At the conclusion of the PBS documentary "Judgment Day" aired only a few weeks ago, various people from both sides of the evolution/intelligent design debacle in Dover, PA said that they don't expect the decision of Judge Jones that ID is creationism (and not science, to boot) to stop other school districts of trying to weasel intelligent design into the classroom. Strangely enough, it now appears that in Polk County, Florida, a place where you can't even say "evolution" in the classroom, school board member Kay Fields is opposing new standards that would bolster science education, calling for evolution to be "balanced" with intelligent design. Here we go again...
Since the news story initially broke earlier this month, it appears that four of the seven school board members (Kay Fields, Tim Harris, Margaret Lofton, and Hazel Sellers) support teaching intelligent design despite pleas from the Florida Citizens for Science, the science advocacy group reportedly getting little to no reaction from the school board as to their concerns. The vote as to whether adopt the new science standards won't take place until the beginning of next year, but I'm sure everyone will be watching what happens during the process that may lead up to Dover II. If the school board does go ahead and try to push religion on students in science class, it'll not only be a tragedy for the students but also (inevitably) for the school board; the court case that will be sure to arise as a result will cost a large sum of money when it is found that just because intelligent design is being proposed in Florida instead of Pennsylvania it doesn't make it anymore scientific than the first time around. The Polk County board would be wise to consider the fact that the Dover school district was left with a $1,000,000 + bill when their trial was over (an amount that was actually cut in half), and I imagine that Polk County school system would encounter hefty legal fees as well if board members foolishly tried to get creationism into the classroom.
The story is only just beginning, though, but I'm curious as to what the 3 board members that so far have not endorsed intelligent design have to say. If they are in support of evolution, shouldn't they be a little more vocal about it? Even if the idea of injecting ID into classrooms is dropped, it is still a tragedy that teachers can't even use the word "evolution"; a change is long overdue. Still, I wonder if the Polk County board members are somehow going to get their hands on Of Pandas and People v. III, or as some would like to call it, The Design of Life, the newest attempt to legitimize creationism by William Dembski and Jonathan Wells. I guess we'll just have to wait and see, but somehow I think that the school board is going to try and get ID in, humming "Onward Christian Soldiers" all the way.
An Open Letter to the Polk County, Florida School Board by Wesley Elsberry
Oh, look, it's our old friend the "March of Progress." Ugh.
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WTF?!@ This would be funny, if it weren't so sad. It would be even funnier though when Dembski gets on the stand!
OK, here's where I invoke my FIND-SILVER-LINING subroutine. Perhaps, with another high-profile court case on our hands, everybody will roll up their sleeves for intellectual combat and joyfully shred creationist drivel, instead of fretting about how to "frame" science.
As the song says, "There is this thing keeping everyone's lungs and lips locked / it is called fear and it's seeing a great Renaissance."