By BILLY TOWNSEND The Tampa Tribune
December 22, 2007
LAKELAND - Public floggings hurt, even when administered by satirical sacred noodles.
Ask the Polk County School Board. The panel made news last month when five of its seven members declared a personal belief in the concept of intelligent design, the religiously based explanation of the development of life believed in by many Christians.
Four of those five sympathetic board members said they would like to see intelligent design taught in Polk schools as an alternative to Darwinian evolution, at a time when new state standards mentioning evolution by name for the first time are under consideration.
Just like that, it appeared the Darwin wars had found their newest battlefield.
Yet a few weeks later, the controversy is dying with a whimper. There's no board support for a challenge to the proposed standards. Some of the five school board members blame the local newspaper for trying to start a fight.
"It's not our agenda," said Tim Harris, one of the board members. "My personal opinion and how I vote don't always jibe."
What happened? You can start with the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
The satirical religious Web site asserts that an omnipotent, airborne clump of spaghetti intelligently designed all life with the deft touch of its "noodly appendage." Adherents call themselves Pastafarians. They deluged Polk school board members with e-mail demanding equal time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism's version of intelligent design.
"They've made us the laughingstock of the world," said Margaret Lofton, a school board member who supports intelligent design. She dismissed the e-mail as ridiculous and insulting. [Uh, no. Actually you've made yourselves the laughingstock of the world. But that's OK because now you know about FSM and his noodly love!]
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