In Florida the Debate over How to Teach Evolution Is One of Science
The Florida state board of education is expected to adopt science standards later this month that will finally include the word evolution. The standards also include language calling for students to learn the argumentation of science and to examine all the data presented in order to learn critical thinking skills. This, too, is a good thing. But what if all the date isn't presented? What if only one side of the issue is presented? Then instead of students learning to critically analyze, they are simply getting a one-sided view of the subject. This is what happens all too often when biological evolution is presented. Students learn about evidence supporting Darwinian evolution, but seldom learn about any of the evidence that challenges it.
Interestingly, in Florida Darwinian activists have crowed long and loud about attempts to insert intelligent design into the state science standards and to teach the theory in science classes. Although no one has proposed teaching intelligent design, and no one has suggested inserting anything about intelligent design into the standards, the Darwinists continue to falsely claim this is what is going on. (Not unlike Texas -- do we see a new strategy developing?)
Today the Tallahassee Democrat published a short op-ed by one of the members of the committee that developed the new state standards, who is now submitting a minority report. He makes it very clear that intelligent design is not what is at issue, but rather teaching both the strengths and weaknesses of evolution.
As a member of the Framers' Committee, I am submitting a minority report suggesting that the following language be adopted into Florida's science standards:And he makes clear that for him this is a scientific debate, not a religious one.
"Students should learn why some scientists give scientific critiques of standard models of neo-Darwinian evolution or models of the chemical origin of life."
I oppose including religion in the science classroom, and this proposal in no way brings religion into the science classroom. There are serious scientific critiques of neo-Darwinism that deserve to be heard by students. This is a scientific debate, not a religious one.There are lots of people expressing lots of opinions about how evolution should be handled, on both sides of the issue. But there is only one proposal being considered, that put forward by the Framers Committee. Instead of worrying about what is being talked up and down in letters to the editor, attention should be paid to what is really going on. Here is the only serious attempt to improve the proposed standards, and Floridians should consider it carefully.