Florida Creationism: Pasco County School Board

The Florida Ark

The Florida Ark

WE have more news from that enchanted region we’ve been calling The Florida Ark. The what? According to the Curmudgeon’s Glossary:

The Florida Ark is that concave stretch of coast — an arc, get it? — starting at the Alabama border and then sweeping down the shore of the Gulf of Mexico all the way to Tampa, and a bit beyond. This blessed region is home to a great number of creationists.

Today’s news comes from Pasco County. You can look on this Florida county map and see that Pasco, colored orange, is immediately north of Ronda Storms’ Hillsborough County, so it’s definitely part of the Florida Ark.

Our last visit to this happy county was Florida Creationism: Pasco School Board Race. There we wrote about John Tracy, a creationist candidate for Pasco County School Board District 4. He’s still running, but today we’re interested in District 3.

In the St. Petersburg Times we read Pasco County School Board, District 3 candidates. The article is one brief paragraph, and then a table with the candidates’ positions on various issues. We’ll give you that opening paragraph and their positions on creationism. The bold font was added by us:

The race to replace retiring board member Cathi Martin features four hopefuls, three of whom are making their first run for public office. Two of the candidates — Sallie Skipper and Anthony Terranova — sought to be appointed to the job when Martin signaled her intent to resign in 2009. So far, the campaign for this nonpartisan seat has remained low-key and focused on the issues. If no candidate receives more than half the vote, the top two will face off in the Nov. 2 general election.

We note the amusing coincidence of the retiring board member’s name –Cathi Martin — and that of the notorious Kansas school board creationist, Kathy Martin. Life is strange.

Okay, let’s get to the creationism question and each candidate’s response:

[Question] Should schools teach creationism in science?

That lays it right out. Here is each candidate’s answer:

Cynthia Armstrong: “I do not believe that creationism has a place in the science curriculum.”

Very good! It’s strong enough that we assume she feels the same about Intelligent Design, but that wasn’t part of the question. Here’s the next:

Mike Ryan: “I’m for teaching evolutionary theory and I’m for teaching intelligent design.”

Dolt! Moving along:

Sallie Skipper: “I am a devout Christian but I believe in evolution.”

She’s okay. Actually, that’s a much better answer than merely saying “no” to creationism. Here’s the last one:

Anthony Terranova: Tell students the idea exists, but do not teach religion in school.

That one’s a bit fuzzy. He seems clear enough on creationism, but once he starts talking about it because “the idea exists,” we don’t know where he’s going — or where he wants to go. Would he also use up class time to tell students that the flat-earth idea exists?

So those are the choices. One of them is a flaming creationist for sure, and a couple clearly aren’t. The fourth is a mystery. Good luck to the kiddies.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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4 responses to “Florida Creationism: Pasco County School Board

  1. Yay! I’m not in the arc! 🙂

  2. Maybe not now, Stacy. But it’s growing …

  3. Yea – It feels like the “arc” here.

  4. “That one’s a bit fuzzy. He seems clear enough on creationism, but once he starts talking about it because “the idea exists,” we don’t know where he’s going — or where he wants to go. Would he also use up class time to tell students that the flat-earth idea exists?”

    Actually, I think it’s a good idea to say that an alternate idea exists and that there is no scientific evidence to support it. Same with astrology, cold fusion, and homeopathy. Science doesn’t just find out what’s true, it also finds out what isn’t and that’s a useful thing to teach. It’s also a good teaching moment to illustrate the concept of testable hypotheses and how to put aside concepts that aren’t falsifiable as “not science.”