Florida: Final Final Comments

By | 2008/02/19

I know Brandon is covering this, too, but I will make some comments on the comments.

Note: My webcast is going in and out. I’m going to be missing chunks of this.

Legislators first…

First speaker: Important things, faith and child’s education. Getting it right: adopt the standards as written by the framers. Groups applauded the product of the writing process. Florida students deserve the very best.

Second speaker: Why are arguing about how the Creator made this happen? (Pro-standards)

Third speaker: Want most up-to-date scientific information for our students. Letter saying use “theory” with “evolution”. Not recommending deleting information in the standards. “Theory” means there are many unanswered questions. “Strengths and weaknesses”! Not taking anything away. “Balanced” way. [McLean and Edwards echo here. --WRE]

Public hearing… webcast cutouts…

Kim Kendall. Complaining about communication of public meetings and interaction. Critical analysis! [Opposed.]

TR Hainline: [Approve.] Don’t use God as putty to patch up holes we poke in science. God then a spoilsport, a killjoy. Kids love science for the questions we ask.

Next speaker feels strongly about something lost in webcast. Crichton cited. [Assuming that's not good. Yes, that's right. --WRE] [Opposes.] Fossil record, Gould “trade secret” quote-mine. John C. Stanford quote that no genes can be created, ever. Proof that macroevolution is false! More evidence that evolution is false! No dogmatism! Darwinian evolution in state of collapse!

Next speaker (Kroto): They [unknown] are both theories. If you turn down the standards, you are negating the $600 million Florida invested in Scripps Florida. [Approve.]

[It looks like they are alternating.]

Next speaker (Laurie Miller?): Both sides make very good points. Agree standards need revision. The nature of science is being removed. New standards eliminate critical thinking. Don’t stifle these skills. Revise in a couple of places. Academic freedom for teachers! [Code-speak for teachers being able to drop in DI arguments without consequence. --WRE] [Opposes.]

Next speaker (Joe Travis): Dean of college of arts and science at FSU. Should evolution be in a world-class curriculum. Only scientific explanation for the diversity of the evidence. Nature of science in standards. [Approve.]

Next speaker (Fred Cutting): Academic freedom! Framer. Evolution works as change in existing species, microevolution. Leap of faith to go broader to microbiology. [Opposes.]

Next speaker (Brent Copeland): Adopt without emendation. Want the children in my congregation as well as all the children in Florida to have a solid grounding in science. Oppose other Christians putting their doctrine in science classes. Christians come in a great deal of varieties. Disagree on how to apply. Agree that God is Creator of all. Don’t invite this debate into the public school classroom, it would be bad science and even worse theology. [Audience applauds.]

Next speaker (terry Kempel?): [Opposes.] Use “academic freedom” proposal. Academic integrity. Avoidance of benchmark on scrutiny. Darwinists are fearful. House of cards! Avoiding the evidence! No proof of how life began! Flimsy foundation for theory! Can’t show one shred of proof! No fossils!

Next speaker: Work on changing antibiotic resistance, other microbial evolution. Dangers inherent in allowing religious specification of curriculum. Muslim world used to be world leaders in science. Christian fundamentalism stifles scientific progress here like Muslim fundamentalism does there. “Muslim science” meshes faith and science with odd results. Let scientists decide what is science, keep faith-based ideas in other parts of school. [Approve.]

Next speaker (David Bracken): Teacher 22 years. Concerned about proposals, especially #15, evolution. Cannot support this in good conscience. Evolution is theory, not a law! Scientists support my ideas! Massive gaps with links missing! Scientists question, DI list! Russian professor says Darwinism seriously hampers science! Darwin quote mine. I should lead students to cracks and holes in evolution! Strengths and weaknesses! Many scientists ostracized, fired from jobs over disagreement with Darwinism! Don’t put us out!

Next speaker (Jonathan Smith): 30-year resident. Egregious claims from opponents show improvement in science education is needed. Personal religious feelings promoted to be propagated in school system. Wedge document. [Late Phillip Johnson? I hadn't heard that. -WRE] Quotes Wedge document. Not and never has been a scientific debate, it is about getting religion in schools. Approve, or allow wedge to insert non-science. [Approve.]

Next speaker: [Opposes.] Evolution standard denies academic freedom. Prefer teachers and students explore “strengths and weaknesses”. We’re not promoting religion! There are other theories of science that question Darwinism. Those theories won’t be allowed to be taught. Only asking for academic freedom! Numbers of scientists. Issue is not numbers, issue is in point of view. Consider, and give respect to both sides in allowing academic freedom.

Next speaker (Harry Parrott): Baptist minister, retired. Came to Florida in 1982. Expected them to come to an understanding of evolution. Short-change our youngsters if we do not. Where does this idea that evolution is taught dogmatically come from? Not in my experience. Colleagues see this as a danger, an either-or with no middle ground. You might think that is the Christian viewpoint, but that is not true. Clergy Letter Project, evolution and faith are not opposed. This is a religious debate. Religious believers have been the ones fussing about this. Let the religious debate go on, but not intrude into our science classes, and don’t let it determine your decision today. Ask to adopt the standards as they are written.

Next speaker (Clifton Savoy?): [Opposes.] Academic freedom amendment advocate. BS chemistry, biology, MS bacteriology, Ph.D. microbiology. Believer of theory of evolution! Trusted individuals. Belief changed in graduate school. Professors didn’t spend time on evolution. One said there were flaws in evolution, passed out books. “Flaws in the Theory of Evolution”. Builds up author. [Authority a common thread in antievolution reasoning. --WRE] Discuss flaws using “academic freedom”! Darwin: where would he line up? He’d be with me on academic freedom, “fair result” quote mine.

Next speaker (Debra Walker): Monroe County school board member. Worked hard on committee. Evolution issue overshadows our work. Sex. Population thinking, not individuals. Population biology. Intelligent design is a political phenomenon. We are a product of our mammalian quadrupedal heritage. When creationists focus on ID, they overlook jury-rigged body parts that keep surgeons driving Mercedes. Proper framing is between proximate and ultimate causation. Faith handles ultimate causation. Logical fallacy that applied to Galileo continues today. Approve the standards as written.

Next speaker (Robin Brown): [Opposes.] Retired middle-school teacher. Fossil record and gradual change. Gould quote mine, no support for gradual change. Popper quote mine. Hoyle quote. Johnson quote. DI list. Zogby poll. Major scholars won’t break ranks. Sternberg: science only moves forward on controversy. “Follow evidence wherever it may lead.” [DI talking point. --WRE]

[Here's what Gould had to say about people like Ms. Brown:

“Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists—whether through design or stupidity, I do not know—as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups. “

Source --WRE]

Next speaker (Jerry Meisels): Writer. [Approve.] NAS unanimously supports the proposed standards. On pain in chest, where do you go for help? You go to the experts. Why not take the issues of science to those best able to judge it? Playing down science to enhance other ideas is bad.

Next speaker (John Stemberger): [Opposes.] Florida Family Policy Council. Advocate of “academic freedom” amendment. Opponents bring up religion, not us. Drafters don’t distinguish between microevolution and macroevolution. Macro-E is only a theory! Never observed a speciation event! No rat-bats! Millions of missing links! Fossil record should be full of links! Dogmatic teaching! Recognize parents in record numbers withhold children from public schools. Increase if “academic freedom” proposal is not adopted.

[The Stemberger comment that the pro-science side brought up religion does him no favors. All the alternatives he supports come directly from religiously motivated antievolution, and thus he is a participant in a cover-up. The whole history of antievolution shows it as a long-running confidence job where they step back incrementally from honest religious doctrine-boosting to progressive stealth wording to hide the same old content. Judge Jones saw this clearly in the KvD case, and commented about not wanting to preside over the trial that took it to the next level of cover. --WRE]

Next speaker (Paul Coddle): Physics at FSU. Writer of standards. Catholic church sees no conflict. Faith at home and church. Approve the standards as written.

Fair declares public portion over.

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