Comment sent to Florida's science standards review
Science: Lance King, Secondary Science Specialist, (850) 245-0667, Lance.King@fldoe.org
Science: Vie Vie Baird, Elementary Science Specialist, (850) 245-0758, Vievie.Baird@fldoe.org
I also sent the comment to members of the Polk County School Board because of a news article about their views about teaching about evolution. The school board members' email addresses are:
In contrast to my polite, benign comment, Wesley "Ding" Elsberry sent a blustering letter to the Polk County School Board.
Here is my comment:
I am opposed to the dogmatic teaching of evolution. I feel that both the strengths and weaknesses of evolution theory should be taught.
You should forget about the Fordham Institute's state science standards reports. These reports have vague criteria for rating the science standards (e.g., examples of the criteria are: expectations, purpose, audience; quality; seriousness), and the reports' ratings are subjective and arbitrary and have no correlation with student performance. Also, the Fordham Institute grossly overemphasizes evolution education -- for example, though evolution officially accounts for only 3 points out of 69 in the Fordham ratings, Fordham threatened to drop Ohio's overall grade from a B to an F because of Ohio's evolution lesson plan. Also, the Fordham report publishes state evolution education grades separately. The Fordham report is misused to pressure states into adopting excessively pro-Darwinist evolution education standards.
You should also forget about what that stupid judge in Pennsylvania said. He did not even write the ID-as-science section of the opinion -- the ACLU did. And he said in a commencement speech that his decision was based on his notion that the USA's Founders believed that organized religions are not "true" religions, clearly showing that he was prejudiced against the defendants, regardless of whether or not Intelligent Design is a religious concept.
I believe that evolution should be taught. I think it is important to know something about evolution because (1) such knowledge is part of being a well-educated person and (2) the concepts of evolution are used in some areas of biology (e.g., cladistic taxonomy and paleontology). However, IMO it is important to also know about the weaknesses of evolution theory -- that is also part of being a well-educated person. It seems that it is primarily the Darwinists who are in favor of just a one-sided, dogmatic presentation -- in contrast, the opponents of Darwinism generally appear to be flexible, believing that both sides should be presented. I rarely hear anti-Darwinists ask that only their side be taught. And if criticisms of evolution are not actually taught, there should be "evolution disclaimers" to reduce offense to people who for various reasons are opposed to the teaching of evolution, particularly the dogmatic teaching of evolution.
Also, there appears to be a "contrived dualism" where there are only two possibilities, evolution and intelligent design. However, there are many non-ID scientific (not pseudoscientific) criticisms of evolution. For example, the idea of co-evolution -- the mutual evolution of two co-dependent organisms, e.g., bees and flowering plants -- is a dilemma for evolution because in co-evolution, unlike in evolutionary adaptation to widespread fixed physical features of the environment, e.g., water, land, air, and climate, there may be nothing to adapt to because the corresponding co-dependent trait in the other organism may be initially absent.