May 07 2008

Florida Academic Freedom Law Killed

I wrote previously that the Florida state senate passed a version of an “evolution academic freedom” bill. This bill represents the latest strategy of the anti-evolution movement – the claim that the academic freedom of those who have legitimate scientific doubts about evolution are being oppressed. Such laws are unnecessary, and they single out evolution simply because the true purpose of such laws is to create a back door through which creationism and other pseudoscientific evolution-denial can be introduced into the classroom.

Well now I am happy to report that the Florida bill was defeated in the House. For now, it is dead. But it seems that the death of this bill was due at least partly to stubborn differences in proposed language between the senate version and the house version. So it may have been bureaucratic inefficiency, not common sense, that killed this bill.

Also, this bill is only the tip of the iceberg. There are forms of this bill in several other states – Louisiana, Missouri, Alabama, and Michigan – and the Discovery Institute is pushing this hard as their latest attempt to undermine the teaching of evolution. It looks like this is going to be the battle ground for the next few years.

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5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Florida Academic Freedom Law Killed”

  1. Jim Shaveron 07 May 2008 at 11:07 am

    At least the bill in Florida is dead, for now. Every little positive outcome is good news for our cause.

    In Oklahoma, the proposed legislation was originally HB 2211, disingenuously named the “Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act”. The bill passed in the House (71- 25), but was then not heard in the Senate Rules Committee, due to an attempt by the Senate leadership to stop the bill.

    However, the language of HB 2211 has re-appeared as a floor amendment in the Senate, attached to HB 2633. Although the Democrats tried to move the original HB 2633 forward without the amendment, that effort ended in a tie (24-24) strictly along party lines, and it is now likely that HB 2633 with most of the original “Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act” language will pass.

    The non-profit group Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education is calling for Governor Brad Henry to veto HB 2633. If you live in Oklahoma and are concerned about this afront to science education in its public schools, the OESE urges you to contact the Governor’s office and express support for a veto.

    http://www.biosurvey.ou.edu/oese/

  2. DevilsAdvocateon 07 May 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Quote of the week (from above Novella link “defeated in the House”, 2nd paragraph):

    ‘ Representative Carl Domino (R-District 83), voting against the bill, commented, “There are a lot of strange things out there that I don’t want teachers teaching,” according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (April 28, 2008). ‘

    Amen, my brother.

    ~*~

    I lived in Oklahoma for two years in the 1980s and I still haven’t got all the red clay dust out of my ears.

  3. Blake Staceyon 08 May 2008 at 1:00 pm

    I hear that the Alabama bill died in the legislature.

  4. Steve Pageon 08 May 2008 at 6:59 pm

    Steve, when the weight of ignorance finally tips the balance of the scales and forces the States to become a theocracy, we’d be happy to have you here in the UK. Our religious nutters don’t seem to be as extreme or as vocal as your religious nutters, despite the tie between church and state.

    You’d have to change the ‘k’ for a ‘c’ in ‘Skeptic’, though. :)

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