The media in Florida are all aflutter this week on a bill introduced into the state legislature by state senator Ronda Storms, called the Academic Freedom Bill. Discovery Institute has recommended such legislation in the past. We even maintain a website at www.academicfreedompetition.com that has a model of an academic freedom bill. So we’re happy that Storms has taken the ball and run with it.
Not everyone is happy though, which is clear from reading the newspaper stories on this latest development in the debate over how to teach evolution. Darwinists are downright unhappy, so much so those at Florida Citizens for Science think academic freedom is “smelly crap.”
This academic freedom stuff is merely the next evolutionary step as anti-science folks continue their attempts to shove creationism into the public school classroom. First, there was blatant creationism. Next there was intelligent design. Both failed miserably. Now comes along academic freedom. Same smelly crap, different packaging.
So it shouldn’t be surprising that the media got the story wrong. They’ve been fed some “smelly crap” from FCS.
Over at the St. Petersburg Times Jeffrey S. Solochek’s article (“Storms joins Darwin debate”) is, not surprisingly, inaccurate and misleading. It states that the academic freedom bill recently introduced by Sen. Storms would “ban penalizing teachers for teaching alternatives” to evolution. This is simply not true.
In The Ledger, John Chambliss’ article (“Science Standards Options Proposed”) has a totally false subhead. It states that the academic freedom bill would “allow the teaching of alternatives to evolution in science classes.” This also is absolutely not true.
At the Ledger.com’s blog, another reporter gets it wrong as well:
State Sen. Ronda Storms has filed a bill that would give teachers the right to teach different theories other than evolution, i.e. intelligent design.
Yet another false statement.
The Academic Freedom Act introduced in Florida’s Senate reads in part:
An act relating to teaching chemical and biological evolution; providing a short title; providing legislative intent; providing public school teachers with a right to present scientific information relevant to the full range of views on biological and chemical origins; prohibiting a teacher from being discriminated against for presenting such information; prohibiting students from being penalized for subscribing to a particular position on evolution; clarifying that the act does not require any change in state curriculum standards or promote any religious position; providing an effective date.
Nowhere does this bill call for allowing any alternative theories to be introduced into the classroom. Neither does it say that teachers should be protected in order to safely be able to present alternatives. Articles stating otherwise are flatly false.
Students need to learn more about evolution, not less. When evolution is presented in the classroom, of course teachers should present the scientific evidence that supports the theory. But if a teacher also presents some of the scientific evidence that challenges the theory, they should not be reprimanded. Teachers and students both need the academic freedom to be able to learn and discuss both the strengths and weaknesses of any theory, including evolution. This is much different from teaching alternatives to evolution.
Now that Darwinists have successfully ingrained in Florida’s state science standards the “fact” that Darwinism is the “the fundamental concept underlying all of biology,” they are quickly moving to make sure that teachers and students not be allowed to even question evolution.