"Creationist" Floridian seeks US Senate seat
TALLAHASSEE (FBW) – An evolution compromise approved on Feb. 19  by the State Board of Education was the best that could be achieved in that body but legislative action to protect academic freedom of teachers offering criticisms of Darwinian evolution is possible, House Speaker Marco Rubio told Florida Baptist Witness in a Feb. 20 interview.
Rubio said the Board of Education’s addition of “scientific theory of” before each reference to “evolution” in new science standards for Florida’s public schools was “the best fix available” with “the way those votes were lining up.”
Although he and other House leaders supported the theory compromise in a Feb. 19 letter to members of the Board of Education, Rubio said critics who believe explicit language protecting academic freedom is necessary “may be right.”
At the Feb. 19 BOE meeting, opponents of the science standards uniformly opposed the theory compromise, arguing instead for an “Academic Freedom Proposal” which would have added a clause to the standards permitting teachers “to engage students in a critical analysis” of Darwinian evolution.
John Sullivan, executive director-treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention, in a Feb. 17 letter urged the BOE to oppose the theory compromise in light of the standards’ “silence about teaching scientific criticisms of evolution.”
Sullivan said both strengths and weaknesses of Darwinian evolution should be taught and said the standards should “honor and encourage the academic freedom of teachers and students on an issue of fundamental importance and ongoing scientific controversy.”
Asked if the legislature would be open to academic freedom legislation, Rubio told the Witness, “I think so. Sure. Well, I think the Florida House would. I can’t speak for the Senate.”
Although a vote count had not been taken on the issue, “we may have sufficient votes on that in the Florida House,” he added.
Rubio said there also could be activity in the legislature by evolution proponents who wish to remove the theory compromise language.
“I think there’s still going to be folks out there talking about this – on both sides. … I think this will be a battle that will go on for quite some time,” he said.
The “crux” of the disagreement, according Rubio, is “whether what a parent teaches their children at home should be mocked and derided and undone at the public school level. It goes to the fundamental core of who is ultimately, primarily responsible for the upbringing of children. Is it your public education system or is it your parents?”
Rubio added, “And for me, personally, I don’t want a school system that teaches kids that what they’re learning at home is wrong.”
I disagree with Rubio's statement that he doesn't "want a school system that teaches kids that what they’re learning at home is wrong." Depending on the circumstances, I think it is OK for public schools to do this.
It is not clear whether Rubio is really a "creationist" -- he might just merely be in favor of "academic freedom" to teach scientific criticisms of evolution in public schools. I think that evolution should be taught in the public schools but I also feel that scientific -- or pseudoscientific (I added that for the benefit of the Darwinists who keep moaning that there are no scientific criticisms of evolution) -- criticisms of evolution should also be taught in the public schools. And the following recent additions to the Florida state science standards really need to be removed:
(1) -- the statement that evolution is "the fundamental concept underlying all of biology." That statement simply is not true. In fact, in a recent national survey of science teachers, 13% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that an "excellent" biology course could exist that does not mention Darwin or evolution at all, and even I don't agree with that statement.
(2) -- defining scientific theories as "well-supported" and "widely accepted." That's ridiculous -- there are strong scientific theories and weak scientific theories. No standard dictionary that I have seen defines scientific theories in that way. Darwinists are creating confusion by coming up with new definitions of "scientific theory" just to suit the Darwinist agenda.
IMO the above two statements in the new Florida standards definitely "mock" and "deride" what some parents tell their kids about evolution and creationism. The Darwinists seem to have the badly mistaken idea that a ruling by a crackpot activist judge in Pennsylvania gave them carte blanche to nationally tyrannize our public schools by means of dogmatic teaching of evolution.
I am particularly sensitive about the evolution controversy in Florida because the so-called Florida Citizens for Science blog has banned my arguments about coevolution. [link] [link]
I have no idea where Rubio's opponent in the primary, Gov. Charlie Crist, stands on evolution education. I hope that evolution education will be an issue in Florida's primary and main elections for the US Senate.