There was a flurry of activity yesterday started by the initial confusion of a Tampa Tribune reporter, but the end result is actually good news.
First, I sent out a news release early yesterday morning announcing that the Florida Academy of Sciences issued a statement condemning Florida senate bill 2396. The proposed bill would introduce “critical analysis” of evolution into the state’s public schools.
The Orlando Sentinel briefed it on their education blog. The Tampa Tribune also put up a blurb on their website. However, the Tribune reporter was a bit confused, thinking that the antievolution bill had just recently been filed and thus put the FAS statement at the bottom of the blurb. The blurb headline said “Evolution bill quietly filed in state senate.”
PZ Myers and Phil Plait both quickly picked up on that and wrote blog posts announcing the filing of the bill. (They did this despite the fact that I notified those two knuckleheads about the filing of the bill weeks ago. Sheesh, no one ever listens to Brandon.)
I sent quick e-mails to PZ and Phil in an attempt to correct the misunderstanding on their end. Phil updated his post.
I then called the reporter who wrote the Tampa blurb. She apologized for the confusion (she said that she had misread my release through weary eyes) and said that an updated story would appear and clear everything up.
The updated story appeared and everything looks great. The antievolution bill is as good as dead. If Rep. Alan Hays (the guy who introduced and fought for a similar bill in the House last year) says the bill has no chance, then it is down for the count.
Anti-Evolution Bill Still A Fruitless Exercise
TALLAHASSEE – A bill aimed at undercutting acceptance of evolution in Florida science classes, which kicked up a fuss but didn’t pass in the Florida Legislature last year, apparently is going nowhere this year.
A Senate version of the bill has yet to receive a committee hearing and has no companion bill in the House.
That means, said one proponent of the idea, that the bill has little chance of passage in this frantic session, heavily devoted to cutting and balancing the state budget.
“With no companion in the House, it doesn’t have much likelihood,” said Rep. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla.
This doesn’t mean that we can all forget about antievolution in the legislature this session. There is always the chance that an amendment can be slipped into an existing bill. We can breathe easier right now, but we can’t take our eyes off the lawmakers until the session is officially closed.
Yay! That’s good news, and glad to hear it.
FWIW, I remembered the earlier email, but there have been so many things going on with creationists trying to wipe out the First Amendment that I simply assumed this was a different bill; look at all the changes the Texas are trying to implement in the science standards– confusion is inevitable.
It’s like the Tower of Babel or something down there in those states. 🙂
Good to officially clear this up. Everyone at this site has been aware of Wise’s bill since it was filed a month ago, so when that Tampa Tribune article appeared, it seemed odd. PZ blogged it as if it were hot news, but he can’t be on top of everything.
Hey, we did learn that Hays isn’t getting involved this time around, so that’s good news indeed. But ya know … I miss Ronda.
” Educational Instruction [SPSC]; Requires that the instructional staff of a public school teach a thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution and certain governmental, legal, and civic-related principles.”
I wonder why a bill worded like this could ever even be proposed. If it requires “thorough presentation and critical analysis” of some theory, it would make al lot more sense to require it of all scientific theories. As it is written it stands out as overly evophobic.
How about “Educational Instruction [SPSC]; Requires that the instructional staff of a public school teach a thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of quantum mechanics and certain governmental, legal, and civic-related principles.”
@ BjÃ¸rn Ã˜stman
Exactly. Why single out evolution? If you don’t believe in fossil dating, then you must have a problem with modern physics. So perhaps these creationists should come clean and propose that students learn how to analyze scientific statements critically; an effort that I would strongly support.
More rudely and off topic, an image that has been fermenting in my mind for the last few days regarding creationists is one of chimps with Ipods. See, you can design a machine to do the bidding of an animal, say a lab rat. The rat does not in any way need to know how the machine works, because it has been designed for a stupid rat. It will drop cheese every time the rat punches a big red flashy noisy button.
It seems that some of our fellow humans like the idea of easy-to-use technology, but at the same time have no curiosity at all for the basic principles of how this technology works. It’s obscene, the fact that people are so ready to accept “red buttons” into their lives if it enables them to post videos of themselves on the internet (!), to image their bones in a hospital (!) or just having some healthy broccoli for dinner (oh yes, that was created by man too!). At the same time these people deny the principles that have enabled us to explore our universe and create all of these things. Yes, obscene is the right word.
You mean we’re not going to have the privelige of hearing Alan Hays babble about the lack of a half-mosquito, half-monkey fossil? Oh, darn!
The updated story mentions that House members are limited to introducing six bills each. It’s nice to know that, given the state of the economy and all, that Florida legislators can actually think of six more important things than screwing up childrens’ educations.
Umm…apparently, I had the privilege of a quality Florida education judging from my spelling…
To celebrate, I give you: Mr. Elvis Costello!
I can definitely sympathize with your confusion, Phil, but (speaking as one of the people who helped write the FAS’s statement) it’s still dismaying to see how the press can twist things around (as the Tampa Trib clearly did) and then good scientists like you and PZ can get the story wrong because you’re not on the ground. Good on you for correcting yourself as soon as possible.
I caution everyone: just because the FAS put out a statement, does not mean it will be taken seriously by everyone. Some of these people quite honestly think they know their science better than we scientists do, and take Ben Stein’s piece of crap as actual fact. We will still have a fight ahead this year, I guarantee it.
Oooh! Phil Plait commented on teh blaaag!! (I’m a bitof a groupie!) Yay!:-)
I hope it’s over – but I’m with Eric on this one … we need to keep our eyes open.
I’ll believe it when I see it. Just because the guy says he thinks the bill is dead doesn’t mean he isn’t looking into more versions of the same garbage. Don’t turn your back to him.