Evolution and Politics in Florida

Florida has a purifying effect on politicians. Around the nation, there is a range of opinion among politicians about science education and other issues, but it seems that in Florida, we have a purified strain of politicians. They are pure idiots.

A likely future candidate for Mayor of St. Petersburg, Bill Foster, believes that the study of Darwinism led Hitler to come up with the Holocaust, and the Columbine shooters to come up with murder and mayhem. Foster, currently a city council member in St. Petersburg, wrote a letter to the Pinellas County School Board (considering changes in the science standards regarding evolution) in which he opined:

"Evolution gives our kids an excuse to believe in natural selection and survival of the fittest, which leads to a belief that they are superior over the weak. This is a slippery slope. ...One of the Columbine shooters wrote on his Web site, 'You know what I love? Natural selection! It's the best thing that ever happened to the Earth. Getting rid of all the stupid and weak organisms.'
[source]

The governor of Florida, Charlie Crist believes that evolutionary biology has been presented, in the past, to Florida students as a weak concept, a "theory" which may or may not be valid, and that this should continue.

I think the way it's been handled historically in Florida is probably appropriate. It's been introduced and discussed in terms of being a theory. I don't know if there's a need for a change in that. But I'll leave the decision to the board.
[source]

I havn't heard very much about politicians in Florida who are demonstrably not morons. Perhaps someone will chime in and let me know if there are any.

Meanwhile, Florida Citizens for Science is doing a good job at keeping everyone informed on developments in this hapless state. Their web site is here.

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Greg,

After spending two years in Tampa and three in Tallahassee, I can't come up with anyone who contradicts your observation off the top of my head.

I can't say why the elected officials, and by extension so many voters, there appear to have something wrong with them. I do have a hypothesis as to why they are the way they are, though. I think it's a combination of high levels of mercury in the drinking water and chronic blood loss caused by mosquito bites over the course of a lifetime.

Politicians are mainly lawyers and thus "truth" for them is how you spin the words. They are trying to appeal to voters; so they weave a story misusing cause and effect, but it sounds good.(to a certain group of voters) In a large part it is also their (and their constituents) ignorance of science.

Actually seems that Mr. Foster just finished reading Jonah Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism," and no, you don't want to even read the book jacket. This is the same community where 4 of the school board members think that evolution is only a theory. . . the stupid, it burns. Gaia help me, I live here.