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Creationists work hard for scientific ignorance. Why stop now?

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  • Todd S. Greene
    From: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/columnists/carl_hiaasen/story/421075.html [link may be line-wrapped] Here s a well done and amusing piece of satire on
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 19, 2008
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      [link may be line-wrapped]

      Here's a well done and amusing piece of satire on the creationist
      obstructionists against science and having biological evolution
      specifically articulated in Florida public school science standards.


      - Todd Greene


      "Our reputation for flakiness is at stake"
      by Carl Hiaasen
      (Miami Herald, 2/17/2008)

      In a move that could endanger Florida's flaky backwater reputation,
      the state Board of Education is poised to endorse the teaching of
      evolution as a science.

      This is a dangerous idea -- not the presentation of Darwinism in
      schools, but the presentation of Florida as a place of progressive
      scientific thought.

      Over the years the Legislature has worked tirelessly to keep our kids
      academically stuck in the mid-1950s. This has been achieved by
      overcrowding their classrooms, underpaying their teachers and letting
      their school buildings fall apart.

      Florida's plucky refusal to embrace 21st century education is one
      reason that prestigious tech industries have avoided the state,
      allowing so many of our high-school graduates (and those who come
      close) to launch prosperous careers in the fast-food, bartending and
      service sectors of the economy.

      By accepting evolution as a proven science, our top educators would be
      sending a loud message to the rest of the nation: Stop making fun of us.

      Is that what we really want?

      On Tuesday, the Board of Education is scheduled to vote on a proposed
      set of new standards that describe evolution as the "fundamental
      concept underlying all of biology" and "supported by multiple forms of
      scientific evidence."

      Certainly that's the position of every reputable academic group on the
      planet, including the National Academy of Sciences, the American
      Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Science
      Teachers Association.

      But forget the fossil record, OK? Forget DNA tracing. Forget the
      exhaustively documented diversification of species.

      This battle is about pride and independence; about boldly going
      against the flow, in defiance of reason and all known facts.

      In recent weeks, the Board of Education has been swamped by e-mails
      and letters from religious conservatives who advocate teaching
      creationism or intelligent design, and who believe evolution should be
      discussed strictly as a "theory."

      For those who wish to see Florida standing still, if not sinking, this
      is a fantastic strategy. In fact, it could be expanded to revise other
      educational doctrines.

      Let's start teaching gravity as a "theory," too. And don't forget the
      solar system -- what proof do we really have, besides a bunch of
      fuzzy, fake-looking photos, that Mars really exists?

      At a recent public hearing in Orlando, opponents of evolutionary
      teaching rose one by one to assail the proposed curriculum standards.
      Some had traveled all the way from the Panhandle, and were, like
      presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, exclusive believers in the
      Bible's version of creation.

      According to The St. Petersburg Times, one speaker compared Charles
      Darwin, the father of evolutionary science, to Adolf Hitler and Josef
      Stalin, well-known tyrants and mass murderers. Such loony gibberish is
      actually good for the anti-evolution crusade, providing the best
      evidence that the human species has not advanced one iota in the last
      100,000 years.

      With this in mind, several school boards in North Florida have passed
      resolutions opposing the teaching of evolution as fact. True, students
      in those same districts have produced some of the worst science scores
      on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, but who needs Newton or
      Copernicus when you've got the Corinthians?

      The notion that humans descended from apes has never been popular
      among fundamentalists, but what of the apes themselves? Given the gory
      history of Homo sapiens on Earth, no self-respecting chimp or gorilla
      would claim a genetic connection to us.

      The outcry against evolutionary instruction has been so heated that 40
      members of the committee responsible for the new science standards
      felt compelled to sign a letter stating, "There is no longer any valid
      scientific criticism of the theory of evolution."

      Caving in to groups that question the soundness of science, the letter
      warned, "would not only seriously impede the education of our children
      but also create the image of a backward state, raising the risk of
      Florida's being snubbed by biotechnology companies and other
      science-based businesses."

      Nice try, pinheads, but there's no sin in being a slightly backward
      state with extremely modest expectations for its young people. That's
      been the guiding philosophy of our tightwad lawmakers for years, and
      the degree to which they've succeeded is illuminated annually in the
      FCAT charade.

      If snubbing is to be done, Florida should be the snubber, not the
      snubee. Keep your elite biotech payrolls up North and out West --
      we've got hundreds of thousands of low-paying, go-nowhere jobs that
      require little training and minimal education.

      Should state officials vote this week to put evolution on the teaching
      agenda, it will be a small yet radical step out of Florida's
      backwarding-thinking past.

      Resistance is not futile. We've worked hard to keep ourselves so far
      behind in education, and we must stay the course.
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