News roundup

The St. Petersburg Times has an editorial up supporting evolution in the state science standards.

On Tuesday, the state Board of Education will vote on new science standards that finally insist that Florida’s students receive comprehensive biology instruction that includes evolution as its underlying concept. It is an economic imperative that these standards be approved, despite the fierce backlash and pressure that has been rallied by religious elements.

Twenty-first century businesses in biotechnology and other sciences are watching Florida’s efforts to create an educated work force. Right now, our unwillingness to accept well-established scientific theory is making headlines – just the kind of thing that keeps us a low-wage, tourist-dependant state.

Tuesday’s vote is about Florida’s future, and nothing less.

The paper also did a survey and found that the majority of the public missed out on a good science education. At least that’s my reading of it. (full version of survey can be found here.)

Florida parents don’t have much faith in evolution.

Only 22 percent want public schools to teach an evolution-only curriculum, while 50 percent want only faith-based theories such as creationism or intelligent design, according to a new St. Petersburg Times survey.

“There is no justification for singling out evolution for special skepticism or critical analysis,” wrote Richard T. O’Grady, executive director of the American Institute of Biological Sciences in a Feb. 8 letter to the Board of Education. “Its strength as a scientific theory matches that of the theory of gravitation, atomic theory and the germ theory.”

The response from Dennis Baxley, executive director of the Christian Coalition of Florida: “He’s in error.”

“At one time, the scientific community thought that for good health, you should attach leaches to your body,” said Baxley, a former state representative from Ocala. “We’re just asking them to leave the door open a little bit” for other evidence to be considered.

“He’s in error.” Ummmmmm, and your scientific training consists of?

An op-ed by Nobel Prize in Chemistry winner Harold Kroto appeared in a few papers. It’s a great read.

And, in case you missed it, there are some articles about the state board of education allowing speakers at their Feb. 19 meeting.

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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One Response to News roundup

  1. Pete Dunkelberg says:

    Regarding the St Pete Times survey, see this post>. How did the wording influence the results? But then again, how did public misunderstanding of science influence the results?

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