Monday, February 18, 2008

Mudrasslin fer Science in the "Sunshine" State

The Orlando Sentinel, has an article today hoping to explain the brutal irrationality of the Florida Education Bureacracy's decision.. du jour

Why are they even talking about Evolution in Tallahassee? The article by Ms. Sentinel Staff Writer opens with this statement.
Florida's State Board of Education is to vote on proposed new science standards at its meeting Tuesday, including a first-time proposal that would require Florida students to learn about evolution. The standards serve as a statewide blueprint for science education, but the evolution component has generated a loud and passionate debate.
Why is Florida's State Board of Education even talking about Evolution in Tallahassee?
Because they've been dodging the question to the detriment of Florida scholars for decades.
And because Florida got an "F" on a National Review of science standards in 2005.

The National Science Teachers Association recognizes the problem stating:
"NSTA also recognizes that evolution has not been emphasized in science curricula in a manner commensurate to its importance because of official policies, intimidation of science teachers, the general public's misunderstanding of evolutionary theory, and a century of controversy. In addition, teachers are being pressured to introduce creationism, “creation science,” and other nonscientific views, which are intended to weaken or eliminate the teaching of evolution."

Recognizing that we must not abandon science educators to easily intimidated bureaucrats, the NTSA calls for the participation of parents and the enlightened community at large, to rally in support of the teaching of science, not religious superstition in the science labs of today's public schools.

"Parental and community involvement in establishing the goals of science education and the curriculum development process should be encouraged and nurtured in our democratic society. However, the professional responsibility of science teachers and curriculum specialists to provide students with quality science education should not be compromised by censorship, pseudoscience, inconsistencies, faulty scholarship, or unconstitutional mandates.:

Since the changes proposed in the language have been perceived as controversial, by using the word Evolution, it has been tempered for the readily confused, by the addition of the phrase "scientific theory of" whenever the word Evolution is used. Since few of those educated in Florida are familiar with science, this feeble attempt to paliate those unfamilar with the term theory may succeed. Evidently this is "mis" understood, as somehow taming the otherwise incorrigible word... Evolution.

Evidently the Orlando Sun Sentinel is still testing the waters, it hosts a poll, that after a days, participation of it's online readers, Evolution is favored 65.1% to 33.4%. Would a poll conducted on the general theory of relativity, offer the same hope for it's continued inclusion in the physics curriculum. Ms. Postal still prepared to give equal time to the Flat Earthers, reveals that some simple folk still with us, believe;

Some think creationism and intelligent design have merit, too."

Although some may believe the Universe rests entirely on the back of an Elephant, which stands on the back of a giant Tortoise, or perhaps that it was the result of a really nasty sneeze from the Nostrils of the Great Green ArchalSeizure, as is taught in the Final Book of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, it like Creationism just doesn't cut it as a Scientific Theory.
[Theory -
a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena]

Coming down the home stretch Ms. Postal poses the $64,000 question.

"Is it a battle of religion vs. science?

Not necessarily. Though many opponents say evolution runs counter to their religious beliefs, many of those in favor say they are religious and find no conflict between evolution and their faith. Nationally, the Clergy Letter Project has collected signatures from more than 11,000 Christian clergy who say "evolution is a foundational scientific truth." On the other hand, many of those pressing Florida's board to reject the new standards are members of Christian organizations or churches.

Once again, the ancient evil arises from the muck of superstition, will religion hold fast the gates of ignorance and bar the door from that impertinent UPSTART Science? Ask Galileo, before he was humbled by the Inquisition. Ask Copernicus, if the earth moves round the sun, or was he confused by data and the siren call of the scientific method...

Again, reason pitted against it's bloody fossil foe, superstition. Are we still doomed, in an age of space travel, and sattlelights and highspeed world-wide web ... Is it really Scopes all over again? Maybe the dragon will eat the sun, tonight? But maybe, just maybe it be resurrected in the morning?

NOTE: You can watch the Bureaucrats and the Flat Earthers and a hopefully some scientists not educated in Florida, mudrassle for science - live and streaming Tuesday online at the Orlando Sun Sentinel.(Hearing starts at 8am)

RW Spisak Jr.
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