Skip to comments.Gov. Bush [Florida] oddly evasive on evolution
Posted on 10/09/2005 11:50:56 AM PDT by PatrickHenry
Jeb Bush, the self-styled straight-talking education governor, is having trouble speaking clearly about one of the hottest education topics these days: evolution.
Bush isn't sure if the religiously inspired ''intelligent design'' concept belongs in public school science classrooms.
''I don't . . . I don't know,'' he said Thursday. ``It's not part of our standards. Nor is creationism. Nor is Darwinism or evolution either.''
He's wrong about that: Evolution is required. The Sunshine State Standards want high school students to understand ``how genetic variation of offspring contributes to population control in an environment and that natural selection ensures that those who are best adapted to their surroundings survive.''
Bush blamed his education commissioner, John Winn, for telling him that evolution wasn't in the standards. Winn's department didn't return phone calls.
It's no shocker Bush blamed an error on an underling -- politicians often do -- or that he got one fact wrong; after all, the governor's wires are bound to short-circuit once in a while, considering the way he devours and discusses massive amounts of policy, news and legislation.
What's tough to figure is Bush's waffling -- or this circumlocution: ''I like what we have right now,'' he continued. ``And I don't think there needs to be any changes. I don't think we need to restrict discussion, but it doesn't need to be required, either.''
Of the candidates who want to succeed Bush in 2006, the two Democrats, Sen. Rod Smith of Alachua and U.S. Rep. Jim Davis of Tampa, said intelligent design belongs in religion -- not science -- class. But Republican state Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher doesn't oppose it in science class, a spokesman said. Republican Attorney General Charlie Crist couldn't be reached.
Rep. Dennis Baxley, an Ocala Republican who chairs the state House Education Council, said he supports teaching intelligent design, which posits that life on the planet is so complex that something other-worldly must have guided it.
LIKE HIS BROTHER
Baxley guessed Bush will come out in support of intelligent design, just like the governor's big brother, the president. ''I don't think he wants to be pushed into a box over it,'' Baxley said. ``He probably wants this, but it's not the right time.''
Next year, Baxley said, the issue is bound to surface when the state revisits its education standards. Commissioner Winn has, so far, refused to discuss the subject publicly. However, Florida's new K-12 chancellor, Cheri Yecke, has told newspapers she wouldn't make intelligent design an issue.
Yecke, a conservative think-tank contributor, caused a stir in 2003, when, as Minnesota's schools chief, she wanted a science-standards committee to consider mentioning alternatives to evolution, according to press reports. The language making it easier to teach intelligent design derived from Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Rick Santorum's failed amendment to President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act.
Whether it's Santorum or Baxley, proponents say intelligent design fills in evolution's gaps and should be taught to broaden kids' perspectives -- a type of postmodern all-things-are-equal viewpoint that conservatives once decried.
Now liberals and moderates are close to arguing against this inclusive approach. Intelligent design is an evolved form of creationism that doesn't posit an Earth-created-in-six-days model.
The debate is playing out in a courtroom in Santorum's state of Pennsylvania, where the Dover Area School Board required intelligent design in biology class.
Eight families sued, saying the policy unconstitutionally mixes church and state. Echoing the overwhelming majority of scientists, one teacher testified last week that the concept is not scientifically valid and doesn't belong in science class.
In Florida, your tax dollars are already paying for students to learn Bible-based creation concepts at a number of private religious schools that take former public school students who are poor, disabled or undereducated.
Using public money for private schooling is a cornerstone of Gov. Bush's A Plus education plan, which has been declared unconstitutional in every Florida court. It now awaits a Florida Supreme Court decision.
Some wonder whether there's a contradiction in Bush's push to spend hundreds of millions of tax money on the high-tech Scripps Research Institute for science while also funding religious schools that question one of biology's basic tenets.
When asked about this, Bush was again uncharacteristically evasive.
''That is so loaded. That's like, you've already written the article, why do you want me in it? It's not fair,'' Bush told a reporter when asked.
So that's a ''no'' then?
''No, that's nothing,'' Bush said. ``That's no comment. The governor refused to comment. That's what it is in the article: The governor refused to comment.''
When will he?
Marc Caputo is a reporter in The Herald's Capitol Bureau.
Curious the dems are against ID and the republicans are for it. I think both parties blow with the political winds.
A Governor governs.
To even think about delving into such a discussion would place him into the category of inability to do so for personal reasons.
A leader bringing hope for change is one thing, but to dictate outside the realm of duty would label a leader as a dictator.
Perhaps over coffee with a friend or family member.
Wonderful. Make sure every student can parrot that sentence, and hand him his diploma. Yea for government education!
Jeb's doing the smart thing. Keeps the Creationist/ID freaks at bay and allow them to destroy themselves through the initiative process. Florida has a history of voting middle to the left on social issues during the initiative process.
Remember how the Schiavo folks were going to "vote all the murderers out?" The incumbents were still reelected.
In short, ID will go NOWHERE in Florida. The only place where the ID folks have any traction is in the Panhandle, and even there they are often mocked.
I attended public school in Fla(way back when),and we were taught about evolution,Darwin,etc with the understanding that some believed in creationism.It wasn't a big deal to us.
Agreed! This whole ID thing is making a joke of that wing of the conservative movement.
Thanks for the ping!
Somehow we need to make the country realize it's "that wing of the conservative movement", not "the conservative movement".
"Somehow we need to make the country realize it's "that wing of the conservative movement", not "the conservative movement".":
Postmoderns deny the law of noncontradiction - ie: they believe that there can be more that one truth.
They are the emotionally unstable mentalities that suffer the mental confusion resulting from holding polar opposite ideas, beliefs and attitudes simultaneously. (Cognitive dissonance)
Those who would give any weight to the opinions of such confused people (regardless of their "credentials"), are themselves incapable of cogent thought.
Let's also get Gov Bush's opinion on the Theory of Relativity.
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"...Darwin meant by evolution the process whereby life arose from non-living matter and subsequently developed entirely by natural means. This is a form of scientific materialism that Freeman Dyson decries in "Science and Religion Can Work Together." (APS News, November 2000.) Richard Dawkins, famed author of "The Blind Watchmaker," has said that Darwin made it possible to be an "intellectually fulfilled atheist."
Scientists and teachers ought to make it clear... that evolution and cosmology are working assumptions, not established facts.
Unlike physics, evolution and cosmology are sciences in the sense of forensic science.
The evidence for evolutionary transition of humans from apelike ancestors is not abundant enough to conclude, beyond a reasonable doubt, that it has occurred. That is why the overwhelming majority of Americans still believe in a Creator.
The foundation of modern science was laid down by devout Christians (Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Maxwell, Planck, etc.) who studied nature to know more about its Creator.
It was the extension of the evolutionary ideas of Darwin to an atheistic world view that accentuated the false antagonism between science and religion.
Such mixing of science, philosophy, and theology must be openly discussed.
What people object to is the teaching of an atheistic world view in the guise of science. Students of faith ought not to come out of biology classes with the notion that there is no God. Otherwise, theology and not merely biology is being taught in such classes.
Clearly everything evolves. However, it is not self-evident to me that the fundamental question of origins is a truly scientific question.
If not, then the answer must be sought in the very same places where we seek answers to questions regarding meaning, values, and purpose. One must never forget that an explanation of the totality of the human experience may lie outside the realm of science.
The honest pursuit of an answer to the question of origins may lead ultimately to an Intelligent Designer.
Max Planck, Nobel laureate and father of quantum physics, said: "God is at the beginning of every religion and at the end of the natural sciences." Let us not forget that our nation is founded on the creed that our freedom and unalienable rights are endowed by our Creator. ~ Moorad Alexanian, Professor of Physics University of North Carolina at Wilmington http://origins.swau.edu/who/moorad/cmoorad98.html
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