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Gradebook

Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Darwin, Hitler, Columbine

11

January

Billphoto_small Darwin's theory of evolution was behind the rise of Hitler in Europe and the school-shooting massacre at Columbine, a former St. Petersburg City Council member says in a letter to the Pinellas School Board in which he urges the board to expose students to alternative theories.

"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," Bill Foster (left), whose term recently expired, writes in a three-page letter on his law firm's stationery that School Board Chair Nancy Bostock received this week. "This is a slippery slope. One of the Columbine shooters wrote on his website, '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."

Foster also writes: "Adolph Hitler duped an entire generation using Darwin's evolution. He sought to preserve the 'favored race in the struggle for survival."

Foster's letter comes as an emotional debate continues to unfold over the state's proposed new science standards, which embrace Darwin's theory as the fundamental pillar of modern biology. The state Board of Education is scheduled to vote on the issue Feb. 19.

The argument that Darwin's theory leads to racism and fueled Hitler is not new. But many scientists and others who support the theory say that such arguments are a twisted misreading of both science and history. Foster's premise is "faulty," Becky Steele, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, told The Gradebook this morning. "There was a lot of murder, mayhem and manslaughter before Darwin came on the scene."

- Tom Tobin and Ron Matus, Times education writers

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:31am]

    

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