Successful press conference

Today Florida Citizens for Science hosted a press conference in advance of this evening’s roundtable discussion concerning two bills being considered by the Florida legislature. The noon press conference was well attended by most of the local news outlets and even national outlets such as the New York Times. Speakers filled reporters in on important aspects of the proposed bills that can negatively impact science education in Florida.

Vic Walczak (Legal Director, ACLU of Pennsylvania) talked about his experiences during the landmark federal court case Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, which found the concept of intelligent design to be religious in nature and devoid of any science. Walczak said that the Florida bills will set school districts up for legal problems, similar to the Dover case. Dr. Wesley Elsberry (marine biologist and Lakeland, Florida native) spent a few minutes highlighting the history of the anti-evolution movement and how it directly connects to Florida now. Maryann Fiala (executive director of American Electronics Association, Florida Council) gave the business/industry perspective. She said that Florida has been working hard to get major industries into Florida, but with the legislature seriously challenging a central tennet of biology in the public schools, those industries could walk away or look for a better educated workforce elsewhere. Dr. Harold Kroto (Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry) educated those in attendance about the nature of science. Finally, Dr. Ann Lumsden (FSU professor of biology) provided a history of the bills in question.

During the Q and A session, the speakers were asked where in the proposed bills is anything in particular mandated to be taught. Dr. Elsberry quickly answered that these are permissive bills, not mandate bills. Walczak followed up with a brief history of the Discovery Institute’s anti-evolution efforts, emphasizing that that we know what they are trying to do here in Florida based on the organization’s past actions.

The roundtable discussion will be tonight at 7 p.m. at the Challenger Learning Center, Digital Dome/Planetarium, 200 South Duval Street, Tallahassee.

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
This entry was posted in "Academic Freedom" bills '08. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Successful press conference

  1. James F says:


    Sounds like the good guys had a great press conference! :mrgreen: Well done, looking forward to hearing what comes out of the roundtable discussion. It would be nice to see some Clergy Letter Project signers (ask Wesley) participate in the near future as well.

  2. S.Scott says:

    Please thank Dr. Elsberry for being there! That just made my day! 🙂

  3. So the strategy is, try to associate efforts to protect academic freedom with already maligned groups (the Discovery Institute) so that “we” (read: Evolanders) can continue to suppress academic freedom?

    Dr. Elsberry…sounds familiar…oh yeah, he is the former Minister of Information at the National Center for “Science” (read: Darwinian) Education.

    It is amazing the lengths the NC”S”E and ACLU will go to to suppress dissent from Darwinism, but keeping it legal to Expell those who even mention alternative possibilities.

  4. Oh yeah. How many reporters came to this press conference? Did the speakers outnumber reporters?

  5. James F says:

    Name a suppressed alternative possibility, please.

  6. S.Scott says:

    Hey William, there was an entire thread dedicated to you at PT. How come you didn’t comment on it? It was just for you!!

    I think it’s title was “Egg on your face” or something like that – I’m not sure.
    Oh well, I guess your real concern ought to be this new review of a href=””>Expelled

  7. S.Scott says:

    Oh, that was wrong, here you go

  8. James F says:

    What was that, S.S.? The review of Expelled?


  9. S.Scott says:


  10. PatrickHenry says:

    Nice going. You got some press coverage from WCTV in Tallahassee:

  11. S.Scott ,

    Thanks for asking. The PT-mafia expelled me. I have posted a half dozen comments to various articles that were never approved. So I stopped frequenting the Darwinist Den, and missed PvM’s lame excuse for a PT-entry. Meanwhile, you can see my entries here and here, where you can leave comments. (NOTE: PvM claims I can post on his entries at PT, but his are among the lamest there.)

    But this blog here at FCS is about a press conference. Let’s not derail this thread with red herrings.

    Did the presenters outnumber the members of the press? And if so, how is that a success?

    The silence is deafening.

  12. Brandon Haught says:

    William, read the comments above yours. Three TV stations reported on this. For a little ol’ press conference with no movie stars to act as a draw, that’s pretty darn good. Based on my day job experience with the media (which is extensive) three TV stations covering this in the local market is a wonderful success. We’ll see what newspapers run with this in the morning. As mentioned in my post, I do know the New York Times was there. Our goal is to raise awareness, and it’s obvious that is getting done, your snide remarks notwithstanding.

    I have no direct answer for you about number of reporters since I was not there. I’m just passing along reports of what happened from what I’m able to get over the phone from those who were there.

  13. James F says:

    You changed the subject with your first post here, then ducked the question. Which alternative possibilities are being suppressed?

    Talk about deafening silence!

  14. James F,

    There is a film coming on Friday that may answer the question you’re asking. If you cannot wait, you could listen to the audio linked to at Intelligent Design and Academic Freedom by NPR. It tells of scientists who have been targetted, as well as other scientists who are still in the closet regarding their educated opinions on Intelligent Design. They are in the closet out of fear of the PT-mafia.

  15. PC-Bash says:

    Wallace –

    I saw the film. It is an utter joke. It does not give any alternate theories, it just whines about how creationism is not taught, and makes some asinine slippery slope arguments about evolution and Nazism.

    If you haven’t seen this movie yet, I fear that you will be terribly disappointed, and will probably ask for your money back.

  16. firemancarl says:

    Well, it made it on the news here last night-so, it reached over 1 million people. Thats pretty good i’d say,

  17. firemancarl says:

    Thought you guys might like to see this.

    “Academic Freedom” bills seem to come in two flavors: Those that protect students from the possibility of learning certain things, and those that protect subversive teachers from getting in trouble for being bad teachers.

  18. Ivy Mike says:

    Where were all of these “academic freedom” proponents in the Evangelical Protestant Christian movement (which is what 99.9% of the cdesign proponentists are) when the issue was sex education? Oh, that’s right…pushing the “abstinence ONLY” fiasco. No, “academic freedom” apparently did not include the “freedom” to discuss contraception, prevention of STD’s, safe sex, etc.

    It didn’t include the freedom to let school libraries carry certain books, either, like “Harry Potter”.

    The “cdesign proponentists” are nothing but hypocrites.

  19. Fastlane says:

    “The “cdesign proponentists” are nothing but hypocrites.”

    And in other news, water is wet….film at eleven!! =)

  20. MaryB says:

    Add channel 20 in Gainesville with a positive news item on the press conference to another 200,000 people or so.
    Mary Bahr

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