Evolution Debate

The Bay District School Board is about to enter the fight over whether evolution should be taught as fact or theory.

At next Wednesday's board meeting, the panel will decide whether to approve a resolution opposing the proposed teaching of evolution as a scientific fact. That's six days before the state Board of Education decides whether to adopt new sunshine state standards for science.

Those standards present evolution as "the fundamental concept underlying all of biology, and is supported in multiple forms of scientific evidence".

The proposed local resolution calls for the teaching of the scientific strengths and weaknesses of the evolution "theory", rather than teaching it as dogmatic fact.

The resolution is similar to those adopted by several area school boards. and Marianna State Representative Marti Coley is urging the legislature to add the word "theory" in a new evolution bill.

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  • by Joel Location: Iowa on Feb 20, 2008 at 10:49 AM
    It is nice to see that the people of Florida are addressing the critical issues of our times. I wish the state of Iowa would address this rather than such silly issues like health care, maintaining our infrastructer and funding our public schools.
  • by Sonia Location: Orlando on Feb 11, 2008 at 09:08 AM
    The word "theory" in scientific usage means a group of ideas that are supported by quite a lot of experimental evidence. In contrast, a "theory" in normal English can be just a random idea that you come up with one day, with no evidence to support you. The theory of evolution is the first kind of theory- it is supported by evidence ranging from fossils to genes to the ability of some bacteria to develop resistance to certain types of antibiotics. In contrast, there's no evidence supporting Intelligent Design- it's basically just an idea that a group of people came up with one day. Let's keep evolution in the science classroom where it belongs with other scientific theories, like the theory of gravity or the theory that the earth revolves around the sun. If people are uncomfortable with the idea that all life, including humans, is related, that should be discussed in a philosophy or religion class.
  • by Adam Location: Arkansas on Feb 11, 2008 at 01:04 AM
    Evolution is a fact in that it is an observable phenomenon (change through time has happened). The theory (no, not the everyday "hunch" kind of theory) of evolution by natural selection is the best fit model to explain how changes in organisms has come about over time. There is NO evidence that goes against evolution as an explanation yet it would take very little, say, a fossil out of place, to refute the whole of evolutionary theory. In fact all of the evidence fits nicely with this model. This is contrasted with ID which is not a scientific concept because it is not falsifiable. In other words, there is no evidence, if found, that could be put forth to refute it. The claim that organisms are simply too complex to have arisen through natural processes is a negative claim about evolution. "God did it!" is NOT a satisfactory answer because it explains nothing. Science as a method is opposed to dogmatism precisely because it seeks explanations based on empirical evidence.
  • by George Location: Normal, IL on Feb 10, 2008 at 06:05 PM
    The word 'theory' means something different in science than it does on mystery shows. A scientific theory is an explanatory model that has predictive power and accounts for the data. Calling evolution a 'theory' means it is as solid as gravitational theory or atomic theory. We don't ask 9th graders to 'make up their own minds' on other scientific issues; K-12 science is about the scientific consensus. And sorry to have to say it, but for all its virtues the Bible is not a science textbook. Please don't be taken in by the prevarications of the ID crowd and creationists.
  • by Greg Laden Location: Minneapolis, MN on Feb 10, 2008 at 05:25 PM
    This debate has been settled, and creationism has no place in schools. A school district that promotes creationism is liable for hefty legal fees and international embarrassment. Bay District: Don't let the creationists do this to you!
  • by Joe Location: Tallahassee on Feb 10, 2008 at 09:30 AM
    It is sad that adults in the 21st century are still guided by religious fantasies of the distant past, and worse still that such people are in positions of power in our government. On the issue itself, there is no question that biological evolution is as much a "fact" as electricity and gravity, both of which are well enough known to get us to the moon and spacecraft beyond. The framework that is equally good for biology is that of evolution, which has matured much since its inception in the 19th century as furthered by the monumental work of Charles Darwin in his tome on Natural Selection. Doubts are only in the minds of the ignorant.
  • by Ron Location: NY on Feb 8, 2008 at 07:10 PM
    As a biologist, my recommendation is to teach science in the classroom and cease the nonsense of predetermining if its religious or evolutionary or creation or fact or theory or whatever.Who is qualified to split those hairs in the first place? Teach science using the scientific method of garnering all that is available and then basing decisions and conclusions on the weight of the evidence. Getting all caught up in minutia and semantics does not solve the problem.
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