South Carolina Science Standards — No Problem?

It was only a few days ago that we reported about South Carolina state Senator Mike Fair, who has a history of introducing creationist legislation. He seems to have single-handedly halted adoption of his state’s public school science standard for evolution — see South Carolina Battle over Science Standards.

The news we’re about to report doesn’t appear anywhere yet, except in an alternative press weekly, the Charleston City Paper of Charleston, South Carolina. It’s a bit of a shopping center giveaway paper, but maybe they’ve scooped everyone else. Their headline is S.C. Sen. Mike Fair drops opposition to evolution teaching standards.

We usually report only from sources we know, but this is too good to pass up. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

S.C. Sen. Mike Fair made national headlines this week when he put up a roadblock against new science education standards for the state, particularly as they dealt with the topics of natural selection and evolution. But now the Upstate Republican lawmaker says he has reviewed the standards and will not oppose their implementation.

If true, this is good news. Let’s read some more:

“I support the scientific standards as they were given to our subcommittee,” Fair said in a phone interview Wednesday evening. “I just needed a few days to look at the possible overreach of the terminology, and it’s not there.”

That’s quite a change from his usual position. A few days ago he was quoted as saying:

“There’s not but one theory coming from the principles of natural selection,” Fair said, before the committee voted to give the standard more review. “There are more than one (theory of evolution). But the one that is being taught and will continue to be taught is Darwinism,” Fair said.

Fair’s sudden turn-around is most unexpected. What changed his mind? Let’s read on:

Fair is a member of the Statehouse-appointed Education Oversight Committee, which has to sign off on all changes to education standards. In the latest round of revisions, which updated previous standards that were written in 2005, Fair says he was caught off guard by some of the language on natural selection (specifically section HB5B, p. 78) and wanted time to review it before stamping his approval on it.


Fair says he took the snow day Wednesday to review the standards, and he is now comfortable with how they were written.

That’s essentially all we’re told. There’s likely to be more news about this, but for the moment, what we thought was a problem seems to have gone away. If the Charleston City Paper really did scoop everyone else, then good for them.

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13 responses to “South Carolina Science Standards — No Problem?

  1. Amazing what a beautiful snowfall can do for the spirits. Perhaps that’s the problem with the Bible Belt — not enough snow. He sounds so …. rational. One might think he’s from New England, Minnesota, Wisconsin, or maybe Washington.

  2. Washington? DC or State?

    Given the politicos in the one and the Discoveroids in the other, I’m not sure either can be held up as an epicentre of Enlightenment…

  3. Mike has seen Fair snow Light.

    Mega, don’t worry. The Discoveroids in Seattle are perfectly held in balance by Bob Seidensticker (who lives two blocks away) and the likes.

  4. SC: “What changed his mind?”

    As you know, one of 2 things: Either he realized that his demand would encourage, if not require bearing false witness, or (much more likely) someone convinced him that there would likely be a court case, and they would likely lose, even with a Republican, Christian Judge like John E. Jones III.

  5. retiredsciguy: “Amazing what a beautiful snowfall can do for the spirits.”

    The first snowfall is beautiful. The 11th is as old and ugly as that cranky guy in the mirror. 🙂

  6. Someone talked to him – he didn’t change his mind on his own. It was one of those mysterious Darwinist censors.

  7. Ed speculates: “Someone talked to him – he didn’t change his mind on his own.”

    I sent some of the boys to have a friendly chat with him — y’know what I mean? We made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

  8. Curmudgeon: Thanks for killing my comment. Those of us who follow politics from the center or center-left tend to look at sites like this one, and Raw Story, and Talking Points Memo and other, and see the outrageous commentary by the right wing so often, that sometimes justifiable contempt crosses the line into over-the-top. Appreciate your quick attention to this, and I shall endeavor to keep my temper/sarcasm under better control in future.

  9. Lurker111 says: “Thanks for killing my comment.”

    I was thinking about it when you made your request. That made it easier. Always remember, this is a classy blog.

  10. @Frank J: I know what you mean about snow, having grown up in Chicago — and that was back when many homes and businesses were still heated with coal, and the commuter trains were powered by steam locomotives. When the old snow melted down a bit (or just sublimed), it was covered with an ugly, black crust.

    In my comment, I had in mind the state senator in South Carolina:

    “Fair says he took the snow day Wednesday to review the standards, and he is now comfortable with how they were written.”

    Since a heavy snow is a rare occurrence in S.C., it probably was seen for its beauty — except for those trying to get somewhere.

  11. SC – we got a governor down here your boys can talk to…

  12. The Charleston City Paper indeed got the scoop, and moreover followed it with a nice account with lots of detail:

  13. Glenn Branch says: “The Charleston City Paper indeed got the scoop”

    I’m glad you don’t think it was a wild rumor. I was getting worried that you guys haven’t mentioned it.