Friday, February 15, 2008

Florida Responds to the Science Standards

An article in suggests that the new science standards for Florida fly in the face of what the majority of Floridians think is true about the world. The story notes pointedly:

Only 22 percent want public schools to teach an evolution-only curriculum, while 50 percent want only faith-based theories such as creationism or intelligent design, according to a new St. Petersburg Times survey.

A bit further down:

The Times survey - which included questions about evolution and a host of other education issues - was administered to 702 registered voters Feb. 6-10, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

It revealed a huge gulf between scientists and the public.

While the vast majority of scientists consider evolution to be backed by strong evidence, nearly two-thirds of those polled were skeptical.

To which a scientist replys:

"There is no justification for singling out evolution for special skepticism or critical analysis," wrote Richard T. O'Grady, executive director of the American Institute of Biological Sciences in a Feb. 8 letter to the Board of Education. "Its strength as a scientific theory matches that of the theory of gravitation, atomic theory and the germ theory."

The problem is that most people don't believe that. It doesn't matter how much evidence you show them. The association of evolution with godlessness has become so entrenched in our society that it is difficult to see how the two can be disarticulated. Many people out there without the necessary scientific background don't think about evolution, they feel about it. Because they feel about it, a mountain of evidence won't be enough. How do you address that?

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