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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Florida Academic "Freedom" Coming Soon?

So today I was preparing for my talk tomorrow to the Gainesville Humanist Society.  I am reviewing creationist legislation in Florida and how the Florida Citizens for Science has been fighting against creationism.  In 2008 (and several other sessions in the 21st century), "Academic Freedom" Legislation has been introduced in the Florida House, Senate (or both).  The most recent attempt was co-sponsored by Senator Ronda Storms and Representative Alan Hays.  The bill passed both the house and senate, but there was significant difference in the language of the bill.  Eventually, time ran out and the two houses could not agree on a common language and the bill died.  Now, Hays and Storms will both be in the Senate (Hays was elected this fall) and they will have Stephen Wise who will strongly endorse a new bill.  They will have at least one ally in the house Rep. Dennis Baxley who introduced a similar bill in 2005.  Considering that the governor elect, Rick Scott is also friendly to the intelligent design crowd, it may be the perfect storm for passing this sort of legislation in the state of Florida.


At 11:24 PM, Anonymous Science student said...

Proponents of ID aren't pushing for ID to be taught in schools. They just want academic freedom for students to voice legitimate concerns regarding some aspects of Darwinism. Why is this such a threat? You're acting like a cult that's trying to protect it's not-to-be-questioned dogma. If you are secure in your beliefs, then you should have no problem taking on opposing views.

At 5:38 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Oops! You do know what happened in Dover? You do realize that ID is creationism and IS teaching of a rather unique religious viewpoint in a science class. Do you also accept that we should teach the Muslim concept of creation? Should we also teach the Hindu, Shinto, Cherokee, etc etc etc versions of creation? After all, they have just as much scientific support as ID? Heck, let's just teach all the creationism stories in biology class. That would make it so much easier because there would no longer be time to teach the basics!!


Joe Meert

PS: Do you also think we should teach alternative theories of gravity, plate tectonics and germ theory of disease?

At 6:58 PM, Anonymous Tor B said...

There may be value in studying an alternative to plate tectonics (PT) - expanding Earth theory, perhaps?

Data set #1: shape of So. Am. & Africa - good for both. Set #2: magnetic stripes in Atlantic - good for both, better for PT. Set #3: ring of fire - just PT. Set #4: existence of ophiolites - just PT. Set #5: existence of Mona Loa - neither, until you have a hot spot theory, then PT. Set #6: conservation of matter (where does expansion come from?) - just PT. Etc. etc. (This is all just a rehash of visiting lecturer talks I heard in the late 60's by USGS geologists from Denver at my dad's college - he did the inviting. At the time PT was the emerging theory, not a consensus theory, as I recall, so this type of comparison was done.)
Which theory, students, is better supported by evidence?

I suggest plate tectonics rather than germ theory or evolution because students are less likely to be seriously biased to start with on this geological topic.

Or maybe safer still to study a much lower scale topic such as an active sand dune and have students create hypotheses as to why they see what they see. Then look at a cross-section, refine hypotheses, then look at a perpendicular cross-section...


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