Lawmakers react to possible ID bill

Yesterday, intelligent design creationism made the news when state senator Stephen Wise announced that he will be introducing a bill mandating its teaching alongside evolution instruction. Today we get a taste of what other lawmakers think of the idea, courtesy of The Gradebook:

“It’s time the other side joined us in the 21st century, whether it’s this issue or global climate change and global warming,” Rep. Rick Kriseman, D-St. Petersburg, told the Gradebook. “This bill, if it’s filed again, will give voters a chance to see which political party has evolved.”

“The Florida public wants us to try to fix this economy, create jobs, fund important program like education and health care,” said Rep. Marty Kiar, D-Davie, the Democrats’ go-to guy on education in the House. “They don’t want to see us debating things like evolution and creationism … and like last year, the truck testicle bill. Those are things we should not be focused on right now.”

“My first impression is that on its face it sounds fair, if all it’s saying is if you teach one theory, then another theory ought to be taught so that people have informed choice,” said Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, who said he needed to see the bill language before commenting further. “But without really studying it more, I can’t say I have a position on that.”

I encourage everyone to contact Kriseman and Kiar to thank them for their non-support of the possible bill. Then contact Rouson to educate him on the difference between common usage of the word theory and scientific usage of the word theory. And then tell Rouson that while he’s doing his studying to have a look at the last time intelligent design creationism made the news.

That’s your homework, folks. Get to it and report back here when you are done.

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
This entry was posted in "ID Creationism" bills '09. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Lawmakers react to possible ID bill

  1. Ivory Girl says:

    I have sent letters to all those that were mentioned in the grade book,I will report back to FCS if and when I get a reply.

  2. Michael Suttkus, II says:

    Truck testicle bill?

  3. James F says:

    Hey, the Truck Nutz took time away from them actually voting on the “academic freedom” bills, don’t knock ’em!

  4. Jason B says:

    I’m on it, calling all my like minded friends. This bill will be a waste of resources and time, and will ultimately fail.

  5. Jason Hodin says:

    Here’s the email I just sent to Rouson:

    I am a biologist studying at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences of the University of Miami. I am an educator as well as researcher in the field of evolutionary biology.

    I read a comment you made recently about the teaching of so-called “intelligent design” in schools. First, I thank you for stating that you would not take a firm position on this issue until you researched the subject in more detail. In the quote that I read, you stated the following:

    “My first impression is that on its face it sounds fair, if all it’s saying is if you teach one theory, then another theory ought to be taught so that people have informed choice.”

    To be perfectly frank, what you have stated above is a very common fallacy, often exploited by advocates of creationism and “intelligent design” to create confusion in the public at large. The fallacy relates to the definition of “theory.”

    In common usage, the word “theory” is a rather weak term. I could say, for example, that “my THEORY is that landlords often exploit tenants.” In this usage, the word “theory” is equated with “opinion” or “idea.” In other words, my idea could be described as “just a theory,” and my neighbor might justifiably disagree with my position.

    Not so in science. In science, the term theory is very specific, referring to a scientific hypothesis that has been REPEATEDLY tested, and has always withstood this barrage of tests. Examples of scientific theories are: the germ theory, the theory of gravity, Einstein’s relativity theory and evolutionary theory. In each case, the term “theory” is appropriately applied, since each of these theories has been subjected to rigorous testing, and remains the best explanation for the observations we make.

    So, when advocates of creationism state that evolution is “just a theory,” they are purposefully confusing the common definition of theory (=opinion, idea) with the scientific definition of theory (=extremely well supported hypothesis).

    In other words, Darwinian evolution is a bona fide scientific theory, while creationism/intelligent design is an idea that has absolutely no scientific evidence to support it. As such, the latter does not belong in the science classroom.

    Please contact me if you (or any of your aides) would like more information or to discuss this topic further

    Jason Hodin


  6. PatrickHenry says:

    I’m delighted to have had several hundred hits from the earlier link I posted here about The Curmudgeon’s Amendment. That’s splendid, but what’s really needed is to get the amendment into the hands of friendly members of the Florida legislature, so it can be introduced into the House and Senate right after the “academic freedom” bills get introduced.

    I believe that this is a good solution. Perhaps it’s not the only solution, but it should work. It ought to be far more effecteive than sending in the biology professors to testify at legislative hearings. They do a fine job, but it may not be enough. Depending on who controls the committees, those hearings may be rigged. That’s what happened last year in Louisiana, when they stacked the expert witness list so that half of them were creationists — creating the illusion that there’s a “controversy” which the schools should teach. The same thing happened at the recent Texas Board of Education hearing.

    The Curmudgeon’s Amendment bypasses all of that “dueling experts” show-trial stuff by relying on already existing court decisions. All that’s required is one cooperative member in each legislative chamber.

    I’ve looked at a list of my county’s delegation. I don’t know any of them. If I did I’d already be working on this. What’s need here, assuming you like my amendment, is to send it on to a pro-science legislator that you know. Once the amendment is introduced, and the press picks it up, it should spread to the other states. Seriously folks, give this some thought.

  7. James F says:

    The people who have the nerve to pull something like this off are Sen. Ted Deutch and Sen. Nan Rich. In a failed but valiant attempt to sabotage the “academic freedom” bill, they proposed amending it to become the “Evolution and Healthy Teens Academic Freedom Act,” adding a huge section requiring schools to teach a “medically accurate, factual and age-appropriate sex education curriculum.” Read more here. Both are still in the Florida senate.

    The problem I see is that the amendment will be voted down (any legislature that would pass an academic fraud bill would reject this amendment) but it would make a strong point if proposed.

  8. PatrickHenry says:

    James says:

    The problem I see is that the amendment will be voted down (any legislature that would pass an academic fraud bill would reject this amendment) but it would make a strong point if proposed.

    Yes, it probably will be voted down. And that’s the beauty of it. Accepting the amendment would be just fine — it kills the main bill. But rejecting the amendment is good too. It creates a legislative history that the legislature considered banning ID, but refused to do so. That demonstrates the law’s religious purpose, so it can’t survive a court contest. Heads, tails — the amendment is good. (And I’m sounding like a fanatic, so I’ll stop.)

  9. Ivory Girl says:

    Ron Matus at The Grade Book makes this good point.

    ” the actual bill isn’t out there yet and everything depends on exactly what it says — but could it be that this will all come down to Gov. Crist, whose views on teaching evolution are … what?

    Great question,what are Gov Crists views on teaching evolution?

  10. Kevin F. says:

    CAN’T SOMEONE please stand up and say that we’re only going to teach SCIENCE in a SCIENCE CLASS? Jeeeez!

    To even hint at introducing a non-hypothesis, non-evidence based discussion and treating it on par with massive evidence, data and synthesis is unbelievable.

    I’m in. Let’s crush this insanity. Tell me what to do.


  11. Karl says:

    Looking at Gov. Crist’s wiki, it looks like he follows the typical neocon agenda (anti-abortion, anti-gay unions/adoption, etc). I’d bet he’d have no hesitation signing any anti-evolution garbage bill but will probably try to feign some sort of reluctance to lessen the backlash. Strangely enough, his standoffish attitude over evolution was very similar to his position over Florida Amendment 2 back in November.

  12. S.Scott says:

    A little OT but I thought some of you might like to know that the vatican has endorsed evolution and called “ID” a theological argument (not science) – just in time for Darwins Bday tomorrow. 🙂

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