January 10, 2008

Equal time for Quatzequatl

A number of skirmishes are erupting in Florida over that State's science standards, as elected local school board officials again parade their profound ignorance of biology. The State department of education is in the process of revising its approach to evolution, and the neanderthals are up in arms.

Incensed that the State standards might correctly present evolution as "the fundamental concept underlying all of biology [which] is supported in multiple forms of scientific evidence,” a unanimous gaggle of Taylor County yokels has resolved to revise the foregoing "so that evolution is presented as one of several theories as to how the universe was formed."

The State standards, according to these yokels, must be presented "through a fair and balanced approach, an approach that does not unfairly exclude other theories as to the creation of the universe."

Evolution has nothing to do with either "how the universe was formed" or "the creation of the universe." It deals with phenomena occurring after the inception of life on Earth, however that came about. Biology is the study of life; that's what the word means.

Evolution, the yokels contend, must "not [be] presented as fact, but as one of several theories." Except it is a fact. What sort of people demand that facts be presented as something other than facts? Morans, that's who. Go USA, indeed.

Unfortunately, the local press isn't faring much better. Writing in the Miami Herald this morning, a scribe reports and opines upon the shenanigans at a Taylor County school board meeting as follows:
Boca Raton physician Tom Hall warned of the legal costs incurred by a quixotic, unconstitutional attempt by the Dover, Penn., School Board to teach faith-based Intelligent Design. But a Miami paramedic warned that taking God out of the classroom has led to immorality and violence. He related the beating death last week of a toddler by a 12-year-old in Lauderhill to the teaching of evolution. An unfathomable leap in logic on one side of the divide. An understandable leap of faith on the other.
Buh? Which is which? It's hardly unfathomable that Florida will become the latest venue for litigation should these yokels prevail. It's guaranteed. And it's not understandable that teaching biology caused a baby murder. It's absolutely ridiculous.

Or was attributing the baby murder to science class an unfathomable leap in logic? If so, then I agree, insofar as it relates to any form of logic whatsoever. But that leaves the prediction of the inevitable lawsuits a "leap of faith." Hardly. Furthermore, it's neither unfathomable nor a leap of faith to predict that the creationists will lose. They always do. And rightly so, albeit generally at great expense to taxpayers. However, I'm not complaining about attorneys' fees.

The writer continues:
Some who doubted Darwin suggested a populist solution. Teach all theories of creation. Let the kids decide. As if biology were as speculative as philosophy.
Interestingly, "speculative" was amended to "subjective," after I left this comment: "'As speculative as religion,' you mean. Logic, for example, is not speculative." But philosophy isn't necessarily subjective either. Logic, which undergirds both philosophy and science, has rules that are practically laws of physics.

But I don't disagree with the writer's insinuation that a "populist" approach to teaching science is an absurdity. Whether it's "let the kids decide" or "let the elected creationist yokels decide," the outcome is identical: institutionalized ignorance. In fact, children have more sense than creationist school board members.

On the other hand, maybe it's time that the ACLU, the NCSE, and others held off being concerned about science standards in one of these outback communities, and allow the latter to go ahead and teach all "theories" of creation in their biology classes. Now that would be entertaining as all hell.


AutismNewsBeat said...

The word "theory" takes on a fresh meaning when preceded by the word "scientific". That's what the yahoos in Florida don't get. If evolution is "just a theory", then so is the theory of gravity.

illusory tenant said...

The word "theory" takes on a fresh meaning when preceded by the word "scientific".


Anonymous said...

That my feet are there when I'm wearing my shoes over them is a theory. That water is frozen when I see it in the form of ice is a theory. I also have a theory about inbreeding and its relation to creationism, but it's just that: a theory.

Unknown said...

Hee hee!
You should read Total Drek.