To hear it from Steven Novella at Neurologica Blog:
The fight over science in public education continues, and if anything picked up considerably in 2017. Earlier in the year Nature reported on various state laws designed to water down science education or allow for equal time to be given to unscientific views.
A new Florida bill also includes this problematic language:
Controversial theories and concepts must be taught in a factual, objective, and balanced manner.
This is part of the latest strategy. First, don’t mention any one theory (like evolution) by name. That is likely to trigger a constitutional challenge. Second, make the bill sound like it is promoting something positive, like academic freedom, democracy, or just being fair and balanced.
Being fair and balanced, of course, is not the point of these laws. The point is to provide a pretext or legal cover to challenge the teaching of evolution in science class, or to open the door to teaching creationism. The language may superficially sound benign, but this is the end result of decades of trial and error with the specific goal of weakening the teaching of evolution or inserting the teaching of specific religious views in the public science classroom. Context and history are necessary to understand the true purpose of these bills.
For example – who gets to determine what is “controversial?” And who gets to determine what is “balanced?” More.
Three obvious rejoinders:
1. Asking for facts, fairness, and balance is not a “pretext.” Most parents and teachers really want that.
2. Any approach to evolution that raised religious issues could be challenged on constitutional grounds. There is no shortage of groups willing to take such a case. If Dr. Novella thinks religious teachings in science class are likely, he should encourage the new trend, as they would be easy to expose.
3. “For example – who gets to determine what is ‘controversial?’ And who gets to determine what is ‘balanced?’” How about parents and teachers as opposed to bureaucrats and lobbyists?
It’s amazing, with the state of research as portrayed in science media today, that so many people are so concerned about a public that is beginning to notice and not with the problems themselves. The parents might be wrong but attacking them instead of attacking the problems is not a smart move.
See also: Stake in heart of school Darwinism lesson: Bilaterian nerve cords probably evolved many times Convergence means that, instead of starting out from the fabled Common Ancestor, life forms or parts thereof arrived at the same destinations from multiple origins. That could support either design or structuralism (an underlying pattern, based on physics and chemistry, governs evolution) — but not Darwinism, the only form of evolution known to pop science, according to which it is all random.
New butterfly has 46 chromosomes, like a human, not the expected 68, like a close relative. Remember this when we are told that it is “anti-science” to doubt whatever the current bumf is around Darwinian evolution.
Story of human dispersal across the globe drastically revised. In short, Cool beliefs did not turn out to be hard fact. That’s okay. We all revise our beliefs from time to time.
New Mexico: Science standards changes draw protest
From an expert walled up behind the 30-metre Oblivion Wall, we learn the causes of “science denial” …
If this is science, yes we do hate it