I suspect part of this is a tongue in cheek given to the religious community, part in a serious vein. The last sentence seems rather to say to the religious minded that they should stop holding back progress. There is a movement here in Florida especially in the Southern Baptist churches to urge parents to remove their children from publics schools which obey the state rules in teaching the new standards.
Our society is used to conscientious objection to all sorts of things. It is an accommodation we have made in the public square for military service, for sex education, for medical treatment in some cases. We should allow those whose beliefs clash with this teaching of modern science to exempt their children on the same grounds.
It's not a perfect solution, but it would allow society to move forward.
I have read a lot of his work, and I think he is rather upset with those who simply deny science. I think he knows that fellowship well enough to know they will not change, and this might allow "society to move forward."
Evolution And the Opt-Out Option
For the first time, Florida's students would be explicitly required to learn about the theory of evolution. Until now, the standards have had some vague language about "biological changes over time." From the experience my children have had in science classes, I can testify that they did not learn much about the theory of evolution, and I'm sure that instruction about the theory varies from one school to the next, even from one classroom to the next in the same school.
So it's no wonder that changes are being considered. The independent Thomas B. Fordham Institute gave the state a grade of F in science. Because the federal government is pushing for improved math and science education, the heat is on the state board. The new standards under consideration are comprehensive and generally get high marks - except when it comes to high school biology.
The battle is heating up between a vocal minority who oppose the teaching of evolution and those who think the teaching of scientific principles shouldn't be, well, monkeyed with. As many as seven county school boards - most in Northern Florida - have passed resolutions opposing the evolution standards, according to the St. Petersburg Times, and more could follow. A majority of school board members in Polk County, where I live, have gone on record expressing their opposition.
..."Let's cut to the chase - those who object at all costs to having their children learn about evolution are conservative Protestants who have a religious basis for their objection.
First, these folks must realize one thing: The theory of evolution eventually will be taught in public schools. It is as inevitable as the sunrise. There are far too many people who not only have no objection to the theory of evolution, they insist their children learn it as part of a complete education. And, the nation's security depends on having its children literate in science, including biological science.
So here's my proposal: Let those parents who have a religious scruple about this part of the curriculum sign a waiver exempting their children from learning it.
He then reminds the parents who are objecting that their kids who go on to higher education with be tested on it anyway, whether of not they believe it.
A final caveat to conservative Protestants: My proposal would not get your children entirely off the hook. It's unlikely they would be exempted from being tested about evolution in the battery of standardized tests mandated by the state and federal governments. And colleges are not going to be interested in your children's explanations about why they scored poorly on the science sections of the SAT and ACT. Even if you tell your children not to believe it, it would not hurt them to learn what the theory of evolution is.In case you missed it, here's some background on the battles on evolution going on here in this state. Even school superintendents believe there are holes in the evolution theory you could drive a truck through.
Florida...shades of Kansas and Tennessee.
Haloscan comment thread