Florida Senate Bill 1854 would have required a so-called “thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution” which is code word in US state legislatures these days for “taught along side Intelligent Design Creationism as an alternative to established scientific reckoning of the nature and history of life on earth.” Whe the state legislature adjourned a few days ago, that bill died a quiet death .
In 2009, before introducing a similar bill, SB 1854’s sponsor, Stephen R. Wise (R-District 5), announced his intention to introduce a bill requiring “intelligent design” to be taught in Florida’s public schools. In 2011, discussing SB 1854 with a reporter for the Tampa Tribune (March 13, 2011), he asked, “Why would you not teach both theories at the same time?” According to the Tribune, he was referring to evolution and what he called “non-evolution.” Wise further explained, “I think it’s a way in which people can have critical thinking … what we’re saying is here’s a theory, a theory of evolution, a theory of whatever, and you decide.”
Senator Wise, with all due respect … well, actually, what you deserve instead of respect is to be asked this question: Why do you hate America? You’ve tried to trash the first amendment. Do you also oppose the second? What about the others? Or do you pick and chose. All educational and business interests is Florida with a concern for quality science education ought to contribute to whoever is running against you next election. It would be a good time to do that because the word on the street is that there will be a sea change in the electoral landscape in Florida this fall.
In other news, Baton Rouge high school senior Zack Kopplin continues to kick creationist butt…
Adding their support for the effort to repeal Louisiana’s antievolution law are the New Orleans City Council and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Senate Bill 70, would, if enacted, repeal Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:285.1, which implemented the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act, passed and enacted in 2008. The American Institute for Biological Sciences, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the American Society for Cell Biology, the Louisiana Association of Biology Educators, the Louisiana Science Teachers Association, the National Association of Biology Teachers, and the Society for the Study of Evolution together with the Society of Systematic Biologists and the American Society of Naturalists, as well as forty-three Nobel laureates, have already endorsed SB 70.
At its May 5, 2011, meeting, the New Orleans City Council unanimously passed Resolution R-11-207, supporting SB 70. According to the summary of the council’s meeting, “This act [the LSEA] undermines the teaching of the scientific theory of evolution in the Louisiana public school science curriculum. This theory of evolution is a widely and commonly accepted scientific study and the basis for biology, medicine, biochemistry, agriculture, ecology and other scientific studies.” Council member Gisleson Palmer was quoted as saying, “The Louisiana Science Education Act inhibits science focused students of all ages and inadequately prepares them for jobs in the science field. With the New Orleans Medical Corridor poised for tremendous growth, this law also profoundly impacts our ability to fill jobs in the cutting-edge science fields with students educated in our state’s public schools.”
In a letter to the sponsor of SB 70, Karen Carter Peterson (D-District 5), dated April 19, 2011, the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s chief executive officer Alan I. Leshner wrote (PDF), “I write in support of your effort to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA). The LSEA features language that could be used for the insertion of religious or unscientific views in science classrooms. The bill disingenuously implies that particular theories, including evolution, are controversial among scientists. In reality, the science of evolution underpines all of modern biology. The principles behind it have been tested and retested for decades, and it is supported by tens of thousands of scientific studies. Evolution informs scientific research in a broad range of fields such as agriculture and medicine, work that has an important impact on our everyday lives.”
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Oh, and have a free copy of a chapter from a book on evolution courtesy of the NCSE. PDF DOWNLOAD