Yes, but not Free Software advocacy. It's much more important than that.
The Cobb County Board of Education decided to insert an "Evolution is not a fact" disclaimer in their biology textbooks. Here is the letter I wrote them this morning.
From: Chad Miller <email@example.com>
To: Chairman <JCL19762@cobbk12.org>, "Mr. Tippins" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Vice-Chairman <OGF16519@cobbk12.org>, "Ms. Gray" <GB111730@cobbk12.org>, "Ms. Searcy" <email@example.com>, "Mr. Johnson" <JJM17920@cobbk12.org>, "Dr. Plenge" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: theories and prevarication
Date: 26 Aug 2002 09:42:55 -0400
Mr. Chairman and Board,
Science is a diffcult subject to teach. In the same way many students have troubles with Algebra, the realm of Science has a layer of abstraction from the immediate physical world that a lot of students don't understand. Many people see "weird" phenomena (static electricity, dazzling chemistry, et c.) demonstrated and called "Science," and that causes them to associate "Science" with the "magical" events that they don't understand. Unfortunately, many never discover that events are understandable, and that the scientific world isn't composed of arbitrary ideas created by Man.
I understand that you, the board, have many constituents that want you to set the science cirriculum to disavow the truth of evolution. It is unfortunate that teaching of the knowledge we have accumulated isn't immune from the politics of Man -- but of course as a school board you know that.
Your constituents entreating you to set the Science cirriculum are the students that never understood Science. They are the ones who misunderstood the process of Science and think that Science's seemingly arbitrary ideas are replacable with ideas they've decided are correct.
When paleontologists, biologists, and other practioners of the "Hard" Sciences use the word "theory", they are NOT making a statement about their level of conviction about the truth of the matter. A theory is not a supposition, guess, conjecture, or result of rolling dice. Many laymen use the term "theory" incorrectly, and when they hear of the Theory of Evolution, they decide it is just as valid as their own kooky "theories" of black helicopters, fluoridation of water, the designated hitter rule, or the origin of Tang. "One theory is as good as another, right?"
Remember your middle-school math that taught you that in a right- triangle, the square of the length of the longest side (hypotenuse) is equal to the sum of the squares of the other sides? That principle is called the Pythagorean _Theorem._ Would the Board consider altering Math texts if a vocal group of constituents offered a conflicting "theory" based on faith to rival Pythogoras's triangle theory? I suppose not, but why would the same board treat another threory with prevarication?
Our sloppy and slipshod treatment of Science has adversely affected our understanding of the world and caused other countries' students to outstrip our own in technical competence. Further diluting and obsfuscating the nature of Science is exactly the wrong way to behave.