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  arrow pointing to the right   Home arrow My Thoughts arrow Politics arrow Politics arrow Bill to Protect the Ignorant


Bill to Protect the Ignorant PDF Print E-mail

Different approaches to scienceA Bill to Protect the Ignorant

 

3/8/08

After a hard won battle to actually improve the state of Florida’s science education standards, we now have standards that among other things, actually includes the “E” word, Evolution.  Yay!  Except for one thing.  Radical Baptists have decided that since they couldn’t convince the Board of Education to “teach the controversy” or better yet, not teach evolution at all, that they need to push a bill through the legislature that will allow anyone (teacher or student) with a religious agenda to disrupt classroom time to present the theo-non-science coming out of the Discovery Institute.

Evolution is to be taught in Florida, maybeFor background, the Discovery Institute’s latest strategy to introduce their theo-non-science into the schools so that they can sell more books and videos is deceptively named “Academic Freedom.”  They even have draft legislation.   Well, 3 weeks after the board of education battle was won by the pro-science crowd, Senator Ronda Storms of Tampa (the same Ronda Storms who promoted all sorts of wacky intolerant and mean spirited religiously motivated legislation in Tampa (like the repeal of the human rights ordinance and the prohibition on gay pride events in the city), introduce a verbatim bill in the Florida Senate.  3 days later, Rep Hays did the same thing in the Florida House.

Expelled promotes agressive disruption of science classroomsRep Hays is aggressively seeking support for this bill and has rented out a theater at the Challenger Learning Center to show a Discovery Institute sponsored film called “Expelled”   According to the Expelled website – they is new “evidence for intelligent design in the universe.”  Of course, if there really were new evidence and not another rehashing of their standard “Argument by disbelief” that would be big news.  Huge news actually.  In fact, if there were scientific evidence of a designer or creator (choose your term) every scientific journal in the world would want to publish it! 

The fact is, that the reason these guys can’t get a hearing in any reputable publication is because, as Behe admitted in a Dover courthouse, all they have is a hunch.  Translation, they believe in design, but have no way to prove it scientifically.   And actually, there are plenty of grant dollars available to anyone with a well design research plan looking into the question of divine purpose etc.  Just check out this Templeton statement on the issue.

On top of this latest nonsense involving the state legislature, there are also several counties who have passed ordinances basically saying, they plan to ignore the science education standards and allow their teachers to teach the Discovery Institutes theo-non-science.  The pro-science crowd has rightly named these local ordinances, Voluntary Ignorance statutes.  It is not surprising to see that they most poorly educated portion of our state is where these things have popped up.  Places where people are educated tend not to support voluntary ignorance.

theories attempt to describe real observed phenomenonSpeaking of which, it is always amazing to me the stupidity of the people who are promoting this theo-non-science.  It is really hard to be polite when the things they are so ludicrous.  The other day in my local paper, someone wrote a letter to the editor saying that both the theory of evolution and the theory of religion should be taught, since they are both theories.  I really don’t think this person knows what she was saying, thought I thought it was a great idea.

Obviously, the theory of evolution strives to describe how the process of evolution (an observable fact) occurs.  Likewise, the theory of religion seeks to describe how religion (an observable fact) occurs.  Granted, one theory is about the biological sciences, and the other about social science, but still, the theories are trying to describe observable phenomenon.  After all, there is religion; we can see it all around us.  Same with evolution, we can see it all around us.

My basic rant is this.  If we are planning to actually educate our kids about science then perhaps the people who actually understand science should decide what gets taught.  People who prove themselves to be scientifically illiterate should get no say in the debate. I don’t care how emphatic they are, they don’t know what they are saying. I understand they have been told that what they think they know is science, but it isn’t. The courts routinely rule against them because it isn’t science, it is theo-non-science.

Evolution and the Dover DecisionSo, now just fresh off the hard fought battle for the standards, we find that we need to re-enter the ring to defeat this bill to protect the ignorant.  If it passes, it will allow teachers and students with a radical religious agenda to present theo-non-science without any negative consequences.  Of course, they are only protected if what they are teaching is science, which it isn’t.  So if this passes, we will be back in the courts asking a judge to decide what is and isn’t science and what should or should not be taught in the schools.  Actually, when you think about it, it is pretty funny that they included such a high legal standard to meet.  If I was them, I wouldn’t want language that required information to be presented to be scientific.  But then, they have no idea what science is, so that sort of stupidity is to be expected.


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