Friday, June 17, 2005

South Carolina, welcome to the club!

A bill has been proposed in the South Carolina State Senate containing Santorum language (aka, the crap one of my US Senators tried to put into the No Child Left Behind Act). The bill seems harmless enough:

In the promulgation of policies and regulations regarding kindergarten through twelfth grade education, the State Board of Education shall implement policies and a curriculum that accomplish the General Assembly's desire to provide a quality science education that shall prepare students to distinguish the data and testable theories of science from religious or philosophical claims that are made in the name of science. Where topics are taught that may generate controversy, such as biological evolution, the curriculum should help students to understand the full range of scientific views that exist, why such topics may generate controversy, and how scientific discoveries can profoundly affect society.
The one major problem I see is that it singles out biological evolution as a controversial topic, whereas other subjects such as physics and chemistry are not mentioned. The wording seems uncontroversial, but we must question the motivations of such legislation.

The lead sponsor of the bill (Sen. Mike Fair, R-Greenville) is described as a “dominant voice advocating for S.C. schools to teach more than Charles Darwin’s theories of evolution.” I’m all for teaching more than Darwin’s theories of evolution. South Carolina students shouldn’t just learn about an outdated theory from the mid 19th century. They should also be exposed to Dobzhansky, Mayr, Wright, Fisher, Haldane, and the rest of the great minds behind the modern synthesis. It shouldn't stop there, either. They should also learn about the advances in evolutionary biology that came about due to developments in molecular techniques such as DNA sequencing. They should learn about the neutral theory, evo-devo, and molecular phylogenetics.

Of course, spending so much time on evolutionary theory wouldn't allow one to devote as much time to other subjects, like bible study . . .


At 9:47 AM, Blogger GrrlScientist said...

WHAT?? Are you asking that rick santorum use his brain for something besides memorizing bible verses? I think that will cost the taxpayer extra.


At 12:51 PM, Blogger JohnADavison said...

The "Modern synthesis" is a hoax

At 10:43 PM, Anonymous Thom H said...

If you attend one of these hearings, you'll find that some ID/ creationists deny that Darwin's theories have been updated/revised.

They accuse biologists of being dogmatic, living in the past, not practicing science, etc, because Darwin has not been "improved" in over a century.

This is completely false, but highly revealing. Not unlike the "hoax" comment.

So in fact you're exactly right. We need the emphasis off "Darwinism"--whatever exactly that means, and on evolutionary theory and the massive scientific confirmation for it.


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