Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Are we doing the Monkey Trial all over again in Arizona?

Evolution became a household word with Charles Darwin's writing of the Origin of the Species, which ultimately led to...
"Darwinism, a theory of biological evolution developed by the English naturalist Charles Darwin (1809–1882) and others, stating that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual's ability to compete, survive, and reproduce."
It is a theory in fact that, although accepted by the scientific community over the years, has been challenged by countless religious groups. The 1st Amendment does guarantee freedom of religion, but the First Amendment not only allows citizens the freedom to practice any religion of their choice, but also prevents the government from officially recognizing or favoring any religion, better known as Separation of Church and State. Unfortunately, this 'separation" always seems to be in the most defiance when the Republicans are in control.

Arizona does love its guns but this week the hot issue is evolution, by which our dufus State Education Superintendent Diane Douglas wants to weaken its teachings in public schools and emphasize creationism. As schools head, she has always emphasized ideology over education, which has brought her to the evolution table.  For the last year, several dozen science teachers have been working to update the state’s science standards – the first such rewrite in 15 years. Douglas took a red pen to their proposal, as follows...
Science teachers, for example, want their high school biology students to explain “how the process of evolution result(s) from natural selection.” 
Douglas wants students to explain “how the process of evolution may result from natural selection.”
Douglas' claim is that evolution is a theory and "that while there are parts and pieces of it that are [valid] we can, I think agree, are proven science, there are other areas of it that are very theoretical." She added that the theory of intelligent design should be taught along with the theory of evolution. A 2008 poll found that "one in eight high school biology teachers already teach creationism as a valid scientific alternative to Darwin's theory." The Monkey Trial brought evolution into the spotlight in Tennessee in 1925 with John Scopes on trial, which solved nothing.

Apparently scientists around the world think Diane Douglas is as big a nut case as we do here in Arizona. Here's an opinion from the UK...

"The Association for Science Education, which represents the UK’s science teachers, says Douglas’ proposal to cast doubt about evolution would 'undermine the scientific literacy of Arizona’s students.'"
The downside of all this is that politicians like Diane Douglas rave on and on about issues like this to appease their base while the children of Arizona have to deal with one of the lowest rated education systems in the country.

Recommended reading: Laurie Roberts/Arizona Republic
                        Laurie Roberts, AR column

Additional Reading: The Monkey Trial

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