I go for a walk, and watch some soccer, only to find out that Thursday, the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee passed ‘standards‘ that force students to “summarize ways that scientists use data from a variety of sources to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory.” I have to hand it to the creationists: pushing this during the summer, when university faculties are off doing science, is probably the right time to do something like this. Too bad it will make the kids of South Carolina ignorant and stupid. Teaching the basics of evolutionary biology is hard enough with college students. Somehow I don’t think the proponents of these ‘standards’ are interested in examining the selective strength of codon bias (and the proponents are too ignorant to know about this or any other outstanding question in evolutionary biology anyway).
Of course, there are the usual mindless claims about “materialism”:
Opponents of the new standards want to protect “philosophical materialism,” the South Carolina senator [Michael Fair] contends. He describes this mindset as a “religion” that runs rampant on college campuses.
“Biology departments in the universities around our state are absolutely controlled by people who are afraid, for some reason or another, to look into and encourage students to look at all aspects of the question of evolution,” Fair says. He believes the newly established biology standards will help change this situation….
Senator Fair believes the new biology standards for South Carolina high schools will help create an atmosphere where science education can flourish without materialist ideology. Also, he says it is his hope that these guidelines will be a precursor to allowing alternatives to the theory of evolution, such as intelligent design, to be taught in the state’s schools.
Actually, we want to protect scientific materialism. And we’re not afraid at all of the “question of evolution”: it happened (and is still happening), and it occurs by natural selection and genetic drift. To the extent we’re ‘dodging’ the ‘question’ of evolution, it’s because you’re boring us. The question is resolved. Now, can we please teach the kids biology? Or instead, we could just start teaching ‘non-materialist’ physics and chemistry too?
And for those keeping score at home, Sen. Mike Fair is a Republican. Not that anyone thought otherwise…