Florida: Sign the Florida Citizens for Science Petition!

I just did.


WHEREAS: The current Sunshine State Science Education Standards have received an ‘F’ from the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation while the proposed revised standards have been graded excellent by one of the scientists who previously authored the report that gave Florida its failing grade.

WHEREAS: The revised standards address the scientific theory of evolution without equivocation or the introduction of nonscientific notions. Evolution is the central organizing concept that allows us to understand all biological sciences from medicine to forestry to entomology, and its principles are the theoretical basis that underlies major advances in all biological fields. Students must understand the current state of the science to be part of an informed citizenry.

WHEREAS: The economy of Florida requires the foundation of well educated citizens in order to compete and prosper within global competition. A solid grounding in the sciences is essential to providing a well educated labor force to the state’s employers.

NOW THEREFORE: We the undersigned urge the Florida Board of Education to adopt the revised Public School Science Education Standards as drafted by the duly appointed and authorized Department of Education Writing Committee.

Remember to uncheck the box about receiving notices of other petitions. This is hosted on an Internet petition site that will also beg for money. Ignore that if you don’t care to contribute, but if you have the ability to support the site, it seems that they are providing a useful service for many people who would not otherwise be able to organize an online petition.

You can add a comment, so here is mine:

I was born in Florida, and I care about the state of science education there. There are two main things that I want to say about antievolution and science education.

First, antievolution is not based in science, does not represent an alternative scientific understanding of the evidence, and it specifically conveys a narrowly sectarian religious doctrine. It is disruptive of the tolerance towards diverse religious faiths, or the lack of them, that help maintain amity and civility in our country. We are fortunate here to have avoided the deadly struggles over doctrinal positions that are common elsewhere and that have left their stamp on history. Antievolution efforts include attempts to rewrite the operating principles of science by fiat, and this alone should be sufficient to demonstrate that its promoters are not working for the common weal, but are bent upon achieving their own aims without regard for anything but their own satisfaction.

Second, science education needs to incorporate those concepts that have accountability, that have been proposed, argued, tested, revised, and that have by the record of empirical investigation and substantial engagement of criticism convinced the scientific community of the worth of the concept in question. Evolutionary science has met that high standard, and antievolutionary attacks upon it have no such claim to legitimacy. Science education should not be weakened by spending precious class time on material whose inclusion only serves the purposes of evading those stringent standards of accountability, undermining the principle of science’s ability to wholly reject hypotheses that predict false consequences, and gainsaying well-tested theories without substantiating a basis for such attacks.

It can do no one harm to come to an accurate understanding of what science is, and what has been discovered and supported through the scientific method. Please adopt the new science standards as written by your domain experts and experts in science education, and avoid the error of capitulating to the demands of the antievolution movement that evolutionary science be “balanced” with material that sows broad distrust of scientists and findings in biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and geology.

Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Data scientist in real estate and econometrics. Blogger. Speaker. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

2 thoughts on “Florida: Sign the Florida Citizens for Science Petition!

  • 2008/02/04 at 1:20 pm

    I just wanted to say THANK YOU for signing the petition and posting this on your site.

    I would also encourage people from outside Florida, (and outside the US, to sign – there is no “pull down” option for this- but I suggest just picking Florida and then make a statement of where you are from)

    I would LOVE for the Florida BoE to know that the whole world is watching!!

    Thanks again!

  • 2008/02/09 at 8:03 am

    My father signed the petition with this comment:

    “My son Wesley Elsberry has expressed well why the study time devoted to examining physical evidence surrounding us to better understand how we came to be alive in the state of affairs currently, and where the future may lead us should not be confused with (or by) our natural inquisitiveness about our God, whom we must come to know through spiritual faith. I personally believe in Him by faith, and that searching for evidence of physical past, present and future life change evidence and artifacts has enhanced both my knowledge of the world in which I live, and my spiritual faith beliefs. Reconciliation of conclusions I draw from studies of the body of physical evidence in conflict with ancient writings in the Holy Bible were suggested by my Professor in Freshman biology study at the University of Florida in 1946-47, (he was also the author of the text book in use) when he confessed his own strong belief in God, and that word of mouth stories later committed to writing in the Bible leaves room for belief that literal meaning given to the story of Creation should be looked at in the knowledge that time measurement known to man has changed many times in the past. What is described as a “day” in biblical writing may in fact represent more than simply the hours between the rising of the sun and the time it takes to see it rise the second time.

    “Teaching the Conflict” sought by others would only diminish the educational opportunity for students to gain in ability to evaluate and judge for themselves about changes observable in life forms over time. Ample opportunity exists for the students to gain knowledge of spiritual, faith based beliefs outside the classroom. But that task should be assumed by loving parents, spiritual leaders and friends, not as a distracting burden to be imposed on public school teachers working to enlarge the outlook of young minds seeking scientific knowledge about the world in which we live.”

Comments are closed.