Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Florida came through in the end

While I have posted that I disagreed with the small change in wording to the new Florida State Science Standards requiring Evolution be called the Theory of Evolution, when no other scientific theory is so identified, I have been watching two bills introduced to the Florida State Houses make their way through the legislative process. I've been watching with interest.

The two bills, according to their supporters, are bills to protect teachers who dissent from Evolution from being fired or disciplined. They were also supposed to be about academic freedom, something that I see as a lie! But more on that later. for now please join me in a round of applause because as of May 2, 2008 the two bills are dead. Read about it here:

The bills sponsors had a little trouble convincing other state representatives that there were teachers being discriminated against because of their lack of support for evolution. I guess it's hard to pass a new law when there are no victims! Other sponsors just kept harping on academic freedom and failed to make their case. Florida done good. The only down side is that I would rather the bills come up for a vote and be voted down rather than just left to die on the vine -- because the stubbornness of those sponsors will mean the Florida Legislature will be dealing with this issue over and over again. My hopes is that the Florida voters remember which school board members and legislators supported this thinly veiled attack on science and passes judgment in the only way voters can, and boots them out of office.

As for the academic freedom argument, I've already posted other comments on it. But to me it is NOT academic freedom when you substitute religion for science, it is not academic freedom being supported when you create a law for one group of teachers on one tiny part of their curriculum, What this whole issue to me was pandering. The bills sponsors were looking to cash in on conservative points of view and earn points with some of their constituents. I hope if fails in the polling place!

Florida already has laws and regulations concerning academic freedom. Teachers today can introduce controversial subjects in their curriculum areas. But what teachers are not allowed to do is subvert the approved curriculum areas defined by the state. The bill supporters claimed the bills wouldn't allow religion in the classroom, but those provisions weren't actually written in the bill.

My final take on this, until it rears it's ugly head again, is that this is a tactic used to try and weaken evolution in education. Do conservative Christians really want to support academic freedom? If so why weren't teachers who want to teach numerology, astrology, and taro cards not also protected? Why is only the Christian viewpoint the one they support, what about teachers teaching the creationist myths from ever religion? Nowhere! Those who think Intelligent Design and Creationism should be taught because of 'academic freedom' are using a despicable tactic as they try and wedge their way into the classroom and once there cover themselves in sweet sounding words. Sure nearly a hundred years ago was John Scopes allowed academic freedom? No! Regardless of the fact evolution was in the text book used in the school. There was no talk of academic freedom to support what he taught, or I guess I should say tried to teach -- or was accused of teaching. So this use of the words 'academic freedom' is a tactic, nothing more, and one I disagree with completely!

1 comment:

  1. A recent editorial in the Washington Post agrees with you: