Monday, February 04, 2008
The debate over the teaching of evolution is an insidious distraction from our responsibilities in the science classroom. It appears that the members of the State Board of Education have allowed their attention to be focused on the issue of the teaching of evolution, and that they are not even considering the opportunity to use science education to lift Florida's students from the quagmire of economic stagnation. In a supreme irony, these members are allowing a debate generated by religion to cause them to abdicate their moral responsibility to help their neediest students lift themselves into prosperity.
This development is heartbreaking for those of us in the scientific and educational communities who treasure our own religious faith and who take great delight in reading God's handwriting in all the manifestations of nature, including Darwinian evolution. The beliefs we share with the opponents of the teaching of Darwinian evolution are so much greater than what divides us that we are often left puzzled by the strident tone of the debate.
As a member of the Framers' Committee working on the draft science standards, I can testify that my colleagues on the Framers' and Writers' Committees and I have done everything possible to help the State Board of Education lift the state's students to international-class achievement in science and to open the door to a world of economic opportunity.
We've done our jobs — now it's up to the members of the State Board of Education to do theirs.
- Paul Cottle, The Tallahassee Democrat, February 4, 2008