOT dogmatic. There is a great deal of competition in the biology field and constant research for more information. Several new parts of evolutionary theory have made it from challenges to conventional theory to major parts of biology (including several parts of the science standards).

    There is a clear wealth of information, and replacing the gray areas with controversial, non-falsifiable theology is not science

  3. Randall Says:

    But Nick, if people are still debating it, then it’s a theory in crisis, so we should teach the weaknesses!

    Face it, we can’t win arguing against creationists; either we’re dogmatically saying that evolution is true or admitting that evolution is false.

  4. S.Scott Says:

    That’s funny – I’ve never heard of “Evolution Church” – I guess you were the ONE speaker? I guess you think (wrongly) that there is no Evidence supporting evolution? There is NO FAITH involved in science.

  5. ABO Says:

    S.Scott
    There’s certainly a tremendous amount of evidence for evolution. Most of it is true, a lot is not. I can agree there may be no faith involved in science But all of evolutionary theory is not science. The engines of evolution, Natural Selection and Mutation neither of which add information to a spices. Natural selection eliminates information that was already there, not adding anything to the DNA sequences to advance a species, but rather taking it away. Mutations are similar in that they are usually eliminated by natural selection or the system is programmed not to reproduce it, so eventually it dies out. So we have a downward path to less complexity not an upward direction to more complex species. Diminishing returns are not usually considered profitable. This is the opposite to the theory, so to accept this as science is a matter of faith. And by the way there is a church of evolution.

  6. fnxtr Says:

    Oh, no, not the “no new information” canard again. Is that still around? While you’re at it, ABO, why not pull out the old SLOT card?

    PLease explain how a change from, for example, ACCTAGGTT to ACATAGGTT is a loss of information, rather than a simple *change* in information. Show your work.

    What, exactly, is the “system” that is “programmed” not to reproduce “it”, whatever “it” is? Explain the nylon bug *mutation*. Explain the sickle cell allele *mutation*, a single copy of which helps protect against malaria. Explain the diversity of species and how this applies as ‘diminishing returns’.

    Or admit that you’re a contortionist who can somehow put his foot in his mouth while simultaneously having his head up his ass.

  7. Scott Hatfield, OM Says:

    ABO, if I may, you have been misled by an argument that misidentifies the source of the information that is involved in generating novelty in the biological world. Evolution is what happens. Natural selection is but one process (albeit a very important one) that drives evolution. Speciation is but one possible outcome of evolutionary change. But none of these things is in itself the source of information. The source, rather, is the interaction between an organism’s genome and a constantly-changing environment. It is a stochastic process that involves both random and non-random imputs, but it is a process that does, in fact, generate new patterns of information. A further mistake made by those who offer ‘information theory’ arguments is the unwarranted assumption that all of the new information generated by this process is somehow incorporated within the organism’s genome.

    With a little reflection it must be admitted that even a very efficient coding system like DNA could hardly have the capacity to ‘look forward’ and anticipate all the possible twists and turns of future environments. Creationists naturally assume that the source of the additional information is God, but as the above argument shows, genome-environmental interaction is sufficient to generate the desired novelty.

  8. Larry Fafarman Says:

    So what was the vote tally?

    The news article announcing the board’s consideration of the resolution was very wishy-washy about how the board members were leaning. The article opened with the following statement saying that all five board members believed that evolution should not be taught as fact:

    –“With all five school board members believing evolution should not be taught as fact, the School Board of Highlands County on Tuesday will consider a resolution opposing the state’s proposed new science standards stance on evolution.”–

    However, the article later said that four of the board members would only “consider” the resolution:

    –“The board members who were present at the meeting, Donna Howerton, J. Ned Hancock, Richard Norris and Andy Tuck, said they would consider such a resolution.”–

    Anyway, apparently one factor that contributed to the defeat of the resolution was that the one public speaker supporting the resolution was greatly outnumbered by the public speakers opposing the resolution. Another factor was that no email addresses for the school board members were posted and that made it difficult or impossible for supporters of the resolution to send in opinions.

    What I don’t understand is why you Darwinists stubbornly refuse to compromise and insist on continuing to fight an uphill battle to have Darwinism taught dogmatically. Opinion polls show that only a minority of the public wants Darwinism to be taught dogmatically. And you should not rely on the courts to bail you out — Judge Jones did but he is an idiot who showed extreme prejudice against the Dover defendants by saying in a commencement speech that his decision was based on his notion that the Founders based the establishment clause upon a belief that organized religions are not “true” religions. In future court cases the courts might rule that scientific questions concerning evolution are nonjusticiable. Wouldn’t it be better to teach both the strengths and weaknesses of evolution rather than not teach evolution at all?

  9. Jonathan Smith Says:

    Do not feed the troll Larry Fafarman,just ignore him and he will move on to another site were he can try to impress.

  10. S.Scott Says:

    Is this the article you are talking about Larry?

    http://www2.highlandstoday.com/content/2008/jan/25/board-opposes-evolution-being-taught-fact/

    It seems pretty straight forward to me. Luckily they came to their senses.

    I don’t know why you call the THEORY of EVOLUTION “dogmatic”- it is based on testable fact.

    I know you like to debate about Judge Jones’ ruling … I’ ve heard it all before here – (as “ABC”, or “XYZ”, or “ABC/XYZ”, or “ABC/Larry”, etc…)

    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2007/12/judge-explains.html

    …and I’m tired of it.

  11. Spirula Says:

    Opinion polls show that only a minority of the public wants Darwinism to be taught dogmatically.

    Yes! That’s the ticket. Take polls on what science should be “taught”. Evidence and demonstrability are a matter of majority now, I take it. Who gives a shit about repeatibiliy, reliability and peer review. Lets just teach what the public wants. Eventually we’ll have great classes on “The History of NASCAR”, “Seven ways to field dress a ‘possum” and “Math with Revolvers, Applied Survival Statistics”.

    Good. Maybe they can vote out that pesky “Theory of Gravity” stuff and I’ll be able to clear debris off my roof without fear of injury.

  12. firemancarl Says:

    carp carp carp! Ack! those evil evilutionists are at it again! They are trying to get real science taught in our schools! help! Help! Help!

    Whew, I feel better now!

  13. Penn Says:

    Teller and I will now vote on the sex of this rabbit.

    *scribble scribble*

    I voted (shows card with female symbol) “female.”

    Teller voted (shows card)…”Prince.”

  14. Larry Fafarman Says:

    S.Scott Says:
    >>>>> Is this the article you are talking about Larry?

    http://www2.highlandstoday.com/content/2008/jan/25/board-opposes-evolution-being-taught-fact/

    It seems pretty straight forward to me >>>>>” Opinion polls show that only a minority of the public wants Darwinism to be taught dogmatically.”

    Yes! That’s the ticket. Take polls on what science should be “taught”.

  15. Larry Fafarman Says:

    OOPS — part of my post was cut off because I used the inequality signs. Here it is again —

    S.Scott Says:
    –” Is this the article you are talking about Larry?

    http://www2.highlandstoday.com/content/2008/jan/25/board-opposes-evolution-being-taught-fact/

    It seems pretty straight forward to me”–

    What is the matter with you? I quoted the article to show that it is not straightforward.

    Spirula Says:
    –” Larry said, ‘ Opinion polls show that only a minority of the public wants Darwinism to be taught dogmatically. ‘

    Yes! That’s the ticket. Take polls on what science should be “taught”. ” —

    What is the point of teaching Darwinism to members of the general public if their opinions about it are going to be ignored?

  16. S.Scott Says:

    Larry – From said article –

    “I would for one,” would support such a resolution, School Board Member Richard Norris said” … (That’s ONE)

    School Board Member Donna Howerton said she would also entertain supporting such a resolution. (That’s TWO)

    School Board Chairman J. Ned Hancock said Thursday he would support the resolution to encourage the state not to approve the science standard of evolution as fact. (That’s THREE)

    School Board Vice Chairman Andy Tuck said Thursday, “as a person of faith, I strongly oppose any study of evolution as fact at all. I’m purely in favor of it staying a theory and only a theory. I won’t support any evolution being taught as fact at all in any of our schools.”
    (…and That’s FOUR!)

    Like I said before … I’m glad they came to their senses.

    And, oh by the way …

    “However, the article later said that four of the board members would only “consider” the resolution:” –

    DERRRRRRR! How do you think resolution passing works?

  17. Jonathan Smith Says:

    Did I miss something,since when did science become a democratic
    principle? Science is inherently biased toward ideas and theories that can be supported by observable evidence.This is why science discards notions like geocentrism, a flat earth, astrology and creationism.
    Of course if science do not have all the answers to all the questions at this point in time, people like LarryF throw up their hands and cry foul
    Well, the gaps are getting smaller as science advances, what will they do when they are left with nothing to cry about?

  18. Karen R Says:

    Larry, I cannot quite believe that you are serious – your statement is practically a caricature of IDiots.

    “What is the point of teaching Darwinism to members of the general public if their opinions about it are going to be ignored?”

    Out of curiosity, do you believe that we should rewrite the history standards to accommodate Holocaust deniers? How about the health curriculum to avoid offending Jehovah’s Witnesses with talk of transfusions? Change American Government courses so that the Electoral College isn’t covered, because most Americans think it’s an outdated idea? Seriously, how can you honestly sit there and tell us that opinions are more important than facts in education?

    I guess you’re entitled to your own opinion, but I’m damned glad there will always be folks out there fighting to keep your opinions out of our classrooms.

  19. S.Scott Says:

    Larry said:

    ” What is the point of teaching Darwinism to members of the general public if their opinions about it are going to be ignored? ” …

    I honestly CAN’T believe you said that Larry!!!

  20. ABO Says:

    Scott Hatfield
    Thanks for your thoughts. However my thought wasn’t that God had added additional information.

    I can understand changing environments and interaction between organisms within the species My reference is the change from one specie to another species. The novelty I’ve implicated is not seen. The new patterns of information you’re referring to are combinations created within the species, there is no problem here. The problem is that the genome itself does not allow outside species to enter in, or crossbreed. For instance a cat and a dog can’t have cappys neither does the cat have the genetic information to produce a dog and vice versa.

    To consider this as a possibility may work on paper, but it is not seen in nature. With this system in place our common ancestor could not have been uncommon. Darwin had problems with this fact, “Firstly, why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms?

  21. S.Scott Says:

    Karen said:

    “Out of curiosity, do you believe that we should rewrite the history standards to accommodate Holocaust deniers?”

    Karen, you better sit down for this – Larry IS a Holocaust denier!!

    Hold on a sec … I’ll go get the link

  22. S.Scott Says:

    Karen, make sure you have a bucket ready to “SPEW” in —

    http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/search/label/Holocaust%20revisionism%20%281%20of%202%29

  23. Glenn Royer Says:

    ABO – please see the Botanical Society of America’s Statement on Evolution:

    http://www.ethicalatheist.com/docs/statement_on_evolution.html

    In it is the laboratory-reproducable case of how naturally occurring species of wheat arose from predecessors:
    Einkorn: 14 chromosomes
    Emmer: 28 chromosomes
    Breadwheat: 42 chromosomes

    Emmer and breadwheat were proven to have arisen from natural crossbreeding with other grasses in the region.
    Is this a sufficient answer to your “information addition” problem?

  24. S.Scott Says:

    ABO said : “Firstly, why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms?”

    We Do – go do your homework. (Why don’t you start by “googling” speciation.)

  25. ABO Says:

    Glenn Rover

    This reproductive isolation is not evolution of the sort which would be capable of eventually turning microbes into magnolias and microbiologists. That sort of change requires the generation of new genetic information in the DNA. Rather, a hybrid—or cross between two species—results from the recombination of existing information from both parent species; no new information has been generated.

  26. ABO Says:

    S.Scott, The biophysicist Lee Spetner wrote , “ No mutations have ever been observed that have converted an animal to a markedly different species, say from a fly to a wasp.”

    I’ve been asking evolutionist for years to provide some type of real evidence, for the theory. A cat with one wing a dog with gills. And to this point all I have ever been shown is speciation. Is this all you have.

  27. S.Scott Says:

    Stop making me do YOUR homework …
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

  28. D Says:

    “I’ve been asking evolutionist for years to provide some type of real evidence, for the theory. A cat with one wing a dog with gills.”
    Well see, here’s the thing. Neither of those monstrosities are what we would expect using evolutionary theory. So the fact that aren’t any is irrelevant.

    “And to this point all I have ever been shown is speciation. Is this all you have.”
    And speciation IS something we expect. So that’s good. We also have many other things supporting common descent and evolution.

  29. D Says:

    “S.Scott, The biophysicist Lee Spetner wrote , “ No mutations have ever been observed that have converted an animal to a markedly different species, say from a fly to a wasp.””
    I’ve never heard of this Spetner character, but if he did say such a thing it shows he’s also ignorant of what evolution claims. This is akin to asking why monkeys aren’t mutating into humans.

  30. Larry Fafarman Says:

    S.Scott Says: February 6th, 2008 at 6:00 pm
    –“Larry – From said article” —

    OK — the problem was that we were looking at two different articles. You were looking at one published Jan. 25 —

    http://www2.highlandstoday.com/content/2008/jan/25/board-opposes-evolution-being-taught-fact/

    — and I was looking at one published Feb. 3 —

    http://www2.highlandstoday.com/content/2008/feb/03/school-board-consider-evolution-resolution/

    Anyway, it seems that all of the school board members were in favor of the resolution against the proposed science standards. I could imagine public testimony causing one or two of them to change their minds, but three or more of them changed their minds. To me they don’t have much credibility.

    Jonathan Smith Says: February 6th, 2008 at 6:06 pm
    –“Did I miss something, since when did science become a democratic principle?”–

    Yes, you missed something.

    Karen R Says: February 6th, 2008 at 6:22 pm
    –“Larry, I cannot quite believe that you are serious “–

    You better believe it.

    –“Out of curiosity, do you believe that we should rewrite the history standards to accommodate Holocaust deniers? “–

    Yes.

    S.Scott Says: February 6th, 2008 at 6:24 pm
    –“Larry said:

    ” What is the point of teaching Darwinism to members of the general public if their opinions about it are going to be ignored? ” …

    I honestly CAN’T believe you said that Larry!!! “–

    You better believe it, too.

  31. Jonathan Smith Says:

    To all those who find problems with TOE and fail to offer any viable, realisitic answers of their own,I would suggest this.
    If you do not like the theory of evolution,earn a PhD in Biology, gather evidence for the alternative theory of your choice and convince other scientists of your ideas. When your theory gains acceptance among the scientific community, then and only then, will we be convinced.
    Until then keep your mindless rantings to your self or show us some real evidence.

  32. PC-Bash Says:

    Larry Fafarman –

    Usually, I try to avoid an ad hominem attack, but apparently you are your own ad hominem attack. You are ignorant. Before you accuse me of calling you names, I recommend that you look up the definition of the term “ignorant”. Here, I’ll do it for you:

    ignorant adjective
    1 a: destitute of knowledge or education “an ignorant society”; also : lacking knowledge or comprehension of the thing specified “parents ignorant of modern mathematics”
    b: resulting from or showing lack of knowledge or intelligence “ignorant errors”
    2: unaware uninformed

    You show characteristics of all three. Personally, I think it’s obvious that you are a troll.

    Regarding the Holocaust. I have pictures taken by my great-grand-uncle who served in WWII as an army ranger of holocaust survivors, minutes after their German captors were killed, taken or way, or fled. I find the implication that such an event never happened to be evidence of your ignorance, be it willful or otherwise.

    Maybe instead of trolling your worthless beliefs here, you should try reading a book written by a reputable author.

  33. Larry Fafarman Says:

    –“Regarding the Holocaust.”–

    I am a holocaust revisionist, not a holocaust denier. I firmly believe that a “systematic” Jewish holocaust was impossible because the Nazis had no objective and reliable way(s) of identifying Jews and non-Jews.

  34. S.Scott Says:

    “Jaw Dropping” – isn’t it

  35. PC-Bash Says:

    Yes. It is very shocking. I wonder if this guy even listens to the inanity that spews forth from his mouth. He is obviously ignorant, and apparently willfully so.

    Larry Fafarman –

    Once again, you show your ignorance.

    Most of the Jews in Germany were identified by paperwork. Religious and cultural background was part of the papers that one had in Germany during the twenties and thirties. Those who attempted to hide their identities were often ratted out by neighbors, or by other towns folk that were loyal to the Nazi party. Considering the stiff penalties involved in harboring Jews, even those who did not believe in Nazi ideals would not want to be punished for not reporting a Jew that was hiding their identity. At the time, people did not know of the final solution. As part of the German eugenics program, all people of supposed “inferior” lineage were identified, be these Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, etc.

    If you bothered to read history, instead of this revisionist garbage, then perhaps you would form a more educated opinion on the matter.

    It is obvious, by your asinine claims about both evolution and the Holocaust that you know absolutely nothing about either subject. Go troll somewhere else.

  36. PC-Bash Says:

    Not to invoke a slippery slope argument, but this is exactly the sort of ignorance I expect to see more often as a product of the public schooling system if science and history education is not properly defended against these ID nut-jobs.

  37. S.Scott Says:

    Agreed. I’m even more scared that – (maybe not this generation, or the next) – if we don’t heed the advice of our “FOUNDERS” – (Yes I said FOUNDERS! for any lurkers that need to do some homework) – … that this country will end up in a civil war over religion.

    It is so extremely important to keep a clear separation of church and state.

  38. S.Scott Says:

    I don’t know exactly how we got of the topic of science – but the reason I just mentioned is exactly why I got involved with this whole thing in the first place.

    I appreciate all of you helping to educate me (and at PT). You have been a wealth of information.

  39. Larry Fafarman Says:

    PC-Bash Says,
    –“Those who attempted to hide their identities were often ratted out by neighbors, or by other towns folk that were loyal to the Nazi party. “–

    Do you think that I have not heard all of your nonsense before? If someone did not look like a Jew and did not live like a Jew, then what was there to “rat out”? Also, anti-semites would have been afraid of being mistaken for Jews themselves. And you are just talking about Germany — what about all the other European countries that the Germans occupied?

    Also, Nazi anti-semitism was not a eugenics program, since it didn’t target the physically and/or mentally handicapped.

    S.Scott Says,
    –“It is so extremely important to keep a clear separation of church and state. “–

    So maybe we should keep the religion of Darwinism out of our public schools.

    Anyway, even if ID and other criticisms of Darwinism are bad science, there is no constitutional separation of bad science and state.

  40. PC-Bash Says:

    Larry Fafarman –

    Instead of attempting to argue here, I recommend that you do one of two things: take a class on history, or read some reputable books. Your opinions and your conclusions are based on conjecture.

    If someone did not look like a Jew and did not live like a Jew, then what was there to “rat out”?

    Like what I said, one’s religion was registered as part of their papers, long before Hitler came to power. Don’t believe me, try reading:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Holocaust#Compliance_of_Germany.27s_institutions

    That link is backed up with plenty of references, which are themselves backed up with plenty of references.

    Also, Nazi anti-semitism was not a eugenics program, since it didn’t target the physically and/or mentally handicapped.

    WRONG. The handicapped were often euthanized by doctors. Parents would bring in their children when they were sick, only to be given the tragic news that they had suffered “complications”, most likely associated with their handicap.

    I recommend that you start reading here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T4_euthanasia

    Unfortunately for you, I am an avid WWII history buff. Your nonsense will not work here.

    Anyway, even if ID and other criticisms of Darwinism are bad science, there is no constitutional separation of bad science and state.

    ID is a belief, not science. To be even a scientific hypothesis, it must be defined in such a way that it can be both verifiable and falsifiable. It is impossible to falsify the existence of a “theistic intelligent designer”, as the ID camp defines their religion. This “designer” cannot be observed. Therefore, ID is not even bad science. It is garbage.

    The fact that the DI and shills for this garbage are attempting to shove it down our throats is unconstitutional. Don’t believe me, read the briefs of every court that this modern “ID” movement has come across. When things get bad, the courts shut them down, using terms such as “separation of church and state”.

  41. Spirula Says:

    Nazis had no objective and reliable way(s) of identifying Jews and non-Jews.

    Yeah. Without an objective and reliable identification method there’s NO WAY, despite it’s fanatical anti-semitism, the Nazis would have swept up individuals for “disposal” without irrefutable proof as to their ancestry.
    Besides, the Nazis were notoriously bad record keepers and documentarians. (It’s not like German culture is known for its attention to precision and its fastidiousness with detail.)

    I’ll wager Larry’s got some barely repressed Nazi sympathizing going on.

  42. PC-Bash Says:

    I’ll wager Larry’s got some barely repressed Nazi sympathizing going on.

    Among other things. Larry is the product of a poor education, the exact thing that the DI is fighting for. He has no objectivity, just beliefs.