Darwinists object to word "theory"
TALLAHASSEE -- Top state legislators say they're ready to join the fight over putting the word ''evolution'' in Florida's public school science standards to ensure that it's taught as just a theory and not as fact.
Rep. Marti Coley, future House Speaker Dean Cannon and state Sen. Stephen Wise, all Republicans, say they're considering filing legislation this spring that would specifically call evolution a ''theory'' if the state Board of Education approves the proposed science standards Feb. 19 as currently written.
For the first time in state history, the standards would clearly call on all science teachers to instruct middle- and high-schoolers about evolution and natural selection.
The proposed standards just say "evolution," not "theory of evolution."
Though Wise says biblical creationism should be taught alongside evolution, Coley said she doesn't want to go that far with evolution.
"It's technically a theory. Let's present it for what it is" Coley told The Miami Herald on Tuesday.
Coley's proposal concerns backers of mainstream science because they fear the word "theory" could be easily manipulated to cast doubt on evolution, a pillar of biology . . .
In common usage, a theory is just a guess. In scientific terms, a theory -- like gravity or quantum mechanics -- is a testable explanation of a phenomenon based on facts.
"If you use the word theory to imply that scientists think evolution is just a hypothesis and is not real, that gives an incorrect impression," said Prof. Joseph Travis, the dean of Florida State University's Arts and Sciences College, who reviewed the state's science standards.
"If you use the word theory to say it's the best idea to explain how it works, then that's good," he said.
State Senator Wise's position that biblical creationism should be taught alongside evolution is unusual among legislators.
Not putting the word "theory" in the evolution education standards just because some ignorant people might interpret it as meaning "guess" rather than its scientific meaning is just playing word games. Would there be any objection to calling the "Big Bang" a "theory"? This reminds me of the time when some ignorant people found the word "niggardly" to be racially offensive (remember that one?). And in a discussion over whether a sportscaster's remark about Tiger Woods' golf-pro rivals "lynch(ing) him in a back alley" was racially offensive, a commenter on Fatheaded Ed Brayton's blog observed that saying that "other golfers need to find the chink in Tiger's armor" (Woods has some Chinese and Thai ancestry) also might unintentionally offend some people on racial grounds. I nearly died laughing after reading that one. Fatheaded Ed, who kicked me off his blog permanently because he thought that my literal interpretation of a federal court rule was stupid, apparently had no problem with that comment.
I predict that the current language in the proposed Florida evolution education standards is not going to survive. If the state board of education accepts this language as is, IMO the board is likely to be overruled by the legislature. I believe that legislators tend to be skeptical about Darwinism -- for example, the original Santorum Amendment to the No Child Left Behind Act passed the US Senate by 91-8 and a modified version of the amendment was put in the Congressional report accompanying the joint Senate-House version of the bill. Also, resolutions opposing the proposed standards were passed by about a dozen Florida county school boards, in many or even all cases unanimously.
Also, it is noteworthy that alleged "creationist" Cheri Yecke came close to being selected for the position of Florida Commissioner of Education. She was one of three finalists out of 24 applicants considered to be eligible and the Darwinists tried very hard to derail her candidacy.
Labels: Evolution education (new #1)