Almost two weeks ago we wrote Arizona Moves Toward Creationism in 2018. As you recall, the department of education had mutilated the state’s proposed science standards. They deleted or qualified the word ‘evolution’ throughout the document, It was the work of School Superintendent Diane Douglas, a drooler who wants intelligent design to be taught along with evolution.
Since then there’s been an opportunity for the public to voice their opinions on the Board of Education’s website. The situation has received a lot of news coverage, but there’s been nothing new for us to write about until today. We just saw this headline: Gov. Ducey supports evolution remaining part of Arizona science standards at the website of the Arizona Daily Star of Tucson, Arizona. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:
Evolution should remain part of the science standards for Arizona public high schools, despite what is being proposed by the state’s top school official, Gov. Doug Ducey said Monday. “I believe in God,” the governor said Monday after a Memorial Day Ceremony in Phoenix. “I believe God created humanity,” he continued. “And I believe there are evolutionary forces at work in nature.”
Ducey said he does not see religion and evolution as mutually exclusive. “So evolution will remain part of the education curriculum,” he said, with schools free to teach various religious theories elsewhere of how life on earth developed, like courses on literature or history of religion.
Interesting blend of ideas. Then the newspaper tells us:
Ducey said as far as he’s concerned, the concept of intelligent design or any sort of biblical concept of creation has no place in science classes. “Where I’ve seen it done well is where schools work on the story of creation in some type of literature that their teaching,” he said. “And evolution will be part of the science curriculum.”
Fair enough. Hey — this is interesting:
Ducey’s remarks Monday came on the last day of public comment about Douglas’ proposed revisions to the science standards. It turns out, however, that anyone who waited until the last minute could be out of luck. The web site where comments were being solicited crashed some time on Sunday, leaving those hoping to leave some thoughts with a page saying only, “Service Unavailable.” Ditto for those who sought to review the comments already submitted.
But a review of the comment synopsis page by Capitol Media Services on Sunday, before it crashed, showed no lack of interest in the issue. There were close to 700 responses dealing specifically with the changes Douglas wants to make in teaching evolution. And virtually all of them were opposed to removing references to evolution, with several people commenting that they see the move as an effort to blend religious beliefs with science.
How embarrassing for Superintendent Diane Douglas. The news continues:
Douglas said the Memorial Day holiday on Monday meant no one was working at her office who could fix the issue ahead of the deadline for comments. [How convenient!] “We’ll most likely extend through the end of the week,” she told Capitol Media Services on Monday. But Douglas said she will need to consult with her staff before making any decisions. It will then be up to Douglas and her senior staff to decide whether to rescind any of the changes she wants to make or keep them as is when she forwards the plan to the state Board of Education which will make the final call.
As we noted before, all but one of her staff are creationists. Let’s read on:
While [Governor] Ducey has no formal say over the final standards, his views could make a difference. That is because he appoints all but one of the members of the state Board of Education who do have the last word, with the lone exception being Douglas herself.
There may be hope for Arizona yet. Here’s our last excerpt:
Douglas [the creationist superintendent] has said there are parts of evolution that are proven science while other elements are “very theoretical. … Douglas also said while there may be no scientific basis behind intelligent design, that does not not mean there will not be proof ‘someday.’ Once up a time people said the earth was flat and it couldn’t possibly be round,” Douglas said. “I don’t know.”
She doesn’t know if the Earth is flat? Maybe the schools should teach both theories about that too. Anyway, there’s no decision yet in Arizona, so we’ll keep watching.
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