Let the adventure begin!

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Hibiscus_Sky.jpg

Today is a wonderful day for Florida. The long battle to have new science standards and to teach evolution in our public schools is finally over. In the coming years young Floridians will learn science as they never have before.

It might have been over months ago, but opponents fought a hard battle in the state legislature up to the last minute. A bill called “Academic Freedom” and recommended by the Discovery Institute was introduced in the senate on the 29th of February. It passed though committees easily with party line republican support. A copy bill was introduced into the house by Representative Hays, then modified significantly by him. This bill sailed through committees with similar ease. Then both bills passed their respective chambers, again on largely party line votes. The effect of either bill would have been to allow teaching creationism without naming it. Both Florida Baptists and Florida Citizens for Science kept the pressure on legislators from opposite sides, but it seemed the bill would surely pass in one form or another. Each chamber asked the other to use its version. Neither agreed. It came down to the last day of the legislative session for 2008. The House had to agree to the Senate’s bill or it would die. Representative Hays said he would agree, and that should have settled it. But at the end of the day, the House simply adjourned without even mentioning the subject. The pressure and the interest of the national Republican Party tipped in favor science.

There is still much work to do. New course descriptions must be written and many teachers, much less students have new science to learn. Implementation of the new standards will begin in the lower grades and take several years to complete. And we science supporters must forget any hard words used in the heat of battle and work together with all our friends and neighbors for a better Florida.

photo courtesy the author

15 Comments

Hate to be a wet blanket. I’m going to guess that it’ll be revived next session and the whole dreary round will start again.

But those of us elsewhere are supporting Florida Citizens for Science to fight the good fight.

dpr

Congratulations from Ohio to Florida Citizens for Science and all those who defended science there. We know how much it takes to fight back the new Endarkenment, and you folks did a helluva job. Thanks!

Thank you Pete! Hugs and kisses ! Stacy

And for the rubes in Seattle here’s some Dard-e-Disco (Means the agony of Disco in Hindi) watch http://preview.tinyurl.com/3hzyw9.

Also Old Jungle Saying time for all the crackpot “blogs” including Billy’s UD - There’s many a slip between the cup and the lip

Indeed this is a good day, we have to use the success in Florida as an example for Missouri, Louisiana, Michigan, and wherever else - Alabama?

It’s good to think that the education system thought up by Jefferson and Monroe and Madison will not perish from the Earth.

An education system where kids are taught the truth and allowed to pave the way to the next great discoveries. It makes me proud to be an American!

I think this year was the opposition’s best chance. Things are not going their way. Disco’s John West says Florida has a lot of explaining to do, and is trying to figure out who to blame. West and other Disco Fellows, look in the mirror. That’s the face of a political liability. And is that Ben Stein looking over your shoulder?

Reginald Wrote:

Indeed this is a good day, we have to use the success in Florida as an example for Missouri, Louisiana, Michigan, and wherever else - Alabama?

I should have mentioned at the top that Disco’s bill facilitates illegal activity. This is surely a reason for any state not to pass such a bill.

One important point is that, despite Sen. Storms’ refusal to come clean, any pretense that the bills aren’t about intelligent design has been debunked, between the DI’s obvious intervention and Rep. Hays invoking the “theory of intelligent design” outright. Ben Stein’s interview circuit just ended up strengthening the links to creationism. Another important point is that academic inquiry - legitimate scientific inquiry - is clearly spelled out in the state science standards (benchmark SC.912.N.1.3.: “Recognize that the strength or usefulness of a scientific claim is evaluated through scientific argumentation, which depends on critical and logical thinking, and the active consideration of alternative scientific explanations to explain the data presented”).

James F said:

One important point is that, despite Sen. Storms’ refusal to come clean, any pretense that the bills aren’t about intelligent design has been debunked, between the DI’s obvious intervention and Rep. Hays invoking the “theory of intelligent design” outright. Ben Stein’s interview circuit just ended up strengthening the links to creationism. Another important point is that academic inquiry - legitimate scientific inquiry - is clearly spelled out in the state science standards (benchmark SC.912.N.1.3.: “Recognize that the strength or usefulness of a scientific claim is evaluated through scientific argumentation, which depends on critical and logical thinking, and the active consideration of alternative scientific explanations to explain the data presented”).

I don’t recall any legislators referring to the standards (even though I told them too over and over. Harumph!)

Oh well … all is well that ends well. Right? Thanks for all of your help James! :-)

The disco chumps are learning to their dismay what their old-creo cousins learned years ago - it doesn’t pay to play politics especially at a time like this.

I’m with DP Robin. I don’t think it’s justified to call this a victory, that would be more appropriate if at least one of the houses had defeated the bill. It’d be too easy for people pushing this to find supporters from the two houses to agree to introduce more similar bills once things go into session again.

mcmillan said:

I’m with DP Robin. I don’t think it’s justified to call this a victory, that would be more appropriate if at least one of the houses had defeated the bill. It’d be too easy for people pushing this to find supporters from the two houses to agree to introduce more similar bills once things go into session again.

I disagree :-) I think they were just pandering to their constituents. I think both houses knew that they were never going to come to an agreement on the wording of the bills.

We did win a victory here in Florida, but we won by a hair. If the economy was not so bad and the legislature so preoccupied we could easily have lost. This or a worse issue will be back and so we must be ready. I sincerely hope that those of you facing a similar issue will take comfort and strength from our victory. These guys can be beaten; they have worded this in a way that resonates with a lot of people, but they can be exposed and beaten. We appreciate all of you from around the country and world that helped and offered advice. Thank you for the help. For a tourist economy like Florida’s, negative national publicity is heard and listened to. If Florida Citizens for Science can help you in your fights, let us know. We will help in any way we can.

The lovely picture of the flower reminded me of the NOVA program “First Flower”. It is a must-see. It used to be on youtube but was removed. Maybe it will come back, but you can always buy the DVD.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/flower/about.html

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This page contains a single entry by Pete Dunkelberg published on May 2, 2008 5:16 PM.

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