Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Oh, And Magnetism? Just Angels Messing With You. Really

OK, we get it. You don't like that whole earth is over 6000 years old thing. We understand it was hard for you to accept that the sun is at the center of the solar system. We're sorry that scientists keep explaining things like lightening and eclipses. You've made it very clear you don't want to be associated with the monkeys. Frankly, the whole poop flinging thing isn't that big a draw for us either, but look, when you go into education as a career you're sort of expected to, you know, like deal with the facts and all. Just saying.

A key state official plans to vote against Florida's proposed new science standards because evolution would be taught in public schools. "What's next?" asked Donna Callaway of the State Board of Education. "Expanding universe? Germ theory? Where does it end, that's what I want to know."

The former Tallahassee middle school principal is the first board member to make public comment on the standards. She was also the first board member to argue that god meant things to be measured in inches and not meters; that using Greek letters in math and sciences classes is a form of Satan worship; and that students interested in medical careers only needed to be taught about the four humors.

The proposed standards are controversial because they would, for the first time, require public school students to learn about evolution. "How are Florida's students going to compete for jobs in the knowledge economy if they have to learn stuff?" Callaway asked. "Wait. That didn't come out right."

In an editorial in the Baptist Witless, Callaway urged Baptists to speak out against the standards because they attempt "to make evolution dogma" the rule and ignore the belief that God or an "intelligent cause" created living things from three rocks and some dirt.

The editorial appeared in the December 6 issue of the Baptist newspaper, which is delivered to some 40,000 homes, said James Smith, the publication's executive editor. "Of course of that 40,000 only about six can read, so we're not sure what the effect will be," he added.

"I firmly believe that a child can deal with the proof of science along with a personal belief in God as the Creator of the universe at the same time." Callaway said. "And I believe that because I'm doing such a good job of dealing with it myself."

Callaway's comments in a church-based paper troubles Florida Citizens for Science, which supports reality. "She's allowing the voices in her head to cloud her judgment on science education in Florida," said Brandon Haught, the group's spokesman.

The proposed standards were written by teachers and professors with the goal of beefing up science education in Florida, where fewer than half the students are proficient on state science tests. We've got to do something to improve that," Haught said. "This isn't Texas after all."

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