Dracil’s BlogJournal

May 3, 2008

Florida anti-evolution bill dies

Evolution bills die in Legislature as session ends

But it’s like the evil dead.  We all know it’s going to crawl back from the grave, so keep those shotguns and chainsaws ready.  :)

It’s funny though.  John West of the Discovery Institute actually thinks there’s some massive conspiracy and the House intentionally voted on the version with “critical analysis” so that it would be rejected by the Senate.  He even called “critical analysis” a “poison pill“.  Now hold on a minute.  “Critical analysis” is one of Discovery Institute’s favorite terms that they gladly trumpet when it suits their purpose, such as when gloating about which states now require it in their classes when teaching evolution.  In other words, he’s advocating lying to Congress about the true motives of the Intelligent Design movement just so he can sneak some bills in.

But as we have learned from the people arguing for the bill during the proceedings, none of the people there truly believe in “academic freedom”.  Otherwise they should be all too happy to extend “academic freedom” to sex education so that alternatives to abstinence are taught.  It’s also telling that they only talk about “academic freedom” and “critical analysis” in the context of evolution.  What about the rest of science?  Don’t we deserve the “academic freedom” to teach alchemy in chemistry classes, astrology in astronomy classes, phrenology in neurology classes, and Intelligent Falling in physics class?  Shouldn’t we be “critically analyzing” all these fields as well?

Nah.  That’s because all these politically loaded terms, including “Intelligent Design”, are nothing more than a trojan horse for Creationism, which the Supreme Court ruled was unconstitutional in 1987.

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April 30, 2008

Florida’s anti-evolution bill

Update: The bill has died

The NCSE has some news on Florida’s anti-evolution bill. It’s clear to anyone who’s looking at this that the proponents of the bill have ulterior motives. This isn’t about academic freedom at all. They claim that the bill will not allow the teaching of intelligent design, but their words betray them.

To begin with, their wording is rather suspicious:

“As passed by the council, the bill would require teachers to provide a ‘critical analysis’ of evolution, a phrase that the Associated Press (April 28, 2008) recognized as ‘one used by intelligent design advocates,’ although noting that its sponsor claimed that it would neither require nor allow teaching ‘intelligent design.'”

Also, as the Florida Citizens for Science put it:

“What are some examples of critical analysis of evolution that have no religious connotations and are based on legitimate, up-to-date scientific ideas?”

I would certainly love to see the answers to that. But continuing with the original discussion, Representative Alan Hays also said this:

“Too many people are afraid to even mention the theory of intelligent design.”

Wait. What? Didn’t you guys just say this bill wouldn’t allow teaching intelligent design? Then why does that even matter? Also, intelligent design is not even a scientific theory. Finally, their silence to some questions is simply deafening:

“Opponents have voiced concerns that Storms’ bill will open the door to teaching religious-based theories, like intelligent design, in public school classrooms. But Storms, one of the Senate’s most conservative members, repeatedly refused to answer questions on whether that could happen.”

This whole thing stinks of “cdesign proponentsists“. But kudos to Senators Ted Deutch and Nan Rich for speaking out against the bill, in particular Deutch for the following:

“We’re talking about academic freedom … In an abstinence-only sex education program, a teacher may wish to answer a student’s question and provide additional information that may protect a life or stop an unwanted pregnancy.”

Not surprisingly, Senator Ronda Storms slippery sloped the argument:

“I’m concerned about prematurely deflowering kindergartners and first and second graders.”

Interesting, I had no idea Storms was interested in educating kindergartners, first, and second graders about sex! That certainly says a lot about her. ;)

But I think Deutch’s argument is a good one, and I’ll start employing it against the conservatives who still naively think this issue is really about “academic freedom”.

That said, all this may end up being a non-issue since they only have two more days to pass this (Senate and House versions of the bill must agree).

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