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Florida will teach evolution but only as theory
Reuters ^ | February 19, 2008 | Michael Peltier

Posted on 02/19/2008 5:54:12 PM PST by DaveLoneRanger

TALLAHASSEE, Florida (Reuters) - Florida education officials voted on Tuesday to add evolution to required course work in public schools but only after a last-minute change depicting Charles Darwin's seminal work as merely a theory.

Bending to pressure from religious conservatives, the State Board of Education on a 4-3 vote included the "theory" language as part of a retooling of the state's science standards for public school education.

The compromise would require teaching that Darwin's proposal -- that natural selection has driven the evolution of many species from a few common ancestors over billions of years -- has yet to be conclusively proven.

"To say there is no debate is ridiculous," said board member Phoebe Raulerson. "Then why are we here today?"

The panel includes the word "evolution" in state science standards for the first time, but it is relegated to a place among a host of ideas, including Albert Einstein's theory of relativity. By contrast Isaac Newton's law of gravity is taught as undisputed fact.

During more than two hours of testimony, scientists and religious representatives argued over whether teaching that humans evolved from a single-celled species over hundreds of millions of years should be taken as gospel.

Some religious groups believe that evolution conflicts with the Biblical account of creation, though others contend there is no conflict. These contentions have driven debates in several states, including Kansas and Pennsylvania, as to how the subject should be taught in public schools.

Proponents say the body of research is replete with data backing up evolution as the major driving force in biology, noting that the prestigious National Academy of Sciences approved the original language that said "Evolution is the fundamental concept underlying all of biology."

The language in Florida was changed to refer to "The scientific theory of evolution."

"Why are we even considering this?" said board member Roberto Martinez, who voted against the watered-down measure.

Some religious groups called on the board to endorse "academic freedom" in the new guidelines.

"I'm not saying it's a fact or not a fact," Raulerson said of Darwin's theory. "I'm saying that it is open to further discussion."

The topic will not appear on Florida's standardized tests until 2012, but school districts will be required to adjust their lessons by next year.

The new standards followed a series of international reviews that berated the state's science curriculum as inadequate.

Backers of stronger evolutionary language called the vote a regrettable compromise that would nonetheless boost the instruction of evolution as a basic tenet of modern biology.

"Sooner or later we'll get there," Martinez said.


TOPICS: Front Page News; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: crevo; crevolist; evolution; ofcourseitsatheory; scienceeducation
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To: Redbob

*Intellectually honest scientist* “But evolution is, after all, only a theory and...no! NO! Don’t TAZE me, bro!”

*Scientist’s body convulses as his other cohorts dispense the proper punishment for questioning his education*


21 posted on 02/19/2008 6:09:54 PM PST by DaveLoneRanger (ConcealedCampus.com)
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To: The Coopster

Oh Coopster, don’t you think He would have told US that?


22 posted on 02/19/2008 6:10:06 PM PST by DaveLoneRanger (ConcealedCampus.com)
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To: Soliton; DaveLoneRanger
Yes — Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation would be called Newton’s Theory of Universal Gravitation” if it were being named today. Science is much more provisional today — which recognizes the provisional nature of our understanding of anything.

Newton’s “Law” is descriptive — it describes the nature of the “force” of gravity; but, it doesn’t actually explain gravity. It also only works within a framework of “Newtonian” physics. Ever since Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity; we’ve known that Newton’s “Law” is wrong — or at least that it’s only true for “most practical purposes”.

So, if you drop your computer it falls — but, it falls in curved space-time.

23 posted on 02/19/2008 6:12:11 PM PST by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: DaveLoneRanger
Bending to pressure from religious conservatives, the State Board of Education on a 4-3 vote included the "theory"

how utterly ridiculous, the language of struggle! bending, pressure, 4-3 vote, ohmygawd...such...a...struggle...so...say....something we can't freaking PROVE is a THEORY!

/rant

24 posted on 02/19/2008 6:12:24 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (unavailable for comment)
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To: bert

Then why are the private Christian school and homeschool students who get both creation and evolution taught in their curriculum consistently outperforming public school kids in all areas of education, science included?

But you’re right, having the ToE properly taught as a theory, ensures that the kids come out ahead. No more of this *It’s a fact* garbage.


25 posted on 02/19/2008 6:12:43 PM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: The Coopster
Things like this:

Gen 2:7... the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Clearly stated as a separate act of creation, just as with the other kinds of animals mentioned previously.

26 posted on 02/19/2008 6:15:50 PM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: DaveLoneRanger

I wasn’t aware that He sent a memo out for every turn of events/scientific advancement.


27 posted on 02/19/2008 6:16:35 PM PST by The Coopster
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To: Soliton
Gravity is only a theory.

It's lots of theories: loop quantum gravity, string theory, M-theory, Penrose spin networks, Connes non-commutative geometry. Newtonian gravitation has proven inadequate for nearly a century now.
28 posted on 02/19/2008 6:18:51 PM PST by dan1123 (If you want to find a person's true religion, ask them what makes them a "good person".)
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To: metmom

Ah...so there’s nothing allegorical in the Bible?

Maybe that’s just the 2000 year-old layman’s explanation for something they didn’t yet understand.


29 posted on 02/19/2008 6:18:57 PM PST by The Coopster
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To: DaveLoneRanger

Ok, what’s fair is fair, and I’m going to teach my grandkids that the State of Florida is a theory, not a fact. This is pure idiocy.


30 posted on 02/19/2008 6:19:45 PM PST by Alter Kaker (Gravitation is a theory, not a fact. It should be approached with an open mind...)
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To: Soliton
Gravity is only a theory.

Gravity we can reproduce and get consistent results every time. Evolution is a story that we know very little about.

31 posted on 02/19/2008 6:19:56 PM PST by Always Right (Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?)
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To: The Coopster

Mayhap, because HE declared in HIS word that HE created the whole thing in six days and rested on the seventh? The time line given is somewhat less than that required by evolution. ;-)


32 posted on 02/19/2008 6:21:11 PM PST by doc1019
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To: doc1019

And, maybe a “God day” is actually thousands of years.

I don’t know - I don’t presume to know His ways.


33 posted on 02/19/2008 6:24:01 PM PST by The Coopster
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To: Soliton

“Which creation myth do you prefer?”

Which evolution myth do you prefer, Darwin’s or the Cambrian Explosion ?


34 posted on 02/19/2008 6:27:47 PM PST by ScottfromNJ
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To: The Coopster
Why is it so hard to believe that God caused evolution?

It's the philosophical baggage that evolution brings with it. Evolution is the ultimate biological support of the Mediocrity Principle. The principle itself is in philosophical conflict with Religious Exceptionalism.

On the other side, arguments in favor of evolution are fraught with negative theological appeals ("God wouldn't have done it this way, therefore God didn't do it"). Which hinge on a host of other philosophical beliefs that are extra-scientific. The fact that creation--of which the majority is extra-scientific--is argued as not "science" based on other extra-scientific philosophical beliefs means that we have gone well outside of science in the creation-evolution debate and tread well into a carefully concealed philosophical jungle.

35 posted on 02/19/2008 6:29:42 PM PST by dan1123 (If you want to find a person's true religion, ask them what makes them a "good person".)
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To: metmom
Imagine that. Teaching the Theory of Evolution as a theory.

Here's a special theory about dinosaurs.

36 posted on 02/19/2008 6:31:32 PM PST by Disambiguator
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To: DaveLoneRanger

It’s not even a good theory.


37 posted on 02/19/2008 6:32:37 PM PST by jeddavis
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To: DaveLoneRanger

This will be a great opportunity for Science teachers to explain the exact meaning of “theory” as a term of science.


38 posted on 02/19/2008 6:34:23 PM PST by Jeff Gordon ("An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile hoping it will eat him last." Churchill)
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To: Always Right
Evolution is a story that we some of us know very little about.
39 posted on 02/19/2008 6:37:42 PM PST by Jeff Gordon ("An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile hoping it will eat him last." Churchill)
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To: The Coopster

Or maybe it is only a day!

As a firm believer in the literal Bible … a day is a day. Believe what you will, eternity is your reward and your reward is going to be based on your beliefs. ;-)


40 posted on 02/19/2008 6:38:32 PM PST by doc1019
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