Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Turning Over Rocks

Uh, oh ... if this story is accurate some science educators need to be educated on the dishonesty of the IDeologists. The Miami Herald has published an article entitled "Evolution criticism bill weakened" that missed the point:

To quell critics who thought that she was trying to sneak religion in the classroom, Sen. Ronda Storms, a Valrico Republican, decided to define scientific information as "germane current facts, data, and peer-reviewed research specific to the topic of chemical and biological evolution as prescribed in Florida's Science Standards.''
In point of fact, as I explained earlier today, that change does little or nothing to quell the ID game plan or address the criticism rightfully made by the state senate's Professional Staff of the Education Pre-K - 12 Committee. Most of this change is vague to the point of meaninglessness and fails to address just who gets to decide what counts as "facts" and "data." And the part about "peer-reviewed research" will just be a stalking horse for the introduction of ID under a different color.

It's not so surprising that a reporter might not see through this but it would be discouraging if people deeply involved in the creation of the standards fall for it:

Storm's changes pleased scientists like as Paul Cottle, an FSU physics professor, and Gerry Meisels, a chemistry professor at the University of South Florida. Both men helped form the new state science standards, approved last month by the Board of Education, that evolution be explicitly taught clearly and consistently for the first time in Florida public schools.
But never underestimate the power of the press to misunderstand and/or misreport. Maybe Cottle and Meisels were being a tad too subtle for the reporter:

They both noted that the standards already call for critical thinking, so they questioned the motives of the religiously minded groups pushing for the bill.

''The standards are not broken. Please don't try to fix them,'' Meisels said.
Let's hope that was the case. This legislation, despite the cheap aluminum siding slapped on at the last moment, needs to be opposed in the strongest terms by the educational and science communities.

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