South Carolina politician panders to Creationists, relents

Sen. Mike Fair objects to the evolution clause then relents. Why? Probably to put on a show. It’s perfectly clear that there are no alternatives to teaching evolution in biology and old time religion folks need to find a new gig. This is ridiculous.

State Sen. Mike Fair Blocks Evolution From South Carolina Science Standards.

The South Carolina Education Oversight Committee approved most of the state’s new science standards on Monday but blocked a clause featuring the phrase “natural selection.” According to Republican state Sen. Mike Fair, “To teach that natural selection is the answer to origins is wrong.”

“I don’t have a problem with teaching theories. I don’t think it should be taught as fact,” Fair said after Monday’s review, according to the Post and Courier. “Natural selection is a direct reference to Darwinism. And the implication of Darwinism is that it is start to finish.”

The state’s board of education approved the “natural selection” clause after squashing an effort to include intelligent design as an alternative theory to evolution. On Monday, the oversight committee passed all other measures in the state’s new K-12 science standards, but it referred the evolution provision back to a subcommittee for review. Both the state board and the oversight committee must agree on the new standards before they can be adopted and implemented by the education department by the fall of 2014.

Science advocates, however, viewed the exclusion as a religiously motivated attack on established science.

With the quote “I don’t have a problem with teaching theories. I don’t think it should be taught as fact” Mike Fair just proved how clueless he is. It’s the same old trope – “just a theory”. This is the clause the committee blocked:

Conceptual Understanding: Biological evolution occurs primarily when natural selection acts on the genetic variation in a population and changes the distribution of traits in that population over multiple generations.

Performance Indicators: Students who can demonstrate this understanding can:

Analyze and interpret data, using the principles of natural selection, to make predictions about the long term biological changes that occur within two populations of the same species that become geographically isolated from one another.

The NCSE reports that Fair has withdrawn his objection.

[T]he Charleston City Paper (February 14, 2014) wondered about Fair’s delay in accepting the standard: “either Fair needed two more days to parse the verbiage, or it was all a saber-rattling publicity stunt.” NCSE’s Glenn Branch observed that antievolution politicians sometimes indulge in “a kind of chest-thumping that is pandering to their base,” adding, “So when election season comes around, they can go home and say, ‘Well, I introduced this bill and it didn’t go through, but re-elect me and I’ll introduce it again.'”

Fair is a young-earth Creationist.

Tip: Nina Hartley

  5 comments for “South Carolina politician panders to Creationists, relents

  1. Tom
    February 16, 2014 at 9:27 AM

    Maybe it is time that we dropped referring to”Darwins theory” and just taught Evolutionary Science in it’s wonderful complexity without the historical back ground. After all we don’t teach Astrophysics by constantly referring to Ptolemy or Copernicus’ theory.

    • Chris Howard
      February 16, 2014 at 10:19 AM

      I think part of the problem is that the general public doesn’t understand the difference between a scientific theory, as opposed to a literary, or philosophical theory.

      When I tell people that evolution is both a fact, and a theory, it boggles their minds. They tend to view facts, and theories, as mutually exclusive.

      Scientific illiteracy, and willful ignorance are a deadly combination.

    • February 16, 2014 at 11:23 AM

      When someone refers to “Darwin’s theory” or “Darwinism” that is typically a red flag that they wish to make it about the “evil man’s ideas” and fail to understand much of anything about nature. It’s easy to demonize a person. So, people who do understand it don’t use that term. Evolution just is.

  2. February 16, 2014 at 9:28 AM

    Luckily politicians have never ever wilfully changed anything. They have just evolved, and continue to evolve, just like the rest of us.

  3. Bones
    February 16, 2014 at 10:00 AM

    Related to this, the hypocritical projection of those in public leadership who posture against “Darwinism” is transparent, because apart from their ideologically-based beliefs about human origins, those same leaders consistently endorse laisez faire socioeconomic policies that enforce misery on the weak, while the wealthy are allowed to continue tilting the game toward themselves. Isn’t this exactly what they believe they pretend to oppose when they rail against those wicked “social Darwinists”?

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