Taylor County, Florida: WTF?

BPSDBThe people in charge of Taylor County, Florida’s science education are scientifically illiterate. Exhibit A:

Whereas, the new Sunshine State Standards for Science no longer present evolution as theory but as “the fundamental concept underlying all of biology and is supported in multiple forms of scientific evidence,” we are requesting that the State Board of Education direct the Florida Department of Education to revise/edit the new Sunshine State Standards for Science so that evolution is presented as one of several theories as to how the universe was formed.

Let’s look at that last part again:

. . . so that evolution is presented as one of several theories as to how the universe was formed.

Yes, and the American Revolution is only one of several explanations for the invention of agriculture, stone tools and fire.

Browsing the TalkOrigins Index of Creationist Claims, we find that the Taylor County school board has regurgitated CA041 and CA201, for starters. I never knew the job of a school board member was so easy!

19 thoughts on “Taylor County, Florida: WTF?”

  1. I’ve been to Taylor County. They may have a point in this case. I’m not sure that it has evolved much.

    OK, maybe that was a little harsh, but seriously… we’re talking about a rather impoverished and undereducated place with an infant mortality rate as bad or worse than many third-world countries. It’s a terrible mess of a place, and likely one of the counties in Florida that could most use improvements in everything from accessibility to health care to education.

    It’s also a great place to go if you’re looking to hook up with a KKKlavern.

  2. “. . . so that evolution is presented as one of several theories as to how the universe was formed.”

    This is a classic, “You keep using that word (evolution). I do not think it means what you think it means.”

  3. Almost as much a knee-slapper as “evolution doesn’t happen because fruit flies never evolve into anything than fruit flies.” A claim which ironically just so happens to be a core idea of common descent (i.e. descent with modification: mammals never evolve into anything other than mammals, or eukaryotes into anything other than eukaryotes either. All descendants of fruit flies will still be more like each other than any other living thing, and as such all distinctively grouped as fruit flies)

  4. Almost as much a knee-slapper as “evolution doesn’t happen because fruit flies never evolve into anything than fruit flies.”

    nah, my favorite is when they try to use the 2nd law to defeat evolution, especially after they’ve just gotten through saying that they aren’t scientifically ignorant with a straight face.

  5. Ok, here is one to do preemptively. When they trot out the 2nd law of thermodynamics (which isn’t wrong, by the way), point out that the first condition of the law is “In a closed system…” The Earth is not a closed system because we are getting a constant supply of energy from the sun, which means that the law doesn’t apply.

  6. Back in high school, I had an argument with a creationist who invoked the second law, and when I explained that the Earth gets an energy input from the Sun, he said, “But that doesn’t matter, because there’s no connection between the two.”

    There’s a classic quote about that.

  7. No, we’re not.

    Like Vulcans, we never bluff. We just have better things to do with our time than debate a person who will never be convinced by the evidence, in front of an audience which likewise will never even listen to the evidence. Life is short, and “against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain.”

  8. 137. Hector Avalos, Iowa State University, atheist professor of latino studies, who collected signatures to deny Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez deserved tenure because Gonzalez’s The Privileged Planet refuted the Copernican Principle so important to atheism.

    An example of a “debate dodger”. This little statement says so much. First, is not Hector Avalos a professor of religion, not Latino studies? Second, was not Guillermo Gonzalez denied by peer review and not drawing in enough funds? Third, why is Avalos assumed to teach “latino studies” and not Gonzalez? Forth, the Copernican Principle has been refuted? Do you mean the The Earth is the center of The Universe? Fifth, do you mean there were no atheists before there was Copernicus?

    It would seem that the people at Life Science should get their facts straight before they even put out a challenge. Plus, why should any of the “debate dodgers” waste their time on this? At least with the Amazing Challenge, the candidate does not need to put up any money.

  9. Yes, Avalos is a professor of religious studies.

    The “Copernican Principle” is aptly defined by Richard Dawkins as “the feeling (born of uncomfortable history lessons from Copernicus, Hubble and others) that there should be nothing particularly unusual about the place where we happen to live” (The God Delusion, p. 70). Plainly, this is not a fundamental pillar of atheism, just a summary of some important discoveries in astronomy: the Earth is not the center of the Universe, nor is the Sun; the Sun is not the center of the Galaxy, nor even close to it; the expansion of the Universe would look the same from any other Galaxy, too; and so forth.

    Depending on your perspective, you could say that it’s not strictly true: we are made of matter, and we live on a planet made of matter, but the Universe is mostly empty space, and its primary constituents — dark energy and dark matter — aren’t the kind of stuff we’re made of. Are we then, in some sense, atypical? But even if we are, we can’t claim that we are central, which is the key lesson of the Copernican heritage.

    Besides, Gonzalez’s whole notion of a “privileged planet” is based on shoddy thinking and misrepresentations of probability. He deals out the cards, spreads them over the table and exclaims, “What are the odds this particular hand appeared out of the millions of possibilities! Praised be Jesus for this mathematical miracle!” Why should Iowa State give tenure to a man who can’t do math?

  10. I kind of guessed that, seeing the list of people who have ignored his challenge. Just that the quote I posted seemed typical of the shoddy thinking there. I am the farthest thing from a scientist, anybody who reads by posting on Science Blogs can tell that. But I know bad arguments. I find his challenge to be akin to dismissing math by claiming that 2 X 4 does not equal 8, it equals 6 and then throwing a fit when you try to explain the difference between addition and multiplication.

  11. Blake, I am sorry I did not follow the link to Dawkins’ post before my previous response. That was priceless. I knew the reasons why Gould and Dawkins pass on debating these people. But the claim that both Gould and Dawkins do not have peer reviewed papers? They let any dumbass get on line. (The fact that I am online is proof of that point!)

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