Explore the strengths and weaknesses of Florida’s “Academic Freedom” bill

Here is a guest post/cross post from Panda’s Thumb by Pete Dunkelberg. Pete is a Florida Citizens for Science board member.
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By now regular readers of The Panda’s Thumb know that “academic Freedom” bills have been filed in the Florida legislature, and you know that the bills are Disco designed. You have also noticed Disco’s complaint that people get it. The complaint reads like disingenuous gibberish, but why that specific gibberish?

Son of Of Pandas and People is the answer. Recall that the ID gang at the Discovery Institute (Disco) got the Dover school board in trouble with their creationist textbook Of Pandas and People, in which the words “intelligent design” and “design proponents” had been substituted for the words “creationism” and “creationists”, with “cdesign proponentsists” as an intermediate form.

The Disco fellows then wrote a new book called Explore Evolution to do the job of Of Pandas and People. The job is to present so called strengths of evolution in such a pale way that no one would think life evolved, and then pour on the usual false and misleading “weaknesses”.

This new book is precisely the book to use to teach Disco’s version of strengths and weaknesses. PT previously reported on a World Magazine article making the point.

This fall, the 34-year teaching veteran will restructure his evenhanded presentation around a new textbook from the Seattle-based Discovery Institute. Explore Evolution: The Arguments for and Against
Neo-Darwinism (Hill House Publishers, 2007) does not address alternative theories of origins but succinctly lays out the scientific strengths and weaknesses of the most critical elements of Darwinism. “It’s made my work a lot easier,” Cowan said.

Explore Evolution encapsulates a “teach the controversy” paradigm that the Discovery Institute has advocated for the better part of the past decade.

PT also reported on an Old Earth Homeschool blog which in turn reports on an event at Biola to make the same point:

Wow, long day. I was down at Biola all day attending a symposium which unveiled a new curriculum designed to be used in public school classrooms (both at the high school and college level) to expose
students to the strengths and weaknesses of neo-Darwinian evolution.

Explore Evolution: The Arguments for and Against Neo-Darwinism (Hill House Publishers, 2007)

This is intended to be a supplement to a standard biology textbook. It presents the strengths and weaknesses of the evolutionary position and allow students to decide for themselves whether neo-Darwinism is, in fact, supported by the scientific record. The book does not promote Intelligent Design in any way, shape or form. However, it is written by leaders in the Intelligent Design movement and they don’t seem to be making any secret about this.

This explains why Crowther is frantically trying to convince everyone that the “academic freedom” bill means “strengths and weaknesses” and nothing but that, the actual words in the bill and what they mean to folks without his special agenda notwithstanding.

There is extensive exploration of Explore Evolution here at AtBC. The book is not noted for good science, but it is very good creationism. The Disco plan seems to be to do Dover over using Son of Pandas and the academic freedom bill. Will it work?

One Response to “Explore the strengths and weaknesses of Florida’s “Academic Freedom” bill”

  1. Lane Taylor Says:

    As irritating as it is, I can’t see this flying for long if it’s actually introduced into any public school system. As soon as one parent challenges it, I’m sure they will have no problems finding the legal backing to make sure this deceptive tactic will fail once again.

    The worst part of this whole, continuing issue is that the school boards wind up wasting the district’s money on lawsuits, instead of teachers’ salaries and other expenses more important to actually teaching.

    Some times, I wonder if the Disco Institutes strategy is to try and win by attrition.