Florida to teach Darwinism dogmatically
Florida has written new standards for teaching science that for the first time say public-school students need to learn about evolution.
The proposed science standards, released Friday, call evolution one of the "big ideas" that must be taught as part of in-depth, hands-on learning.
What's the "big idea"? Darwinism is a mickey mouse idea -- all it tells us is that (1) random mutations occur (duh) and that (2) fitter organisms are more likely to survive than less fit organisms (duh again).
Current standards do not use the word evolution -- long a controversial word in education -- but do require teaching evolutionary concepts in public schools.
The Thomas B. Fordham Institute in a 2005 report gave Florida an F for its current science standards, calling them "sorely lacking in content," "thin" and "nebulous." In particular, it criticized the "superficiality of the treatment of evolutionary biology."
The Fordham Institute's report on state science standards is worthless. The rating criteria are vague and there is far too much emphasis on evolution education, even though evolution education officially accounts for only 3 points out of a total of 69 in the Fordham rating system. The Fordham ratings do not correlate with student achievement. Fear of low Fordham Institute ratings frightens states into adopting excessively pro-Darwinist science teaching standards.
We've got to start developing more scientists," said Mary Jane Tappen, executive director of Florida's Office of Math and Science at the Florida Department of Education. "We've got to improve science education."
Wrong. We don't need more scientists -- we have too many already.
In recent years, some have pushed for teaching "intelligent design," which holds that aspects of living things are best explained by "an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection." Others have pushed for teaching that the theory of evolution does not fully explain the origins of life.
Fred Cutting, a retired engineer in Clearwater who served on the standards committee, wanted the new document to reflect that latter view and to let students know that scientists do not yet have all the answers.
"If you want students to understand the theory, they have to understand the pros and cons," he said, adding that the draft presented too "cut-and-dried" a view of evolution.
There we go again with that "contrived dualism" where ID is regarded as the only alternative to evolution theory. As I pointed out many times, there are also non-ID scientific (pseudoscientific to some) challenges to evolution theory. Anyway, it is good to see that an engineer on the standards committee said that the draft presented a too "cut-and-dried" view of evolution (IMO engineers are sharp people, but of course I am biased about that because I am an engineer myself).
Joe Wolf, president of Florida Citizens for Science, called the draft standards a "wonderful" blueprint for science education. Wolf, of Winter Haven, said the evolution debate holds little interest to most scientists, who accept it as fact. That's why the issue did not become controversial during the standards-writing meetings, he said.
In the words of Wickedpedia, the blog of the Florida Citizens for Science is -- as shown by SiteMeter statistics -- a "notable" blog that generally gets a lot less traffic than this "crappy" blog.
Labels: Evolution education