The state Board of Education gave initial approval to a new set of science standards Wednesday, although some board members tried to overturn the vote out of concern over whether the new guidelines leave room for students’ religious beliefs on the origin of life.As is typical in these debates, however, a basic understanding of how science works is not self-evident in all of the participants:
“What I’m asking is to teach both,” said board member Neil Willis of Boiling Springs.
After the board approved first reading of the state’s first revision of its science standards since 2005, Willis made a motion to reconsider the move. One other board member seconded the motion, but it failed on a voice vote.
The standards now will go to the state Education Oversight Committee and come back to the state Board of Education for final action early next year.
“To remove the option to believe, I think, is a mistake,” Willis said.This kind of thing suggests that people are equating scientific evidence with sociological or cultural debates. It just ain't the same thing. Yes, there are obviously disagreements on how some evidence is explained as theory is being worked out but if there is scientific evidence for "A" and there is no scientific evidence whatsoever for "B" then it doesn't matter how much you "believe" in "B", it should not be taught as science. Why don't people get this?
Board member Raye O’Neal Boyd of Winnsboro agreed.
“Where is the opening for people who believe to stick by their beliefs, but at the same time show that they understand what you’re trying to teach them, but not necessarily adopting what you’re trying to teach them?” she asked.