Archive for September, 2014

Evolution and science stuff in Florida news

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

Some interesting evolution and science related stuff in Florida news lately …

John Thrasher endures testy forum at FSU

College of Communication professor Andy Opel pressed Thrasher on climate change, asking him if he believed it is real. “Do you accept the science behind it,” Opel said.

Like Gov. Rick Scott, whose reelection campaign Thrasher co-chairs, Thrasher declined to give a specific response. At that point, two students in the front row appeared to Thrasher to be laughing at his answer.

The next person to pose a question, law professor Mark Seidenfeld, asked Thrasher if he believed in evolution.

“I have a great faith in my life that has guided me in my life in a lot of things I believe in,” Thrasher said.

Hinson: ‘Because he’s flippin’ Bill Nye, that’s why’

After Nye’s talk was done, he received a rousing standing ovation. After a minute or so, he returned to the stage and fielded a few questions from students in the audience. That’s when things got real good, real fast.

First question: “What would you think of a university president at a major university who doesn’t believe in evolution?”

It was a direct reference to Florida Sen. John Thrasher (R-St. Augustine), a political bigwig who is aggressively trying to muscle his way into the president’s office at Florida State. Thrasher, who is not exactly a free-thinking intellectual with a lenghty list of academic credentials, has dodged questions about climate change and whether or not he believes Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theory.

Nye answered with: “I’m heartbroken, I guess.”

A woman in the audience instantly shouted: “So are we.”

East Hillsborough School Board race has conservative focus

There is a truism about eastern Hillsborough County: When it comes to politics, you can’t tack too far to the right.

That adage is being tested this fall as Terry Kemple, possibly Hillsborough’s best-known Christian conservative activist, makes his third run for the School Board.

He ran districtwide the first two times and lost, although he notes that in 2012 he would have prevailed if the votes were confined to District 4.

This time he is running in the land of the Bell Shoals Baptist superchurch and former state Sen. Ronda Storms, a district where the pro-family, anti-Obamacare Stacy White defeated two better-funded candidates in the August primary for a likely spot on the County Commission.

But Kemple, 68, takes it up a notch. He’s spoken out against gay rights and Muslim advocacy. He called it a travesty that the schools teach evolution as fact. And he isn’t just against the Common Core standards; he accused the state of trying to defraud the public on the issue.

Switching careers

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

Did you know that I recently switched careers, becoming a high school biology teacher? Now you know.

Daytona Beach News Journal: Former Volusia sheriff’s spokesman pursues passion into classroom

Haught, 44, recently left his post as the assistant public information officer at the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office to teach biology at University High School in Orange City. He swapped snoopy reporters for sleepy students. Police reports for lab reports. Arrest records for attendance records.


Skepticamp 2014

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

Florida Citizens for Science president Jonathan Smith and I enjoyed talking with the very lively and engaged crowd at Skepticamp 2014 in Tampa today. I took them on a brief time travel tour, bouncing from events in the 1920s to events in the present. I wanted to emphasize how anti-evolution activists, groups and legislation from then and now are amazing alike. We then tackled the question of whether there is any way to break this seemingly never ending cycle of anti-evolution activism. Jonathan talked about how evolution plays a significant role in your everyday life, from man’s best friend to what you eat. Thank you very much to the event organizers for having us!