My Comment on the Petition in Support of Florida's Proposed New Science Standards

I entered a comment when I signed the Florida Citizens for Science online petition in support of the proposed new science standards there.

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.

This thread is for comments sent to the online petition only. Let’s keep things tidy; I’ll remove comments that have extraneous remarks to the Bathroom Wall.