Let's use 'evolution' and get on with it

Let's use 'evolution' and get on with it
South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board - 01/08/2008 - original
If evolution, creationism and intelligent design are controversial and worthy of debate, that's fine. Debate 'em.

Debate them in philosophy class. Debate them in theology class. Even debate them in debate class.

But they shouldn't be debated in science class. Evolution isn't debatable in many parts of the world, and among a majority of scientists, but somehow Florida hasn't fully gotten the message.

In an attempt to reach the 21st century, revisions are being considered to the state science standards. Among the changes, the word "evolution" would finally be substituted for the more generic "biological changes over time."

And it's about time.

A public hearing will be held today at Everglades High School in Miramar on the proposed changes, which will be voted on by the State Board of Education on Feb. 19.

At a previous hearing in Jacksonville, a few people toting Bibles opposed any attempt to emphasize evolution in public schools. It may not conform to everyone's religious beliefs, but evolution, as one teacher said in Jacksonville, "is the glue that holds biology together."

It's also time to definitively call it what it is, and not use the politically correct "biological changes over time." And there shouldn't be a need to give equal time to creationism and intelligent design in science class.

Let's leave science to the scientists. Scientific evidence has long backed up evolution to explain the development of species, and it's time that message reached the state's public schools. Florida students have scored poorly on college entrance tests, and science surely hasn't been a strong point.

The suggested new state science standards were developed by a committee of scientists and educators who looked at world class standards. They obviously feel it's time Florida joins the world.

A good start is teaching evolution in science class. It's about time.

BOTTOM LINE: Be clear teach evolution in science class.