Creationist Chiropractor Runs for School Board

The Florida Ark

The Florida Ark

See the update at the end of this post. The creationist chiropractor has suddenly retracted his statements.

It’s been a while since we paid attention to that enchanted region we call 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.

There’s an interesting school board race in Pinellas County, Florida. The largest city there is St. Petersburg, Florida. The news is in the Tampa Bay Times, published in that county. It’s part of the Ark.

Their straightforward headline is: Pinellas School Board candidate Ken Peluso wants creationism taught in public schools. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

“I think creationism and evolution should be taught side by side and I don’t care what classroom,” Peluso said Thursday in response to a question at a school board candidate forum held by the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club in St. Petersburg.

That’s quite an answer. What was the question? We’re told:

Candidates were asked whether they favored teaching creationism. If they did, would they allow it to be taught in a science class? Peluso was the only candidate to say yes. His two opponents for the District 4 seat, Beverley Billiris, former mayor of Tarpon Springs, and John Nygren, a retired math teacher, said no. So did candidates in the other four School Board races.

You gotta admire Peluso’s courage. He’s the only candidate to admit that he’s a flaming creationist. Later in the story it says:

A retired chiropractor and former chairman of the Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas, Peluso has raised the most money in the District 4 race.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! A creationist chiropractor. We can’t recall running across another of those before. Oh, wait — there were a couple. See Canada’s Science Minister: Creationist Chiropractor, and also Creationist Wisdom — Example 84. Hey, get this:

He [Peluso] also has endorsements from the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association, Pinellas Educational Support Professionals Association, and the Pinellas Realtor Organization.

The Realtors, okay, but the Classroom Teachers Association? What’s going on in Pinellas County? We’ll skip what the other candidates said. They all seem normal. Is there any more good stuff here? Let’s read on:

Florida’s science standards, which were adopted in 2008, call evolution the “fundamental concept underlying all of biology” and say it is “supported by multiple forms of scientific evidence.” Creationism is not in the state standards, despite an effort to include it years ago.

That was quite a battle, as we recall. The article continues:

Peluso said students should “know the facts” and decide for themselves.

We’ve heard that from creationists before. If only they took their own advice. Here’s one last excerpt:

The election for the non-partisan seat is Aug. 26. If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, a run-off race will be held in November.

That’s less than three weeks away. We’ll be watching.

Update: The Tampa Bay Times now reports Pinellas School Board candidate Peluso reverses his comments about creationism

Pinellas School Board candidate Ken Peluso said Friday that he doesn’t support teaching creationism in public schools, despite comments he made during a public forum. He was caught off-guard and gave a “quick response without thinking,” he said..

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Here are a few more quotes:

“In hindsight, that was probably a poor choice of words in response to a question that caught me off guard,” he said Friday. “My personal beliefs have nothing to do with it.”

[…]

Peluso said Friday that creationism versus evolution is “probably the most controversial education issue of all time.” Despite his comments, he said that he wouldn’t teach creationism alongside evolution in a science class. He could see a place for it in a world religion class with other views, he said.

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16 responses to “Creationist Chiropractor Runs for School Board

  1. Actually, the Tampa Bay Times is published in the same county (Pinellas). It was formerly known as the St. Petersburg Times.

  2. Thanks, Drew Smith. I assumed it was in Tampa, but I shouldn’t have guessed.

  3. Right-wing Christian cranks love to run for city and county offices, especially for the school board, because they can take advantage of the low turnout by normal humans, er, that is, the general voting population in such races to win and then start boring from within.

  4. Except that “boring from within” is likely to involve the Pinellas County School Board in expensive litigation if they adopt Peluso’s philosophy (if you can call it that). Haven’t these IDiots heard of Kitzmiller v. Dover, not to mention the line of cases that led to it?

  5. As a Canadian living in the US, I was shocked by your revelation that the Minister of Science is a creationist so I did some reading. Last year Goodyear was demoted in a cabinet shuffle, but his replacement was no less displeasing to scientists. The creationist, evangelical prime minister Stephen Harper appointed a former lawyer/nurse who has continued slashing science funding, especially for fisheries which are vital to Canadian economic interests.

    The good news is that, in a country like Canada, Harper’s membership in a super conservative denomination can’t really affect major policy. A poll taken in around 2006 showed that while 68% of Canadians would vote for an atheist or Muslim prime minister, only 63% would vote for an evangelical!

  6. School board races tend to attract candidates who are on a mission. Often, that mission is getting God back in the schools, whether it’s allowing school prayer, teaching creationism, banning sex ed, banning evolution, etc., etc.
    They often win because of low voter turnout, and also because few voters are aware of their positions or lack of credentials.

  7. We at Florida Citizens for Science have been watching school board races across the state. Pinellas isn’t the only county. Holmes County also features some creationists. Check our blog for more info.

  8. The creationist chiropractor has suddenly retracted his statements. We added an update to the post.

  9. Might it be the case that he has seen the Light?

  10. mnb0 asks: “Might it be the case that he has seen the Light?”

    He’s one of those people who spent his entire life within a very limited circle, and he had no idea how ignorant he is. He probably spent the day Googling for his name, and suddenly realized that the world regards him as an idiot.

  11. Thanks, Curmudgeon. I appreciate it!

  12. Oops. I mean Curmudgeon. Sorry about that.

    [*Voice from above*] All is as it should be.

  13. docbill1351

    Peluso clearly LIED when he said he was “caught off guard” by the question about teaching creationism. Turns out he made the exact same statement hours later at an evening gathering. So much for being caught off guard.

    It was only when he or his campaign realized what a doofus thing he supported that he pivoted. A lying politician, whatever will they think of next?

  14. One more geographical correction: The largest city in Pinellas County is St. Petersburg. It has about 2 and a half times the population of Clearwater.

  15. Drew Smith says: “The largest city in Pinellas County is St. Petersburg.”

    Aaaargh!! You’re right. I’ll fix it. Thanks.