A brand new twist

(Update: The Gradebook blog has a better explanation of what is going on. Essentially, this is a proposed amendment that’s not likely to get any traction.)

ALERT: The deceptively-named “academic freedom” bill in the Senate has taken one hell of a new twist. It’s been amended in a big way. Just look at the new title:

“Evolution and Healthy Teens Academic Freedom Act.”

See for yourself here. Evolution and sex education are suddenly lumped in together.

About Brandon Haught

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

83 Responses to A brand new twist

  1. Walter R. Moore says:

    Wow. I read this as a “poison pill.” The conservatives will have trouble with the agitators if they vote so emphatically to protect sex education. It also means the House-Senate committee will have a real headache on their hands. Seems like the intent is to insure it dies even if it passes both chambers.

  2. Jonathan Smith says:

    I’m lost for words, what does this mean?????

  3. firemancarl says:

    Wow, first they deny evolution and now AIDS. I agree Walter, it looks like this is a way to kill the bill before it even gets off the ground. Not only will the fundies have to worry about us evilutionists, but you know all of those left wing liberals (TM) will be all over this bill as well.

  4. firemancarl says:

    Oh, I know Brandon, we cannot have sex unless we evolve????

  5. Spirula says:

    The Legislature finds that current law does not
    expressly protect the right of teachers to objectively present
    scientific information relevant to the full range of scientific
    views regarding chemical and biological evolution and medically
    accurate information regarding family planning, pregnancy or
    sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and AIDS. The
    Legislature finds that in many instances educators have
    experienced or feared discipline, discrimination, or other
    adverse consequences as a result of presenting the full range of
    scientific views regarding chemical and biological evolution and
    medically accurate information regarding family planning,
    pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and
    AIDS. The Legislature further finds that existing law does not
    expressly protect students from discrimination due to their
    positions or views regarding biological or chemical evolution and
    their questioning regarding medically accurate information
    regarding family planning, pregnancy or sexually transmitted
    infections, including HIV and AIDS. The Legislature finds that
    the topic of biological and chemical evolution and comprehensive
    sexual education have generated intense controversy about the
    rights of teachers and students to hold differing views on those
    subjects. It is therefore the intent of the Legislature that this
    section expressly protect those rights.

    If that ever passed, it will make Florida the laughing stock of the world. Basically, it is a “Deference to Fundamentalist Christian Beliefs” bill.

    I hope Walter is right about the intent.

  6. firemancarl says:

    (4) Every public school teacher in the state’s K-12 school
    system shall have the affirmative right and freedom to
    objectively present:
    (a) Scientific information relevant to the full range of
    scientific views regarding biological and chemical evolution in
    connection with teaching any prescribed curriculum regarding
    chemical or biological evolution; and
    (b) Comprehensive sexual education that is medically
    accurate, factual, and age appropriate in connection with
    teaching any prescribed abstinence-only curriculum regarding
    human sexuality.

    This is the part that interests me. The only views possible are those that really are scientific views held by, gulp scientists!

  7. firemancarl says:

    OK, we need to find out who got the bill changed and when it dies, send them a nice fruit basket. No, not Larry.

  8. Jonathan Smith says:

    From what I have heard I don’t think it has been amended. I think it is a proposed amendment. And if I’m right, I’m guessing that it has a snowball’s chance in hell, given that it’s proposed by Democrats

  9. S.Scott says:

    I can hear it now…

    “But WAIT! Our kids are supposed to learn about that stuff at home! Not at school!”

  10. James F says:

    If anything, Sen. Deutch and Sen. Rich will get (some) Senators to think about the amendment. This took some thought – I officially have a higher opinion of at least two of Florida’s senators (and my opinion of Deutch was already high). It’s like FSM, but much more subtle.

  11. S.Scott says:


  12. S.Scott says:

    I an SUUURE there is much more actual legitimate scientific materials available regarding sex ed. than of the other type -seeing as THERE ISN’T ANY!!

  13. PatrickHenry says:

    This is glorious! Thanks for the info. I just blogged about it at my own place, giving you credit for the discovery, but I used a slightly more provocative headline: Ronda Storms’ Head Explodes! There may be some hope for Florida after all.

  14. James F says:

    *whine* But we wanted our religious views imposed on the kids! No fair!

  15. S.Scott says:

    They are talking about this in session right now … you can view here –


  16. Ivy Mike says:

    I think I was saying something regarding sex ed vs. “academic freedom” right on this site a few days ago.

    I wonder who was reading?

  17. S.Scott says:

    Yay! I think Senator Gellar read my e mail!

  18. firemancarl says:

    Yay! I think Senator Gellar read my e mail!

    Curse you evilutionist!!!!!!, oh.. wait.

  19. Joe Meert says:

    Amendments were withdrawn.


    Joe Meert

  20. firemancarl says:

    OK, Now they’re talkin about compensation for wrongly convicted convicts. Any update on our baby?

  21. S.Scott says:


  22. S.Scott says:

    Senator Gellar asked Storms’ 5 times if ID could be taught and 5 times, she evaded.

  23. Brandon Haught says:

    I got to watch part of the floor debate on my groovy little smartphone during lunch. Thanks for alerting us Scott.

    Amazing how Storms was asked over and over and over in multiple different ways whether intelligent design could be taught in the classroom and she refused to answer. That gives you the answer right there, of course. Watching her tapdance like that was a disgusting sight.

  24. Frank J says:

    I wish someone would ask Storms whether se agrees with ID leader Michael Behe that humans share common ancestors with other species and that life on Earth has a 3-4 billion year history.

  25. James F says:

    Frank, that’s one big problem (of many, including it not being science) with ID – no consistent position!

  26. S.Scott says:

    Anyone know if they vote today?

  27. Jonathan Smith says:

    Amendments were withdrawn.SO NOW WHAT??

  28. Brandon Haught says:

    At the end of the debate, the president said that the bill (without proposed amendments) would be placed on the calendar for its third reading. That means that the next time it’s on the floor is when the final vote happens. So, we just need to watch the calendar very closely to see when that third reading happens. In the meantime we need to tell all the senators what Storms ‘ intelligent design tap dance means: Dover the sequel.

  29. M. Bally says:

    Actually man was formed from the dust. Creationists believe it happenned instantly and evolutionists say it took millions of years. The only basic difference is the amount of time it took. Both believe that those things which aren’t seen made it happen. Creationists believe the “unseen” God did it – evolutionists believed in an “unseen” principle of self effort did it.

  30. S.Scott says:

    Except that you CAN see evolution.

  31. Ivy Mike says:

    “The only basic difference is the amount of time it took.”

    …And the fact that scientists have EVIDENCE, and creationists don’t. You left that part out.

  32. James F says:

    M. Bally,

    Actually, evolution is not based on faith, but on evidence and observation of speciation as it is seen to this day. There is the fossil record, radiometric dating, comparative animal morphology, and comparative genetics (including chromosome sequence and endogenous retroviruses). Science is neutral to anything outside of the natural world. Where we do agree, although for different reasons, is that science and religion need not be in conflict.


  33. M. Bally says:

    SScott, you can see evolution? actually see it take place ?

  34. M. Bally says:

    Can evolution be seen in the labratory ? I would love to see this. Please give me the site I can visit to see this. thanks

  35. Jonathan Smith says:

    EVIDENCE:: that which tends to prove a fact by proving other events or circumstances which afford a basis for a reasonable inference of the occurrence of the fact at issue.
    Evolutionists accept the overwhelming evidence for TOE,Creationists rely
    wholly on faith,that my friend is the major difference

  36. M. Bally says:

    “Where we do agree, although for different reasons, is that science and religion need not be in conflict.” I agree

  37. M. Bally says:

    Doesn’t the scientific method say that it has to be reproduced in the lab ?

  38. Ivy Mike says:

    “Doesn’t the scientific method say that it has to be reproduced in the lab ?”

    Actually, no. However, evolution HAS, in fact, been observed in laboratory conditions.

    We need not reproduce the Sun in a lab, for example, to know how it produces heat and light.

  39. PC-Bash says:

    Can evolution be seen in the labratory ? I would love to see this. Please give me the site I can visit to see this. thanks

    Be careful what you ask for, for you may get it.


  40. James F says:

    Remember we’re here to teach, and learn.

    “We don’t have to be mean because, remember, no matter where you go, there you are.”

    -Buckaroo Banzai


  41. firemancarl says:

    Actually, it has happened, I will try to find it, the irony is, it was announced by an IDiot…. stand by.

  42. Spirula says:

    “Doesn’t the scientific method say that it has to be reproduced in the lab ?”

    It’s been addressed above, but no, the scientific method never mentions “the lab”. Researchers prefer situations where the number of variables is limited, so “labs” provide the opportunity for researchers to control many of the variables. But many areas of science cannot be “brought to the lab”, or only can utilize the lab in limited ways.

    Trust me, there are many field biologists who wish they could reduce it all to a lab, but that is not possible for the type of investigation they are conducting.

  43. Jonathan Smith says:

    In the meantime we need to tell all the senators what Storms ‘ intelligent design tap dance means: Dover the sequel.

    Right,never underestimate any zealot who thinks “lying for Jesus” is the required moral pathway to self- righteousness.

  44. Green Earth says:

    M. Bally,
    BACTERIA!!! Short generation time, very good specimens to study AND observe evolution.

  45. Captdave says:

    Darn you PatrickHenry, I was salivating to see that. However; I did find the video of it. Here is a redirect, everybody:

    Legislator says, ‘I think I get your point now.’

    # PatrickHenry Says:
    April 17th, 2008 at 11:24 am

    This is glorious! Thanks for the info. I just blogged about it at my own place, giving you credit for the discovery, but I used a slightly more provocative headline: Ronda Storms’ Head Explodes! There may be some hope for Florida after all.

  46. firemancarl says:

    Oh, read it and weep fundies!


    ‘[Gauger] was then prompted by one of her colleagues to regale us with some new experimental finds. She gave what amounted to a second presentation, during which she discussed “leaky growth,” in microbial colonies at high densities, leading to horizontal transfer of genetic information, and announced that under such conditions she had actually found a novel variant that seemed to lead to enhanced colony growth. Gunther Wagner said, “So, a beneficial mutation happened right in your lab?” at which point the moderator halted questioning. We shuffled off for a coffee break with the admission hanging in the air that natural processes could not only produce new information, they could produce beneficial new information.’

  47. Jonathan Smith says:
  48. PatrickHenry says:

    For some additional information about how Ronda shamelessly ducked all questions about whether her proposed legislation would permit the teaching of Intelligent Design (i.e. creationism wearing a condom) in science class, read this article in the Miami Herald.

  49. Brian says:

    Has anyone asked her the obvious question: what ARE the alternative, accepted, scientific theories to evolution that school children should be taught? She must be aware of them to be pushing for them. I don’t think the NAS is aware of any? If she cannot (or will not) answer, isn’t the bill pointless?

  50. James F says:


    Trust me, I’ve asked. After much badgering, I either get no response or an admission that the “alternative” is intelligent design, which is of course not a scientific theory. Here’s a great publication from the NAS:


  51. James F says:

    (asked in a general sense, not her specifically – so far no responses from legislators, not expecting any)

  52. Brian says:

    Maybe this is naive (I’m just an interested curious Brit) but shouldn’t the onus be on her to prove that there are valid scientific alternatives to warrant the change in the legislation? Maybe the pro-science senators could force the issue that it is an unnecessary and bureaucratic ‘change for change sake’ – unless she can show otherwise??

  53. Tom says:

    You have to see this new film Expelled.

    “I recommend EXPELLED enthusiastically!”
    — James C. Dobson, Ph.D., Chairman of the Board, Focus on the Family

    “Four stars!”
    — Ted Baehr, Editor, MovieGuide

    “A powerful and riveting film. . . every open-minded person will love it.”
    — Rev. Donald E. Wildmon, Founder & Chairman of American Family Association

    “EXPELLED is an enormously important project.”
    — Michael Medved, national radio host

    “We highly recommend EXPELLED to anybody.”
    — Ken Smitherman, President, Association of Christian Schools Int’l

    “SEE THIS FILM, bring your friends and bring your church.”
    — Lee Strobel, Author, Case for a Creator

    “See EXPELLED and you’ll understand why they want to censor those who question their dogmas.”
    — Dr. Richard Land, Southern Baptist Convention

    “Those who are suppressing belief in God and trying to make materialism the law of the land should beware. Ben Stein is on a mission to stop the suppression, and millions of Americans are behind him.”
    — Pat Robertson, Host, 700 Club

    “In EXPELLED, Ben Stein shows us what happens when academic freedom takes a day off. We should all be listening.”
    — Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus

    “EXPELLED is both an eye-opening documentary and riotous entertainment.”
    — Joseph Farah, CEO, WorldNetDaily.com

    “This movie may trigger a cultural revolution.”
    — Dennis Wagner, Executive Director, Access Research Network

    “EXPELLED could easily be one of the most important movies of the year.”
    — Denny Rydberg, President, Young Life

    “EXPELLED is earthshaking. I was absolutely blown away. Everyone in America, even skeptics of Intelligent Design, must see this film.”
    — J. Matt Barber, Director for Cultural Issues, Concerned Women for America

    “A cultural earthquake. . . Everyone I talked to after the screening used words like ‘fabulous’ and ‘incredible’.”
    — Dr. Tom Woodward, Director, C.S. Lewis Society

    “A solid case for giving the theory of Intelligent Design a respected place in the classroom alongside Darwin’s theory of Evolution.”
    — Dick Rolfe, Co-Founder and CEO, The Dove Foundation

  54. Ivy Mike says:

    Wow, it’s amazing how many religious “leaders” like a movie that’s allegedly about a “non-religious scientific theory”. And, look! They’re all evangelical Protestants, too! Fancy that.

    Thanks, Tom, for yet more evidence of what “Expelled’s” producers really want…to use schools as tent revivals.

  55. Jonathan Smith says:

    Tom Says: You have to see this new film Expelled

    R O T F L M A O

    Which planet do you live on Tom???

  56. Tom says:

    That would be nice to have some revival in the schools Ivy. Maybe crime would go down in the school. 🙂

  57. James F says:

    Wow, I can’t recall seeing so many ignorant, delusional points of view gathered up in one post like that. Note the religious and political slants. Go to http://www.expelledexposed.com for some facts.

    And I’m still waiting for intelligent design to produce one, just one peer-reviewed scientific research paper with data supporting its claims. But it won’t happen, since it’s not science. 😉

  58. Ivy Mike says:

    Here’s a bit of information regarding that future screen gem…


  59. Jonathan Smith says:

    Here Tommy Boy go educate your self.


  60. Tom says:

    If you haven’t seen it you should Jonathan !

  61. Jonathan Smith says:

    Ivy Mike “Great minds”

  62. Ivy Mike says:

    “That would be nice to have some revival in the schools Ivy. Maybe crime would go down in the school.”

    Sure, because preachers never commit crimes, right? Because 90% of current prison inmates describe themselves as religious, right?

    Besides, preaching religion in public schools is, you know, unconstitutional.

    Oh, and the fact that religion isn’t science by any means. You’d have us lie to kids to indoctrinate them illegally. Nice.

  63. Jonathan Smith says:

    I have Tom, it is utter crapola,we are just waitng for the Law suits!!

  64. James F says:

    We’re like a Greek chorus of reason. 😉

    I have to post this again, too:


    We don’t need to fight. Peace.

  65. PC-Bash says:

    Tom –

    I did see the movie Expelled, I saw the screening of it here in Orlando. It blew.

    Prepare to be sorely disappointed.

  66. Tom says:

    Christ is a being not a religion and his life may be taught in the public school – it is not unconstitutional.

  67. Tom says:

    The groundswell is against you antichrists.

  68. Ivy Mike says:

    “Christ is a being not a religion and his life may be taught in the public school – it is not unconstitutional.”

    Unfortunately, there is no independant evidence that someone by the name “Yeshua bin Yoseph” (which would have been his true name) even existed.

    Even if this “Christ” actually did exist, there is absolutely NO evidence that he was in any way divine. All that is religious belief, and thus unconstitutional.

    Your faith, however strong it may be, does not constitute evidence.

  69. Ivy Mike says:

    “The groundswell is against you antichrists.”

    Yeah, sure. When you guys show up with your pitchforks, I’ll be waiting.

  70. Ivy Mike says:

    Gads, there are just so many people who wish to teach MY kids THEIR religion in schools that MY tax dollars pay for.

  71. PatrickHenry says:

    Hey Tom! Religion and government don’t mix. Check it out: Salem witch trials. That was relatively recent history for the Founders (Ben Franklin was born only a dozen years after that event.) We’re not going back to the good ol’ days, even if there are many who want to take us there.

  72. Jonathan Smith says:

    Teaching Greek Mythology in school is not unconstitutional so teaching(not preaching) about Jesus should fall into the same context.


  73. Ivy Mike says:

    “Teaching Greek Mythology in school is not unconstitutional so teaching(not preaching) about Jesus should fall into the same context.”

    I don’t think that’s what the “Toms” of the world want, dude.

  74. firemancarl says:

    Yep, mythology all around!

  75. S.Scott says:

    Hey Tom – I have a question for you. When you went to see Expelled
    , did you notice that they were playing John Lennon’s – ‘Imagine’-
    (You know the one … “Imagine there’s no Heaven…no religion too”)?

  76. MaryB says:

    I can’t believe that the academic freedom bill almost (almost) got applied to the one scientific subject I am not allowed to teach in my middle school: Sex Ed! We are not allowed to teach about condoms, instead the “just say no” crowd comes in for 6 session of, well, Just Say No and don’t ask about condoms or how to protect yourself from disease if you do like so many kids do and make a mistake that might cost you your life! That really is where academic freedom is needed! And if you don’t believe it just look at the data that is out since “Abstinence Only” began to be taught in our classrooms by a bunch of Baptist Youth ministers. Pregnancy is up!

    As for the comment about crime going down where the fundamentalist religions reign look at statistics for crime in Chicago and you will find a downtown neighborhood with the lowest crime rate in the city and beautiful old restored row houses with picture perfect yards and it is full of evangelical churches, oops no its full of goddless gay people – yup thats right it is a Gay neighborhood! Look at Massachusetts with the lowest divorce rate in the Country and it is the bastion of: Evangelicals and Intelligent design? No Evolution is taught in the schools and Godless Gay Marriages are performed regularly!


  77. firemancarl says:

    Oh, there you evilutionists go again! Using science and data to prove your point! ( insert sarcasm emoticon here ).

    Amazin innit? The areas of the country, according to the US Cenus folks, with the highest rates of child abuse, teen pregnancy, and divorice are…. drum roll please…areas in the bible belt!

  78. Captdave says:

    Tom Says:
    That would be nice to have some revival in the schools.
    Maybe crime would go down in the school.

    That’s a good idea, more religion in public schools. Abstinence-only sex ed has worked so well! Teens really relate to that sort of crap.

    Although I despise the Catholic sect of religion for their extreme and ridiculous ritualistic holy rollerism, (just look at how they are groveling over the popy wopy on his visit to the U.S.) it makes me nauseous. I would piss on him. At least I do greatly admire the Catholic organization for creating their own private school system. They did it, of course, to avoid suffering the obnoxious religious teachings of the Protestants, forced upon our public schools in the mid 1850’s.

    Fundies – create your own private school system and teach whatever the hell you want. Do not try to force your ignorance upon the rest of us, who are now living in the 21’st century.

    Thanks a lot and have a nice day.     😈

  79. S.Scott says:

    And … Catholics are not afraid of science – they embrace it.

  80. PC-Bash says:

    Yes, as do the majority of Christians. It is only a very vocal minority of fundamentalists who have any problem with science or evolution.

  81. firemancarl says:

    Because PC, those are the ones who stand to lose the most when their sham is exposed.

  82. Tom says:

    “those (evolutionists) are the ones who stand to lose the most when their sham is exposed.” Absolutely !!!

  83. firemancarl says:

    Really Tom? Is that the best you can do? Quote mine and misquote? How christian of you! Surely you can do better? 🙄

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