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Marching for Science across Florida

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

The March for Science events across Florida were awesome! I attended the Space Coast March and I was genuinely excited to see how many folks attended. From the front of the march I could look back and see the mass of chanting and sign-waving people stretching out for blocks behind us. This definitely wasn’t some minor protest with a handful of die-hards. This was, in fact, a movement. And that was just from my view in Titusville. The same big crowds were seen all across Florida and the country. Check out these two photos I took. I tried to capture the size of the march as best as I could. In the first photo you can obviously see the marchers in the foreground, but then also look in the distant background: more people!

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Here’s a story about the Space Coast March: Hundreds in Titusville march for science

“We think it is extremely important for all children to realize that science is a way of life, not just part of life. I hope this event reminds Brevard County of our roots. We are the Space Coast after all. We should all celebrate and appreciate the diversity that NASA has brought to this area and how fortunate we are to have rocket launches in our back yard.”

And here are more stories about Florida marches:

Orlando joins world in March for Science on Earth Day

“Science is inherently apolitical. There are facts, and then you make decisions based on those facts,” Emerson, 31, said.

“Science isn’t about one side being good and one side being bad. Science is about one side being right and one side being wrong,” he added.

‘Science not silence’: Hundreds of mad scientists descend on downtown Miami

Organizers said that it was more than the actions of the current administration that drove them to the streets. Protesters, like retired marine scientist Susan Markley, expressed concern over a societal shift away from science.

“I’m particularly upset that there’s a contempt for science now,” Markley said. “There’s a rejection. It’s described as an elitist approach when that’s not what it is at all.”

[Tallahassee] March for Science draws thousands, calls for education

“Science matters.”

“Science matters.”

It was the rallying cry for more than 4,000 people who attended Saturday’s March for Science in Tallahassee.

People held signs saying, “Science will not be silenced” and “The truth has no party affiliation.” They came from as far away as Fort Lauderdale and were as young as a few months old. But they all held the same belief.

Scientific integrity is important.

[Gainesville] Saturday’s March for Science draws nearly 1,000 protestors

“We’re out here because we have to be,” said Candace Biggerstaff, the assistant manager general of the chemistry lab at UF. “Before, we didn’t have to be political because science wasn’t being actively stomped on. Now this attack is forcing us to get out of our house and march down the street on a hot day in Florida. I hope the kids don’t forget this moment. I hope we continue to fight.”

We here at Florida Citizens say THANK YOU for supporting science. But don’t stop with one day of marching. Keep on marching!

 

Florida Citizens for Science on the March Saturday

Friday, April 21st, 2017

march logoFlorida Citizens for Science officers and board members will be participating in March for Science events around the state Saturday. We hope to see you at one!

President Jonathan Smith will be at the Tampa March.

Vice President Joe Wolf will be at the Lakeland March.

I’m one of the speakers at the Space Coast March.

Board Member Pete Dunkelberg and some members will be at the Orlando March. I believe they’ll have an information booth there.

Who will defend Florida science education?

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

houseWe’re facing an uphill battle as we fight against the Instructional Materials bills in the Florida legislature. We know these bills, if they become law, will almost guarantee a future fight over evolution and climate change in our classroom textbooks. It’s not just conjecture. We have unambiguous evidence.

The House version sailed through its first two committee stops on 14 to 0 and 12 to 2 votes. It’s frustrating to watch this bill go largely unchallenged and to know our valid arguments are being ignored.

But now is not the time to give up. We need to get louder. And now is your chance.

The House Education committee, the last stop before the bill moves to the full House, is going to consider the bill Thursday at 8 a.m. Call the committee members. Email them. Visit them. Make sure they hear your opposition to this horrible bill. Let them know that:

Here’s the committee member list. How many of them will commit to supporting science education?

Bileca, Michael [R] michael.bileca@myfloridahouse.gov (850) 717-5115
Cortes, Robert “Bob” [R] Bob.Cortes@myfloridahouse.gov (850) 717-5030
Jones, Shevrin D. “Shev” [D] Shevrin.Jones@myfloridahouse.gov(850) 717-5101
Ahern, Larry [R] larry.ahern@myfloridahouse.gov (850) 717-5066
Antone, Bruce [D] bruce.antone@myfloridahouse.gov (850) 717-5046
Asencio, Robert [D] Robert.Asencio@myfloridahouse.gov (850) 717-5118
Brown, Kamia L. [D] Kamia.Brown@myfloridahouse.gov (850) 717-5045
Diaz, Jr., Manny [R] Manny.Diaz@myfloridahouse.gov (850) 717-5103
Donalds, Byron [R] Byron.Donalds@myfloridahouse.gov (850) 717-5080
Latvala, Chris [R] Chris.Latvala@myfloridahouse.gov (850) 717-5067
Lee, Jr., Larry [D] Larry.Lee@myfloridahouse.gov (850) 717-5084
Plasencia, Rene “Coach P” [R] Rene.Plasencia@myfloridahouse.gov (850) 717-5050
Ponder, Mel [R] mel.ponder@myfloridahouse.gov (850) 717-5004
Porter, Elizabeth W. [R] elizabeth.porter@myfloridahouse.gov (850) 717-5010
Raburn, Jake [R] Jake.Raburn@myfloridahouse.gov (850) 717-5057
Russell, Barrington A. “Barry” [D] Barrington.Russell@myfloridahouse.gov (850) 717-5095
Stone, Charlie [R] Charlie.Stone@myfloridahouse.gov (850) 717-5022
Sullivan, Jennifer Mae [R] Jennifer.Sullivan@myfloridahouse.gov (850) 717-5031

We need to be wary. The circus is coming to town.

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

circusLast month we had intelligent design promoter Paul Nelson bumbling around in Florida promoting a documentary. Now another famous intelligent design guru, Michael Behe, is barnstorming Florida to show off a new documentary that’s all about him. He’ll be at the University of Central Florida tonight. Then he’ll move on to Clearwater and the University of South Florida Friday followed by Clearwater on Saturday. He’s tentatively scheduled to wrap up at Florida Gulf Coast University Monday. Interestingly, his presentation at a Naples church is meant for high school students only.

The reason I point out these visits is because I spent years researching the ebb and flow of anti-evolution efforts in Florida. Any time creationists come knocking, their visits are followed by a flurry of creationist shenanigans involving textbooks, or some local school board, or the state legislature. The back to back visits by Nelson and Behe make me wary. Something is up.

March for Science, Florida

Monday, January 30th, 2017

There is a March for Science movement spreading across the country and the world. The main March for Science website says:

science march 2March for Science is a grassroots effort comprised of dozens of independent, nonpartisan coordinators. Recent rhetoric has inspired us to march on Washington D.C. and in Satellite Marches across the country. Our mission statement is as follows:

THE MARCH FOR SCIENCE CHAMPIONS PUBLICLY FUNDED AND PUBLICLY COMMUNICATED SCIENCE AS A PILLAR OF HUMAN FREEDOM AND PROSPERITY. WE UNITE AS A DIVERSE, NONPARTISAN GROUP TO CALL FOR SCIENCE THAT UPHOLDS THE COMMON GOOD, AND FOR POLITICAL LEADERS AND POLICYMAKERS TO ENACT EVIDENCE-BASED POLICIES IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST.

It looks like the effort is still in its planning stages and yet it has sparked a lot of interest. There are at least six satellite marches forming here in Florida that I know of so far. If you want to participate and help in some way, check out the below list. And let me know if you know of any that need to be added.

Main March for Science being organized in Washington D.C.:
Twitter: @ScienceMarchDC
Webstie: https://www.marchforscience.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marchforscience

science march 3The main Florida March for Science account:
Twitter: @ScienceMarchFL

Tallahassee:
Twitter: @ScienceMarchTLH
Volunteer Inquires to:
sciencemarchtally@gmail.com

St. Petersburg/Tampa:
Twitter: @March4SciStPete
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarchForScienceStPete/

University of Florida:
Twitter: @March4ScienceUF

Orlando:
Twitter: @ScienceMarchORL
Inquiries? Email: sciencemarchorlando[at]gmail[dot]com

Miami:
Twitter: @MiamiMarchforSc
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/March-For-Science-Miami-1756461831341881

Darwin Day, Central Florida

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

I’m speaking at Central Florida Freethought Community’s Darwin Day event Sunday, February 12, 1 – 4 p.m. at the University Club of Winter Park.

The event features Aron Ra, evolution debater, science educator, and host of the Ra-Men Podcast. Also Dr. Daniel Batcheldor, astrophysicist and author of “Astronomy Saves the World”; Brandon Haught, biology teacher, Founding Board Member of Florida Citizens for Science and author of “Going Ape;” and Valerie First, evolution educator and “Street Teacher.”

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New lawmakers briefed on education

Saturday, December 10th, 2016

education-capNewly elected Florida legislators attended a briefing intended to give them an overview of what their role is in matters of education. The session was filmed and is available for viewing: 12/6/16 House “Legislator University” Training: An Overview of School Accountability.

Quite of bit of time was spent discussing the process of adopting instructional materials (textbooks and such). The lawmakers had interesting reactions and questions that provide some insight into their thinking. We get an idea of where they’re coming from and what combination of information and misinformation they came in with.

If you’re not familiar with Florida’s instructional materials review/adoption process, I encourage you to watch the video. It’s explained fairly well. I think a couple of points get muddled a bit but it’s overall useful information. We’re going to be adopting new science textbooks in the near future, so the better informed you are the better watchdogs we all can be.

The video is 44 minutes long but worth the time. The sound in the first few minutes is poor but it improves later. I’m guessing that some microphones hadn’t been switched on in the beginning.

Taking the Science World by Storm? Um, OK.

Friday, December 2nd, 2016

intelligent_design_t_shirt_product-01Paul Nelson, of intelligent design’s Discovery Institute fame, will be infecting Florida with a new documentary film that is supposedly “Taking the Science World by Storm.” He’ll be schlepping around Tampa, Tarpon Springs and Port Richey Saturday through Monday. His tour includes a film showing at the University of South Florida, Gibbons Alumni Center and an appearance at the C.S. Lewis Society Coastal Holiday Luncheon.

If you happen to be in the area and feel like enduring something akin to driving a rusty spoon through your eye socket, please consider attending one of the events and reporting back to us what it was like.