S.C. creationist lawmaker blocks school evolution standards ‘to teach both sides’

By David Edwards
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 10:31 EDT
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S.C. state Sen. Mike Fair (YouTube)
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South Carolina state Sen. Mike Fair (R) said this week that he insisted that the state’s Education Oversight Committee not approve new standards for teaching evolution to give students a chance to “draw their own conclusions” about creationism.

On Monday, the committee adopted new science standards, but a clause with the phrase “natural selection” was left out after Fair argued students should be learning other theories, The Post and Courier reported.

“Biological evolution occurs primarily when natural selection acts on the genetic variation in a population and changes the distribution of traits in that population over multiple generations,” the proposed South Carolina Academic Standards and Performance Indicators for Science would have said.

“Natural selection is a direct reference to Darwinism,” Fair insisted. “And the implication of Darwinism is that it is start to finish.”

According to The Post and Courier, Fair said schools should “teach the controversy.”

“To teach that natural selection is the answer to origins is wrong,” he remarked. “I don’t have a problem with teaching theories. I don’t think it should be taught as fact.”

The committee also refused a suggestion from College of Charleston biology professor Robert Dillon, who had said that legislators were singling out climate change and evolution by insisting that only those two theories be taught “critically.”

“They’re trying to make evolution appear controversial, they’re trying to make it somehow different,” Dillon pointed out in an earlier interview. “Well, it is controversial, but the controversy is political or religious, it’s not scientific. It’s this richly symbolic situation.”

Dillon had asked that “critically” also be added to 129 other clauses in the science standard. In the end, the committee approved the standard without Dillon’s proposed changes.

In the campaign video below, fundamentalist Christian university chancellor Bob Jones III says that “everybody that loves the Lord” should want Fair in office.

(h/t: Friendly Atheist)

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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