Florida Citizens for Science Press Release:
“Critical Analysis” Bill Undermines Florida Science Education
Florida Citizens for Science is disappointed that Senator Stephen Wise has chosen to waste the valuable time of his fellow legislators and possibly deepen a school district’s financial difficulties by filing a bill challenging the teaching of evolution in our state’s public schools (SB 2396). Florida’s schools and the state as a whole are floundering in financial turmoil, and citizens are demanding our lawmakers focus their attention on this crisis. There is no appetite for embarrassing our state yet again.
Wise’s antievolution bill is an insult to citizens who are tired of stomping over the same ground over and over again. The Florida Board of Education and last year’s state legislature have already debated the teaching of evolution ad nauseam. To insist on bringing this up again is irresponsible because it will distract our lawmakers from the important tasks at hand, and could burden one of our school districts with a million dollar legal bill.
Mandating “critical analysis” of evolution has been done before in other states with disastrous results. We don’t need to put Florida through the same painful learning process that Ohio had already gone through a few years ago. Once the work began on deciding how to implement “critical analysis” there, it was discovered that the concept was nothing more than an attempt to impose creationist teachings. The proposed lesson plan was riddled with distortions of scientific knowledge/methods pulled directly from old creationist arguments. Ohio eventually dropped the whole idea of “critical analysis” evolution and washed their hands of it.
Florida will head down that same beaten path if SB 2396 is made into law. Furthermore, Sen. Wise has made clear in public statements his desire to slip intelligent design creationism into our schools. That had also already been done in Pennsylvania where a federal court case in 2005 determined that the teaching of intelligent design was unconstitutional due to First Amendment violations. It’s clear that Sen. Wise believes that his critical analysis bill will open the way for intelligent design creationism. This puts our school districts at financial risk! The Florida ACLU already indicated that it would pursue a lawsuit if intelligent design creationism gets into the classroom. The Pennsylvania federal court case cost a school district one million dollars. Does Sen. Wise really want a Florida school district to foot such a massive bill?
We encourage lawmakers to discard this irresponsible and costly bill.