Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Florida: the land time and sense forgot

Mark Twain said, "God made the Idiot for practice, and then He made the School Board."

A number of Florida school boards are trying to prove that saying. They are stuck in the Victorian era, outraged that scientists say they are descended from monkeys. Yah, it's like the Scopes trial never happened.

This is their grasp of the concept of evolution, which they vigorously oppose being taught in the schools -- though it already is taught. Just the word "evolution" is avoided in curriculum guides.

Today, the state board will vote on new standards for science teaching in the state, and some of those new standards require that students be able to explain the theory of evolution by the time they graduate from high school.

When that news hit, the fur began to fly. School boards in some districts, especially in north Florida, passed resolutions against the measure. They demanded Creationism and intelligent design be taught as equally valid "scientific" explanations of the origins of humankind. Hearings around the state on the new standards ran hours and hours, as anti-evolutionists railed against these new-fangled teachings.

The local school board proved an exception to Twain's dictum, at least in this matter.

I imagine the state board will pass the science standards, including the one on evolution. Florida students are lagging too far behind in science not to.

While we may not be descended from apes or chimps, it's clear that genetically, we're not too far from these primates:

Update 2-20-08: the new science standards are in. Evolution will be taught, albeit with the emphasis that it's "the scientific theory of evolution," as a sop to its opponents.

It's all just a theory, children. Hush, now; everything will be all right.


Padre Mickey said...

One Sunday afternoon at one of those Programs we have here in Panama, a Seventh Day Adventist preacher went on a rant against the theory of evolution. I was sitting at the head table for some reason, and he turns to me and said, "Padre, did we descend from monkeys?" I said, "No, but we share a common ancestor." The bishop was sitting in the front row and he just laughed, while the preacher changed subjects.

Lindy said...

Great quote... idiots then the school board.

Saint Pat said...

Heh, Padre Mickey!

Lindy, Mark Twain is one of my favorite writers.