Gradebook

Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Textbook promotes creationism, Florida science group says

22

September

Another skirmish may be underway in Florida's battle over teaching evolution. A high school textbook that Florida students could be using next year includes language often associated with those promoting creationism and intelligent design, a science group charged today.

In a letter to Florida Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith, the Florida Citizens for Science said that "Life on an Ocean Planet" - which the state's instructional materials adoption committee recently recommended for approval, with a caveat - is "grossly inaccurate, does not adhere to Sunshine State Standards in Science, and uses language commonly associated with a religious point of view."

The group wants Smith to review the book before deciding whether it should be adopted. It recommends that portions be removed.

Jonathan Smith, a Florida Citizens for Science member who serves on Hillsborough's textbook adoption committee, sent The Gradebook excerpts from the book that he found problematic. Among them:

Skeptics observe that general evolution doesn't adequately explain how a complex structure, such as the eye, could come to exist through infrequent random mutations. Such structures consist of multiple integrated components ... a subcomponent has no survival advantage by itself, it would not be passed along by natural selection. There's no survival advantage unless all the components exist at once, yet no random mutation process would produce all the required components at the same time. Transitional forms for some specialized characteristics would be expected to have a survival disadvantage, say skeptics.  An example is the bat wing ....

Jonathan Smith's take: "This is a standard creationist trope, well known to be wrong."

According to a Department of Education spokeswoman, the comittee voted 7-2 to recommend that the book be adopted, with the provision that the publisher remove two specific pages.

 

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 22, 2010 6:37pm]

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