My apologies for this quick news link dump. The chemistry class I’m taking now is kicking my butt. I hope to have some thoughts on the movie situation up here tonight. In the meantime:
Herald Tribune. I’m not buying what Mr. Luskin is selling.
Stein and John Stemberger, president of Florida Family Action, insisted the legislation would not permit teaching intelligent design or creation science because the bill only applies to criticism of evolution based on scientific information, not the introduction of other theories.
Casey Luskin, a lawyer for the Discovery Institute, agreed but said he personally believes intelligent design is scientific.
It is unclear who would decide what information is scientific, though Stein suggested it ought to be left up to teachers.
The Miami Herald has in their headline “Intelligent Design could slip into science class”
The religiously tinged evolution-questioning theory of Intelligent Design could more easily be brought up in public-school science classrooms under a proposed ”academic freedom” legislation being pushed by conservative lawmakers. And it’s not just the ACLU saying it anymore….
Church-state separatists say religious groups are trying to use the bill as a Trojan horse to introduce religion in science classrooms.
”The Intelligent Design movement has embraced this political strategy to sneak its religious views into the science classroom, and that’s what you’re seeing now in Florida,” said Howard Simon, a Florida director for the ACLU, which filed the Dover case.
”The strategy is this: Let’s call Intelligent Design scientific information, and let’s make sure that teachers can teach that scientific information,” Simon said, adding that his organization would sue if the bill became law and teachers began proselytizing in class.
Said Simon: “There is no constitutional right to mis-educate Florida students. If a science teacher is teaching serious science and is censored, that’s an academic-freedom issue we would defend. But if they’re having Sunday school in science class, that’s a problem.”
Hernando Today has an article polling the local legislators about the creationism bills: “Hernando Lawmakers Weigh In On Evolution Bill”
The Tampa Tribune: “Actor Stein Plays Role In Debate On Evolution Education”
It remains unclear whether the bill permits the teaching of intelligent design in public schools.
“The answer is no,” said John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council. “This does not allow the permitting of alternate theories to be taught. It only allows the criticism and the presenting of relevant, objective scientific evidence which criticizes chemical or biological evolution.”
That would seem to settle the question. Yet moments later, Casey Luskin, an attorney for the Seattle-based Discovery Institute said that even as he agreed with Stemberger, he personally considers intelligent design to be “scientific information.”
All of which raises questions about what qualifies as “science” – and who, ultimately, decides.
The film’s producers said that decision was made because of the current rough form of the film, which they are completing for release to all audiences April 18, but the exclusive screening only fueled attacks from the skeptics.
“We are deeply concerned that, however many legislators show up, they will be spoon-fed this material and mostly no one from the public will be there to see what goes on,” said Brandon Haught, spokesman for Florida Citizens for Science.
Tallahassee Democrat: “Lawmakers attend Tallahassee screening of movie by Ben Stein”
Few lawmakers were among about 100 people who showed up for the private screening of Stein’s film.
Organizers refused to let reporters or uninvited spectators into the theater, which was rented for two hours at $940.63, but insisted that no discussion of pending legislation would occur.
But House Minority Leader Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, who testified in favor of evolution at the Board of Education meeting last month, said there is no evidence that teachers or students in Florida are being punished for challenging Darwinian theories. Gelber said allowing “any scientific theory” in classrooms was a back-door attempt at getting creationism into the curriculum and might result in racists or Holocaust deniers demanding a platform for their beliefs in biology or history classes.
“I wasn’t aware of anybody being penalized for questioning evolution,” said Gelber. “The Legislature needs to walk away from this debate. The State Board of Education has addressed it and that’s the end of the debate. This is a solution in search of a problem.”
I have not doubt I missed some stories. Feel free to link away in the comments.